Week 6 - Actions and Compromise

July 31, 2009

Greetings Believers! Here are some nuggets we gleaned from the bible study for daily life in Him. I pray that God will speak something to you as he did to us.

We began week 6 in 2 Timothy Chapter 2, there were many different things that were mentioned in this chapter to teach us all about living out what we say we believe. God was giving instructions though Paul to Timothy concerning many different situations that may come up in his time of ministry.

Verse two is important as Paul is telling Timothy to entrust his teachings to reliable men who can also teach others…Paul knew that one man can’t do it all and that there must be a sharing of the responsibility. He reminds Timothy that he is to behave as a soldier, athlete and/or farmer in regards to pleasing God and living by his principles. (Vs.4-7).

Paul was enduring hardship in chains in order that the elect would obtain salvation. (vs10) Am I willing to endure hardship for that purpose as well?

The saying in verse 13 especially caught my eye that no matter what God is faithful (this is my paraphrase)! How true!

We also must be people who correctly handle the word of truth (vs. 15) and the only way to be able to do that is to study the word of truth! I would like to challenge you as we were to think about what your plan of action would be if tribulation came upon the church today and we couldn’t do “church as usual”. Do you know the word well enough to handle it correctly? It is a sharp two-edged sword and it can cut others and ourselves deeply. It is also a powerful tool to protect and encourage you during hard times.

Verses 14, 16, and 19 talk about getting into “stupid” arguments over words. I think Paul is saying, “time to grow up church!” Verses24-26 shows how servants of the Lord are to conduct themselves when confronted with an argument of opposition in order that... “God will grant them (those who oppose) repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,” (NIV vs.25) People are watching us (believers) to see if we are who we say we are and if what we say we believe is real.

Another interesting side point is that we can’t even repent unless God grants it to us.
God then led us to Exodus 19, here again God is giving his man of the hour, Moses, instruction. Moses suffers for the people going up and down the mountain and entering into places others fear to tread so that they may be spared. God is Holy and we are to fear him with awe and respect. Things are to be done as he commands.

Sometimes I think the general consensus among believers is that we have the grace of God and therefore we don’t have to live exactly as the bible instructs us to. Can’t we have a little fun? I had an experience this week that I’d like to share. I took my kids school shopping and on the way they wanted to listen to secular music. Some songs came on the radio that I remembered from my youth and I said to my kids that they were good songs…until I actually heard the lyrics…YIKES!

Later that evening we were watching a show about a particular bounty hunter dude who shall remain nameless who says Jesus this and Jesus that and with his next breath says things quite the contrary. Now I am in no way judging this man because we all have things that God is working out of our lives, however, what this experience did do was to show me how my little compromises and having a little “fun” could ruin my testimony in the eyes of others. This reminds me of 2 Timothy 2 that we had read previously.

Bottom line is that God gives us instructions within his word about his holiness and how we are to live for a reason that being to live in such a way as to bring glory and honor to God. By the way, if you are reading this you must either have a test coming or there are some areas that God is speaking to you about and you know them as I did.

Don’t be like the people in Exodus 20:18-21 who didn’t want to go near to God on their own and just wanted to hear what God had to say through Moses. Listen to the encouragement of Moses in verse 20, “Don’t be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

And verse 21 says… “The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.” It is sad in a way that the people chose not to draw near to God on their own but it is an encouragement to see that in the midst of the darkest thickest blackness God is there.

If you are wondering what I did about the music thing, here’s what happened…the Lord granted me repentance and I went to my children and repented before them for my compromise. They were loving and gracious with me as always and instantly forgave me. It was a wonderful teaching moment for all of us on the subject of compromise.

Please hear me, I don’t think secular music is bad but I am personally convicted that for my life it does no good. If I am going to have a song stuck in my head I want it to be full of praise for Jesus!

