Proverbs 21 7-21-19

July 21, 2019

We are on day three of 21 Days of Deep.” We are learning to dive into God’s Word for more than just crumbs. Come with us!

2 A person may think their own ways are right [justified], but the LORD weighs the heart.

As we pick up the narrative in 1 John, we learn the key to knowing we are God’s children. If we love as He loves, then we are His. If we reserve the right to judge for ourselves, then we haven’t given Him all of who we are. Judgement comes from that part of us that is like God–we are made in His image–but is the very thing that keeps us from coming to Him. We must learn to give up our “right” to judge others and allow Him to be in control.

As always, read it here, but also read it in your own “real” Bible.

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister[b] is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister[c] lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

SOAP

We’ve read the SCRIPTURE. Now OBSERVE it. What about it stands out to you?

Now APPLY it. How does it pertain to you?

PRAY. Ask the Lord to show you where you stand with Him and how to love as He loves. Be specific if specific people come to mind. Talk to Him and work it out. Repent (which means to make a course adjustment). Ask Him what to do next and then DO IT according to His timing and instructions.

Let’s enjoy His presence and participation in our lives today. We are His. REJOICE!

NOTE: I posted my commentary prior to this post. After you have prayed, I welcome you to read it.

1 John 2:3-11

July 21, 2019

There are eleven tests of salvation that I have counted in this letter. They are: 1:7, 2:4-6, 2:9-11, 2:15-17, 2:19, 2:23, 3:6, 3:10, 3:24, 5:11-12, and 5:18. Others may count more, but those are the ones I consider to be tests of salvation.

There are two verses pertaining to the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They are: 2:20 and 2:27. We will look at them later.

(3) We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. In John’s Gospel, he relates to us two commands of Jesus that he considers to be the highest commands. The first is John 6:29, where Jesus says, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” We must do exactly that: Take every word of Christ as the Gospel truth.

The other command is found in 13:34 where Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love [agapao] one another. As I have loved [agapao] you, so you must love [agapao] one another.” This word, agapao, means “godly love,” or “to love in a moral sense.” It is referred to as Agape Love, the love of God. The idea is to set aside our own feelings of love or hate and relate to people how God feels about them. How DOES God feel about them? John 3:16 tells us that He loves them so much that He gave His Son. Romans 5:8 tells us that even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Why? Because God loves us so much!

(4) Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. A person who is not interested in doing what Jesus has commanded is not really interested in Jesus being his Lord. He has not given his life over to Jesus, yet. It’s positional; that person is outside of Christ.

(5) But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: (6) Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. The key word here is “must.” If the Spirit lives inside of us, then we feel His desires as our own. He desires to obey through us, therefore we feel the compulsion to obey. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For Christ’s love compels us…” We feel that we MUST live according to the Spirit, which is to live as Jesus lived. It’s relational; we fight our desire to do His higher desire.

(7) Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. From the first time his audience heard the Gospel, which could be those who heard for themselves Jesus’ message or it could be those in Ephesus where John preached for many years, the message of the Gospel is the same: God loved us through Christ; we love Christ, therefore we obey Him by loving others as He loves them through us.

((8) Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. John is referring to the illustration of light being God and darkness being evil. He began his Gospel with it (John 1:1-4, 14) and expounded on it in 3:19-21. We are most like Christ when we turn away from darkness (sin and self) and turn to Him, our Light, anytime, everytime.

(9) Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Our litmus test is how we feel about others and how we treat them.

(10) Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. There is a difference between “love” and “like.” We can love a person without liking him/her. We always have that person’s best interests in mind concerning his/her spiritual state. We MUST depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide us in this matter because we don’t have the knowledge to know what to do, nor the desire or the power to do it.

(11) But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. When we decide for ourselves that a person is not worth loving, then we have usurped God’s throne and His judgement. We walk NOT according to the Spirit, and therefore are walking in darkness. We stumble around spiritually thinking that we are fine when in actuality we have succumbed to the ways of the evil one. We are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” spiritually (Rev. 3:17). Jesus says, (18) “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire [of truth and trials], so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear [of righteousness  and living according to the Spirit], so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes [the Word of God, Jesus’ words], so you can see. (19) Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”

Dear Lord Jesus, I ask that you would teach me to love as You love, to see each person as a soul in need of You. May I listen to Your Spirit as He compels me to be Your hands and feet, Your ambassador, to those around me. May I be Christ to Your children and to those who don’t know You so that they may see You clearly in me. Amen.

1 John 1:5-2:2

July 20, 2019

John established His letter with a proclamation that Jesus is the Word of life. He then explains how we come to Him and how we are sustained by Him.

What is our TRUTH? (5) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is not darkness at all. Light and darkness describe the difference between God (not just good) and evil. We walk in darkness until He shines His light on us and we receive it.

What is our REALITY? (6) If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. This pertains to salvation.  John 3:19-21 tells us that we must choose to walk in His light.

What is our SALVATION? (7) But if we walk in the light has he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. We trust His light one time (the first time) for all time (from that point on).

What is our DECEPTION? (8) If we claim to be without sin [without the need of coming to Christ], we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. This verse is particularly pertinent to those who claim to be “good enough” on their own.

What is our DELIVERANCE? (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. This is a salvation verse. Christians use it in conjunction with James 5:16, but we must realize that our sins have been removed from us; we are washed clean by the blood of Jesus! Our sin can hinder our fellowship with the Father, but it cannot “kill” us anymore.

What is our JUDGEMENT? (10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. WE NEED JESUS. If we do not believe that He is the ONLY WAY, the ONLY TRUTH, and the ONLY LIFE, then His word is not in us and we are not saved.

What is our GOAL? (2:1) My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. Jesus does not need to plead our case to the Father every time we sin; His blood on the altar does that for us. It means that all our sins–our very lives–are covered in the blood. God now uses our weaknesses and our susceptibility toward sin to make us godly (like God). How? In the same way that a muscle needs resistance in order to become strong. We need to learn to resist temptation to sin, not so that we can live independently for God, but to learn to rely solely on the Spirit. The eighth chapter of Romans explains this process.

What is our MESSAGE? (2) He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. As churchy as it sounds, this is the message of salvation that the world needs to hear. HOW we say it is not as important as THAT we say it. The Spirit will take it from there.

Pray that the Spirit will empower us to resist temptation. Use temptation to catapult you into the presence of our Lord! Oftentimes, PRAISE is our best weapon against temptation.

Proverbs 20 7-20-19

July 20, 2019

Everyday we wage war against our old nature, our fleshly desires: What WE want to do. Seek guidance. Seek our Savior!

18 Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.

Christians, those who have the Spirit of the living God inside us, know that we are righteous because of the blood of Jesus, and want to live righteously. It’s pleasing to Him and good for us. The problem is that we still live in these old sin-ridden bodies and in a sin-ridden world. The vast majority of people are NOT interested in living righteously.

What we need is PERSPECTIVE AND FOCUS.

On our second day of “21 Days of Deep,” we continue to look at 1 John.

Our passage is 1 John 1:5-2:2. The gist of it is about salvation. As you read, consider if being like God is really something you desire. He is light; there is no darkness in Him. Is that how you want to be? If so, then these verses are past tense. Verses 1 and 2 of chapter 2 explain that Jesus’ blood on the altar keeps us clean. If not, then COME TO THE LIGHT! This passage explains how.

Again, read it here, but also read it out of your own Bible (a literal one, not an electronic one).

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

I’ve included SOAP here for our convenience:

S. Scripture- Read the passage.

O. Observation- Observe at least one thing in the passage that you believe God has for you to learn from it.

A. Application- Consider how you may apply this new knowledge to your life today or sometime this week.

P. Prayer- Pray and ask God to give you the knowledge and the skill, the opportunity, and the courage to do it. Ask Him what (and then wait and ponder), ask Him when (wait and ponder), ask Him how (wait and ponder), and then ask Him why (wait and ponder). On this last one, you may not realize the answer until AFTER you are obedient.

My prayer for you: O Lord, may these verses soak deep in our souls as we walk with You today. May we revel in the fact that our sins are no longer held against us, that you actually use them to make us more like You! May we see each temptation as an opportunity for our spiritual growth, and use it to propel us into Your presence in praise and thanksgiving. Help us focus on You, O Lord, and to check with You constantly throughout our day. We love You. Help us to live in Your love. Amen

One last thing: I will publish my own commentary of our passage each day. Look for it on my website.

