Archive for the ‘God’ Category

The Kingdom of God in Luke’s Gospel

May 29th, 2009

(1:32-33;  2:4; 34-35; 3:31; 4:43; 6:20; 7:28; 8:10; 9:2; 10:23-24; 11:2, 17; 12:31-32; 13:20; 14:15; 16:16; 17:20-21; 18:15-17; 19:12; 36-40; 22:14-16; 23:1-3; 35-43)

“…and of his kingdom there will be no end”

(Luke 1:33)

The word kingdom is meaningless to most people.  It may evoke certain ancient images of swords and jousting, but there will be no ultimate personal relevance.  In the face of this casual approach to kingdom, one is confronted with Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Luke.   What should one make of this startling kingdom which is anything but casual?

1.       The Kingdom of God provides a context whereby one may discuss and perceive God in history [bear in mind, your history!].

2.      The primary meaning of “kingdom” is royal power. It more often carries the force of dominion (see Dan. 4:31, where dominion is departed, but not domain); more reign than realm.  In Luke, the ideas associated with Kingdom are heightened (see the Luke references above).

3.       For God’s people (who seeing-see and hearing-understand, Lk. 8:10), it is not the past which determines the future, but the future which directs the present.  For the Christian, the Lord of history is not prominent, but preeminent (Col. 1:16-18).

-Robert M. Housby


May 14th, 2009

(100-600 Levels)

“The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,

but the earth he has given to the children of man”

(Psalm 115:16)

On the 100 Level, providence involves-

1.    Definition

2.    Usage (Acts 24:2, from pronoias)

On the 200 Level, providence involves-

1.        A reference to God in the world (Eccl. 3:1-11)

a.   Hebrew world view believes in purpose on earth (3:1)

b.   And, transcendent purpose in heaven (3:11; Isa. 55:8-9)

2.        Christian world view unites God’s purpose in Christ (Eph. 1:10)

On the 300 Level, providence involves-

1.         A long and loud praise of God’s universal providence (Ps. 104)

2.         Psalm 104 begins and ends with a summons for the individual to participate in this providence (104:1,35).

On the 400 Level, providence involves-

1.         The comprehensive terminology of heaven (shamayim; ouranos)

2.         Our deepest reality is that we were meant for heaven-made for earth (2 Cor. 5:1-8)

On the 500 Level, providence involves-

1.         Kingdom of God in personal dailiness (Matt. 5:45; 6:25-34; 10:29-31)

2.         Kingdom of God in personal discernment of kingdom reality (Matt. 13)

On the 600 Level, providence involves-

1.         Living 100-600 level revitalization (Finding your place in His plan)

2.         Revelation 11:15!

-Robert M. Housby

Devotional Readings From Brother Lawrence’s,Practicing the Presence of God

April 10th, 2009

[We use the name which this Carmelite kitchen monk went by-“Brother Lawrence,” in the sense of Acts 2:37, where “brethren” is used in a generic sense]

In the area of Christian devotional literature, the classic work by “Brother Lawrence,” Practicing the Presence of God, is certainly worth your time to read.  Surely Lawrence was ahead of many when it comes to a personal spiritual life.   Notice some sample quotes below, from Lawrence:

“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen…I possess God as if I were on my knees.”

“You need not cry very loud, he is nearer to us than we think”

“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed”

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual walk with God.  Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive”

These quotes serve to make us aware of why we do what we do in the name of Christ (Psalm 116).

-Robert M. Housby

The Gospel Must Be Accepted

February 19th, 2009

“Behold now is the favorable time; behold now is the day of salvation”

(2 Cor. 6:2)

The gospel was meant to be accepted (2 Cor. 11:4).  The gospel must be accepted because it was meant to be accepted; meant by the Lord to be received by men (Acts 11:1; 1 Thess. 2:13).  The appeal of the gospel always has urgency and expectancy within its message (2 Cor. 6:2).

