Route NT316 – Acts 3:16

“And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” Acts 3:16 

Oh, how easy it would have been for Peter and John to take credit for the healing. A man who was lame from birth was carried every day to sit by the gate called Beautiful to beg. When Peter and John pulled the lame man up by the arms he began to leap and walk and praise the Lord. The people were amazed by what they saw, and could have readily given the credit to the two men and worshiped them as gods. Taking credit would not necessarily have been an evil thing, but simply a very human thing to do.

It really is very easy to accept credit and praise for wonderful things God may do through us. After all, when people are blessed by events such as a miraculous healing, their hearts quite naturally rejoice. In this state, people will usually seek something or someone to praise. The vessel through whom God sent the miracle can easily be the target of their affection.

While it is essential that the vessel of God should not claim the praises due the Lord, it is just as essential that the vessel should not be neglected. In simpler terms, God works through people and it is important to recognize and take care of those who are engaged in the work of the Lord. Jesus declared this with words recorded in Matthew 10:10 “for the worker is worthy of his support”.

What Act 3:16 teaches us then, is that God works through people by faith in the name of Jesus. While it is right to honor and recognize those through whom God works, it is most important for these vessels to lead the blessed to direct all praise and worship to the Lord who is the true source of all blessing.

Praise God for His many blessings and praise Him for those He sends to carry forth those blessings.

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July 9, 2017 · 3:36 pm

Route NT316 – John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish, but have everlasting life.”

Often I have heard scholarly debate about ancient texts and scriptures. When the debate turns specifically to the Bible, one of the verses on which a great deal of time is generally spent is John 1:1. After all, what excellent material for lengthy and complicated discussion? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Such great dissertations have been delivered, by simply concentrating exhaustively on the explanation that “the Word” John refers to is Jesus. Pages and pages have been filled. Yet, even with so much scholarly attention, the profound theology of this verse can be easily lost. Lost because all the debate and discussion never cause it to reach the hearts for which it was written.

The truth is, where scholarly debate and discussion come up short, and where religion fails, Love reigns. One of the greatest attributes mankind has inherited from being created in the likeness of God is the desire to love and be loved. Paul was inspired to write of this in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Here we are instructed and encouraged to live in FAITH and live in HOPE, but most importantly, live in LOVE

God commands us to love one another with the same love He has shown us. That is a tall order to fill, and most likely not one of us will actually come even close to accomplishing this. Still, we should never give it up as a lost cause. What is so easily missed is that in the case of sharing the love of God, accomplishment may not be in the completion of the task, but is actually in striving to do it.

What then is the love of God? Well of course, it is this stop along Route NT316. It is LOVE itself. As the One who was sent and died put it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) The real question is, “How do we share the love of God”? This is a question that can also lead to much discussion and debate, but the real and simple answer is to share the love God has already given. Just strive to let every single person know that they are so desperately loved by God that He sent His only Begotten Son to die for specifically them.

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Route NT316 – Luke 3:16

Luke 3:16 “ John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

What a wealth of blessing is found at this stop on Route NT316. What powerful lessons can be learned here.

Recorded are the words of John the Baptist. He is explaining that while he was baptizing the people with water, this baptism was nothing compared to what was to come. Something extremely important to learn through John, is how to remain humble in the face of greatness. As John was preaching about repentance, people were flocking to the Jordan river to be baptized by him. Surely this was very much an open opportunity for John to get a big head, and get caught up in self-importance. It happens to many. The Lord begins to use them as a vessel of His Word. He begins to use them as an agent for delivering His blessings to people. Usually, this is for a season. Then, soon enough, the vessel and the agent begin to slip from the awareness that what is happening is from and because of the Lord. They wander into a place of perceiving and promoting self as the source of accomplishment and success. How utterly important it is for us to remember who is truly the source of success, and to whom it belongs.

The Bible is full examples of people rejoicing over accomplishment and success. Rejoicing with words and with song. Properly done, such rejoicing can be called praise, because it fully acknowledges God as the source and primary beneficiary of all that has been achieved and the source of all future triumph!

While fulfilling his call of baptizing in the Jordan river, John humbly acknowledged that the greater things of the Lord were yet to come. He didn’t try to hang on to what he had, but encouraged the people to go and seek after greater things than he had for them. Sending is an extremely hard task. For example, how agonizing it is for a parent to send their child out into the world to live their own life. Another example is someone in ministry sending the people they have discipled and nurtured, so they can move on in the walk the Lord has for them.

The thing is, if we don’t send them, how can we know whether we have succeeded, and how can they achieve the plans God has for them?