Week 5 - Wisdom from the Word

July 24, 2009

Wow, this week was awesome! Here’s the list…James3: 13-18, James 4:1-10, Psalms 37, Jeremiah 12, Judges 3, Matthew 25: 1-13, and Daniel 10.

James 3: 13-18 – Two kinds of Wisdom. Where are we getting our wisdom? Under what spirit’s influence are we living our lives? The bible is very clear about the two sources being either good or evil and they are easy to recognize.

James 4: 1-10 – These first few verses give a clear picture of someone who is living life from evil wisdom and the last few give us the way to godly wisdom. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Vs.6) Here we learned that we are to be humble before the Lord and this theme carried on throughout the evening. I’d also like to note that in verse 9, God wants us to get serious!

Psalm 37 gave us further examples of wisdom and instruction about living like God wants us to live. Chapter 37 was packed with promises and advise about the wicked. It seems like some people can live like the devil and have everything go their way. But Psalm 37 makes it clear what will happen to the wicked…they won’t get away with their wickedness and God will make sure of that.

There were many action words in this psalm and there are things we need to do on our part some of these words are…Trust verse 3, delight (4), commit (5), be still (7), refrain (8), turn (21), and wait (34). There were wonderful promises associated with these action words, check it out.

Jeremiah 12 fit beautifully with Psalm 37 as Jeremiah is frustrated about the wicked always getting their way. He complains to God about this even going so far as to tell God to butcher them like sheep! (vs.3) He vents his anger to God and God responds in verses 9 to the end of the chapter by saying…(my paraphrase) look, Jeremiah, if these little things distract you and make you mad what will you do when life really gets tough!?

God goes on to explain to Jeremiah just how he will deal with the wicked, first from among his own people and then from other nations. God ends with compassion for the wicked saying in verses 15-17 that he will restore anyone who does things his way but if they want to continue with their own ways they will be destroyed.

Judges 3 shows the crazy cycle that we all get on when idols get in the way of our relationship with God.
1. The people worshipped idols therein being disobedient to God (literally having an affair in his eyes).
2. God would send a nation to take them into captivity and slavery.
3. The people would cry out to God.
4. God would send someone to deliver them.

Not just in Judges can you see this cycle but it goes on and on throughout the bible and also in our own lives. In our society, we are enslaved to such things as payments, fatty bodies, food, money, credit card companies, trends, drugs, alcohol and the list goes on. We become slaves to the very things we worship just as the Israelites did.

Matthew 25: 1-13 reminded us to be ready and watching on every occasion for Jesus to return. I wouldn’t want to be caught unprepared when Jesus came, that would be very foolish. We touched on the fact that verse 5 says that all ten virgins were asleep. The virgins represent the church as we are the Bride of Christ. (Revelation 19:7-8, 21: 1-4)

Some were ready in a moments notice and some were not but even the ones who were ready were sleeping at the time. No one will have this thing down perfect but when the trumpet sounds it is too late to get serious about your faith in God.

Finally in Daniel 10, Daniel receives a revelation about future events from a man, but not just any man. This scripture shows us our frailty in the presence of God. Daniel becomes weak and falls on his face before the presence of God.

It is only as the man (Jesus) speaks to him that he gains strength enough to stand but even then Daniel says in verse 17 that he can’t even speak and is barely breathing. Again the man speaks to Daniel and as the words “peace, be strong now, be strong” are spoken he regains enough energy to speak.

We talked about how this is also a perfect representation of Ephesians 6:12 from last week. Without God we are nothing and cannot fight in the spiritual realm, even this man needed help!

We are to use the wisdom God gives us, to live godly lives pleasing to our Savior. It’s time to let the things of this world go that so easily ensnare us and run the race marked out for us from the beginning of time. It is a warning to every member of the Body of Christ to know him and be watching and ready for his return.

It is a cry from the heart of God to those who don’t know him to humble themselves before him and come to know him! In these end days, there is no more time for games! It’s time for every believer to live the life we’ve been called to and stop making excuses. This was a very sobering study for us but very necessary. I’m glad for the discipline of God that tells me of his love for me.

