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I’m Late, I’m Late for a Very Important Da…errr… Discovery! (Part #2)

SIH STSTA ICONWe have previously looked at seven different scientific “discoveries” that were first revealed to man by God in His Word.  It was only after many years that the scientific community “caught up” to the Bible, and affirmed the existence of these wonders of nature.

Unfortunately for mankind, a majority of the scientific community has still not caught up to the Bible.  In particular, there are at least two scientific truths revealed in the Bible that science has not accepted, but has actually rejected.  The denials of these truths have widespread ramifications for all of mankind.

THE SCRIPTURE:

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.  (Rom 1:20-23)

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.  (Psa 139:13-18)

THE STUDY:

Here in Rom 1:20-22, the Bible describes men who have blinded themselves to the revelation of the Creator that is found in nature (Psa 19:1-6, Isa 40:22-26, Psa 8:3-9).  By misleading themselves, they deny the very existence of a Creator God.  These verses can easily be applied to many scientists that have existed both in the past and the present day.  They have claimed much wisdom and, yet, are shown to be foolish, by denying the unquestionable evidence of God found in all of nature.

There is at least one other truth that science has yet to come to accept.  In Psa 139:13-18 – we find the truth that a child’s life begins at the child’s conception.  It is at conception that the child’s formation begins with the receipt of their genetic code (the book), before any of the child’s distinct body parts were existing (that which is unperfect).  It is this genetic code that dictates how the child’s members are fashioned and formed.     The Bible makes it a very plain truth that, at conception, a child exists with a life of their own.  This is proven by possessing a distinct genetic code (DNA) from their mother’s body.  God was actively at work in the life of this child while yet in it’s mother’s womb. (Jer 1:5, Psa 71:5-6, Isa 49:1 + 5, Gal 1:15-16, Luke 1:15, Psa 22:10)

Because most of science has actively denied the obvious facts of the existence of a Creator God and the existence of life at the conception of a child, we are forced to question every “discovery” that science comes up with.  We must compare any scientific discovery with Biblical teachings and call into question any discovery that is not supported by Biblical teachings.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Why is the recognition of a divine Creator so important for mankind?  God’s role as Creator is the very origin of His authority over all (Roms 9:20-23).  Because God created us He can do with us as He pleases. He is our ultimate lawgiver, our judge, and our King all because He made us.  To do away with His creatorship, is to do away with His authority over all mankind and mankind’s need to submit to His will and way. (Dan 4:34-37)

The truth that life begins at conception is very important for mankind to understand.  Most importantly, the murdering of the innocent life (abortion) is a heinous sin, bringing to a society God’s hottest wrath (Matt 18:3-14, Hosea 13:16).

Also, the principle of the value of HUMAN life, no matter at what stage of development, is essential to the existence of our form of society.  Our founders believed every person has a right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  By taking the right to life from the youngest members of our society opens the door to taking the right to life from others as well.  Older American’s right to life is now being threatened.

The “value to society” of both the youngest and the oldest of our nation is now being discussed openly.  This is leading to a belief that if a person does not contribute to society, their life is of less value. This will lead to the taking of more life as time progresses.

If we are saved, we need to be aware of the changes to our society that are taking place and the belief system that is leading to these changes.  As the Lord says “the truth shall make you free”.  Our responsibility as Christians is to stand up for the Word of God by teaching our acquaintances and family the truths about God’s creatorship and life’s value.   We should also be voting for those who believe these truths so that our government will begin to uphold these Godly, Biblical values.  Finally, we should PRAY that the Lord would intervene in our nation and bring about a spirit of repentance upon our people so that our nation would turn from its sin and God’s wrath would be withheld.

For those who have not turned from their sins and turned to Christ as Lord and Savior…  study the Bible with an open mind, and see the great truths He has revealed to man.  Believe His Word, trust His message about His Son and look to Jesus for forgiveness for your sin.  He will abundantly pardon. (Act 4:10-12)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

I’m Late I’m Late for a Very Important Da…errr… Discovery! (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICONThe contents of the Word of God never cease to astound me.  I’ll never forget one of the first times this ever happened to me…  I was a young guy in Lexington Baptist College doing an assignment for a class.