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NT Route 3:16 – 2nd Stop Mark 3:16

Once again, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been here. This is mostly due to life in transition. With starting a new job, which also included a big change in shift, and finishing my first semester of schooling in many years, I have found myself very busy. Praise the Lord He has been with me and brought me through all my busyness and even now fills my heart with joy and inspiration to continue my journey along NT Route 3:16. Thank you for waiting and for your prayers. I know you have been praying, I can just tell.

On our journey, the next stop is Mark 3:16. “And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter).” Now I know that the Lord has set me on this journey because there is something for me to discover at each stop that He will use to edify my life and the lives of those with whom I share, but when I got here, I was really stumped. Here there only seems to be a small portion of an over-all message, and on top of that, it’s just a list. True, a list of very important names, but still, just a list. What, oh what could there possibly be here to impact my own life. It’s just a part of a list, not even a complete thought…But wait, WAIT. I do see it. I see a complete whole message in this one verse of scripture, and I see how it applies to me.

The message hidden in Mark 3:16 actually becomes more clear when you read it without some of the words. The verse says “He appointed” and then points out one of the appointed to whom He gave a new name. Oh how very clear this verse spells out the vital importance of being appointed by God! It is so important, because when Jesus is the one who makes the appointment, it is for real! It is for real, and He will bring it to pass! If we set out of our own accord, we are very likely doomed to failure, but when we answer the call of God’s anointed appointment we are most assuredly destine to succeed.

I have taught for many years and whole heartedly believe that God uses every person who ever has and ever will live to fulfill His purpose. He appoints each and every one of us to be used to carry His name into all the earth and speak it forth to every living creature. Yet He leaves us with a choice. The choice we have is to receive His appointment as a blessing or a curse. For example, Moses was blessed as he moved in his appointment to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and to the land of Canaan. On the other hand, the Pharaoh was cursed as he refused to move in his appointment to release the Hebrews and let them go with Moses. How much more wonderful it is to move in the appointment of the Lord.

The other key point in this verse is that Jesus had given Simon another name. In answering his appointment, Simon was to be known as Peter. This point is key to each of us, because it points out the importance in realizing, accepting and moving in the fact that as we surrender our lives to Jesus we too should become known by another name. No I’m not necessarily saying that we need a different name, but what I see here at Mark 3:16 is that when we have surrendered to Jesus, people should be able to recognize that we are a different person. When they hear our name, it should call to their memory a person who is devoted to living for God. The only way people can recognize such a difference is if it is true.

As I was reading one morning, the Lord expanded this understanding to me through the life of another person from the Bible, whose name was Jedidiah. I discovered in 2 Samuel 12:24-25, that when God sent the Prophet to the King to tell the name of his new baby was Jedidiah, He also sent word through the Prophet that the name means, beloved of God”. God proclaimed this name on the child because from his very beginning, God loved him. While Jedidiah was very much a great King, in the long run, he did not live by the name God had given him, and by the time he died he had pretty much turned from God to live by the name given him by his earthly father and in his earthly father’s womanizing ways. While he had been proclaimed by God as Jedidiah, he lived and died by the name Solomon. What a shame for the most wise man who ever lived, that he died as Solomon the king who turned to the gods of his wives, instead of Jedidiah the beloved of God. I guess it just goes to show that how you finish is so much more important than how you start, and how you finish is all about how you live today (and tomorrow), not how you lived yesterday.

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New Testament Route 3:16 – First Stop

After posting the Route 3:16 Old Testament journey, I prepared the map for the Route 3:16 New Testament journey, and thought I was on my way. Then, as life tends to do, it got in the way. With a video and game project (“Count On God”) to finish, preparations for publishing a book (“When A Family Starts”), a first Conference show to prepare…there just didn’t seem any time to get started. To make things worse, as the passing of time tends to do, it began to make a wonderful journey of encouragement and enlightenment seem as a chore to be dreaded.

Well finally, I have put one foot of the other and begun forward motion. Look out New Testament, here I come!

But wait! When I got to the first stop, Matthew 3:16, what I found there is so great, I just didn’t want to wait until the end of the journey to share it!

So, here it is. I pray this will bless your heart as much as it has blessed mine!

(Matthew 3:16)  And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him,

(This is where I could easily get myself in trouble with the establishment, but here goes anyway.)

In this passage of scripture we have positive proof that Jesus, the man, had the right to choose His destiny. The proof is demonstrated in John’s reaction as Jesus came to the Jordan river to be baptized. John was clearly working under the power of the Holy Spirit calling all to be baptized unto repentance, but then he immediately recognized that Jesus had no need of this baptism. Still, Jesus decided to receive it anyway.

Jesus had laid aside His Heavenly robes to come into the world in the humble form of a mere man. Yes, scripture shows that He had grown up knowing, without doubt, the will of His Father. At the same time, He had spent many years living among people and personally witnessing the imperfections wrought by the sin of Adam and  continued in the very existence of mankind.

Then, He came to the water’s edge.

