Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Prayer for the Fourth

~ Freedom from Sin is the Greatest Independence ~

George Washington wrote: 

“Oh, most glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving Father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins…  Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy holy Word; make me to know what is acceptable in Thy sight, and therein to delight; open my eyes of understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. These weak petitions I humbly implore Thee to hear, accept, and answer to the true object, Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. These weak petitions I humbly implore Thee to hear, accept, and answer.”  

“It is impossible to rightly govern... without God and the Bible.” 

“I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection; that He would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and  obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for brethren who have served in the field; and finally that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.”

Billy Graham wrote:

“Our Father and Our God, we praise You for Your goodness to our nation, giving us blessings far beyond what we deserve. Yet we know all is not right with America. Convict us of sin. Help us to turn to You in repentance and faith. Set our feet on the path of Your righteousness and peace. We pray today for our nation's leaders. Give them the wisdom to know what is right, and the courage to do it. You have said, ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is Lord.’ May this be a new era for America, as we humble ourselves and acknowledge You alone as our Savior and Lord. This we pray in Your holy name, Amen.”   

contemplate:  Freedom provides the opportunity to make decisions. Our character determines the ability to make right decisions!  

Saturday, June 25, 2011


~ Jesus Christ is the Messiah of the Scriptures ~ 

Announcement  ~  Beginning next week Abundant Life Now will feature an additional weekly post.  Each of these posts will feature an aspect of a selected prophecy which was fulfilled in the Messiah—Jesus Christ. The reasoning for this additional series of posts is outlined below.

Scripture  ~  The Scriptures are full of prophecies regarding the coming Messiah. “Listen to this, O house of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord and invoke the God of Israel — but not in truth or righteousness — you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and rely on the God of Israel — the Lord Almighty is His name:  I foretold the former things long ago, My mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze. Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say,My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’ You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them?” (Isaiah 48:1-6).

Date  ~  One of the incredible aspects of these prophecies about the coming Messiah is that they were prophesied between about 400 b.c. and over 1,400 b.c.  

Messiah  ~  Jesus Christ while on earth proclaimed that He was the Son of God—the Messiah. In one passage He spoke of four witnesses to this reality. “If I [Jesus Christ] bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me [John the Baptist is the first witness mentioned in this passage], and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish — the very works that I do — bear witness of Me [second witness], that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me [third witness]. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His Word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me [fourth witness mentioned in this passage]. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you — Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:31-47).

Truth  ~  The prophetic Scriptures present truth. “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:16-21). 

Quantity  ~  There are well over 400 prophecies about the Messiah in the Scriptures. Each week beginning next Saturday we will look at one aspect of a prophecy about the Messiah—one each week during the coming months. (We will not look at them all.)

Procedure  ~  Below are explanatory notes regarding these serial postings. 

(1)  Each Saturday ALN posts an example of a Hebrew Scriptures prophecy (or foreshadowing) related to the coming Messiah which was fulfilled in the birth, life, death, or resurrection of Jesus Christ.

(2)  While extensive it will not be a complete list—there are hundreds of prophecies of the coming Messiah which have been fulfilled by one man—Jesus Christ at His First Coming.

(3)  It is important that there are many more prophecies of the Messiah, yet unfulfilled, which Christians believe will be fulfilled at the time of His Second Coming. A particularly relevant Scripture verse in this regard is: “Do not despise prophesies” (1 Thessalonians 5:20).

(4)  These posts will typically consist only of Scripture—which speaks for itself. Sometimes italicized or bold font will be used by ALN for emphasis.

(5)  The numbering of these fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah is used to differentiate individual posts. It is not chronological (either by time of the prophecy or by sequence in the life of the Messiah). The posting sequence will, for the most part, be in the order that the prophecies appear in Scripture.

(6)  Because of the chosen methodology (#5 above) we will find many specific prophecies repeated multiple times throughout the Scriptures.

(7)  These serial posts are in addition to our regular Tuesday ALN postings on random topics.

(8)  Subscription to ABUNDANT LIFE NOW blog is simple—just use the link on the left sidebar.  Once subscribed you will not miss future posts.

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How’s Your Schedule This Week?

~ Are You Busy Enough for God to Use? ~

Have you ever wondered why God seldom goes to a lazy or idle person when He wants someone to perform a great or noble act of service? When He has such special work, the Lord chooses someone who is already very busy faithfully executing their prescribed task.

Anonymous once wrote, “Those who tread the path of labor, follow where Christ’s feet have trod; they who work without complaining, do the holy will of God.” The Word of God says, “The soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Proverbs 13:4). Are you a busy person?

One of my favorite poems, The Busy Man, was also written by our mutual friend Anonymous.
“The man of leisure never has a moment he can spare;
He’s always putting off until his friends are in despair.
But he whose every waking hour is crowded full of work,
Forgets the art of wasting time—he cannot stop to shirk.
So when you want a favor done and want it right away,
Go the man who works with zeal lo, many hours a day.
He’ll find a moment sure somewhere that has no other use,
And help you while the idle man is framing an excuse.”

Have you found this poem to be true in your life experiences?