1. Accepting the gospel is an individual affair.  Notice the emphasis upon “each one” in 2 Corinthians 5:10, and throughout the New Testament.  Individual responsibility is clearly meant.

2.Accepting the gospel entails ownership. Ownership also infers responsibility-a right of possession.  2 Peter 1:1,3,4,8,12, etc.  indicate ownership by verbs such as-“have obtained,” “granted to us,” and “you have.”

3. Accepting the gospel means accepting the consequences of following Christ (1 Pet. 4:12-19).

My son has a personal web site which displays the Sphinx of Egypt; the Eiffel Tower of Paris; and the Tower of Pisa.  All of these are places which he has visited in person.  They are not mere hopes nor dreams; but for him they are realities, facts, moments of his life.  Is the gospel such a reality for you?   Have you owned it yet?

Robert M. Housby

Learning the Hebrew Blessings (1)

August 22nd, 2008

“Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel”

(1 Chronicles 29:10)

Christians should bear in mind that they are recipients of the gospel plan of salvation which came through Abraham (Gal. 3:14,29; Rom. 11:18). Gentiles (non-Jews), therefore, share in the rich history and scriptural foundations of Israel (Rom. 15:4,27). The Hebrew blessings are a part of this illustrious heritage.

The Hebrew Blessings are precisely that-blessings which come through the Hebrew language and theological format (Gen. 14:13; 40:15; Ex. 3:15,18). The apostle Paul is an example of how this Hebrew style was perpetuated through the centuries (Acts 22:2; Phil. 3:5). Modifications and deviations from this were noted as pejorative (negative) according to Nehemiah 13:23-24. While the gospel has no one accepted language today (Acts 10:46), we are privileged, indeed, to have access to the Hebrew blessings.

The Hebrew Blessings often appear in simple Hebraic words: brief, pointed, and powerful. These attest to the God of heaven as Daniel 2:19-20 records-“Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: Blessed be the name of God forever and ever…”

-Robert M. Housby

It Is A Solemn Thing to Die and Appear Before God

January 27th, 2008

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil”

(2 Corinthians 5:10)

Paul’s universal statement of judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10)follows upon a former statement made to the Corinthians in an earlier epistle: “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). Here it is declared that judgment will be a disclosure of personal motives.

We are aware of the fact that even some Christians are scared to death about dying. We are also cognizant that not a few ungodly and atheistic have no fear of death (irony of ironies). If your emphasis of preaching through the years has been about the human response to the gospel—What have you done?—and, has had imbalance regarding What God has done (grace), it should not be strange that a Christian might therefore have a fear of dying. As for those who refuse to name the name of Christ, they may not have a fear of dying—but neither do they have a hope of living. See, a cow will stand in the field chewing and not have a care in the world; but, that same cow has no comprehension of hope beyond the grave either. The atheistic confidence is only confidence when he/she lowers the bar to the animal kingdom. Puny ploy it is then to take this kind of reasoning and call it academic and brilliant.

It is a solemn thing to die and appear before God (2 Corinthians 5:11-15).

Robert M. Housby

Categories: 2 Corinthians, Bible, God, judgment, New Testament Tags:

Thank God for Ordinary Christians

November 25th, 2007

(This article appeared in the Shady Acres Church of Christ Bulletin,
September 2, 2007, and was composed by D. Slingluff.  It has been condensed and adapted)

Someone has said, “God must really love ordinary people—He made so many of them.” In this day of superstars and specialists, experts and authorities, it is reassuring to know that there is one place where the ordinary man (or woman) will always be loved and needed–in the church!

General Eisenhower once rebuked one of his officers for referring to a soldier as “just a private.” He reminded him that the army could function far better without generals than it could without its foot-soldiers. “If this war is won,” he said, “it will be won by privates.” In the same way, the common, ordinary, one talent, Christians are the very backbone of the church…If the work of the Lord is to be done, it will be ordinary Christians who do it.