1 John 1:1-4

July 20, 2019

1 John 1:1-4

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched– [many people only trust what they can see and experience. John is giving account of just that!] this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. [for an expanded view of the “Word of life,” read the first 14 verses of John’s Gospel]

2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. [Remember: “If Someone prophesies his own death, burial, and resurrection, I’m going with whatever He says!”]

3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. [the two are One. Jesus said so in John 10:30]

4 We write this to make our joy complete [with you as part of our fellowship; John is including US].

Lord Jesus, as I ponder these verses, I am reminded that John walked with You for three years living with you, watching you, listening to you, and experiencing life with you. He was there when you were tried and sentenced; he was there at the crucifixion–close enough for You to address him personally about your mom; he was there at the tomb and saw that it was empty; he was there in the upper room–both times–when you “transported in;” he was on the boat when You were on the beach; he was there when You ascended back to the Father; he was even there in heaven to see You open the scrolls!

I know I can believe John. May I take his words seriously as I read them. Please help me to apply them to my life. Increase my faith, Lord, by increasing my knowledge, thus giving You more ways to communicate with me.

Amen

Proverbs 19 7-19-19

July 19, 2019

Today is our first day of 21 Days of Deep. I pray that you will dive in with me as we study God’s Word together.

1 Better the poor person whose walk [with the LORD] is blameless [with integrity, upright, purposeful] than a rich fool whose lips [and heart] are perverse.

3:13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

8:12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence [good decision-making practices]; I possess knowledge and discretion.” 17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”

We study with purpose, and that purpose is to know the Lord Jesus more closely and intimately each day. Knowing Him gives us life; He makes us lose our fear and even our temptation to sin; He gives us joy and peace, and a desire to bring others along. SOAPing up each day is good for us. It’s what is BEST for us.

Just a reminder of what SOAP is:

S. Scripture- Read the passage.

O. Observation- Observe at least one thing in the passage that you believe God has for you to learn from it.

A. Application- Consider how you may apply this new knowledge to your life today or sometime this week.

P. Prayer- Pray and ask God to give you the knowledge and the skill, the opportunity, and the courage to do it. Ask Him what (and then wait and ponder), ask Him when (wait and ponder), ask Him how (wait and ponder), and then ask Him why (wait and ponder). On this last one, you may not realize the answer until AFTER you are obedient.

So, let’s read the Scripture (you thought we had already started, didn’t you?). Might I make a suggestion? Read it here, but also read it in your Bible–the real one, not the electronic one. There’s something about the words having a physical location that helps our brains remember where it is and what it looks like.

1 John 1:1-4

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched– [many people only trust what they can see and experience. John is giving account of just that!] this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. [for an expanded view of the “Word of life,” read the first 14 verses of John’s Gospel]

2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. [Remember: “If Someone prophesies his own death, burial, and resurrection, I’m going with whatever He says!”]

3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. [the two are One. Jesus said so in John 10:30]

4 We write this to make our joy complete [with you as part of our fellowship; John is including US].

Let’s Observe: What in this passage was new to you? What did you know before that was reiterated?

Let’s Apply: What did the Holy Spirit bring to light for you? Was a need made known in your life? Was your faith deepened or increased by reading John’s testimony?

Let’s Pray: Ask the LORD what He wants you to “take away” from these verses. Now, ponder. Ask Him when, how and why these verses are important. Now, ponder. Allow Him to guide your thoughts. Make a note of anything concrete that He tells you.

Now, as you walk through today, be aware of His presence and His voice as He applies what you have learned. May your joy be complete as you fellowship with Him.

Proverbs 18 7-18-19

July 18, 2019

The lie that wealth is a firm foundation, an unscalable wall, is prevalent in our society. Remember that Rome fell from within.

11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale.

The problem with wealth is that it gives the illusion of personal success. People tend to equate integrity and wisdom with wealth (fame works the same way). Not only is it not necessarily the case, but usually the opposite! The quote, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” is true. The more power a person has, the greater his temptation to use his wealth for his own advancement, security, and pleasure, often to the detriment of others.

As Christians, we have Jesus inside us (John 17:26). We need to capitalize on His knowledge, strength, wisdom, leadership and His PLAN all the time every day!

15 The heart of the discerning acquires [first-hand] knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out [from the Spirit].

SOAP

I learned something the other day. I learned what SOAP is. Not the bath soap kind (although, it applies spiritually), but this kind:

S. Scripture- Read the passage.

O. Observation- Observe at least one thing in the passage that you believe God has for you to learn from it.

A. Application- Consider how you may apply this new knowledge to your life today or sometime this week.

P. Prayer- Pray and ask God to give you the knowledge and the skill, the opportunity, and the courage to do it. Ask Him what (and then wait and ponder), ask Him when (wait and ponder), ask Him how (wait and ponder), and then ask Him why (wait and ponder). On this last one, you may not realize the answer until AFTER you are obedient.

Statistically, if we do something the same way for 21 days, it establishes a habit in our lives. If we will “SOAP up” each morning, we will establish a GREAT spiritual habit with our Lord. We will find ourselves growing in our faith and knowledge (both factual and experiential). We may even move up to the next level of spiritual growth!

In the podcast, the speaker asked this question, “How long have you been at your current spiritual level?” If the answer is, “A while,” then he challenged us to get out of the shallows and take what he called, “21 DAYS OF DEEP.” That’s where we SOAP each day for 21 days with the intention of establishing the spiritual habit of SOAP. The goal is to move to the next level of spiritual development by sticking closer to Christ as we keep in step with Him.

NOTE: If you are interested in watching the podcast, text me and I will send you the link.

There are two passages of Scripture that apply. The one from the podcast is Hebrews 5:11-14, which says,

We have much to say about this [obedience through suffering and perfection (wholeness, completeness) through walking with, and becoming like, Christ], but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. (12) In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! (13) Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant [spiritually], is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. (14) But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves [by the Holy Spirit] to distinguish good from evil.

The key to this passage is time. The recipients of this letter had given up trying. The writer was urging them to restart the learning process. IT TAKES TIME.

The one I want to use is Ephesians 5:25-26,

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (26) to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word [our Bibles, God’s words],

When we put these two passages together, we get SOAP! The question we must ask ourselves, and I believe the Holy Spirit asks us each morning, is, “How much do you value the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross?” When we begin to understand just what Christ went through for us, when we consider His leaving heaven for our sake and live 33 years on planet earth to die on a cross and then rise again so that He could live in us and us in him, WE WILL TAKE OUR WALK WITH HIM SERIOUSLY.

Let’s go deep. Are you ready? Dive in!

DIVE by Steven Curtis Chapman

 

 

SOAP

July 18, 2019

I learned something the other day. I learned what SOAP is. Not the bath soap kind (although, it applies spiritually), but this kind:

S. Scripture- Read the passage.

O. Observation- Observe at least one thing in the passage that you believe God has for you to learn from it.

A. Application- Consider how you may apply this new knowledge to your life today or sometime this week.

P. Prayer- Pray and ask God to give you the knowledge and the skill, the opportunity, and the courage to do it. Ask Him what (and then wait and ponder), ask Him when (wait and ponder), ask Him how (wait and ponder), and then ask Him why (wait and ponder). On this last one, you may not realize the answer until AFTER you are obedient.

Statistically, if we do something the same way for 21 days, it establishes a habit in our lives. If we will “SOAP up” each morning, we will establish a GREAT spiritual habit with our Lord. We will find ourselves growing in our faith and knowledge (both factual and experiential). We may even move up to the next level of spiritual growth!

In the podcast, the speaker asked this question, “How long have you been at your current spiritual level?” If the answer is, “A while,” then he challenged us to get out of the shallows and take what he called, “21 DAYS OF DEEP.” That’s where we SOAP each day for 21 days with the intention of establishing the spiritual habit of SOAP. The goal is to move to the next level of spiritual development by sticking closer to Christ as we keep in step with Him.

NOTE: If you are interested in watching the podcast, text me and I will send you the link.