Week 4 - A Call to Go & to Stand

July 18, 2009

This week our study was from Jeremiah 33: 1-11, Genesis 12:1-9, Genesis 2: 2-3, John 14: 1-14, Ephesians 6:10-18, Matthew 4: 1-11, and Proverbs 3.

There were several things that the Lord was teaching us this week and as promised here are the highlights. Once again we were in awe how the Holy Spirit organized his word to bring us a message.

We began with Jeremiah 33: 1-11 these scriptures refer to the restoring of God’s people. He wants to restore us, heal us and bless us but he will deal with sin. The verse that came out the most was verse 3 in which God says to his people “…Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

This fit beautifully with the Genesis 12:1-9 in which Abram is called by God to go by faith to a land God will show him. A blessing is also given to Abram and he obeys. Genesis 2:2-3 was about God resting from his creating. If God rested then surely we ought to rest as well. The rest of chapter two is about how God created man and woman…he formed us from the dust! He knows us inside and out.

John 14 pulled things together because here Jesus comforts his disciples telling about where he is going. He even goes so far as to tell them that they know the way to where he is going (vs. 4) and this sparks a question. Good ole Thomas is brave enough to ask in verse 5 which gives Jesus the open door “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” is Jesus’ answer. As his disciples call unto Jesus for an answer he reveals to them “great and unsearchable things.”

They are as Abram leaving all they knew following Jesus and he lovingly restores them to life through himself. Beautiful. Here is how the Old Testament promises God made come to life and this continues every day through each one of his people who follow him. Jesus continues to speak the truth to them by revealing to them who he is and who they are and the broad scope of what God will do through them!

Let’s recap…

1. Call to God and he will tell you things you don’t know; God wants to restore his people.
2. God blesses Abram and calls to him to go by faith to a place God will show him.
3. If God rested we can too. God formed us, he knows us intimately. God is in control.
4. Jesus is the way that we should go! God calls us and then by his sovereign hand leads and restores us but the only way is through Jesus.
5. If we know Jesus then we know the Father and He wants to do great things through those who know and follow him.

Then at this point the conversation seemed to switch gears to temptation and how to handle things that are thrown at us by the Adversary. Ephesians 6: 10-18 clearly shows us that we don’t battle against people so there is no need to take offense against anyone but that our battle is against “…rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (vs. 12)

There is a very real spiritual demention to life. We tend to live on the physical level but most of where the battle of life takes place is on the spiritual level. We talked about the armor that God has given us and how it protects us from the enemy.

It was interesting to us that in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was LED into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted. The question arose, “Does the Holy Spirit lead us to a place to be tempted?” Is this why Jesus teaches us to pray not to be led into temptation but to be delivered from evil in Matthew 6:9? Jesus does not resist the temptation on his own but says “It is written,” using the word of God (the sword of the Spirit from Ephesians 6).

If Jesus had to use the armor and weapons of God for spiritual warfare why do we think we can just handle things on our own? No wonder we get beat up and fail when temptation comes our way! Finally, we talked about wisdom, knowledge and understanding and how when we have these three we can easily see the underlying battle and quickly go to the Lord for help.

Proverbs 3 speaks of the value of all three of these qualities and how they help us in our every day battle to live in such a way that brings us life, prosperity and peace. It shows us how much we need God and his ways to make through this perilous journey.

God wants to restore us and bless us but sin has to go and Jesus is the way! Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord and he is always in control. If you find yourself in a place of temptation remember how Jesus responded and swing the sword of the Spirit cutting down to the truth of the matter. The word of God is powerful and it is our defense! Quickly turn to Jesus because he is the way!

Week 3- Bible Study Notes

July 10, 2009

Week 3 of the bible study produced these results…the scriptures we read were:
Mark 11, Romans 12, Joshua 9 and Leviticus 10: 1-11. We had scriptures coming from every corner of the bible and yet once again they all fit together beautifully.

