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The Struggle is Real

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Well, it’s been a long time since this blog was active. And it’s been a long time since I’ve had a close relationship with God. Over the past two years or so, my family and I have struggled mightily with finances, children, and our own fears and demons.

While my wife has remained steadfast in the face of all of this, I have fallen by the wayside. I’ve become more bitter, angry, and irritable, and my depression has overtaken me. Our marriage has taken a hit, and my only child left to live with her mother. I’ve lost my way, and it is in no way anyone’s fault but my own.

Since I have lost my job, I have decided to spend more time in bible study and I would like to revive this blog, and the associated Facebook page as well. I’m hoping that I can return to that time when I was at peace, and, at least for the most part, a happier person. I want to repair my marriage, and my life. And I know that I need God to do that.

The world seems to be spinning out of control, and the last two years has seen a major increase in terrorism, mass shootings, and unspeakable acts of violence committed against our fellow man. Everywhere I look there is hatred, violence, and greed. Love thy neighbor is a foreign concept it seems, and everyone seems to be gearing up for the coming apocalypse.

I, on the other hand, just want to live my life. I don’t fear death, I only fear that I am not prepared for it. And that I won’t join God in heaven. I hope that by resuming my studies, and resuming my more peaceful and forgiving demeanor, I can turn that around.

With love, and the love of Christ,

Jay McAnally

Trust in God for He Knows Best!

Guidance

I came across a little story lately that I found inspiring. I’m not sure on the author but it came along at just the right moment, so I know God had a hand in it. I’ll reproduce it here for you to see.

Me: God, can I ask You a question?
God: Sure.
Me: Promise You won’t get mad…
God: I promise.
Me: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today? … God: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I woke up late…
God: Yes.
Me: My car took forever to start…
God: Okay.
Me: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait…
God: Mhmmm…
Me: On the way home, my phone went dead just as I picked up a call…
God: All right.
Me: And on top of it all, when I got home, I just wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager and relax! But it wouldn’t work! Nothing went right today! Why did You do that?
God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.
Me (humbled): Oh…
God: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.
Me: (ashamed)
God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn’t want you to catch what they have. I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.
Me (embarrassed): Okay…
God: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call. I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered.
Me (softly): I see, God…
God: Oh and that foot massager? It had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.
Me: I’m sorry, God…
God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to Trust Me… in all things, the good & the bad.
Me: I will trust You.
God: And don’t doubt that My plan for your day is always better than your plan.
Me: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.
God: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I love looking after My children.
 
I’ve seen many a post online, whether from a news source or even one of my hobby websites that went rediculously off-topic about how God could be so great, how could He be so loving if He lets all this bad stuff happen to us? This was the answer to that question that I found even myself pondering from time to time. Even the tale of Job couldn’t quite satisfy me, though it would at least “bandage” it for me.
Interestingly enough, shortly after reading this and sharing it with my facebook friends, I had an “incident” at work where this story came in handy. I work security at a Kellogg cereal plant at their Truck Gate entrance. A driver came in with a load, and as I watched him walk up the stairs to the gate entrance, I could tell he seemed a bit haggled. He greeted me amicably enough, we went through the usual routine of paperwork, inspections, and phone calls. On his way out to drop off the load, he mentioned to me that he was running late because he had had a blowout on the highway earlier and that it had set him back a rather large length of time. It was then that I understood the haggled, stressed look in his eye, but he was gone now, my job was done, and I returned to my regular duties. My job allows me some freedoms, and that night I was studying Genesis, primarily the creation account. I had books scattered all over the desk – my bible, a bible commentary, an Old Testament Survey, an English bible in a different translation, a devotional, a notebook, and various pens and highlighters. Some time passed, and my friendly driver returned to check out. As he walked through the door, the first thing he said to me was – “Do you think God is upset with me?” I was a bit taken aback at first, though I know I shouldn’t have been. It just isn’t the kind of question I usually get at work.
I was a bit nervous. I’m still learning, and have never felt up to the task of answering these questions. Most of them I still have myself! Nevertheless, I couldn’t just say nothing, so… “Why do you ask that?”
He sighed, shook his head and said. “Well, I had that blowout like I mentioned earlier, my dispatch has been giving me a hard time on my outbound load information, I lost money while I was stuck on the highway for two hours… it’s just been a really bad day, and I wonder if God’s trying to tell me something.”
It struck me how many times I’d thought this myself. That maybe I’d done something wrong, or something to anger God, and so He was punishing me for my wrongdoing by giving me a terrible day where nothing goes right. But at that moment, I remember that story. I didn’t even remember the whole thing, I just remembered the part about the drunk driver on the road. It was all I needed!
“I remember being told a story, and I don’t remember all of it, but I remember part of it…”
And after telling him the tale, his face visibly brightened, he thanked me, and asked to use the restroom. After coming out, and just before leaving, he turned to me and said – “You know what else makes what you said true? You are sitting there with the good book, and God put you here just when I needed you to be here to help keep me on the right track. He is truly great.”
It was then that he left, a more vibrant hop in his step, feeling infinitely better than when he came. Part of my job is to assist people when they arrive at my gate. Give them directions on the lot, prepare their paperwork, etc… it was a breath of fresh air to give true directions for once.
 