There are two passages of Scripture that apply. The one from the podcast is Hebrews 5:11-14, which says,

We have much to say about this [obedience through suffering and perfection (wholeness, completeness) through walking with, and becoming like, Christ], but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. (12) In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! (13) Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant [spiritually], is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. (14) But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves [by the Holy Spirit] to distinguish good from evil.

The key to this passage is time. The recipients of this letter had given up trying. The writer was urging them to restart the learning process. IT TAKES TIME.

The one I want to use is Ephesians 5:25-26,

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (26) to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word [our Bibles, God’s words],

When we put these two passages together, we get SOAP! The question we must ask ourselves, and I believe the Holy Spirit asks us each morning, is, “How much do you value the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross?” When we begin to understand just what Christ went through for us, when we consider His leaving heaven for our sake and live 33 years on planet earth to die on a cross and then rise again so that He could live in us and us in him, WE WILL TAKE OUR WALK WITH HIM SERIOUSLY.

Let’s go deep. Are you ready? Dive in!

DIVE by Steven Curtis Chapman

Proverbs 17 7-17-19

July 17, 2019

3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.

There is a question that I hear and read a lot. It is, “If God is a loving God, why does He allow ___________ to happen?” It is a worthy question and deserves a worthy answer.

There are, however, a couple of things we should know about this question:

  1. If we are not careful, we place God on the witness stand and demand that He answer our question to our satisfaction. This is definitely the WRONG APPROACH! Instead, let us come humbly to HIS THRONE and ask our question.
  2. It is a foundational question and if we get it wrong, our whole theology is thrown off.

It is a question of FREE WILL. Why would God allow such evil in the world? Because He allows us to make our own decisions. We are free to choose right or wrong, selflessness or selfishness, virtue or vise. When we take each person’s decision and multiply it by all the people who have lived on the earth, add to that the sin nature, and we have the current state of our world.

God wants us to love Him freely and of our own accord, so He created us in His own image. There is a bit of God in us, and that bit is our free will. The danger is that in order for us to CHOOSE to love God, He runs the risk of us NOT choosing God. It’s an “all or none” situation.

I like to read historical Christian fiction. In my latest book, the hero got his leg caught in a bear trap and was healing from it. Being a career soldier, he was having to learn humility:

He had a feeling God was reminding him he had a long way to go, and a desperate need to get there, when it came to being humble. The children liked him better when he behaved with some humility. Which meant he needed to get better at it. That might also be why his leg was throbbing like a sore tooth. It wasn’t bad enough to make him go back, but it made the going hard, uphill on a slippery slope [they were walking].

It kept him humble. But God wouldn’t use a bear trap on a man, would He?

Probably not, but once the bear trap snapped, God was there in many ways. Cam was healing, which honestly was a miracle. But it had laid him low for a long time. That gave him a chance to get to know his daughter and nephew.

Nope, Cam did not believe God snapped that bear trap on his leg. God had an overriding interest in souls, not legs. If God did such a thing as set a trap, He was going to try and trap a soul. And that was a gift from heaven.

I love the phrase, “God had an overriding interest in souls.” God can heal anyone. He proved it through Jesus. God can make the elements do anything. He proved it through Moses. God can save anyone from death. He proved it through Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3), but His overriding interest is in souls. He created the world to work a certain way and He works within that order the vast majority of the time.

He will eventually return to set things right. But, that’s His business.

Just for the sake of discussion, let’s consider the name God chose for Moses to identify Him: I AM. It’s in Exodus 3:14. This term describes God as Omnipresent, or everywhere at all times. We tend to think of His presence everywhere, but it also includes time. Hence, God is in the past as well as the future–it’s all one time for Him. HE LIVES IN THE EVER-PRESENT. All of our decisions are NOW for Him. He interacts with us NOW.

The problem is that we are time-oriented. We cannot grasp eternity without trying to put it in the perspective of time. This is the part that requires faith. If God is Omnipresent, is He also Omniscient (all-knowing)? Obviously. To know everything from beginning to end would include everything (by the way, Jesus identifies Himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, in Revelation 22:13). If He is Omniscient, is He Omnipotent (all-powerful)? If we believe that God created the heavens and the earth, and TIME, then, yes, He is.

IN Beth Moore’s DANIEL study, she made these observations from the account of the fiery furnace:

  1. God can save us from the fire. It grows our faith.
  2. God can save us in the fire. It grows our testimony.
  3. God can save us through the fire–straight into the arms of Jesus. It’s our glorification.

It depends on which option we will glorify Him the most. Remember, He’s all about souls and having a personal, ever-present, relationship with them. That includes us!

Let’s allow God to be God and focus on walking with Him, listening to Him, and being obedient to Him. In this way, we glorify Him.

Proverbs 16 7-16-19

July 16, 2019

God loves us despite our sin. He sees us as we are spiritually, looking beyond the sin nature to our new nature in Christ.

2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.

It’s always been this way. God put His PLAN in motion before the foundations of the world were ever laid. His plan to redeem us, to make us His own–again, to make us like Himself with Himself inside us, has always been PLAN A. There has never been a plan B.

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”Revelation 13:8

People have the idea that the New Covenant of Jesus was a new idea. 500+ years earlier, Jeremiah the prophet gave us the structure of the New Covenant. Let’s look:

First, we find confirmation of what Solomon said:

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve [Old Covenant].” Jeremiah 17:10

Second, we see God restating PLAN A:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (4) I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt.” Jeremiah 31:3

There are several key elements to this pronouncement:

  1. God’s love is everlasting and irrevocable (Romans 11:29);
  2. God’s kindness is unfailing;
  3. God initiates a relationship with us by drawing us (Revelation 22:17);
  4. God promises to rebuild Jerusalem, which He did–only to tear it down again in 70 A.D., and then rebuild it once again in 1948-49, destroy a third of it again in the future, and then personally rebuild it when Christ comes to reign there;
  5. After describing Israel to be “unfaithful,” He then declares her as, “Virgin Israel,” thus establishing the fact the He is going to transform her–a portend of what is to come.

Later in the chapter, God gives us the details of His PLAN:

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a NEW COVENANT with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. (32) It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and lead them out of Egypt [the Sinai Covenant of Moses], because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them [hence, the term, unfaithful],” declares the LORD.

(33) This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Sound familiar? Let me help: “Here I am [behold]! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.” Revelation 3:18 The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the central point of John 14-16 and Romans 8.

The NEW COVENANT is based upon Jesus living in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. He sees us as He declared Israel as “Virgin Israel.” We are NEW CREATIONS in Christ!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come! (21) God made Jesus who had no sin to be the sin sacrifice for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21

Let’s stop viewing ourselves according to our old nature, which has passed away, and start looking at ourselves through the eyes of Christ: Pure, holy, perfect (mature, complete, whole). He sees us as we will be, so let’s live by faith in His faith in us. We don’t have to understand it, but we do need to believe it.

What is our response to so great a PLAN?

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! (34) “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (35) Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” (36) For from him and through him and for [to] him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-36

 

Proverbs 15 7-15-19

July 15, 2019

Letting Christ’s love flow through us to others: That’s what it’s all about.

9 The LORD detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.

What is the way of the wicked? It is our own way, when we do not seek the way of God, nor do we consider what He wants or what is best for the person or persons with whom we are dealing.

What is righteousness? It is the love of Christ. Christ imparts to us the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21), which is Christ Himself (1 Cor. 1:30). God is love (1 John 4:16) = Christ is love (John 10:30). To live righteously is to let the love of Christ flow through us.

From Crosswalk.com:

Imagine that your life is a fountain. If you focus mostly on yourself, you’ll be too dry or clogged up to flow properly. But if you shift your focus to other people, the living water of God’s love will flow through you to your family, friends, and others throughout your community and the world.

How can we get beyond our feelings to the part where we allow Christ to love through us? Let’s look at what Paul said to the church at Colosse:

(1) Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (3) For you dies, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

I see three things that are important for us to remember:

  1. We have died to sin and self and have been raised to walk in newness of life with Christ (also in Romans 6:4).
  2. We are to set our hearts and minds on the things of Christ. A good list can be found in Philippians 4:8-9, “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy, and whatever we learn from the life of Paul.”
  3. We are to hide our life and allow His life to shine through us. We are to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge [we are learning it as we go] in the image of its Creator (Col. 3:10).”

