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From Noah to America

by Dick Hill

We just finished our tenth Cousin Camp at the Ponderosa. The highlight for me, and I hope for my seven grandchildren who attended, was time spent in God’s Word twice daily tying in history to the characters in Genesis. God gave a strange prophecy to Noah concerning Noah’s three sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth in Genesis 9:25-27. He said that God would enlarge Japheth and that he would dwell in the tent of Shem and that Canaan (Ham’s son) would be his servant. He said that the living God who created everything would be Shem’s God.     

Many paganistic gods would pepper the ancient world. Japheth’s family would become large (be enlarged) in number and power, and they would profit spiritually from the God of Shem. The way that God said it in the passage is that Japheth would “dwell in the tent of Shem.” As I told the children, this was “prophet speak” for Shem’s blessing of serving the living God being shared with Japheth. I taught them briefly one specific incident of how this has happened precisely as God had predicted by the founding of this nation.

Upon leaving the ark, Japheth’s family went on to form the endo-European nations. Right in the geographic center of these nations today is the small country of Germany, which is referred to as “Gomer” and specifically “Ashkenaz” in Genesis ten. As a side note, it is interesting that Germany still claims to be the center of Europe even today (Google it).  There are still Jews today who call themselves Ashkenazi Jews (German Jews). It is my view that Japheth first drove his tent pegs into German soil, and then from Germany his family scattered and spread, forming the European Continent (some 44 countries, give or take).

Shem’s shared blessing with Japheth worked to perfection. The gospel of God’s grace preached by Paul and the rest of the apostles had been bogged down for centuries, buried in the dredges of the Roman religious system. I gave a brief footnote teaching about Nimrod and the beginning and spread of paganism, the worship of God’s creation. This evil system filled with gods and goddesses collided head on with the church of Jesus Christ around 300 A.D. The result of this crash resulted in the formation of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. The Roman church deemphasized the clear, unobstructed gospel with a plethora of religious rituals and ceremonies. There is no doubt that people came to faith under this system because of God’s faithfulness to give life to those whom He has chosen.

The clear gospel was hidden as the church began to teach that one had to be baptized by the church in order to be saved. Other works were added, including absolution (the confessing of sins to a man), indulgences (payment to get a loved one out of purgatory), a false view of transubstantiation (the elements of the Lord’s supper actually become the body and blood of Christ), the deification and worship of Mary, and Purgatory. These are all subtle ways of adding man’s works to God’s finished work of Christ on the cross.

It was not luck or chance that in 1517 God revealed to a German Monk named Martin Luther His unblemished truth of God’s magnificent grace. This was a part of Japheth dwelling in the tent of Shem. It was also not chance that a German named Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press at that very time so that the retrieved gospel could be jettisoned throughout Europe and the world.

The Church of England (also Japheth’s territory) made some serious changes. They emphasized less form and more substance,moving ever closer to the truth of grace. Again, many were, no doubt, saved within this church movement, but the Puritans began to take a firm stand, calling upon the church to become even more Bible-centered and to better clarify salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. But there were still many, maybe even most, fighting for the reestablishment of the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, many good and godly people were burned at the stake by the Roman Church for preaching what they felt was the reformation heresy.

The Separatists, a small group of believers that wanted to remain absolutely true to the gospel both by word and by life, felt it necessary for true believers to become totally separate from this universal system – and even the Puritans. It was from this small assembly that a group called “Pilgrims” came to America.

Wow! The grandchildren were astounded that Noah’s prophecy in an amazing way ultimately led to helping to establish America.  While they were recovering from this truth, I went out on a limb by explaining that in my view God raised up this great nation for two very special reasons. One is that we might become the greatest missionary sending country the world has ever known. The second reason is to become an ally to the people of Israel (Shem), thus receiving God’s blessing associated with His promise to bless those who dared to bless Abram and to curse those who cursed him (Genesis 12:3). This truth is teetering perilously in the balance today.      

 

E-zine Volume 3, Issue 3

Be a Light!

