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“The most extravagant dreams of boyhood…” Jim Elliot

March 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Born to be an adventurer

Born to be an adventurer

“‘Nothing is too good to be: so believe, believe to see.’

In my own experience, I have found that the most extravagant dreams of boyhood have not surpassed the great experience of being in the Will of God, and I believe that nothing could be better.

That is not to say that I do not want other things, and other ways of living, and other places to see, but in my right mind I know that my hopes and plans for myself could not be any better than He has arranged and fulfilled them. Thus may we all find it, and know the truth of the Word which says, ‘He will be our guide even until death.'”

Jim Elliot (1927 – 1956, died as a martyr at 28)

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Praise the seven-eyed Lamb!

March 16, 2013 1 comment

Praise the seven-eyed Lamb

Praise the seven-eyed Lamb

One of the pictures we have of Jesus in the book of Revelation is that of a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes. I want to call your attention to this verse because it will help unlock difficult passages of prophetic, symbolic scriptures. I find it interesting that we have this peculiar look at Jesus before things really start to get tricky later in the book.

And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. (Rev 5:6)

While it is strange to picture Jesus as a lamb with “seven horns and seven eyes” we need to become comfortable thinking in biblical symbols and imagery. In actual fact it is not that complicated. In Daniel we are told plainly that “a horn is a king” in one of those wonderful times when an angel gives the interpretation!

“The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.” (Daniel 8:21)

According to scripture a horn is a king. Seven is the number of fullness or competition, as in God finished His work and rested on the 7th day. There is a clear logic in these symbols and we need not fear symbolic, prophetic portions of the Bible:

“The aptness of this symbol is laid in the fact that the strength of an animal is in the horn, and that it is by this that he obtains a victory over other animals. The number seven here seems to be designed, as in other places, to denote completeness.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible)

Jesus, the slain Lamb, is King of Kings and full of all authority and power to carry out the the acts depicted in the book of Revelation and in Him is hidden “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col.2:3)

Symbolical Prophecy. “Ready to try something a bit more difficult?”

And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. (Rev 13:1)

having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems

Daniel tells us that “the ten horns are ten kings” (7:24) when describing this same picture. A head or mountain also typifies a king or a kingdom or supreme powers.

“The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits” (Rev 17:9)

In order to understand this scripture aright, the word mountains must be taken in a figurative and not a literal sense (as in Isa. 2:2; Jer. 51:25; Dan. 2:35; Zech. 4:7) in which it is unequivocally the emblem of great and mighty power. (Clarke’s Bible Commentary.)

So in this picture, which depicts the coming Antichrist as a beast with seven heads and ten horns, we have a figure of one who holds supreme power and authority on this earth.

Friends, don’t get exasperated with symbolical prophecy! It is how God often speaks! Really this is nothing new. In Pharaoh’s dream the seven good cows/seven good ears were seven years of great abundance and the seven lean and ugly cows/seven thin ears were seven years of famine. The repeating of the dream twice meant determination and urgency on God’s behalf. (Gen 41)

Although truth is seemingly veiled for the moment if we are diligent and preserve we will find understanding.

In Him,
Jeff Gilbertson

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Advice to young fathers: Thoughts on the book Fathered by God.

March 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Fathered by God

Fathered by God

Recently I made my way through the book Father by God by John Eldredge. What stuck out to me the most is the dynamic that comes in to play when we do not successfully deposit the profound truth into our sons’ lives when they are in boyhood that they are the “beloved son”.

Jesus, you remember, got this significant affirmation TWICE from His Father — when the skies were opened and a MALE voice shouted for all to hear:

And behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Mtt 3:17)

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Mtt 17:3)

For God to speak to anyone within earshot this short proclamation about His Son is a powerful example of what we need to keep foremost in mind as we raise our young boys.

Here is an excerpt from John’s book that speaks to this point:

“Boyhood is a time of exploration and wonder, and to be a boy is to be an explorer… When God set Adam in the Garden of Eden, He set His son in a world that was, at the very same moment, safe and secure yet full of mystery and adventure. There was no reason whatsoever to be afraid, and every reason to dare… Evil is — for now — held at bay. Such is the world God intended for the boy… for this is the time in life when we were meant to come into the knowledge that we are the Beloved Son, the apple of our father’s eye.”

The tragedy, that is all too real in our society, is that the boy (ages 6-12) doesn’t hear the voice of affirmation CLEARLY from his father during this critical stage of life. The father himself may have never heard the voice in his own childhood! Therefore, the boy enters into the next stage, what Eldredge calls the “cowboy stage”, trying to prove his “belovedness” by his actions.

Tragically, it is at this very cowboy stage (ages 13-25) that our young boys start to “take to the road” by themselves to experience that they “know they have what it tales to be a man”. During those cowboy years they need to experience falling off the horse and getting back on again, while parents are nearby to help them interpret their experiences.

Yet if your son is still searching for “the voice” from his father, the message that he is your uniquely prized and adored son, he will stumble into the cowboy years of “taking to the road” without any life compass!

Here again we return to Fathered by God:

“Without this bedrock of affirmation, this core of assurance, a man will move unsteadily through the rest of his life, trying to prove his worth and earn belovedness through performance or achievement, through sex, or in a thousand other ways. Quite often he doesn’t know this is his search. He simply finds himself uncertain in some core place inside, ruled by fears and the opinions of others, yearning for someone to notice him. He longs for comfort, and it makes him uneasy because at 37 or 51 shouldn’t he be beyond that now? A young place in his heart is yearning for something never received.”

Yours for the Coming King,

Jeff Gilbertson

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