Further in the chapter, Paul gives us explicit instructions on how to let the love of Christ flow through us:

(12) Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (13) Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (14) And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (15) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (16) Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly…with gratitude in your hearts.

Let’s start from the top down.

  • Jesus Christ is God. God so loved the world that He came as Jesus to die for us. Having risen again, He is now seated at the right hand of God and rules until God puts all of His enemies under ow His feet (various Scriptures).
  • Jesus gives us peace with God and continuous peace (John 16:33). This peace is designed to rule our hearts. We access His peace when we “pay attention to the tension” and set aside how we feel and do what we “know” the Spirit is telling us to do, which is to love our adversary (we know the word as “enemy,” but the word actually means hostile person, which may not necessarily be an enemy).
  • If we will work on allowing the things mentioned in this passage be our guide to life and relationships, we will have turned from darkness to light thus allowing Christ’s light to shine through us to a dark world (based on John 3:19-21).
  • Starting from the bottom up: If we are grateful for what Christ has done for us, then we are thankful. With thankfulness comes the peace of Christ. This peace gives us the ability to forgive. With forgiveness comes the power of Christ to be kind and compassionate (Eph. 4:32) with all humility, gentleness and patience (Eph. 4:2). As we bear with one another in Christ’s love, we discover an amazing truth: His love, joy and peace gush through us! We FEEL Christ and His pleasure in an amazing way.

Let’s work on allowing the love, peace and joy of Christ to flow through us today. The world–and those around us–are dying to “get a drink.”

Proverbs 14 7-14-19

July 14, 2019

A round TUIT. My dad gave me one. It’s time to get up and get moving. We need to get around to IT!

8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways.

We read God’s Word and ask ourselves, “How does this apply to my life?”

4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of the ox come abundant harvests.

We read God’s Word to give us tools to do His will, oxen, to apply the verse directly. His strength comes through the oxen, or, His Spirit who interprets and empowers what we read.

1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

This weekend has been interesting. My daughter, Hayley, decided to add shelves in much of her closets and cabinets. She has plenty of storage space, but it had a lot of wasted space. We have been busy! “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

It occurred to me that Scripture is like shelves. It gives us structure and order. His Word helps us to organize our lives and prioritize our values, our hopes and dreams, our friendships, our finances, and especially our time. What we must do is READ AND APPLY. Comprehension comes through application.

There is a danger to not filling our lives with the Word. Jesus spoke of it:

“When an impure spirit come out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ (25) When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order [but empty]. (26) Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. Luke 11:24-26

Satan would have us fill our lives with his stuff so that we have no room for the LORD. His Spirit works in us to fill us with Himself. We decide each day–many times a day–with what we will fill our lives.

Today is Sunday. It is a time set aside for God’s people to meet together for encouragement. It’s a time we bless the Lord with our voices and then hear a word from the Lord through the pastor, the Sunday School teacher, and our fellow worshipers. Let’s choose to worship Him together today. It’s one of the ways we show Him we love Him.

“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, (25) not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day [of His Return] approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

Proverbs 13 7-13-19

July 13, 2019

We will spend a lifetime aligning what we know with what we do. The more we know, the more motivation we have to do; the more we do, the better we get at it.

4 A sluggard’s [ungodly person’s] appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent [disciple of Christ] are fully satisfied. 

God has placed His Spirit within us and has given us a hunger for the Bread of Life (His Word) and a thirst for His living Water (His company). Our lives are filled with His love, joy, and peace, His hope and His grace. Even as we are filled, we desire to know Him more. But, a person who does not know Christ, who is not filled with His Spirit, tries to fill that “God-shaped hole” in his heart with all manner of stuff, none of which is capable of filling it. Proverbs says it this way:

25 The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked [those who go their own way] goes hungry.

As the Spirit reveals Jesus to us, we tap into the connection between the Holy Spirit and Jesus. That connection is full and complete; our availability to it has more to do with our download speed. As we grow in Him, our bandwidth increases and our ability to comprehend increases correspondingly. Daily Bible study WILL enhance our connection.

Peter described it like this:

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 1 Peter 1:8

Want to experience this “inexpressible and glorious joy” daily? Talk to God as you read His Word. I heard recently that if you want to hear God speak out loud, simply read His Word out loud. It’s the same thing!

Paul spoke of his desire to enhance his connection with Jesus. NOTICE that I didn’t say, “increase;” that would imply that our connection is not already full and complete, which it is. The word, “enhance,” means, “to raise to a higher degree; to magnify, intensify.” Sounds like praise, doesn’t it? It explains why Paul breaks out into praise in the middle of Romans! Read it in 11:33-36.

As stated in the opening statement, we will spend a lifetime aligning what we know with what we do. The more we know Christ, which comes from spending time with Him–yes, He’s with us always, but we tend to ignore His presence and voice in our lives. We are so used to doing things ourselves our own way that we neglect to check with Him–the more motivation we have to do; the more we do, the better we get at it.

7 But whatever were gains to me [in this life] I now consider loss [hindrances and entanglements-see Heb. 12:1] for the sake of [knowing] Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things [position, status, income, health, material goods, etc]. Philippians 3:7-8

Another definition of, “enhance,” is “to raise in value or price.” Paul considered his relationship with Christ to be invaluable (beyond calculable or appraisable value; of estimable worth; priceless), but he also found his worth, his self-esteem in Christ. He continues:

I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law [the old way of trying to be right with God], but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

Not only is the value of knowing Christ raised as we walk with Him, our view of our value is raised, as well. We see ourselves as He sees us: Treasured, loved, highly esteemed. Even as we feast on these heart-fillers, we desire to know Him more. Paul continues:

10 I want to know [more of] Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection, but also to share in the fellowship of his sufferings [ALL of Christ], becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead [buried with Him in his death, raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4)].

Let’s get good at following Jesus by getting to know Him better. Let’s “keep in step” with the Spirit by reading the Word and allowing Him to apply it to our lives. It’s an “as you go” thing.

“Where He sends we will go, what He says we will do; never fear, only trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy [growing, delighting] in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

 

About Kelly Anderson

July 13, 2019

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ called by Him to serve Him in vocational Christian service.
I am Associate Pastor at Brookwood Baptist Church and am in charge of Music and Worship.
I have a personal, ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ, but I feel that people are more interested in my resemblance to Christ than knowing I have a relationship with Him.
On this blog you will find articles concerning what I have learned during over 50 years of knowing the Lord Jesus and over 40 years of serving Him. I pray you find something useful to you.

Welcome!

July 12, 2019

As you peruse this blog-site, keep in mind that the blogs are in order from newest to oldest, so you may have to read from bottom to top.

My prayer is that the information shared on this site will be used by the Holy Spirit “to teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness so that every person may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

About Me

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ called by Him to serve Him in vocational Christian service.
I am Associate Pastor at Brookwood Baptist Church and am in charge of Music and Worship.

I have a personal, ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ, but I feel that people are more interested in my resemblance to Christ than knowing I have a relationship with Him.

I love to teach, and I have a Sunday’s Cool (Sunday School) class each week, building my own lessons and keeping up with the members and their families.

On this blog you will find articles concerning what I have learned during over 50 years of knowing the Lord Jesus and over 30 years of serving Him. I pray you find something useful to you.

Believing that all things natural were originally created by God (although a good many things have been perverted by Satan and by sin), I am now using the internet to connect with people that I may not otherwise touch.

This blog is designed to allow me to express what I have learned in my walk through life. Much of it has to do with biblical teaching and theology. Peruse and use what you can. Be my guest!

Proverbs 12 7-12-19

July 12, 2019

Do you desire to know God? It’s simple, according to Jesus. Do you believe Jesus? He explained it to us.