This event was a perfect opportunity for Jesus to simply exalt Himself. When John tried to step down from his position as the baptizer, Jesus could easily have received this high praise, and Baptized John.  Had Jesus made this decision, He would still have been all man and all God, and no doubt He would still have eventually returned to His rightful place in Heaven.

What then would have been the big deal? Had Jesus simply received the praise John offered, and baptized him, Jesus would have made the conscious decision exalt Himself, refuse receiving the sin of mankind, and denied the Cross. Maybe nothing would have been lost for Him. All would have been lost for us.

This stop on the New Testament Route 3:16 so clearly expresses (as does all of scripture when carefully studied) the motivation of the true and living God is always His love for His creation! Matthew 3:16  strongly confirms the very idea shared in the words of the simple children’s song…”Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”.

I pray for you the peace of KNOWING God loves you, and realizing that He tells you so over and over and over again.

Thanks for beginning this little journey with me.

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Teach Them Diligently

Deuteronomy 6:7”and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Isn’t it funny, God’s direction to us is to “diligently teach” the scriptures to our sons (children) … not to be diligent to make sure they go to church, not to be diligent about making sure the Bible is read in school, but to be diligent to TEACH them?

Look too, at where and how we are to teach them … “talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Now lest any may misunderstand, please know that having your children (in fact your entire family) habitually involved in church activities and services multiple times a week is an absolutely marvelously excellent way of life! The writer of Hebrews stated this very eloquently when he wrote in 10:23-25”Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”

There is a joy that comes from participating in organized meetings that are about instilling hope, love and good deeds into the lives of people. David said it this way in Psalms 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.'”

Liberation, empowerment and strength are realized through the purposeful act of going to spend time in the praise and worship of our Creator and Savior! Which is why David also encouraged us in Psalm 132:7 “Let us go into His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool.”

At the same time, if our Christianity is about going to church, then it becomes something we do, and not who we are. Also, if we leave the teaching of scriptures to our children for the church or school, we have shirked an enormous part of our responsibility as Christian parents. That is not what God intended. How can I speak so boldly of God’s intentions? Because in Deuteronomy 6:7 God commands us to be Christian everywhere and all the time … “when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

In addition, God lays the responsibility of teaching scripture to children squarely on the shoulders of their parents … “you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them”.

WOW! That’s a big burden to lay on someone! I mean, not everyone is a Bible scholar, and life is already so busy just taking care of the kids and meeting their physical needs. Soooo… how is an already frazzled parent supposed to add scripture teaching to their over-packed schedule!?!
Once again, the answer to this quandary is found in Deuteronomy 6:7 “talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” You don’t have to add to your schedule, but simply use the moments you already have to your advantage. For example:

We don’t so much walk now-a-days, but when you add up all the “to and fro” time, we do spend lots of hours traveling. I would venture to say that for most Americans, that means time in a car. Well, what occupies that time? Is it silence? Is it keeping everyone busy with books or electronic gadgets such as games or videos?

How about replacing silence with talking about scriptures? Start simple by engaging everyone in remembering details of a well known Bible stories. As time goes on, start keeping a Bible in the car and challenge someone to look-up, confirm and/or add to the details. What an incredible way to have family time and TEACH SCRIPTURE.

As for busy activities, what books are the children reading, or what videos are they watching? What electronic games are they playing? These questions are extremely critical, because whatever they are spending all these traveling hours on, is what is getting lodged in their brain and forming their thought processes.

It is absolutely essential to know what children are ingesting through their eyes and ears, and unfortunately a little extra effort is required to take the time to actually read, view and even play their books, videos and games. One thing that can help is finding trusted sources. Ask Sunday School Teachers and Children’s Pastors what sources they use. Visit Christian Book/Supply Stores in your area. Checkout the resource pages on web-sites such as, www.sonpoweredpub.comwww.goodseedcreation.com, www.discoveryandfun.com or www.focusonthefamily.com.

The point is, God wants us to “teach them diligently”, starting now! So don’t delay, get on your way!

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A journey through the Old Testament on Route 3:16

Haven’t been here in a while. The last several months have been busy and difficult. Praise the Lord we were able to visit Dad in late January, because by February he was no longer with us. Praise the Lord, too, that his suffering was very minimal with the cruel disease that took him so swiftly.

One of the most difficult parts of the last few months was trying to give a proper and fitting tribute to my Dad at the memorial service held in his honor. Dad was a great man. Not in riches or fame, but in the legacy he left. A legacy of having taught us what truly should be important to a man. God, Family, Friends and Country. As I journey through this life, I always had and always will have a great example to follow. My Dad.

Thank-you for indulging my few moments of personal thoughts.