We must always trust that God’s plan is infinitely better than our own. We need to stop banging our head against the wall trying to change His plan! And why would we want to? His is so much better than ours anyway! As it is written… “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21.
Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2013
 

What is Love?

A couple in LOVE!!

I’d like to start this by saying that everything begins and ends with LOVE. Therefore, everything begins and ends with GOD, for “God is love” – 1 John 4:8. What does this mean exactly? Well to discover this, we need to look a little closer at the definition of LOVE. Let’s start with the definition most people are familiar with, shall we?

From the Mirriam-Webster online dictionary:

1a (1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2): attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3): affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>
 b: an assurance of affection <give her my love>
Before we go any further, let’s point out definition a(2) – “attraction based on sexual desire“. I’m highlighting this to help illustrate a point later on that we are confusing LOVE with LUST.
2: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
3a: the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration <baseball was his first love>
 b (1): a beloved person : darling —often used as a term of endearment (2)Britishused as an informal term of address [in other words, love has become a casual pet name]

4a: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1): the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2): brotherly concern for others 

 b: a person’s adoration of God
We’re gonna skip a few now since I don’t believe in definitions that use the word in the definition OF the word.
6: an amorous episode : love affair [amorous again being LUST not LOVE]
7: the sexual embrace : copulation [again, LUST not LOVE]
All in all, I would rate this definition as 50/50, or so – so. It is a definition of love as we can comprehend it. Too often, though do we equate love with sexual desire [LUST]. You see this a lot in movies, particularly romantic comedies or romantic dramas where a rediculously attractive man “falls in love” with a rediculously attractive woman (which, in a side note here, I believe places unfair expectations on both men and women and completely degrades what the meaning of love truly is). We’ve become convinced that for love to “blossom” there must first be an attraction. And what does it mean to attract?
b: to draw by appeal to natural or excited interest, emotion, or aesthetic sense : entice <attract attention>
Attraction is surface value only, as evident by the definition in appealing to an aesthetic sense. Is love surface value only? Society today would disagree with that, but then why is it so “important” to have an attraction first BEFORE love can develop? Is that accurate? Let’s see what the Bible has to say about love. First from the ESV translation.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Do you see anything in those verses that indicates that attraction is necessary for love? Let’s look a little deeper into this and replace the word “love” with the word “God“.
God is patient and kind; God does not envy or boast; He is not arrogant 5 or rude. He does not insist on His own way; He is not irritable or resentful; 6 He does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
As stated in 1 John 4:8, God is love. Let’s take it just a BIT further shall we?
Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; He is not arrogant 5 or rude. He does not insist on His own way; He is not irritable or resentful; 6 He does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Jesus is love too. Jesus was our measuring stick, He was God incarnate on earth, our role model for how to love. So what does this mean? Let’s look at this verse one more time.
Man is patient and kind; Man does not envy or boast; He is not arrogant 5 or rude. He does not insist on His own way; He is not irritable or resentful; 6 He does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Man bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
THIS is what God wants from us. This is how God looks to us to behave! This is what has been perverted by sin and iniquity. And this is what God’s redemptive plan is trying to restore in us. So what is love?
Love is US. We, the people, are love. To love your wife or husband is not accurate, you must BE love to your wife or husband, your brother, your neighbor, your children. Love is not some abstract notion that is undefinable, love is right in front of you when you wake up and see your family, when you go to work and interact with your co-workers, when you go to church and join in fellowship. So remember this it is important, every day not TO love, but to BE love. And finally, one more look at the verses, this time from the amplified Bible translation.