15 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1

He also said, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:21

There is a sequence here that merits bearing out:

  1. “Whoever has my commands”– We have His commands in our hearts as His Spirit speaks to us, and we have His commands in our hands, the Word of God (your Bible).
  2. “and keeps them”– Just reading or hearing His words is not enough. They must be applied to our lives and to our circumstances. That requires us knowing them well enough to recall them during an event, circumstance, situation, and opportunity. Libraries have used for years the saying, “People who know, read.” I propose that it’s the other way around, “People who read, know.” If we act upon what we know and learn from His Word, then we demonstrate to Jesus that we love Him enough to do what He says.
  3. “The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father”– Jesus made the connection between Himself and the Father very plain in verses 9-11. The delineation between Jesus and the Father is the body of Christ. They are separate, but ONE. We can’t explain it, but we can believe it. If we accept one, we get the other!
  4. “And I too will love them”– How does Jesus show love? Through service! He washed the disciples’ feet and then told them to love each other by doing what He did. He loves us by serving us. How? By providing everything we need in our moment of need; by walking with us throughout each day (and some pretty long nights); by enabling us to sense His presence; by giving us His peace and experiencing His joy; by providing mercy and grace; by giving us DIRECTION for and in our lives.
  5. “And show myself to them”– This is the BEST PART. Bartimaeus serves as our best illustration of our spiritual state. When given his sight, he SAW JESUS! We find his story in Mark 10:46.

46 Then they came to Jericho [on their way to Jerusalem for Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection]. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus…was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” [he had heard enough about Jesus to know what to ask].

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” [do we ignore the voices that tell us to stay away from Jesus? Let’s be insistent and proactive in seeking Jesus].

49 Jesus stopped and said “Call him.” [Jesus calls us to Himself everyday. How diligent are we in answering His call?] So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” [Is this our cry every morning? Do we come to Him asking to see?] 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” [his faith was believing that Jesus could and would heal him. Do we believe that Jesus can meet our needs today?] Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. 

We have received our spiritual sight from Jesus. We learned it from the Bible. We have been given a wonderful gift: the Word of God. Let’s read it, study it, ponder it, believe it, and do it! He is IN US and is wanting to SHOW HIMSELF TO US. Let’s not let this opportunity slip away.

What I Have Believed All Along

July 11, 2019

Simple logic put me on the right path many years ago concerning when a human life begins. I asked myself, “What does it take for a zygote to be a human being?”

Later on, Dr. Duane Gish, Biologist, came to my church in 1991 and spoke to us about life and what the Bible has to say about it. I asked him my question and here is his answer (summarized):

The scientific approach to life is to answer these two questions:

  1. Is it human (does it have 23 chromosomes)?
  2. Is it alive (does it take in nourishment, excrete waste, and grow)?

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then it IS a human life. Thus, the moment the sperm enters the egg and creates a zygote, it is a human life.

Do all biologists follow this logic? 90% of them do, according to a study done by Steven Jacobs! Here is the link to the article about his findings.

Steven Jacobs’ Survey

It is interesting to note that many who adhere to the scientific logic DO NOT support the Pro-Life movement. In fact, many become emotional and militant about Pro-Choice. It just goes to show that it’s personal and not objective. It also reveals a sinister mastermind behind Pro-Choice who disregards logic and truth to press his own agenda, which is to destroy anything God has made, particularly mankind.

What Went Wrong?

July 11, 2019

For some reason, WordPress posted today’s lesson UNDER yesterday’s lesson. Scroll down to it. If you can’t find it, it’s in the Proverbs category.

Proverbs 11 7-11-19

July 11, 2019

Our hearts, by themselves, are full of wickedness; we want what WE want. Jesus wants to give us life, HIS life. Daily bread.

20 The LORD detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.

What makes a heart perverse? What makes our ways blameless? For these answers, we look to Jesus. There’s nothing like going to the Source for truth! Jesus proclaimed the end of the Sinai Covenant and announced a new way to God: Himself. His life and sacrifice on the cross are what mankind needs to be reestablished in right relationship with the Father.

Why was it so hard for the Pharisees to believe in Jesus and His message? It would have messed up their playhouse. How so?

Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead. Many Jews believed, but some went and reported to the chief priests and the Pharisees. They called a meeting:

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation [fulfilled in 70 A.D.].” John 11:47-48

They had things the way they wanted them. They were in control, both politically and religiously, and they didn’t want to give up any of that control.

Here’s what Jesus had to say about them:

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them [by obeying the Sinai Covenant of Moses] you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me [the sacrificial system was set up to point to Jesus], 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40

What about us? We study the Scriptures, too. Does this mean that we will miss eternal life? NOT AT ALL! Jesus IS eternal life. As long as we seek Him in the pages of Scripture, we will find Him, and thus, eternal life. The religious leaders were keeping the Sinai Covenant of Moses. Jesus was introducing a New Way through Himself as the FINAL sacrificial Lamb. They simply refused to believe Jesus.

Let’s look at what Jesus taught:

  • He came to fulfill [complete] the Scriptures, not abolish them (throw them out). Matt. 5:17-18
  • He said that doing and believing are two different things. He wants us to BELIEVE in Him. “Do not work for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man [Himself] will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval [the Holy Spirit–same as us]. The crowd asked a very Old Covenant question: “What must we DO to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to [simply] believe in the one he has sent [Jesus].” John 6:27-29
  • Jesus hinted at the way He would die and thus fulfill the requirements of the law: “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission [forgiveness] of sin.” Hebrews 9:22. Here’s what He said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32

If we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of Man (see Daniel 7:13-14), God Himself (Immanuel), then we look to Him for salvation, for daily renewal, for answers, for strength and endurance–for ALL THINGS.

If we believe that He lives in our hearts, then we will inquire His opinion on every subject and every question. We will trust Him to give us the desire and the power to act on His opinion and His will for our lives. Here is the promise we are given by Him:

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Free from the bonds of sin! Free to love as He loves! This is what victorious Christian living is all about! Let’s work hard at believing Jesus by finding out what He said. His words speak to us today just as richly as they spoke to those who heard them 2,000 years ago.

Have a great time with the Lord this morning!

Proverbs 10 7-10-19

July 10, 2019

12 Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

Occasionally, I’ll have to hit the “refresh” icon (it’s the near-circle with the arrow just before the https address) in order to get accurate information and up-to-date information on the website at which I am looking. Jesus did the same thing for us!

34 “A NEW command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35

The word, “new,” means, “fresh,” as opposed to “new in time.” God IS love (1 John 4:16). He never changes (Psalm 33:11, Isaiah 46:10). Jesus came because “God so loved the world.” (John 3:16)

  • He created Adam and Eve to have a love relationship with Him.
  • He established Abraham as the father of nations by forming a love relationship with him.
  • He formed the Sinai Covenant with the people of Israel to teach them how to love one another and to have a love relationship with Him.
  • He sent Jesus to demonstrate His love for us. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

When Jesus gave His disciples this “new” command, it wasn’t really new, but fresh. He was rolling all the commands given in the Sinai Covenant into one command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER just as He has loved them.

Godly love is based on the worth of a person to God. We demonstrate love to one another knowing that God loves each of us enough to die for us. Our feelings cannot be trusted to help us. In fact, they are so fickle as to be a hindrance more than a help–initially. When we demonstrate God’s love, we will–eventually–feel His love flowing through us. It is then that we best demonstrate Christ to a dying world.

We realize what this means, don’t we? It means that the darker our circumstances, the more dire our treatment by other people, the greater our opportunity to demonstrate the pure love of Jesus. When we get nothing out of it, when it is opposite of what justice demands, THEN it is grace, pure grace, that is shown, and the love of Christ is demonstrated through us. Impossible? Yes, without Christ.

Know this: If we have to walk through tough situations, it is because of the sinful state of this world. God, through His omniscience and His power, uses us in those situations to display His goodness and His love (Romans 8:28). He will give us the desire to love and the power to demonstrate that love to our adversaries and in our situations (Philippians 2:13). It is when we know Him most intimately (Philippians 3:10).

Daniel certainly demonstrated this truth in the lions’ den, and his friends in the fiery furnace (read about them in Daniel 3 and 6). Hebrews 11 is full of people who demonstrated God’s love, many to the death. Because of their faith in a loving God and a faithful Savior, may we be encouraged.

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded [in heaven] by such a great cloud of witnesses [who, through the testimony of their lives, encourage us to trust God], let us throw off everything that hinders [the things of this earth, whether physical or emotional, that draw us away from trusting Christ] and the sin that so easily entangles [sin destroys us]. And let us run with perseverance the race [to the throne of God] marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer [Author] and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him [and is set before us] he endured the cross [we are to do the same], scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 

HE IS OUR EXAMPLE! Let’s emulate Him today by loving others as Christ has loved us.

Concerning Extra-Terrestrial Life

July 10, 2019

I love the Marvel movies, Star Trek, Star Wars, and other Sci-Fi stuff. It stimulates my imagination and has neat effects. But, do I believe in extra-terrestrial life? Not at all!

With as many planets as there are in the heavens, doesn’t it make sense that there should be other planets that “just happen” to have life on them? No, it doesn’t, once we examine the purpose of earth and the different purpose for all the other planets.

This planet was CREATED by God for the express purpose of being the home for His creation, particularly mankind. Created in His image, we stand above all other creatures and are invited to have a personal relationship with God. Genesis says,

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the dep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:1-2

We must take God at His Word that the heavens, which includes all the other planets, were created for His glory AS THEY ARE. But, earth is different. God shaped it and grew it to be habitable for mankind. The story of mankind is about God reaching out to His creation in love and mankind spurning that love; it’s about God reaching out again through Jesus in love to give us the opportunity to come back to Him.

I read an article from Answers in Genesis about the notion of extra-terrestrial life. In the article, the writer, Dr. Jason Lisle, gave a very clear synopsis of the Gospel:

God’s plan of redemption is for human beings: those descended from Adam. Let us examine the conflict between the salvation message, and the notion of alien life.

The Bible teaches that the first man (Adam) rebelled against God (Genesis 3). As a result, sin and death entered the world (Romans 5:12). We are all descended from Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:20) and have inherited from them a sin nature (Romans 6:620). This is a problem: sin is a barrier that prevents man from being right with God (Isaiah 59:2), but God loves us (despite our sin) and provided a plan of redemption—a way to be reconciled with God.

After Adam and Eve sinned, God made coats of skins to cover Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). He therefore had to kill an animal(s). This literal action is symbolic of our salvation: an innocent Lamb (Christ—the Lamb of God) would be sacrificed to provide a covering for sin (John 1:29). In the Old Testament, people would sacrifice animals to the Lord as a reminder of their sin (Hebrews 10:3) and as a symbol of the One to come (the Lord Jesus) who would actually pay the penalty for sin.

The animal sacrifices did not actually pay the penalty for sin (Hebrews 10:411). Animals are not related to us; their shed blood cannot count for ours, but the blood of Christ can. Christ is a blood relative of ours, since He is descended from Adam as are we; all human beings are of “one blood” (Acts 17:26). Furthermore, since Christ is also God, His life is of infinite value, and thus, His death can pay for all the sins of all people. That is why only the Lord himself could be our savior (Isaiah 45:21). Therefore, Christ died once for all (Hebrews 10:10).

He goes on to explain that any life form not of this earth would not be related to us, thus making it disqualified from the sacrifice of Jesus. Not only that, but Romans clearly states that Jesus died once for all (Romans 6:10), so there could never be Him going to another planet to sacrifice Himself for them.

The real question is, “Is there life beyond this earth?” YOU BET THERE IS! Jesus offers us eternal life with Him in heaven! Now, THAT’S a truth that I can believe!!!

It’s an interesting read (if you like that kind of stuff). Read the entire article at:

About Extra-Terrestrial Life

Proverbs 9 7-9-19

July 9, 2019

Yesterday’s bread is old and stale. It was not intended for today. We need today’s bread: The Word of Christ! Dine at His table today.

1 Wisdom has built her house…3 she calls…4 “Let all who are simple [those who do not know the ways of God but want to learn] come to my house!” To those who have no [spiritual] sense she says, “Come…”

Jesus taught us to pray saying, “give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).” He was comparing our fellowship with the Father, our daily sustenance, to manna. In that culture and time, bread was made fresh each day. Yesterday’s bread was dried-out and crusty, and got moldy very quickly. Imagine having fresh-baked bread every morning!

Our daily Bible reading is like eating fresh-baked bread. Why would we try to live on old bread when we can have it fresh each day? Yet, that is exactly what we do! Satan has us fill our lives with so many things that we “don’t have time” to commune with God through His Word. Throughout my years of ministry, I have had two people–each very involved in church life–say to me, “I’m so busy that I don’t have time to sit and read the Bible.” Oh friend, there’s NOTHING that important!

When I don’t really feel like sitting down and reading/talking to God, His Spirit challenges me to call on His higher desire, the one that runs my life, which is to be like Jesus. Because I want to walk with Him and be like Him (that’s what discipleship means), I have learned that I must put to death my feelings and do what I know is the right thing according to the Spirit. The neat thing is that once I start, I really enjoy that time with the Lord. He usually has something very useful that I need for that day.

Take 2 Peter 1:3 for instance.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Let’s insert “today” after “need” and “daily” before the word “knowledge.” Now, read it again:

His divine power has given us everything we need today for a godly life through our daily knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Manna=daily bread=the Word=fresh knowledge

What reassurance we have when we come into fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ knowing that they have been with the Father and have dined with Jesus, thus being transformed into the image of Christ and are exuding His characteristics with renewed vibrance and gusto. Wait–is that NOT how we come to church?! Imagine what it WOULD be like if everyone spent time with God in His Word every morning. WOW!

My prayer for you today:

I pray “that your love may abound more and more in [daily] knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best [today] and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ [daily]–to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11

Let’s dig into His Word. It’s our source of spiritual nutrients and strength, giving us insight and discernment as we learn His ways. Simply put, we can’t afford not to.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20 [We use it as a salvation verse, but it was written to Christians]

 

Proverbs 8 7-8-19

July 8, 2019

Falls Creek. The CAMP Experience. How can we keep up the fervor that we feel? Walk in step with Him EACH DAY.

Chapter 8 has several key verses. Let’s look at them:

5 To you who are simple [unknowing, prone to our own ways], gain prudence [thinking before acting]; you who are foolish [choosing our own way], instruct your minds.

10 Choose my [the Spirit’s] instruction instead of silver, [personal, first-hand] knowledge [of Him and His ways] rather than choice gold,

17 I [Jesus] love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

30 Then I was the craftsman at His side [I AM the Creator of the universe]. I was filled with delight day after day [for those six days], rejoicing always in His presence, 31 rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind [us! This is how it was before sin, and how it is now after the Cross and Resurrection].

32 “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways [stay in step with me]. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. 34 Blessed are those who listen to me [read My Word], watching daily at my doors [ for the Spirit’s leading], waiting at my doorway [not taking a step without Him and His guidance].

You may be wondering from where this “keep in step with the Spirit” idea comes. Paul wrote to the Galatians and told them this:

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

In the previous verses, Paul gave a starter list of how to live NOT by the Spirit:

19 The acts of the flesh [living according to our own will] are obvious: sexual immorality [of any kind], impurity and debauchery [taking to excess], 20 idolatry [putting anything before God in our lives] and witchcraft [manipulation]; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions [choosing sides], factions [us against them] 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who [persistently] live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God [don’t really know Jesus]. Galatians 5:19-21

Wow! What a list! If we focus on this list, it will seem daunting and useless to even try. But, Paul tells us in the letter to the Colossians this:

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ [to walk in newness of life], set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God [and above all things]. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

What things? Back to Galatians 5:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit [in our lives] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law [condemnation–quite the opposite!]. Galatians 5:22-23

If we read His Word daily, He will speak to YOU even as He motivated me to string these verses together this morning (the Jews call it “stringing pearls”).

For the ones who made commitments at Falls Creek this past week, I urge you to:

  1. Read a chapter of Proverbs with me every day (today is the 8th, so we read the 8th chapter).
  2. Read a chapter of 1 John each day until you have read it through 5 times. Why so many? Because it takes at least that to get a handle on the concepts in that letter!
  3. Go to the Category in this website of “For Brand New Christians” and work through the topics there beginning with “What Christ Did” and ending with “Important Things to Know.”
  4. Go to the Category of “The Spirit Within” and read it. It was put together after the Ken Freeman revival for the 110 people who trusted Christ. It’s all about how the Spirit walks with us and us with Him!

Let’s stop focusing on the things of this world and set our minds on the things of Christ. Let’s get serious about our relationship with Him. He has things to teach us and show us, and folks He wants to reach through us.

Proverbs 7 7-7-19

July 7, 2019

What do you expect out of church this morning? Are you going in order to worship Him with fellow believers? or is it just habit?

21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.

Was this her first time to hook him? I doubt it. He knew where to find her (v.8).