This assignment led me to read Isaiah 40:22 – “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, …(Isa 40:22)

“Whoa, wait a minute”, I mentally said to myself.  Here, the Bible is making a very plain statement of fact that the earth is a globe and not flat.   No big deal, right?  We all know this is true.

But there was one big problem with this…. Isaiah 40 was written 2700 years ago in approximately 700 – 750 BC (give or take a few years).  The first recorded teachings (apart from the Bible) that THEORIZED the earth was round were written by Greek philosophers over 200 years later.   The roundness of the earth was not PROVEN until Magellan’s voyages in 1500 AD.   So in other words, what the Bible stated as fact in 700 BC; man did not prove until over 2000 years later.

This is one event that solidified my reliance on Holy Scripture as truly being the very Words of God.  How could any man know this long before mankind had discovered it?   The answer was very plain… no man could know this…. only God could have revealed it to mankind.   Truly, the Bible is God’s Word!!!

The following is a list of other scientific “discoveries” first stated as fact in the Bible.  Please note that in each case, science did not theorize, nor prove these truths, for many years after God had already revealed them to mankind in His Word…

  1. Job 26:7 – the earth is suspended in the heavens by gravity.  It is not resting on the back of a turtle, elephant or other animal.  This was stated 2800 years before gravity was discovered.
  2. Gen 7:1 – fountains, springs, or wells exist on the ocean’s bottom.  The first of these were discovered in 1977.
  3. Eccl 1:6 – the existence of the trade winds.  Most people believe was first discovered by mankind in 1840s
  4. Isa 45:12 – the universe is constantly being “stretched out” (expanding) – First theorized in the 1960s and 1970s
  5. 2 Sam 22:16 – there are “channels” (valleys) in the bottom of the ocean – First proven in the early to mid 1900s.
  6. Psa 8:8 there are ocean “paths” (currents) under the surface of the ocean – First discovered in the 1800’s
  7. Job 36:27-28 – the water cycle exists in nature – discovered by man 300 years ago.

These are just a few of the many different scientific truths that our great God choose to reveal to mankind.  Do a google search of “scientific discoveries in the Bible” to get much more information about the above discoveries and many, many more.

All of these discoveries are examples of science’s “coming late to the ball”.  Kinda like the white rabbit of Alice In Wonderland fame; the worldly scientists of today are always late for the discovery of important events, so they run around like chickens with their heads cut off!  (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDO5ea8MwgY).

THE SCRIPTURE:

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:2-3)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

After looking at the different scientific truths revealed in the Bible, the truthfulness of Col 2:2-3 is clearly displayed.   Our God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge.

Just think, we have the precious Word of God that comes from a God that knows all things!!   What a wonderful blessing it is to know we have the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge at our finger tips.   We should take His Word very seriously and spend time reading and studying it!  (Psa 40:8, Psa 19:8-11, Pro 2:1-5)

For those who are saved, His Word is a guide book for us to aid us in our daily walk of life. (Psa 119:105)

For those who have never received God’s gracious salvation, the Word is the only source of life for a sin sick soul. (John 6:62-71)

(Please note: in our next blog installment, we’ll be looking at two scientific truths the Bible reveals that many scientists still do not accept as truth. We will also study the result of their denial of these truths on all mankind.)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Message of Ten Cent Beer Night

SIH STSTA ICON“Ten Cent Beer Night”… June 4, 1974, is a night that will live in infamy.  For all of us who are Cleveland Indians fans, just the mention of this horrendous night still sends chills of shame through our bones.  The food that was thrown onto the field, several fans that entered the field causing game delays and, of course, the ninth inning riot; were just a few of the highlights of this unforgettable evening.  This was the lowest point in the history of the Cleveland Indians and, many believe, the lowest point in all of professional sports.  The worst that Cleveland had to offer was clearly seen that night.