In thinking back over the years, we can think of some tremendous examples of ordinary Christians serving God in extraordinary ways. The work that has been done by these brothers and sisters is known by few. Their names do not typically appear in church bulletins, though their works are precious and priceless. There is no shame in having limited talents. But there is shame in not using the talents that God has given.

Thank God for ordinary Christians!

Categories: Bible, christian, God Tags:

“The Rock of Ages:” The Being Behind the Belief

August 12th, 2007

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock”

(Isaiah 26:4)

Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778) wrote that most popular of English hymns, Rock of Ages. It was this great hymn that echoed through Westminster Abbey during the funeral of Prime Minister William E. Gladstone. The history behind it is quite fascinating. The Christian lyrics arose from a theological debate. Especially important, in this regard, is the second stanza:

Could my tears forever flow, could my zeal no languor know,

these for sin could not atone-Thou must save and Thou alone.

It seems that Toplady was involved in a contention with John Wesley. Wesley was urging a seeking of salvation, while Toplady was denying the human role in salvation.

The being behind the rock, in the text of Isaiah 26:4 is the LORD God. He is traceable to Deuteronomy 32:4, depicted as his people’s strength; refuge (Ps. 31:2-33); and, salvation Deut. 32:15; Ps. 89:26). In the New Testament, the Rock is identified with Christ (1 Cor. 10:4) from whom the Spirit flows (John 4:13-14); the foundation of the church (Matt. 16:18) and it’s corner-stone (Eph. 2:20).

Next time that you sing, Rock of Age, realize that there is indeed a being behind the belief.

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, God, Isaiah, Jesus Christ, Lord, Old Testament, rock Tags:

Are You Being Challenged Enough?

March 18th, 2007

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

(Matthew 7:19, 20)

New Testament Christians have definite characteristics. One such characteristic is that of doing the will of God the Father (Matthew 7:21). This important arrangement of wanting to please our heavenly Father raises a question about expectations. Are we being challenged enough, or possibly too much (Acts 15:24, 28)? Too much emphasis on expectations (works righteousness) becomes a legalistic perversion of the gospel of grace (Galatians 5:4). And, too little an emphasis on personal challenge tends to degenerate into a license to evade the will of God (see Revelation 2:19, etc.).

Do a personal inventory (1 Corinthians 13:5). Check up on yourself. Are you being challenged enough? Are you growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)? Are you bearing fruit? Jesus said, “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love” (John 15:8-9). Realize that our response to God is “…faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).

If, after testing yourself, you decide that you are not being challenged enough—talk to one of our ministers. Let them know that you need to be challenged more toward personal development. Get involved in the service of God. Listen; Learn; Lend; Lead; and Love—for today is your chance.

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, God, Matthew, ministry, New Testament Tags:

Luke 3:6 In American Thought

January 28th, 2007

(Salvation as Materialism)

“…and all flesh shall see the salvation of God”

(Luke 3:6, ESV)

The Gospel of Luke, alone, includes the words, “and all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). Luke’s emphasis seems to be a worldwide approach and appeal, whereas the Gospel of Matthew, for example, is extremely Jewish in emphasis. For this reason (and others), the Gospel of Luke is perfect for the American audience.

Americans, regardless of status: whether affluent or poor, all share one common denominator—the addiction to, or, at least, the habituation to material based living (from cell phones to ice cream cones). Many are too busy supporting this lifestyle to worship the Lord on Sunday, or to do ministry on a weeknight. There can be no doubt that Americans are blessed materially. The main problem which accrues from this lifestyle, however, is that it has become the standard by which we interpret the good life.

So, how do you spell “salvation”? Typically, our spelling is not what Luke had in mind at all. And, yet, Luke did have something in mind. The purpose of this brief article is to get us thinking about salvation along the lines of what it means biblically and spiritually. So, when we are tempted to slack-off, give up, or slow down, remember the words of the Lord Jesus—“No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 5:24).

Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, God, Luke, materialsm, New Testament, salvation Tags: