Sunday, July 16, 2017

Zodiac Reclaimed


‘The Heaven’s declare the glory of God … day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.’ These verses from psalm 19 are beautiful but. Are they meaningless? The psalm goes on the say ‘there is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.’ I have to admit I haven’t heard their voice. Am I deaf? Blind?

Did I missed something? Yes! In Genesis 1:14 the record says God put the lights in the sky to be signs and for seasons. This means much more than simply Summer through to Spring. There is a story woven somewhere, somehow in the sky. When creation took place, in far fewer years than the billions being mooted, Humanity could see that story. Since the flood of Noah’s time, two things have happened to that story I the stars. One, the Heavens keep expanding. A scientific reality and Biblical testimony (Job 37:18. Isaiah 40:22. 42:5. 44:24. 45:12. 51:13).

It is remarkable the amount of references to the stars in the book of Job. How did he know that his Redeemer lives? That He would stand upon the earth and Job would see Him, even after Job’s death. (Job 19:25-27). Surely, psalm 50:6 sums it up, ‘The Heaven’s proclaim his (God’s) righteousness.’ What a shame the human heart has sullied it. That helps us understand why the Lord God raised up a nation with prophets to record His program and purposes. Even then the contest between God’s revelation and the perverter of Scripture (and the story in the stars) was unrelenting. Still ongoing.

The second is the corruption of the story. It has been turned into the ‘Horoscope’ which I would write as the ‘Horror-scope!’ The account of Babylon’s foundation and history (Genesis 10:6-20. 11:1-9) bear witness to the corruption of God’s story in the sky. Why would anyone or thing want to do that? Because God spelt out His redemptive plan before it was committed to tablet then parchment and books. The spiritual power behind Babylon didn’t like it because it revealed his doom. He wanted to usurp the Messiah and remove God from His throne. Read Isaiah 14:12-15. 47:8)

In Job 38:32 this ‘story in the stars’ is called ‘the Mazzaroth.’ The Study Bible by Bullinger has a whole section on this matter. There is far too much to include in a blog. I’d like to highlight the following: He has recorded the Redeemer’s role. I’ve put alongside it some verses I considered relevant. This story is connected with Israel and the promised Messiah.(The Church, the Body of Christ on earth was the Lord’s surprise and masterstroke, Ephesians 3.Romans 16:25-26)

The 1st book in the story of the stars. The Redeemer’s first coming.

Virgo.             The prophecy of the promised seed                     (Genesis 3:15. Isaiah 7:14.)

Libra.             The Redeemer’s work                                            (Matthew 20:28 John 3:14-21.)

Scorpio.          The Redeemer’s conflict.                                      (Psalm 91:13. Psalm 22.)

Sagittarius.   The prophecy fulfilled.                                           (John 12:31-32. Matthew 27.)

The 2nd book in the story of the stars. The Redeemer’s work and results.

Capricornus. The prophecy of deliverance.                                                 (Isaiah 53).

Aquarius.      Results of His work given.                                                       (Hebrews 1.)

Pisces.            The results of His work enjoyed.                                            (Hebrews 2.)

Aries.              The promised deliverance fulfilled.                                       (1 Peter 1.)

The 3rd book in the story of the stars. The Redeemer’s second coming.

Taurus.          The prophecy of coming Judgement.                  (John 5:22-30.Revelation 20)

Gemini.         The Redeemer’s reign in glory.                              (Psalm 24. Revelation 21-22)

Cancer.           The Redeemer’s possessions are safe.                 (2 Peter 1.)

Leo.                The prophecy of triumph fulfilled.            (The Lion of Judah. Revelation 5:5.)

Our faith isn’t in the stars. It is founded upon the Sacred writings Jesus believed in and held as inspired. We stand on the ground Jesus ‘paved’ for His apostles with ‘The Comforter … He shall teach you all things, and bring to remembrance, whatever I have told you.” (John 14:26. 16:7-15).

©Ray Hawkins July 16 2017.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Relic or Revelation?


When Jesus said the Bible’s purpose was about Himself how did the listener's take it? Did they think He was being rather 'bigheaded,' facetious or impertinent? We'll never know! Perhaps the context of John 5:31-47  makes it plain that Jesus was issuing a challenge about the veneration of Scripture and their hostility toward Him. Such a reverence of their scrolls unfortunately didn't translate into believing what was written. It is easy to treat the Bible as a nice religious relic rather than a vibrant revelation. The Lord confronted His opponent on this point when He said, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me." Jesus is no relic. Jesus is vibrant through His Spirit and Word to all who are alive to Him!

The word ‘testify’ in 5:39 presents us with a picture of the Law Court's witness stand. Here the 39 books of the Jewish faith are under oath and must declare its corporate as well as each books purpose. The readers (spectators in the courtroom) perhaps could sense the rise in tension by the implied offer. "Do you want to ask me, 'where are you mentioned' in those holy scrolls?'" Why the silence? Was it because they really didn't want to know. So many people are similar to that even now. Happy to ask questions but not interested in hearing the answer lest it unmasks their ignorance or unbelief.