By the way, to finish off the evening, the Indians were forced to forfeit the game to the Texas Rangers.  (If you happened to be born after 1974 or you have never heard of this momentous night please feel free to learn more about it at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Cent_Beer_Night)

News of this game not only rocked the Cleveland area, but hit the national news as well.  Cleveland became the laughing stock of the nation, once again.

So what could the entire nation learn from this horrible night?  What lesson could the Lord have been trying to teach us by allowing this night to take place?    I’m sure many lessons could be learned, but the most obvious is this… the need for self-control.   Just think what a difference would have been made if everyone would have kept themselves under control.   The over-indulgences of beer and the resulting inhibitions of the evening would have never taken place.  And the shame of the public indecencies would have been avoided.   All would have been different if self-restraint had ruled the night.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

Here, in Galatians 5: the word translated “temperance” is a Greek word that means “self-control” or “the strength to overcome within ourselves”.   Temperance is the exercise of the strength necessary to control our passions and the lusts of our flesh.

In his writings, Paul made it plain that there is a war that is constantly at work within the lives of Christians.  (Rom 7:14-25)   On one side is our “old man”, desiring to find satisfaction in many sinful pursuits; on the other side, our “new man” desiring for our lives to be pleasing to God.  (Eph 4:17-32, Col 3:1-14)

It takes a tremendous amount of inward strength for the “new man” to overcome the ways of the “old man”.  By “inward strength” I’m not talking about natural, fleshly self-resolve.  I am talking about a divine strength given from our Lord through the Spirit working in our life.  This is why “temperance” is described as a “fruit of the Spirit”.

As a Christian grows in the knowledge of His Word, he should see a gradual, outward growth in his life.  This outward growth is characterized by the gradual, consistent, departure of habitual sin from the Christian’s life.   Much like an infant gradually grows to maturity, so too, a Christian “infant” as he feeds on God’s Word should grow into a mature spiritual man. This was Peter’s wish for all of those who were saved by His grace. (1 Pet 2:1-3, 2 Pet 3:18)   As we grow and mature in Christ, we too, should be seeing a greater control over the sinful desires of our flesh and mind.  This is true spiritual growth and this is of what bearing the fruit of “temperance” is speaking.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For the Christian, “temperance” should be a greatly desired commodity.  The more we possess self-control; the more we please our Lord and Savior, and the more we can glorify Him in our lives.   This is what the Christian life is all about.  In Ephesians 1:1-14, we find a listing of the Trinity’s role and motive in our salvation:

Eph 1:1-6 – God the Father’s role…. Please notice why does the Father do all of this for us?  “to the praise of the glory of His grace”…. In other words, He worked in our lives to save us so that we could be shining trophies of His grace to all the world!

Eph 1:7-12 – God the Son’s role …. What was the Son’s motive in saving us? “That we should be to the praise of His glory”…. So that we might praise Him with our lives!

Eph 1:13-14 – God the Spirit’s role… Why do He do this?  “unto the praise of His glory” … so He would be glorified by us!

In each case, all three persons of the Trinity worked to save us so that they might be honored, obeyed and praised by us!

For those who have never experienced the Lord’s saving grace in your life, your first step to living a life of self-control over your sinful desires is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.  Please remember, true spiritual temperance is a gift of God’s grace, we cannot possess temperance without Him.  By believing in Jesus (His work and His message) you will not only receive forgiveness but also the indwelling Spirit who will enable you to lead a temperate life through God’s Word.  For more information about salvation please read my recent blog entry on “Forgiveness”.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

If I Only Had The Nerve

SIH STSTA ICONWe all remember “The Wizard of OZ” from our childhood.  When I was young, I used to watch it with my family, sitting on my mom’s lap… boy was I scared!    Even though the cowardly lion is the one who said he needed “nerve,”  I needed more nerve than he did, as I watched that movie.