4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2013

Finding Comfort and Security in Christ

The Confort of Christ

If there is anything I can say for certain, it is that we are headed for some very dark times. The current administration in office, in charge of our well being and safety seems rather bent on abolishing the constitution and everything Godly that this country was built upon. While it is true that President Obama has, so far, issued fewer executive orders than any other president within the last 100 years, some of those executive orders are questionable, and lead to some rather striking concerns. His orders on martial law, gun control, and military surveillance lead one to wonder just what the president thinks is going to happen, or if he, himself, is planning some kind of coup. The recent scandal concerning former CIA contractor, Snowden, brought even more questionable policies to light. And christianity as a religion has come under fire in the US military, and particularly with the recent gay marraige debates. But this isn’t a political blog, and I’m not going to get into the particulars. But this IS something that can drive a person a bit crazy just thinking about it. Many of us, even non-believers feel the end of the world coming, or at least the end of the world as we know it. How can we find comfort and security during such dark times? In our Lord, the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-11).

Christianity has certainly come under attack in recent days, but this was to be expected! We can and must endure for Christ as He taught us: “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13). Christ gave us the Holy Spirit (John 14:16) to help us through the suffering we must endure, a companion to comfort and guide us. We must not fret, for Jesus has “overcome the world.” (John 16:33). The battle has already been won, Jesus has TOLD us this! “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4). In the comfort that we find in Christ, we can comfort others as well! (2 Corinthians 1:4). Above all, we have to remember that in order for Satan to “save” the world, there must first be something to save. It is a hard truth to learn that before order can come there must be chaos. Jesus told us to be steadfast, that “in this world you will have trouble” and “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12). There are things that must happen that cannot be changed, that cannot be altered through even the most righteous of prayer. A great tribulation will we endure, and it may even be coming soon! But just remember that Jesus has “overcome the world“! Take comfort in knowing that Jesus is our shepherd (John 10:11), and He will protect and guide us.

Praise and love be to you Lord! Without you I cannot function, with you the possiblities are limitless! I offer a prayer for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that you comfort and guide them as you do me, Lord. Your love, your patience, your wisdom is unfathomable to me, I could not hope to duplicate it! I pray only to live as you will of me, Lord, and that my brothers and sisters in Christ will continue to love and praise you as you deserve! You have been neglected, Lord, neglected by your children, and it hasn’t been fair of us. I pray for the non-believers, the lost multitude crying our for guidance. I pray that they could see, feel, and understand your guiding light! I’ve seen so much within the past few months, Lord, things that I know you have shown me for a reason. It moves me to tears that they cannot feel your love as I do, that even with their rebellious nature, you still love them as you do me. I’ve no choice but to worship you Lord, for I am in awe of your wonder! Guide me and comfort me Lord, and spread your comfort to the world that we may feel your presence always!

As always, remember that we were commanded to “go“! (Mark 16:15). We were commanded to spread the gospel to the very ends of the earth (Romans 10:18) and to look upon the world today is to see that the gospel is needed now more than ever! Spread the comfort and gospel of Christ to all that you can! If even one seed is planted, one person saved, the angels of the Lord will rejoice!

Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2013

An Analysis of John – Chapter 1

Holy Bible

The Gospel of John is distinct in nature to the three synoptic gospels in that rather than just record the ministry of Jesus, he wrote “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…” – 20:31. Whereas the synoptic gospels present Jesus’ ministry in historical context, John records His ministry in a more spiritual context, giving an interpretation of the facts of Jesus’ life rather than just a presentation of the facts in historical sequence. In fact, many of Jesus’ miracles are not mentioned in this gospel, and none of His parables are mentioned. There are, however, a few miracles recorded here that are not mentioned in the other three gospels. John also uses the miracles he records as teaching tools, rather than using them to reveal Jesus’ deity. Most often after a miracle, there follows a discourse discussing the implications of the incident. I’ll be writing a series of analysis articles, detailing each chapter.