After the resurrection two disciples received the greatest exposition of the Scriptures ever shared. On the Emmaus road Jesus talked with two disillusioned disciples. What was the theme? Luke 24:27: ‘Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the Scriptures.’ (emphasis added).  For a follower of Jesus Christ there could be no greater delight than to get to know the Lord with clearer, deeper understanding. When the Lord left them a very telling comment was shared between the two, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32). If such flames were roaring within more of the hearts of disciples there would be less frozen, frost-bitten and frigid believers. It is the 'burning heart' which knows the Lord and expresses His warmth in moral and ethical relationships as well as spiritual stewardship.


The Lord allowed no selection about what to accept of the Bible's testimony. It is a 'package deal!' Throughout the four Gospels Jesus verbally and textually struck down 'selective shoppers' who were merely wanting a spiritual bargain. You cannot elevate Jesus as Lord, Saviour and Emmanuel and at the same time say He had limited understanding or adapted  words to the people's culture. Such nonsense is refuted by His statement of speaking only what His Father told Him to say.

What then are some insights gained about Jesus between Genesis and Malachi? He is the promised one, born of the virgin. Genesis 3:15/Isaiah 7:14. He is the Passover Lamb Isaiah 53. (plus the other sacrificial testimonies). He is the Creator, the I Am, (Exodus 3:14. John 8:58). He is the Promised heir of David to sit upon the Davidic throne. (Psalm 110:1 Romans 1:3). He is the person before whom all will bow. (Isaiah 45:23/Philippians 2:10-11). He is the Lord who returns to rescue His people. Psalm 2. Zechariah 14:4./Acts 1:11-12. Revelation 19.

As the 39 books were written to testify, so too the Gospels. John 20:31: ‘These are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.’

The same testimony is valid for today. ‘The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus.’ Acts 8:34–35.
Ray Hawkins July 9 2017.

This is my latest Devotion. Due for release shortly. Stay tunes!


Sunday, July 2, 2017

What's in a name.

Diotrephes who must rank as the example par excellence of Ego leadership in its rawness. He appears, not very favourably, in the New Testament letter of 3 John. Is there a clue to his spiritual condition in his name? In former years when people were converted from paganism they changed their names. This was an indication of belonging to a new Lord and going to a new destiny. Diotrephes kept his old name. It meant ‘nourished by Jupiter’ the ruler of the Roman pantheon of gods. What we read about this man tells us a lot about the source of his spiritual nurture. Whether he was a new man in Christ or a fraud only the Lord knows. However, it would appear that his past allegiance, belief system and family history overruled Biblical lifestyle and spirit.

Nowadays we don’t usually need to change our names when we are converted. This is the beauty of living in a nation influenced by the Christian faith. We do however need to ensure where our spiritual nourishment comes from. We also need to cut any ties that link our history with the occult. That evil distorts how we view God's call on our life and service. Psalm 139:23–23 — ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’  The worry is that within those called to be leaders there lies a latent ‘Diotrephes’. This creature of the soul is itching to spring up and dominate. To keep this carnal ‘creature’ under control requires all the power of the cross and searchlight of  God's word.

Diotrephes loves to be first. If we are honest with ourselves we all have similar tendencies. However there can only ever be one who holds first place in the Church. ‘He (Jesus) is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy’ (Colossians 1:17–18). Deny the Lord this right and immediately self-will stirs. Unseen, yet always nearby, the forces of Darkness will fan self-will into an ego inferno. Too many local fellowships have been reduced to spiritual cinders by egotistical warring parties whether in pulpit or pew.

Diotrephes had powerful lips that spoke malicious words. He aimed to alienate his followers from the apostle John and others. Was it envy or fear which motivated such opposition? Would his true spiritual condition be unveiled in the presence of this apostle? Unless we are in a right relationship with Jesus Christ we will feel threatened by the person who is. The fragrance of the Lord within offends and causes aggressive reaction in those whose odour is of the flesh. Diotrephes could have been a man mighty in the Lord’s service, but he squandered it through an unsanctified attitude. Lust for power and a destructive mouth can never edify the people of God.

The apostle urged his readers not to imitate what is evil but what is good. Why? ‘Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God’ (3 John 11). This referred to an ongoing condition stretching over time and not merely an uncharacteristic lapse. Had Diotrephes once ‘seen’ the Lord as the gospel was presented to him? What had crept into his life and found opportunity to kill his vision? Jesus promised the pure in heart would see God. This leader must have allowed the impure to impair his spiritual eyesight. Jesus warned: ‘The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness, how great is that darkness (Matthew 6:22). Spiritual eyesight has its slow loss caused by the glaucoma and cataracts of faithless and immoral living. Unless treated it blinds with devastating spiritual consequences.

We look to the Lord by faith to be saved.  We need also to continually look to the Lord to combat the diseases of the spiritual eyes. Jesus calls men and women out of spiritual darkness and desires them to walk in His radiance.  It is essential for congregational leaders to have good eye-sight. Only then can they keep their eyes focused on the Lord. When this happens the local Body of Christ enjoys harmony, testimony and effective mission.

 Ray Hawkins July 2nd 2017.