There were so many weird things in it to scare a fella!  For example, it had lions, scarecrows and tin men that could talk; it had munchkins, witches and that crazy wizard; but most importantly, it had those flying monkeys…. I HATED those flying monkeys!   I used to dream about those monkeys… to this day, I don’t like those monkeys!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESI19h4wDo  I could have said, just like the lion, …“If I only had the nerve”.

Anyhow, back to my original point, In “the Wizard of Oz”, because of the lion’s lack of courage, he was pictured as weak and helpless.  It made him look downright pitiful   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98W7zg2ByKY  That helpless, pitiful condition that accompanies cowardice some people associate with not only cowardice but meekness as well.  Being meek, they say,   means they do not have the strength to stand up for themselves, but to allow others to manipulate or “walk all over” them.   The exact opposite is true.  It takes courage to lead meek life.

To be meek, as used in the Bible, is “the confidence that leads to obedience, through the release of self-pride”.  Being meek is an act of strength and courage, not an act of weakness and cowardice.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

Noah is the perfect example of a meek man.   Noah believed that His God knew what was best for his life.  Therefore, Noah submitted himself to God’s authority by building an ark in spite of his neighbors ridicule. (Gen 6:10-Gen 9:17)   It took a great amount of courage for Noah to build that ark.  It also took a humble spirit as he withstood his neighbor’s jeers.   Noah was a bold, courageous, meek man.

The Bible mentions others who led meek (humble) lives as they served their God…

Nums 12:3 – Moses

2 Chron 34:1, 27 – Josiah

Matt 11:29, 21:5 – Our Lord Jesus Christ

Remember, Christ was God Himself, yet he was willing to humble Himself so that we might have access to salvation from our sins… Phils 2:5-11 gives us a variety of ways that Christ showed His meekness to us:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “

We have so much to thank Him for!  God becoming man, and then dying unjustly on a cross to pay the price for our sins… this is, truly, the ultimate example of meekness for all of us to follow.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

If you are like me, the pursuit of humility is an extremely difficult one.  As a matter of fact, to bear the fruit of meekness is, perhaps, the most difficult of all the fruits.  Our gracious Lord understands this and promises great benefits for living a meek life for His glory:

Psa 10:17  The Lord will hear the prayers of the meek and bless them with Godly desires for their life.

Psa 25:9 The Lord will guide and teach the humble

Psa 34:2  The Lord will bless the humble with joy as they see others serving Him.

Psa 37:11 The Lord will cause the meek to inherit the earth and live a life of inward peace

Psa 149:4  The Lord will give the meek deliverance

Prov 29:23  The Lord gives those who are humble an honorable reputation.

Isa 11:4  The Lord defends the meek

Isa 29:19  The Lord multiplies the joy of the meek

Zeph 2:3 The Lord hides the humble from His anger

Matt 18:4  The Lord gives the meek a high position in the His kingdom

James 4:6 The Lord blesses the humility with grace

Although extremely difficult, living a meek life is one of the most blessed lives that a person can live.  When we are willing to serve the Lord, by faith, putting Him first above all else, we are placing ourselves in a position of great blessings for now and eternity.  This is what leading a meek life is about.  What better way can we thank Him for all the times He humbled Himself for us!

“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”  (Luk 17:7-10)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

A Place that has to be Believed to be Seen

SIH STSTA ICONHow many times have we heard the saying…. “seeing is believing”?  In other words, experience leads to belief.  It is only when we experience something that we can then place our faith in it. This is a generally accepted attitude that has existed throughout the generations, to say otherwise is just being foolish.  Or is it?

In their song  “Walk On” the group U2 sings the following lyrics… “Walk on, walk on;   What you got, they can’t steal it;   No they can’t even feel it;   Walk on, walk on;   Stay safe tonight… You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been;   A place that has to be believed to be seen”  (http://www.macphisto.net/u2lyrics/Walk_On.html)  In the context, they point out that heaven must be believed in BEFORE it can be experienced.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wfjPmDlCB0

The need to have belief before someone can enter into heaven aligns itself with Bible teachings … “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” … “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” (Heb 11:1, 13-14) The need for faith to precede experience is not a principle limited to our experience of heaven, the Word of God makes it clear that faith is an absolute necessity in many areas of our Christian life…

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

Faith is a basic Biblical principle, going far beyond the subject of heaven.  It applies to many different aspects of Christian living… when it comes to spiritual living, belief must precede experience.   Faith is necessary for the forgiveness of sin, for the receipt of the promises of God, as well as the experience of God’s glory after our death. (Roms 5:1, Roms 4:13, Roms 5:2)   Truly the life of a Christian is a life centered on faith, which then leads to experience.