We carry momentum through habit, custom, and repetition. Even our brains develop neuropaths through repetition. Habits help us do things quickly and efficiently. Customs help us stay on track. We can use these to our advantage to make corporate worship meaningful–for us AND GOD!

  • Have you spent time in His Word this week? How can you hear His voice if you aren’t “listening” for it?
  • Have you practiced what you have been learning from Him? Leaning on Him for strength, purpose, and determination is vital for Christians. We cannot do anything of spiritual value without Him.
  • Are you excited about joining other Christians in elevating the Father today? It’s what we will be doing for eternity. Let’s adjust our attitudes accordingly.

If you are not prepared for corporate worship this morning, I pray you will repent (turn from the direction you are going and follow Him). You might read 1 John 1-2:6. In there, you will find purpose, relationship, and confirmation of your salvation. I also recommend that you read it in your own traditional Bible (not electronic) so that you can make notes in the margins and “see” it in your mind on the page (it’s part of how we remember).

The time has come when we, His worshipers, worship Him in Spirit and in truth. LET’S DO IT!

Proverbs 6 7-6-19

July 6, 2019

Personal peace comes when we accept our life-circumstances. Jesus meets us where we are and takes us from there to, ultimately, His place.

23 “For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life,”

Jesus gave us some “insider information” in John 9. Let’s look at it:

1 As he [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

In the rest of the chapter, Jesus heals him in a unique fashion; the man gives testimony to the people who knew him and then to the Pharisees. In the end, he worships Jesus and follows Him as a disciple. Neat story.

I see two things in this passage:

  1. Things happen. The “why” is not the important part. Virtually everything is a consequence of something. Most of the time, God works within the natural flow of this world and people’s decisions. He is much more interested in having a relationship with us than He is making us comfortable.
  2. God wants to work a mighty work in each of us. He wants to display His power in our lives. The problem comes when we try to tell God how to manifest His power. It’s part of our arrogance. If we would allow God to take us as we are, where we are, we would find that His Presence and Participation in our lives TRANSFORMS our present circumstances without having to change them.

The Apostle Paul had this conversation with the Lord concerning a certain “thorn in his flesh.” Paul prayed three times asking Him to remove it, but Jesus told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9. How can His power be made perfect in my weakness? Aren’t I supposed to be strong, confident, and courageous for Him to use me? Hardly! In fact, quite the opposite. If we are prisms and we try to produce our own light, we fail. But, if we become transparent, then Christ’s light shines through us in beautiful colors. We need to learn to be transparent.

Paul’s response: Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:9b-10.

Let’s thank God for our circumstances, that He meets us in those circumstances, whether they are of our own making or not, and transforms them for His glory. Jesus wants a personal, on-going, transformational relationship with us. Let’s be as transparent with Him as we can be, thus allowing as much of Him as we can to shine THROUGH us to those around us.

Want to be beautiful? Allow Christ to shine through you.

Proverbs 5 7-5-19

July 4, 2019

We are never more like Jesus than when we turn from darkness to His light, reflecting His face and His glory to the world.

6 She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.

The problem with our natural thinking is that, just like this woman’s, it is susceptible to deceitful desires. These desires are prompted by Satan, amplified through our own sinful hearts, and acted upon by our sinful nature out of pride, arrogance, weakness, lust, etc.

The Spirit of God comes to live in our hearts–effectively, Jesus–and we now have a new desire that combats our fleshly desires. Here is Paul’s description of the new process;

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; Ephesians 4:22

It sounds like it’s up to us, and in a way, it is, but not like we might think. We are ALREADY made righteous, blameless, and holy; WE ARE PRINCES AND PRINCESSES! We are simply learning to act like children of the King.

Jesus told us that “whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:21″ John tells us that grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17. So, how do we mesh these concepts?

  1. We turn from darkness to the Light.
  2. Jesus reveals our wickedness with the truth.
  3. Through His grace, and with the help of His Spirit, we turn from our old ways that have been exposed to the Light; we are “made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 [having] put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph. 4:23-24
  4. Every time we turn from our dark ways to His ways, from our old self to our new self, we reflect Jesus to the world. When we face Jesus, we are like mirrors–or even prisms!

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory [let the Lord’s glory shine through us], are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

It’s not about how good we are, or even how good we can become. It’s about reflecting His glory. ANY SINNER can do that by turning from darkness to light. From the moment we are saved, we reflect. Our part is to keep the mirror/prism clean so that His image is clearly seen by those around us. The neat part is that the cleaner our mirror/prism is, the better WE see Him, too!

Let’s let His light shine through us as we put off the old self and put on the new self. Let’s keep our mirrors/prisms clean and shiny!

Proverbs 4 7-4-19

July 4, 2019

We believe in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution even though we were not there when they were written because we see their effects, so why is it so hard to believe in the Bible, particularly, the Great Flood? The evidence is all around us!

God tells us, 4b “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.”

God spent four entire chapters detailing the account of the Great Flood. The import of this event is beyond comprehension, but, let’s give it a try:

  1. The Flood sets up civilization from Noah’s three sons.
  2. The geography of the world was remade by the Flood.
  3. Our atmosphere and weather are consequences from the Flood.
  4. Natural disasters are part of those consequences.
  5. Our solar system contains evidence of the Flood.
  6. The world is on a timer because of the Flood.

Jesus believed in the Great Flood. His remarks are recorded in both Matthew and Luke. Let’s look at both:

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:36-39

26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27

Jesus not only believed in the event, He likened His Second Coming to that event! He did the same thing with Jonah by tying His resurrection to that “story,” thus validating it as an actual event:

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:39-40

It is ludicrous to think that Jesus would tie these two major events to fictitious stories.

There is much evidence around us concerning the Great Flood. To name a few:

  1. The mid-Atlantic ridge that runs between The American continents and Europe/Africa is part of a larger ridge that goes around the Indian ocean and circles the Pacific continents. It’s where the world nearly split apart.
  2. The violent rupture and the steam pressure from those eruptions was sufficient to blow water and chunks of mantle into space. The face of the moon is pocked with enough water to fill the Caribbean sea. Mars has evidence of water on it, and Saturn’s rings have water crystals that may have come from earth.
  3. Many asteroids in space have traces of earth’s mantle in them.
  4. The 12 major rivers of the world have only enough silt deposits at their mouths to account for 4500 years-about the the of the Flood!
  5. Surface reefs found one mile down in the Pacific Ocean account for the dropping of the entire floor, as does the double shelf found along the continents.
  6. The warping of the earth is evidence of the Flood. Our earth is still trying to reshape itself from that cataclysmic event.
  7. The earth is off-axis and is continuing to drift. This drift began in 2345 BC–about the time of the Flood.

There is much more evidence. I am working on a PowerPoint presentation that includes creation facts and flood facts. Be looking for it soon…

Jesus believed the great Flood happened. If we believe Him for salvation, why would we doubt anything else He said?

Proverbs 3 7-3-19

July 3, 2019

Is anyone wiser than Solomon? Even from a secular perspective, his reign was beyond compare. What did he believe about Creation?

19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; 20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

Yesterday, we looked at Jesus’ claims of Deity in the Gospels, which I wholeheartedly believe (anyone who claims to be able to rise from the dead–and pulls it off–is worth listening to!). Today, we look at what Jesus said about Creation.

4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

Jesus was quoting Genesis 1:27 and 2:24. He believed in the writings of Moses. We take them on faith whereas Jesus was the Prompter of those writings. WHAT?! Let’s look:

In the beginning was the Word…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1, 14

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40

Here is a case-in-point: Moses was instructed to strike the rock at Horeb once and water would gush forth (Ex. 17:6. Note that the pre-incarnate Jesus stood before him there at the rock). Later, when the Israelites came back to this place, the water had dried up, so Moses was instructed to SPEAK to the rock for water to gush forth again. But, he struck it–twice. The first event was to act as an illustration of Jesus being living water and was to die for us (see 1 Cor. 10:1-4). The second event was to be an illustration that Jesus had to die only once; He did NOT need to be struck (die) again. Moses ruined the illustration, but we get the picture. The point is that it was all about Jesus.

Back to Creation. Note in Matthew 19 that Jesus says, “at the beginning.” He also calls God, “the Creator.” It doesn’t get any plainer than that.