God knows this truth. Consider the following examples of individuals God used:
Moses was busy with his flock at Horeb – Exodus 3:1-10
Gideon was threshing wheat at the winepress – Judges 6:11-14
Old Testament Saul was searching for his father’s lost donkeys – 1 Samuel 9:1-16
David was caring for his father’s sheep – 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Elisha was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen – 1 Kings 19:15-21

Nehemiah was bearing the king’s wine cup – Nehemiah 1:1-3, 11
Amos was busy following the flock – Amos 7:14-15
Peter and Andrew were busy with their fishing business – Matthew 4:18-20
Likewise, James and John were mending their fishing nets – Matthew 4:21-22
Matthew was busy collecting taxes – Matthew 9:9
New Testament Saul was actively persecuting the friends of Jesus – Acts 9:1-9

Are you busy enough for God to use? God calls individuals when they are busy—Satan does so when they are idle! Our prolific author friend, Anonymous, also once said, “You cannot ‘kill time’ without affecting eternity!” 

What does your calendar look like this week?

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

Saturday, June 18, 2011

EXTRA: The Word Guild Book Awards

~ One Precious Pearl Wins! ~

June 16, 2011 –  Canada’s top Christian writing awards were presented at a black-tie Gala Dinner at World Vision Canada Headquarters near Toronto. One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the “The Leslie K. Tarr Award” for career achievement to Dr. J. I. Packer.    

One Precious Pearl: God’s Design for His Church by Robert Lloyd Russell was the WINNER in the “Book: Biblical Studies” category.

The awards are sponsored by The Word Guild, a national association with the mandate of connecting, developing and promoting Canadian writers and editors who are Christian. Formerly known as the God Uses Ink Awards, these writing prizes have been awarded annually since 1988.

During the judging process the judges looked for underlying evidence that the writer's Christian worldview informed and influenced the writing. Entries were judged according to excellence of writing; impact (the inspirational or informational value); fulfillment of stated purpose; suitability to target audience; originality; and freshness of style.

Earlier this year One Precious Pearl received two other recognitions. It was awarded 2011 Book of the Year by Reader Views Literary Awards in their “Religion (Eastern/Western)” category. It was also named the 2011 Runner-up in “Religion: Christianity” of International Book Awards. 

For more information about One Precious Pearl click on the OPP tab at the top of this blog or see the author’s website (link at top right of the Abundant Life Now blog). You may order directly from Amazon. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Genesis Genealogy Gospel

~ 10 Men Weave The Greatest Story Ever Told ~   

In a previous blog (4-May-2010) we found the message of salvation in the first book of the New Testament by looking at a genealogy of Christ. Christ and the story of redemption are also found in the first book of the Old Testament in a genealogy of Adam!  (Genesis 5)

In Genesis 5 we find a genealogy from the Creation of man until the Flood—at which time only a few on earth were lifted above the devastation and therefore saved from physical death.  In a future day God will rescue His own by lifting them above to meet Jesus Christ in the air—those who have been saved from spiritual death

Genesis 5 records ten men in the following order:

Adam ~ As we know Adam, was the father of mankind—as the first man he represents mankind (Genesis 2:7-18). 

Seth ~ Seth was appointed by God to be in the blood line of Christ (Genesis 4:25).

Enosh / Enos ~ The meaning of his name carries the idea of sickness and mortality

Cainan / Kenan ~ It has been suggested by a number of commentators that his life was characterized by suffering and sorrow

Mahalalel / Mahaleleel ~ His name has the root “el” meaning God, and the overall name has the context of being blessed of God or praising God

Jared ~ Jared’s name carries the idea of a ruling or command, coming down, or shall come down

Enoch ~ The thing we all remember about Enoch is that he did not die but was taken by God or translated (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5). Enoch is a picture of the future rapture of true believers. 

Methuselah ~ Every Sunday school student knows Methuselah to be the longest living man in history—yet he too died! All of mankind are mortal—we are all destined to die (Hebrews 9:27).

Lamech ~ His name means poor or made low—and carries the concept of despair. Our word lament comes from the same root as Lamech. 

Noah ~ Noah’s name contains the concept of repose, consolation, relief, rest, comfort, or grace.

We can greatly simplify the combined story of these ten men in a simple paragraph as follows: 
Man [Noah] was appointed [Seth] by God to rule the earth. With man’s mortality [Enosh] came suffering and sorrow [Cainan].  But praise [Mahalalel] be to God, there shall be One who shall come down [Jared] to die [Methuselah] on man’s behalf that some may be translated [Enoch] to be with God forever. Life on earth brings sorrow and lament [Lamech] but there is consolation, comfort, grace, and relief [Noah] in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

The genealogy of Genesis 5 can further be simplified to the following summary of the Gospel message: 

Man was appointed as God’s representatives.  He is mortal and lives with suffering. But praise be to God who came down to earth. His death brought provision for the Christian’s rapture (future), removed Christians from despair (past), and brings comfort (present) to Christians.

contemplate:  The number 10 is often associated in Scripture with the completion of divine order or simply completion. In the lives of 10 men in Genesis 5 we see the Gospel message (John 19:30) and this message is a summary of the Bible. 

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Holy Bible

~ The Bible Contains… ~

The original source of this statement is unknown. 

The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. 

Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. 

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. 

It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. 

Here Paradise is restored, Heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

Jesus Christ is its grand subject, our good is its design, and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. 

Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.  It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.

It is given you in life, will be opened in judgment, and be remembered forever. 

It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred content.