Let your light shine before men that they might see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  Every professed believer in Christ maintains a public testimony before others whether we realize it or not. How we choose to live our lives is always under public review. Our chosen lifestyle continuously sends a message to others reflecting our personal relationship to Christ. Our works speak words long before we ever open our mouths to vocally share Him with others.  To maintain a constant awareness that we are being watched and live a life filled with good works will always result in shining a bright light upon our heavenly Father and His gospel. However, it is always good to open our mouths and speak.  

We are excited about the seventh annual Glimpses of Grace Conference coming up at the end of the month. We hope you will join us for worship, praise and fellowship. See the flyer below for more information,

Continue to pray for Mike Moore – the editor of our Ezine magazine. He is fighting a battle to recover from a serious back surgery.

Links to articles in this edition of the Glimpses Ezine:

Ducks – Jessica Moore Otto, in her “Front Porch Living,” says we can learn a lot from a duck

Copy That – Danny Forrest’s second article in his Kingdom Stories: Guardians of the Gospel

Buckets of Grace – Tanya Moore shares how God has revealed His grace in her life through difficult times

Moore Thoughts – Mike Moore reflects on his recent surgery and hospitalization

The Church in Decline – Dick Hill says that many believers are not willing to invest in the time and teaching necessary for growth

Well Said– notable quotes

Glimpses Conference 2019– Register today! We hope you will join us May 31-June 1. 

——————————————————

Credits:

Richard J. Hill, Editor-in-Chief

Michael L. Moore, Editor

Linda Hill, Design Editor

Contact Info:

Glimpses of Grace, 2587 Attala Road 1153, Kosciusko, MS 39090

www.glimpsesofgrace.org

(662) 347-8291 (727) 458-1813

Glimpses of Grace Board Members:

Richard J. Hill, Linda Hill, Danny Forrest, John Howell Jr., Quinn Hill, Michael L. Moore, Ken Sheppard

Copyright 2019 by Glimpses of Grace, a 501(c)3 ministry.

 

 

Born into God’s Kingdom

There can be no birth without seed. God has given us a can’t miss over the top object lesson of the only way to get into His kingdom.  How does one get into this world after God’s creation of Adam and Eve?  One must be born into it. One cannot get into this world any other way. God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply – and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). And they did and are continuing to do. So how does one get into God’s coming kingdom? As incredible as this may sound, one must be born into it. One must experience a new birth, a heavenly birth.   

Consider the now familiar conversation between an extremely religious and highly educated Pharisee named Nicodemus and a carpenter from Nazareth named Jesus.  It is true that familiarity may cause us to read over and miss the important meaning of some parts of this meeting. The scene opens with Nicodemus (from now on I will refer to him as Nick), a religious ruler of the Jews coming to visit Jesus for an evening chat.

Nick most likely chose to meet with this stranger at night, because as a ruler among the Jews he may have been more than just a little uncomfortable with the idea of meeting publicly with Jesus. What would people say if the two were seen together. What would Nick’s family, friends, and fellow Pharisees think?

After all, Jesus was from Nazareth, which was in this elite Pharisee’s thinking, a backwoods shanty area. Nick on the other hand was from Jerusalem, the capitol city of Judaism. Jesus was poor, a carpenter, the son of a carpenter. Nick was a wealthy aristocrat. Jesus had no religious pedigree or formal religious training of any kind. Nick was a highly decorated member of the religious establishment. To say that there was a social barrier separating them would be an understatement. It was more like a chasm.  Meeting under the cover of darkness away from any possible appearance of befriending and, perish the thought, supporting this strange character, appeared to be a wise move on Nick’s part. 

Nick broke the ice by flattering Jesus. “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher come from God, for man cannot do the signs that you do unless God is with Him” (John 3:1-2).

He called Jesus a rabbi, a teacher. It was as though Nick was conferring on Jesus some complimentary status. By his use of the words “we know,” he implied that his fellow Pharisees also recognized that Jesus was from God. The reason? No one could perform the miracles that Jesus was doing without God’s help.  This reveals that the religious establishment knew that Christ’s miracles were not fake. This was a good way to start this meeting. 

Jesus no doubt stunned the Pharisee with the very first words out of His mouth. “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”(John 3:3). To say it like many in the south, Jesus cut right to the chase. There was no recorded positive gesture on Jesus’ part to Nick’s compliment.  He did not thank Nick for his gracious words. This was not the time for politics. Jesus knew the value of this meeting – a meeting that would be reviewed and re-reviewed countless times down through history.

He knew that every word would be hashed over and over, again and again. Jesus told the very religious Pharisee that unless he experienced a new birth, he would not enter the kingdom of God. It appears at first that Jesus words were harsh and abrupt. His words were not abrupt if, in fact, Jesus knew that Nick had been thinking about God’s kingdom. How is this possible? John had just before written that Jesus had no need that anyone testify of man because He already knew what all were thinking(John 2: 24-25). Surely this included Nick. Jesus stepped right into Nick’s thoughts.

The Greek words for “born again,” are genesia anathen,or a birth that comes from above, or said another way, a heavenly birth. There may have been a sudden spike in Nick’s blood pressure. Not necessarily because of what Jesus said, but because of the fact that Jesus had read his mind.

Our Lord’s deep underlying point behind His born-again words is that a natural fleshly sinful person affected by the fall of Adam must be made a heavenly spiritual person in order to enter the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). 

One will never move from the realm of this human flesh and blood world into God’s spiritual unseen world without this birth. We are born into this world having a physical body.  Within our bodies God has placed an invisible soul and human spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The soul and spirit are the real “us” within our human frame. It is the part of us that no one can truly understand but us and God (1 Corinthians 2:11).

This human spirit is God’s image implanted within us. This invisible image remains locked in this earthly shell until we die.  One day we are destined to shed this earthly tent – this body – and be jettisoned from this earthly world to spend eternity in God’s kingdom or in hell – forever.  Our spiritual destination is determined by the truth unpacked by these powerful words of Jesus Christ. “Unless one is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”  

Overwhelmingly implied is that one cannot earn his way to God’s kingdom by becoming a better person, or keeping God’s commands, or joining a particular religious group, or having a religious experience, or giving money to the poor, or saying prayers, or doing many wonderful works. I mention these things because being a Pharisee, keeping God’s law, was never far from Nick’s thinking. He probably loved God’s law and was depending upon that love to get him into God’s kingdom.  

Expanding further on what many have come to believe will get us into God’s kingdom are the teachings of Islam, or Buddha, or becoming a devout Hindu, or a Mormon, or a Jehovah’s Witness, or even following the example and teachings of Jesus Christ Himself.

Nor can a person get in by joining a Baptist church, a Presbyterian church, a Catholic church, a Lutheran church, an Episcopalian church, a Pentecostal church, or the Church of Christ, or any church.  One must be born of God. This is precisely what Jesus said. He never misspoke. He never said a word that He did not mean. Christians are people who become connected to Christ by a supernatural birth.

Jesus is telling this very religious person that all of his human achievements – no matter how great – will not get him into the kingdom of God. There is only one way to get in and that is through a new birth – whatever that means. 

Nick was obviously amazed by the fact that this strange man had read his thoughts, but while he was trying to mentally recover, he responded the only way he felt he could. “What, can I enter a second time into my mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4). He had no doubt heard the word’s born againloud and clear. He quickly retreated to the only birth that he knew anything about.

Our Lord, a master teacher, was not trying to confuse Nick (John 7:46). In fact, Jesus had mentioned a truth that should not have been foreign to Nick’s thinking. Jesus was challenging Nick to stop thinking earthly thoughts and to begin to think heavenly.  He said that unless one is born of water and the Spirit, one cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Do not marvel (be amazed) that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit.” This should not have been incredible to Nick. He needed to leave his earthly fleshly thoughts and concentrate on heavenly spiritual things. And so must we, if we are to be born of God.  

 

 

E-zine Volume 3, Issue 2

Just a reminder

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn [Manthano– to endeavor, to desire, to seek, to know more fully] from Me, For I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest [Anapausis– cessation from toils] for your souls. For My yoke is easy [Chrestotes– having nothing harsh or galling about it] and My load is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Please pray for Mike Moore, our Ezine editor. He is recovering from serious back surgery.

Links to articles in this edition of the Glimpses Ezine:

Addiction – Jessica Moore Otto in her “Front Porch Living” addresses an issue that affects almost every family 

An Answered Prayer – Danny Forrest, in his new series of Kingdom Stories: Guardians of the Gospel, explores how life in the kingdom relates to life today.

Happiness is a Choice – Taking ownership of your “this” by Tanya Moore

The Importance of Prepositions – by Ken Sheppard. Little words make a big difference.

The King is Coming– deep insight into why Jesus will return to earth and set up a literal thousand-year kingdom by Dick Hill

When Fear Turned to Joy– an Easter message preached by Justin Moore

Well Said– notable quotes

Glimpses Conference 2019– Guardians of the Gospel is our theme. We hope you will join us May 31-June 1. Register now!

——————————————————

Credits:

Richard J. Hill, Editor-in-Chief

Michael L. Moore, Editor

Linda Hill, Design Editor

Contact Info:

Glimpses of Grace, 2587Attala Road 1153, Kosciusko, MS 39090

www.glimpsesofgrace.org

(662) 347-8291 (727) 458-1813

Glimpses of Grace Board Members:

Richard J. Hill, Linda Hill, Danny Forrest, John Howell Jr., Quinn Hill, Michael L. Moore, Ken Sheppard

Copyright 2019 by Glimpses of Grace, a 501(c)3 ministry.

 

 

The Mind’s Eye

“We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

These intriguing words of Paul became the motivation behind my life’s ministry. He said that as we read God’s Word, we are to begin a journey of looking beyond things that human eyes can see and begin to peer into God’s unseen world. Things that I see with my physical eyes are destined to pass into oblivion. They are just temporary. The truths found in the Bible that I cannot see with my human eyes are eternal.

God impressed upon me that I am to use the eyes in my mind to see the unseen. My thoughts went quickly to the words of Jesus Christ when He said, “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” He was obviously not speaking of human eyes or human ears. My mind raced on to another passage that I had recently studied. Contrasting human wisdom with God’s wisdom, Paul wrote these incredible words that God etched forever into my mind:

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:9–13)

God’s wisdom is knowledge that cannot be seen with human eyes or heard with human ears. That sounded familiar. In fact, God’s wisdom has never entered a human mind before. Incredible! That means that God’s wisdom is not some rehashed human understanding coming from the mind of man.

Paul then wrote something that has become the motivation for Glimpses of Grace Ministries and the day-by-day church ministries that God has led me to. He said that God has revealed these hidden things to us through His Spirit.

Hold it! Is this saying what I think it is saying? Is Paul saying that God’s Spirit opens to our human spirits the deep things of God, the hidden wisdom of God? Is he saying that we can know the things that human ears have never heard or eyes have never seen? We can know the things that no human mind has ever thought? That is exactly what he is saying. This is fascinating!

How is this possible? The next line reads, “What man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him?” I alone know my own secret thoughts. Likewise, the Spirit of God alone knows the deep things of God. My mind began to race. We have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit who is from God! Why? So that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. The Spirit of God lives in me. He has a purpose for being there. He can teach me the deep things of God. We can know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

The final words of the passage “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” actually sent me into another world. The Holy Spirit brings to my mind spiritual thoughts as I read the words of Scripture. As I study the written words of the Bible, verse by verse and line upon line, God the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of my mind to see and understand the deep, fascinating wisdom of God. This is absolutely incredible. We can know the mind of God!

But there’s a catch. These glimpses into God’s unseen world cannot be found by searching for them. God opens them to us at His pleasure as we study the Bible word-by-word and line-by-line year after year. These glimpses are not unique to only one Christian. They are open to all. Since we have the Holy Spirit living in us, we meet the criteria to receive these spiritual nuggets. There are not different glimpses for different people. Every believer receives the very same truth.

God has not taught me everything that I have desired to know about His plan, but He has been pleased to give me small insights, little glimpses. These insights placed together began to etch a beautiful portrait in my mind. God has opened to me His incredible salvation plan, the true identity of Jesus Christ, the immense value of His death and resurrection, and the nature and purpose of the Holy Spirit, to name a few. These are glimpses of grace.

Dick Hill is director of Glimpses of Grace