But, a person may say, “That doesn’t explain the 6 days = millions of years” theory. Consider this: The same Person (Jesus) who said that there was a beginning and that God is the Creator also said that He is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28). The Sabbath is taken from creation where God rested on the seventh day and made it holy (Gen. 2:2-3, Ex. 31:17 “It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” Note that in the next verse, we find that this command was inscribed into the two tablets written by the finger of God!). So, six days are six days. Add the Sabbath, and we have one week. It’s pretty simple, really. Sometimes we are too “smart” for our own good.

I have never understood how people can believe God for salvation through Jesus, yet disregard the REST of His Word. Their logic is unsound. I pray that you will find comfort and courage in the Word of TRUTH today.

Proverbs 2 7-2-19

July 2, 2019

Do you believe Jesus? Do you believe that the disciples wrote His words down correctly? That God has kept His words correct, uncorrupted and complete for 2,000 years?

1 My son [children], if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding–9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart [the Holy Spirit], and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

What can we gain by reading Jesus’ words? What did He say? Let’s start with His claims to be God’s Son:

There are many verses in Matthew where Jesus calls God His Father, such as 12:50, 16:17, 18:10, 18:19, and then a couple in Matthew that are specific:

Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” There is no mistaking Jesus’ claim that God is His Father. The next verse, as well:

Matthew 26:53 “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

John’s whole purpose in his gospel account was to show that Jesus is God’s Son. In 5:17, Jesus said that His Father is always working, and so was He. Here is the leaders’ reaction:

John 5:18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus went on to tell them that He only does what He sees the Father doing (I assume that the Holy Spirit was revealing it to Him in real time). He goes on to tell them that the Father loves Him and even gives Him the power to raise the dead! In verse 36, He tells them that His works are evidence to His relationship with the Father. Oh, that they had believed!

In John 6:32, Jesus claims to be the Bread of Heaven, much like manna was to the Israelites in the desert. It was a precursor to the Lord’s Supper where He took the bread and said that it was His body (a very specific piece of bread, one that had been pierced, then covered and hidden, just as His body would be in the coming hours).

Chapter 8 contains a great dialogue between Jesus and the leaders. He makes reference to His relationship to God the Father numerous times:

8:18-19 Jesus claims that God testifies about Him and that God sent Him.

8:54-55 Jesus makes it very clear, “My Father, whom you claim as your God…”

Verse 58 says it loud and clear, “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” The phrase, “I AM,” is God’s revealed title to Moses in Exodus 3:14. Jesus claimed not only that He was God’s Son, but to be God Himself in the flesh! I don’t know why this claim came as a shock to them. Isaiah had predicted it 700 years before:

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel–which means, “God with us.”

In chapter 10 of John, Jesus declares that:

17-18 He has been given power by His Father to lay down His life and take it up again;

29-33 He and the Father are one, and the leaders knew that He claimed to be God.

In chapter 14 as He was teaching His disciples on that last night, He spoke very plainly. In verses 9-11, Jesus tells them that they have seen the Father because they have seen Him. If they don’t believe it, at least believe the works (miracles) He did.

Verses 20-21, 23-24, 26, 28, and 31 all speak of His relationship with the Father and with the Spirit. Don’t believe in the Trinity? Then read chapters 14-16 and get back with me!

15:15, 23-24, 16:23-28, and 32-33 give us more evidence of Jesus’ deity and His relationship with the Father.

The BEST verses where Jesus makes His claim are:

John 4:26 Jesus is talking to the woman at the well. She brings up the coming of the Messiah. Jesus declares, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

John 20:17 The day Jesus rose from the dead–thus proving that He is God–He met with Mary Magdalene. When she wouldn’t quit clinging to His feet, He told her, “Do not [continue to] hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” That’s pretty clear!

Since we now have no doubts about Jesus’ deity, we can trust everything He told us in His Word as was recorded by the writers of the Gospels and has been protected and sustained through these many centuries.

Tomorrow, we will look at what Jesus has to say about Creation, and Noah and the Great Flood.

Proverbs 1 7-1-19

July 1, 2019

Christianity is much more about our relationship/fellowship with God than it is what we DO for God.

22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my heart to you and make my thoughts known to you.” – Wisdom

The wisdom of the Old Covenant was based upon people’s works to show them that they were incapable of living a righteous life on their own; their sin got in the way. THEY NEEDED A SAVIOR. It was true then and it’s true for us now.

I’ve always struggled to see how verses 24-31 reflected the heart of God. They seem rather petty, “I in turn will laugh..I will mock…they will call to me but I will not answer…” Then I realized that this way of thinking was in line with the Old Covenant. Even by living according to wisdom, they could not live a righteous life. It took faith in the Lord’s grace, that He would grant to them His favor regardless of how well they were living–or in spite of how they were living.

The New Covenant, based upon Christ’s love for us and His sacrifice in our place, puts this passage into perspective. The writer of Hebrews states for us,

“It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Heb. 10:4

Paul tells us in Galatians that Christ fulfilled the law and offers us God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice,

21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! Therefore, 20 I [consider myself to] have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Proverbs 1:32 is still applicable: For the waywardness of the simple [a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil] will kill them, and the complacency of fools [those who know the right thing to do, but won’t do it] will destroy them [because sin destroys us–that’s why God hates it]; while verse 33 must be read with New Covenant eyes: but whoever listens to me [we listen to the Holy Spirit] will live in safety [our salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit] and be at ease [concerning earning salvation], without fear of harm [eternal separation from God].

The best way to interpret the Old Testament is in light of the New Testament. The Levitical law was given to Moses and the Israelites, a special person and a special people. It was designed to show that NO ONE, even God’s chosen people, can be saved by their works. If we become conscious of our sin and our separation of God, then the Old Covenant has done its job. In the words of Jesus,

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

We read Proverbs because Solomon was the wisest man on earth, but we read Proverbs through the lens of the New Testament, the Law of Love and a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

As you read, listen. He is speaking to you through His words. His Spirit will help you apply them to your life.

Proverbs 30 6-30-19

June 30, 2019

When we walk with Jesus, we walk in the light of His glory. We are transformed into His likeness just by being with Him!

4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know!

The answer to these questions can be found in the Gospels. Let’s look at them:

Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Let’s reverse the order, Who has come down from heaven and gone up? The answer is Jesus!

In John 3:13, Jesus tells us, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.” This reference is to Daniel 7:13-14, which is a description of the Messiah, the Anointed One. In other words, Himself. We also read where He ascended into heaven in Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:9-11.

Next question: Whose hands have gathered up the wind? We find in Mark 4:35-41 that Jesus calmed the storm with a simple command, “Peace. Be still.” Jesus is Lord of the wind and waves.

Next question: Who has established all the ends of the earth? This answer is a bit more subtle in that Jesus gave us a microcosm of creation as evidence that He is Lord of creation. In John 2:1-11, we read the account of Jesus turning water into wine.

  1. There are six stone water jars, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons (v.6).
  2. Jesus had the servants fill them with water. Note that the servants filled them to the brim (v.7). Now, that’s faith!
  3. When the master of the banquet tasted the wine, it was perfectly aged and was the best wine at the banquet (v.9-10).

Conclusion: Jesus is Lord of creation. The process of aging the wine is exactly the same as the process of creating a world and universe that LOOKS OLD in just six days. Was it coincidence that there were SIX water pots…?

Next question: What is his name, and what is the name of his son? John tells us all we need to know in 20:31, But these [accounts] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. If we believe that He is, indeed, the Son of God, our Messiah, then we will love Him and serve Him wholeheartedly. If we don’t, then chances are we do not truly believe, or we are not interested in serving Him. John explains:

3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil [and they didn’t want to change]. 20 Everyone who [continually] does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their [continuous] deeds will be exposed.

If we truly love the Lord Jesus, we will desire to walk in His light more than we want to do evil deeds [which is anything not directed/sanctioned by the Spirit]. Living according to the Spirit is to be like Jesus. As soon as we turn from darkness into His light, we ARE LIKE HIM. Becoming like Jesus simply means that we walk according to His light on a regular basis, listening and obeying the Spirit even as He did (see John 3:34, 5:19-20).

Let’s walk in His light today praising Him together in our respective places of worship.

TRUST AND OBEY
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
until all on the altar we lay,
For the favor He shows and the joy He bestows
are for them who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.