I Cor.. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’
December 31, 2011
The Will of God is Always Good
Due to not getting visas Mark and Carlton Bohde were not able to attend the seminar in Kalay, Myanmar. And the trip to Thailand was then postponed. In the meantime Mark has started preparations for resuming the work in Thailand despite this change. God’s will will be done as He sees fit. We wait on Him as always.



Anointing with Oil
In the OT we have anointing with oil for a designating of the priest/Aaron Lev. 21:10,8:12 and for kings: Saul in I Sam.10:1, Jehu in II Kings 9:6. In connection with washing the custom is recorded in Ez. 16:9 and in bathing with Esther 2:12. Anointing with oil is an expression of joy or gladness, Ps. 45:7, 23:5. In Ecc. 9:8 we read, “let not oil be lacking on your head.” The oil on the head produces a cooling and refreshing effect certainly buttressing the idea of the oil of gladness.
In the NT we look at James 5:14 “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Here there is a definite exhortation. This letter is written to the Jewish Christians in dispersion who were well acquainted with oil anointing. It would seem that this custom was used by the apostles in Mk. 6:13 anointing with oil ἤλειφον ἐλαίω, the same words as in James, when healing. The people though it should be remembered were not healed by the oil.
In the NT we also have the washing and designating uses employing oil. “You did not anoint my head with oil.” Lk. 7:46 An ointment was poured on the Lord’s head in preparation for His burial but well before He died. Mt.26:7 And in Jn.11:2 “Mary anointed the Lord with ointment.” In Heb. 1:9 we have also the oil of gladness. In the parable in Lk. 10:34 it is the oil ἔλαιον and wine poured over the wounds.
In James 5:15 it is the prayer of faith that will save, and not the oil demonstrating what is binding on future generations and should continue to be done. No oil is mentioned in connection with prayer in I Tim. 2:1 and Mt. 6:5-15 nor elsewhere. The context of writing to the Jewish Christians helps us to understand why James mentions oil.
In India there are people who come up to have us pray over oil. We stay away from any miraculous angle, stressing the symbolic idea of coming down from above with God implored to bless and the oil denoting joy and gladness.
From www.lutheranmissions.org Essay “A Cultural Practice… or…”
There are many other ‘customs’ we could consider. One example of a custom not binding on us anymore is that of Boaz’ day. “Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel.” Ruth 4:7 This passage declares it a custom of that time and not binding now.
In Is. 3:21“nose rings” are mentioned. Today in some cultures this is still practiced. What we want to remember is not to make something not commanded in God’s Word into a command and force it upon people. If it is a practice that we could use, then we in our New Testament freedom can adapt it, maybe alter it to fit our circumstances and situation.   If you read the context on nose rings you will see that God threatens to remove them with all other wordly things that the people were loading themselves with and being distracted. We cannot move this threat forward to today, for God said it for that time as an action He would take. So to have a nose ring today does not fall under God’s threat. God’s Word is clear. If there are difficult passages, we simply need to clear our minds and pray the Spirit gives us understanding. And we need to search the Scriptures, to pour over them.
Encounters of a Spiritual Kind
Respect for Religion but with Doubts – Lk.7:36-50
There are many in this life who may respect our Christian religion and yet not believe in our Lord. This Pharisee showed respect for our Lord. He invited Him to his house and provided food. There it ended. There was not saving faith. Simon, the Pharisee, even doubted if Jesus were much of a prophet.
The Lord did have Simon’s ear so He told the story of a creditor and two debtors and related it to Simon and the woman. Simon had the typical attitude of a Pharisee which was self-righteous. This leads inevitably to a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Simon showed it when he said to himself, “who and what sort of woman this is…a sinner.” Our Lord does not tear into Simon. He has his ear. Though Simon is self-righteous, yet he listens to the Lord.
The Lord uses what we could call the oblique approach. He does not confront Simon with his sin and demand repentance. Instead our Lord tells a story in which Simon must decide a question. That question – Which of them will love him more: the one forgiven fifty or the one forgiven five hundred? Simon is bound to answer “the one forgiven five hundred.” This reminds us somewhat of Nathan’s story to David by which he then showed David his sin. The response of David was immediate and it was repentance. With Simon we do not have it recorded. Were our Lord to use a more confrontational approach and demand repentance, Simon would likely bristle and balk. Whether Simon at this time repented and believed or not, he did have a very simple, clear story by which the Spirit could show him later the point.

We can learn from this to use the oblique approach when we have a prospect who is willing to listen to us, who has respect for our belief. Very true, the hypocrisy and self-righteousness of the Pharisee was and is disgusting. Why alienate a willing listener though by stomping on his toes so to speak, such that he rejects listening to you before you get your point across? The Lord further gets the point across by turning to the woman and making he comparison of Simon’s lack with the woman’s tears and wiping His feet with her hair and kissing His feet and anointing His head with oil. The lesson is well taught to Simon of true love emanating from forgiveness of sins. We don’t know if Simon was one of those who said, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” He must have at least thought it.

As Simon is left with something to think about, we would also want to leave those we witness to with something to think about. In Simon’s case he was left with what was necessary for the Spirit to convict him of sin. And he also was left with the Gospel in his ears as spoken to the woman. In our witnessing we want to be clear in our message as the Lord is here. We also want to give something simple to remember as with our Lord’s story. There are many illustrations in Scripture we could use as well as thinking up some out of daily life. It is good to have some illustrations in one’s mind when witnessing. The illustrations could be geared to the different situations we meet. And finally it is practice that makes perfect. The more we witness, the more we will feel comfortably in doing so and the more will be the passages and illustrations that the Spirit will call to our mind.

Excerpt from BELC Martin Luther Bible School Report given at Recent Joint Conf. in Chennai, India

Pastor D. Paul reports that there are 16 students in the third batch of students, who go for two years each. Of these six were already our members and ten are joining the BELC. Previously, 18 were graduated and are serving a ministers in different capacities. We conclude that the Bible college at Nagalapuram is very useful to our students and the church. Others from other churches have asked to be tutors in our school, but we do not allow of course, being always aware of false teachers. May our excellent God help us to hold firm and faithfully to His Word.

As we move into the year of our Lord 2012 let us remember that each year is a year of His grace to us. On the traditional Jan. 6th Epiphany let us thank God that His prophecies of the Gospel to the Gentile nations is continuing to be fulfilled.

Pastor Koenig