One of the most amazing things about faith is that it is not a natural part of man, it is given to us as a gift from God. (Eph 2:8-9).  This emphasizes our need for Him in all areas of our life.   At our initial salvation experience, we could not trust in Him apart from His intervention in our lives. (John 6:44)  During our Christian life on earth, we are helpless to trust His promises and receive His blessings apart from His gift of faith. (Matt 13:58)  And finally, we would all be without hope for our future without His faith being granted to us. (1 Pet 1:18-21).  Yes, the Word is so true when it says that “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. (Joh 9:33)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In Gals 5:22-25, “faith” is described as a “fruit of the Spirit”.  In other words, like all the other fruits of the Spirit, our life should be a living testament of the faith that has been so graciously given to us.   As we live our life on earth, the choices we make exhibits our faith to others. Pastor Charles Stanley of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta Ga.; says that we should “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.”  This is a very simple way of stating the role of faith in the life of a Christian.  By choosing to obey the Lord, we are choosing to exercise faith in Him and His promises, instead of relying on our own abilities and devices.  This is the testimony we should be living in the sight of others…ALWAYS putting the Lord first and then, by faith, trusting Him to take care of the consequences of our actions.

For those who have never received the Lord’s faith into your life…. Your most important responsibility is to look to Him for salvation, realizing apart from Christ, you can do nothing for your own salvation.  He must intervene in your life and save you from your sins.  By totally trusting on Christ for your salvation, you are fulfilling your responsibility and can be assured that He has given you spiritual life and a wonderful eternity awaiting you…

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:5-10)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Goodness’, Gracious’ sakes alive!

SIH STSTA ICONOne of most famous college basketball coaches of all time was John Wooden, coach of the UCLA Bruins. Coach Wooden, a devout, outspoken, Christian, set many NCAA records during his coaching career at UCLA.  He set records for number of undefeated seasons (4), number of conference championships (19) and number of NCAA championships (10).    To read more about the achievements of coach Wooden please go to http://www.sacredhoops.com/john-wooden/

Besides being known for his extraordinary spirituality, coaching skills and achievements, Coach Wooden was also known for NEVER using profanity.  Many times he would use the phrase “Goodness’, Gracious’ sakes alive!” as a replacement for profane language. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxMGcmp5t30

Unknown to many, this phrase carries with it a reference to Jehovah, the triune God who Coach Wooden served.

Both the terms Goodness and Gracious are attributes of Jehovah God of the Bible.  Exodus 34:6 makes this very clear  “… The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”   This is how the phrase “Goodness, Gracious” began, it was used as an alternate name(s) for our God.   Because He is a good God, He is given the title “Goodness”.  Because He is the God of grace, He is given the title “Gracious”.

This being the case, what does it mean when the Bible says God is a God of goodness?  Let’s continue our study centering on “goodness”, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

(Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

The attribute of “goodness” reflects a combination of ideas: “to be virtuous, morally upright, useful, and honorable”.  In other words, if someone has “goodness” they are leading a law abiding, moral life that is useful and pleasing to both God and man.

The ultimate example of One that possesses all goodness is our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is perfect example of One who has kept God’s laws perfectly, bringing honor to His Father and Himself, while working for the benefit of His people.

Matthew 5:17 summarizes Christ’s relation to the law … “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Mat 5:17)   A part of Christ’s mission was to fulfill the law of God.  By keeping the law, He aided His people in at least two ways… He remained sinless, enabling Him to be the perfect sacrifice bearing the sins of His people upon Himself and He set a perfect example for us to keep God’s law.