John Chapter 1

Right off the bat, we’re returning to Genesis, mirroring verse with verse with the words “In the beginning…” – 1:1. John is reiterating an important truth. That even before creation, God “was”. This is comparable to His statement to Moses in Exodus 3:14: “I AM THAT I AM“. Jesus will make a similar statement later in the gospel in 8:58 where he states that “Before Abraham was, I am“, and in 18:5, 8 where he states simply: “I am“. This means that before creation, the Trinity (The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit [Genesis 1:2]) “were“. John is also firing up for his declaration of Jesus as the Christ. He states that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – 1:1. We know from Genesis 1:3 that the creation was by the Word of God (Gr. logos). “The Word was God” stresses the essential unity between God the Father and God the Son in eternity, and “the Word was with God” stresses the distinction of the Son and His divinity. This is probably the perfect description of the Trinity, its distinction and unity in one verse.

Baptism of Jesus

Baptism of Jesus

Verse 1:14 tells us that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us“, signifying Jesus’ humanity as well as his divinity. This is also the verse that we can cross reference with 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 to discover that the entire Trinity was involved in the Creation and therefore, Jesus’ statement in 8:58 is valid truth. Further referencing to this is found in verse 1:10: “The world was made by him…”. Before we go any further though, we should take a quick look at verse 4: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men“. In John’s Gospel, the words light and life are used frequently and are always symbolic in context. “Life” is similar to faith, in that John is speaking of salvation and deliverance from sin through Christ. “Light” is usually represented by Jesus’ revelation of God, or even Jesus Himself as He is the “Fulfillment of the Law” (Matthew 5:17), and “The Light of the World (John 8:12, 9:5, 12:46). This is further illustrated in verses 79. Evidence that Jesus is represented by the word “light” in verse 8: “He… was sent to bear witness of that Light“. Verse 9 indicates that Jesus and the Revelation of God are one and the same: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” This verse also stresses that God’s revelation is universally available to “every man“, symbolizing Jesus’ upcoming ministry and promise to the Gentiles. “The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” – 1:17. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17). Verses 1934 record the testimony of John the Baptist who was foretold of in Isaiah 40:3. In verse 21, the Sanhedrin ask, “Art thou that prophet“? This refers to the promise in Deuteronomy 18:15 of the Messiah’s coming. In the same verse they ask him, “Art thou Elijah“? Malachi 4:5 6 tells us that Elijah will be sent to us before the coming of the Messiah. John denies that he is Elijah, but a comparison to the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:1114 tells us something a bit different. Verse 14 tells us that “this is Elijah“, meaning that John the Baptist is, indeed, the foretold coming of Elijah. Jesus also tells us of a future coming of Elijah in Matthew 17:11, indicating that he may be one of the two witnesses to come at the first half of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 11:6). He then goes on to say that “Elijah is come already“, speaking of John the Baptist. Verse 30 again reiterates that Christ came before, “for he was before me“. Verse 32 records the witness of Jesus’ deity to John when the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus and remains. This signifies two things: that Jesus baptizes with the Holy Ghost (verse 33), and symbolizes the future indwelling of the Holy Spirit (7:37 – 39; Exodus 35:31) within the Apostles and future Christians alike (Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20).

Finally, verses 3551 record the annointing of the first disciples, Andrew, Peter, Nathanael (Bartholomew), Philip, and probably James and John of Zebedee. It’s interesting to note that Andrew and John (the author of the gospel, son of Zebedee) were disciples of John the Baptist, and after seeing Jesus, immediately abandoned John to follow Him. Andrew also ran quickly to find his brother, Peter, and bring him immediately to Christ (1:4142). In fact, one of the themes of John’s gospel is the fall and redemption of Peter, particularly in contrast to the fall of Judas. We also see how close John and Peter are in this gospel, as they are together in six passages, this being one of them. Verse 51 is noteworthy as a reference to Jacob’s Ladder in Genesis 28:12. Jesus uses this as a picture of Himself as the ladder or ramp (hill). “… the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” indicates that the angels first ascend and then descend, perhaps indicating prayers sent heavenward then answered, Jesus being the conduit (14:13 – 14). He also indicates that we would “see heaven open“, of which we have no record of this fulfilled. I believe it to be an endtime prophecy of Jesus’ second coming, but there is apparently no evidence either way. Heaven opening could also symbolize the grace being bestowed upon the gentiles, as in heaven (the promise, eternal life) is now accessible by all (Romans 4:16). Note that “Son of Man” emphasizes Jesus’ humanity and Messianic Office.