Mark 11 was where we began and the things that stood out to us in this chapter were:

Jesus tells his disciples to get a colt and without question they obey and find things just as Jesus said. Jesus comes into Jerusalem as the people, whether they understand the full meaning of what they are saying or not, acknowledge that Christ is the Savior. Then the gears seem to switch as Jesus curses the fig tree because it doesn’t have any fruit and then cleans the temple clock so to speak.

As Jesus goes out of the city past the same fig tree that has now withered, his disciples are amazed and it’s almost like Jesus says forget about the tree have faith in God this is just an illustration to teach you about believing and praying for something in faith. Faith and obedience runs throughout these scriptures. Trust in God!

We had a laugh over how Jesus handled the chief priests, teachers and elders in Matthew 11:27-33. They come to him thinking they have the authority and Jesus lets them know who is really in control! I love it! But we do the same thing when we come to God and say, “God! Why are you doing this?” Implying without thinking the question, by what authority do you do this to me? And the fact of the matter is that he doesn’t have to answer any of our questions, He is God.

In Romans 12, we were reminded of how we should act toward other people even if they wrong us. We learned that no one is above another and that we all have a part in God’s plan. Forgiveness is important if we want to be forgiven by the Father and revenge is God’s territory to deal with.

So to add to the thread, we have lessons in trust, faith, obedience, humbleness, and forgiveness. Sounds like we we’re off to a good start!

Joshua 9 is the story of how the Israelites got deceived by the Gibeonites because verse 14 says “… (The men of Israel) did not inquire of the Lord.” Long story short the Israelites made a treaty with these people and caused a lot of trouble for themselves down the road all because they didn’t ask the Lord what they were to do.

From here I think it’s safe to add to the ribbon of wisdom that we should continually ask the Lord about situations that arise especially where we think deception may be in operation in order to save us a lot of grief.

Leviticus 10:1-11 is an interesting story about two of Aarons sons who didn’t do things God’s way and were fried by him! Their father Aaron and his other two sons watched as God dealt with their disrespect and sloppy disobedience. Moses reminded Aaron that God’s judgments were righteous and that he should not mourn his sons who had been fried by the Lord’s presence.

Interesting enough in verse 7 Moses warns Aaron that he shouldn’t leave the Tent of Meeting because he would die because the Lord’s anointing oil was on him and after some other instruction he told Aaron that he must teach all the Israelites all that he had just learned.

To bring all this together we learned about trust, faith, obedience, humbleness, and forgiveness. We learned that no matter how we are treated we must leave that in God’s hand. We also learned to ask God what to do in situations where we feel that there may be deception involved before we make decisions.

And last but not least…God is Holy and he and his ways will be respected and obeyed and that experiences we’ve had with God must be taught to others in the faith. I’m sure that there was a lot more in the depths of the scriptures we studied but this is what the Holy Spirit revealed to us at the time and I have a feeling that there is more to come!

I love how God is leading us into very foundational things and putting them deep within us to build upon.

Bible Study Review

July 5, 2009

It’s been a long weekend since we had our bible study but here are the scriptures the Lord led us to and what the Lord was saying to his Body. Ephesians 4:1-16, John 5: 16-47, Matthew 13 1:23, and Galatians 6:2

To recap last week’s bible study we learned that evangelism is simply speaking to others at the appointed time what God has done in our lives. God gives the “breath” or life and he is in control.

Ephesians 4 1-16: We are all one in the Body of Christ and God holds the body together (vs.6). We each have different gifts in dealing with people and we must work together to be the most efficient. It’s time to mature and not be children anymore in the things we believe. Speak truth to one another in love and remember again that God is in control.

This scripture spoke to us of who we are and the gifts God has given to each one of us for the purpose of building others up in the Lord to strengthen the Body. It was the overview of what God was speaking.