Speaking of journeys, a while back the Lord impressed on my heart to take a journey on route 3:16. Which is to say, following a path that consists of the verses found at chapter 3 and verse 16 of each book in the Bible. In the following, you will note that there are some books missing. That is, of course, because those books do not have a verse 3:16.

When first mapping out this journey, the steps (verses) seemed disjointed and not at all a path, but as I progressed, what unfolded was very much a flow of thought and progression. As you read the following, I encourage you not to just take my word for what is written here. Take the time to examine each step in its context. Go to your Bible. Read the verses that precede and follow. I am sure it will encourage, strengthen and bless your heart as it has mine.

OLD TESTAMENT ROUTE 3:16

Man had let sin into the World through his disobedience, and the Lord was angry. He cursed the ground and increased the toil of man, and then He turned to the woman.  (Genesis 3:16) To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

Even in His anger, God did not abandon His creation. (Exodus 3:16)  ’Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying,’ I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.

God even made a way for His creation to seek forgiveness. (Leviticus 3:16) ‘And the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar as food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORD’S.’

God also provides means to help His creation remember to whom they belong and who they serve. (Numbers 3:16) So Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD, just as he had been commanded.

God blesses and cares for His creation. (Deuteronomy 3:16)  ’And to the Reubenites and to the Gadites, I gave from Gilead even as far as the valley of Arnon, the middle of the valley as a border and as far as the river Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon;’

God sends His creation and goes before them clearing the way. (Joshua 3:16)  that the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho.

God imparts wisdom on His creation for dealing with the enemy. (Judges 3:16) And Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length; and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak.

God desires that His creation recognize His blessings and share them. (Ruth 3:16)  And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, ‘How did it go, my daughter?’ And she told her all that the man had done for her.

God imparts true wisdom on those who seek Him and appoints wise councilors. (1 Kings 3:16)  Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him.

God provides for those who obey His commandments. (2 Kings 3:16)  And he said, ‘Thus says the LORD, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’

God provides for all generations. (1 Chronicles 3:16)  And the sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.

His creation shall rise up to praise their Lord in all their works. (2 Chronicles 3:16)  And he made chains in the inner sanctuary, and placed them on the tops of the pillars; and he made one hundred pomegranates and placed them on the chains.

We are called to care for and tend to all that God has provided us.  (Nehemiah 3:16)  After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, official of half the district of Beth-zur, made repairs as far as a point opposite the tombs of David, and as far as the artificial pool and the house of the mighty men.

Without the Lord we are lost.  (Job 3:16)  “Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be, As infants that never saw light.”

The Lord is a just God. (Proverbs 3:16)  Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.

The world is unjust. (Ecclesiastes 3:16)  Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness.

The Lord sees our indiscretions. (Isaiah 3:16)  Moreover, the LORD said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud, And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, And go along with mincing steps, And tinkle the bangles on their feet,

We are to follow after the Creator, not the created. (Jeremiah 3:16)  “And it shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they shall say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss it, nor shall it be made again.

The wrath of God is severe. (Lamentations 3:16)  And He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust.

Wait upon the Lord and He will speak to you in the midst of your strife. (Ezekiel 3:16)  Now it came about at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

All situations may be answered by quietly resting in God. (Daniel 3:16)  Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.

The time will come when the God will distinguish between those who love Him and those who do not. He will pour out His wrath on those who deny Him and draw close to them those who seek Him. (Joel 3:16)  And the LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.

We must not fail to recognize when we are plundering that which God has created for us, and amend our ways to be good stewards. (Nahum 3:16)  You have increased your traders more than the stars of heaven– The creeping locust strips and flies away.

To rejoice in the calamity that will befall those who deny the Lord is to fail to understand the heart of God. Instead seek diligently to enlighten them, and mourn over their unwillingness to hear. (Habakkuk 3:16)  I heard and my inward parts trembled, At the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, And in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, For the people to arise who will invade us.

Our eternal strength in is the Lord. In Him we have hope that far exceeds the trials and tribulations of this life. (Zephaniah 3:16)  In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp.

To “fear” God is to abide in Him, obey His commands and devote ourselves in service to Him. God remembers those who belong to Him and “fear” Him. He protects them and provides for them. (Malachi 3:16)  Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.

In conclusion, an interesting note: There are many who teach that it is not important to study the Old Testament, because the New Testament brought a “new covenant”. Yet as we have traveled along Old Testament Route 3:16, verse after verse has revealed answers to the oft asked question, “Why Jesus?” (Why His incarnation…why His tragic death on the cross…why His rebirth…why His ascension…why should one surrender their life to Him…) Study of the Old Testament is critical to gaining understanding of Jesus. Besides, Jesus Himself said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets (what we now call the Old Testament); I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)

PS: I am currently on route 3:16 in the New Testament and will share sometime soon.

Thank-you for reading.

Please know that I pray Numbers 6:24-26 for you!

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