Conclusion

In the first chapter of John, we have the declaration of Jesus’ incarnation, Messianic fulfillment, humanity, and deity. He is “the Word” (1:1), “the Light” (1:7 – 9), “made flesh” (1:14), “the Lamb of God” (1:29, 36), “the Son of God” (1:34, 49), “the Messiah” (1:41), “the King of Israel” (1:49), and “the Son of Man” (1:51). We have the incarnation of Christ (1:14), the baptism of Christ (1:31, 33), the descending of the Holy Spirit upon Christ (1:32, 33), and the founding of the first disciples(1:35 – 51). We also get a small glimpse into the future unbelief of the Sanhedrin and the world (1:10 – 12).

Geographically, these events took place in Bethabara (Bethany), which was a little ways north of the Salt Sea (Dead Sea), almost at the mouth of the River Jordan (1:28). John skips the temptation of Christ in the desert (Matthew 4:1 – 11), never mentions the imprisonment of John the Baptist (which didn’t occur until much later in Jesus’ ministry [Matthew 4:12]), and skips straight to Capernaum in Galilee (1:35). Evidently verses 19 – 34 are all record of John the Baptists testimony before the Sanhedrin, in other words, not taking place in “real time”, but rather a restatement of events that have already taken place. John’s gospel seems to actually begin at the onset of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, and the founding of the first disciples. It is interesting to note that in verses 35 – 51, these disciples have already been called, but are called again to leave their businesses and belongings behind later on (Matthew 4:18 – 22). Christ will leave Galilee in 3:22, and return again in 4:3, traveling through Samaria. It is here, I believe we can synch John with Matthew’s account of John the Baptist’s imprisonment in Matthew 4:12, and the subsequent second calling of the disciples in Matthew 4:18 – 22). I am getting ahead of myself though. Chapter 1 primarily takes place in Bethabara and Capernaum. Chapter 2 will see the first miracle and the first cleansing of the temple. We’ll see you next week!

Published by Jay McAnally
Copyright © 2013

A Much Needed Dose of Humor II

My Lunch is Ruined

My Lunch is Ruined

It Begins...

It Begins…

Ye Olde English

Ye Olde English

The Original Hail Mary

The Original Hail Mary

The Sleeping Guards

The Sleeping Guards

Football With Lazarus

Football With Lazarus

Moses Finds the Burning Bush

Moses Finds the Burning Bush

If Only...

If Only…

Clearing the Temple

Clearing the Temple

Choosing a Leader

Choosing a Leader

Choosing a Method

Choosing a Method

Born a Hen

Born a Hen

Cast the Nets?

Cast the Nets?

The True ADD

The True ADD

Moses Gets Directions

Moses Gets Directions

Mary's Recovery

Mary’s Recovery

A Much Needed Dose of Humor I

Confusion Amongst the Magi

Confusion Amongst the Magi

Moses' Daughter

Moses’ Daughter

That Wasn't Manna

That Wasn’t Manna

 

God's Creation in Progress

God’s Creation in Progress

 

The Sheep Ponder the Trinity

The Sheep Ponder the Trinity

John the Zaptist

John the Zaptist

The Origin of Wireless

The Origin of Wireless

Passing Time on the Ark

Passing Time on the Ark

Moses Gets a Summer Job

Moses Gets a Summer Job

Noah Gets Impatient

Noah Gets Impatient

Peter Denies Jesus

Peter Denies Jesus

Paul's Mother

Paul’s Mother

Bragging Rights

Bragging Rights

 

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Inspired Word of God

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Catholic in the Public Square

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