John 5:16-47 were words spoken from Jesus concerning the work that he was doing. We found it very interesting that in verses 19 and 30 Jesus tells the people that he can do nothing by himself but that it is the Father working through him. If Jesus can do nothing by himself then surely we ought to have the same attitude but often we think we can just handle things on our own.

The Father was in complete control even of the Son. The Father and the Son both give life and raise the dead. There are two kinds of dead people. Verse 24 says (NIV), “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

The first kind of dead are those who are walking around who have not heard the word and believed in Christ. They are dead men walking. They have not crossed over from death to life. You must be one who is not in the grave to hear and believe. Jesus goes on to tell the people that “… the time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (Vs.25 NIV)

Jesus is speaking to the people right then about himself but as we will see some heard (or understood) what he was saying and some didn’t. Jesus goes on to tell the people that he is the one who judges who will receive and have life and who won’t. That sure blows the “God box” doesn’t it?

Jesus continues his teaching about the other kind of dead in verse 28 and he says “…for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and COME OUT!” (Emphasis mine). WOO HOO! This is my personal favorite kind because Danni will be coming with them!! HALLELUIA!!

So, in order to hear up to this point what God was and is saying is simply this…we who are “alive to Christ” have gifts and a job to do to encourage those who are in Christ and speak the gospel to those who are with us as “dead men walking”. It is God who is control and does the work and he decides who, what, when and where. We just need to have an understanding of the challenge we are faced with and a willing and obedient heart.

The Holy Spirit went on to teach us in Matthew 13: 1-23 about the different ways that people receive or don’t receive the gospel and why.

In verses 3 & 4, a farmer is sowing seed and some of it falls on the path and gets eaten by birds. Jesus explains in verse 19 that these are people who hear but don’t understand the word and Satan comes and steals it from them.

Verse 5 & 6 says that the seed falls on rocky places where there isn’t much soil but it springs up only to be scorched by the sun because the soil is shallow and the plants don’t have any roots. Verse 20 sheds light on the deeper meaning of this verse speaking about the person who receives the word with joy but because the seed doesn’t take root his enthusiasm for God lasts only a short time.

Verse 7 talks of the seed that has fallen into thorns and is choked out; the meaning of this comes in verse 22. These are people that the worries of life and their wealth stop them from growing in their knowledge and understanding of the word.

The last is who we all want to be (vs. 8) the good soil multiplying a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown into it. The answer comes in verse 23, “… is the man who hears the word and understands it.” This man is promised a bumper crop! It is a done deal! These are laws and principles of the Kingdom of God.

There are promising and warning words that Jesus speaks to his disciples in verse 12, “Whoever has will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” Here again Jesus is asserting his control as he is the “judge” of these things as we learned in John 5. As a side note, further down in Matthew 13 is the story of the mustard seed and I encourage you to take some time and think about this parable and verse 12 together.

Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 in this passage citing people who close their ears, eyes and hearts not wanting to hear or see what God wants to speak to them. Doing this causes their hearts to become calloused over time so that they can barely see, hear or understand God’s words to them. One more time Jesus conveys his control over the matter telling the disciples that these things were being revealed to them but not to others. (Vs.17).

I can see how God is building from the last bible study to now and I greatly anticipate hearing his voice again next week. I want to acknowledge that it is the Holy Spirit who is guiding us as I have no virtue within myself and I thank him for his great grace that he so freely gives to us, the Body of Christ.

God is not one to play favorites and the same Holy Spirit that was in Jesus, John, Peter, Paul, and the list goes on is the same Holy Spirit in you and me teaching and training us for what is to come. I am humbled to sit and learn more about him from him.

To Mona

July 1, 2009

We have recently crossed the 6 month bridge from Danni's day of healing.

I just want to say thank you to Mona who sent me her loving words.

Your kindness to me brought tears to my eyes and God's love to my heart. Thank you for your obedience to him, your words came with his perfect timing.

God's blessings to your and yours,