As He kept God’s law, He also was pleasing to His Father as well.  Isaiah 42:21 is a prophecy teaching us about Christ’s earthly ministry… “The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.”   In this verse, we are told that God the Father (the LORD) would be pleased when Christ would keep the law perfectly, showing it’s importance to all.

Yes, without a doubt Christ’s goodness can not be disputed, based upon His accomplishments during His life on earth.  He was the ultimate “good” One, whose goodness was both useful and pleasing to God and man.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Sometimes as Christians, we have a tendency to forget that others are watching our lives and following the examples that we set for them.  Paul understood and taught on the importance of a Christian’s example.  One of His life’s decisions was to refuse to eat meat sacrificed to idols, because he was afraid it would result in weak Christians worshipping those idols. (1Co 8:13)

Paul not only understood the need for him, personally, to set an example but he taught all of us to set the example as well. (1Co 8:9)  The solution to leading a life that sets a good example for others is by exercising the fruit of “goodness” as we live our lives on earth.  Just as Christ set the example for us through a life of goodness; so, too, we should be living a life of “goodness” for others to see.  As we rely upon the Spirit to enable us, as Christians, we will naturally and joyfully begin to set a Godly example for others to follow.

For those who are not Christians, I realize that the idea of following the example of Christ and submitting to His Lordship may seem like a burden or drudgery.   Let me tell you from my experience, serving the Lord and submitting to His Lordship is a source of great joy and comfort.  When a person is saved by God’s grace their desires change.  This is one part of becoming a new creature in Christ. (2 Cor 5:17) A Christian is so thankful for God’s forgiveness and the promise of eternal life with God that the Christian wants to serve Him.  It is not a burden or a dread, it is actually a pleasure knowing that He gave His life for us and this is one opportunity to show Him our appreciation for all He has done for us.

“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luk 17:10)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Be Like Charmin not Sandpaper

SIH STSTA ICONMr. Whipple had it right.  Do you remember the old Charmin commercials?  Mr. Whipple had to be guarding the Charmin tissue because he recognized its outstanding softness would cause many shoppers to be attracted to it. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yG-y8poTLU)  And, once attracted, they would want to squeeze it.  Why?  When given a choice, anyone would elect to experience pampering and soothing over irritation and annoyance.

The same principle applies to our life experiences.  How often have we been put into a situation where we had to put up with someone who was just plain mean?  You know the type… it seems like everything they do is done with the intent of stirring up the most problems and hurting the most feelings.  Instead of being patient and kind to others, they choose to be harsh and aggravating.   In other words, they rub their associates like sandpaper instead of Charmin.

When given a choice, I would ALWAYS choose to spend time with the Charmins of this life.  I only spend time with the sandpapers when it is absolutely necessary.  The question we need to ask ourselves is “which type of a person do we want to be, a Charmin or a sandpaper type of person?”  The type of person that we desire to be tells us a lot about ourselves…

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

In our above verses, we find that one of the “fruits of the Spirit” is “gentleness”.  The word gentleness is speaking of a life that is kind, encouraging, and helpful; not harsh, nor harmful, nor bitter.   We all know someone with a gentle personality.  They are the ones that give us the much needed “boost” when we are discouraged.  We derive strength from them when we are weak.   It is this type of person that somehow brings out the best in all of us.  This is the type of God that we serve…

The Father showed us this “gentleness”,or “kindness”, when He sent His Son to die for us…  “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”  (Eph 2:7)

God the Son displays His “kindness” to us through the salvation He graciously gives to us… “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; “(Tit 3:4-5)

Remember, the basic principle found in Gals 5:22-25, a “fruit of the Spirit” is something that is displayed in a Christian’s life through the enabling of the indwelling Spirit.   This is a vital key to living a gentle, kind life.

As fallen, sinful mankind, we all struggle to be kind to others.  It is much easier to be impatient and mean to others than to be patient and kind.   If we are left to ourselves we all would be short tempered to others.  But, if we look to the Spirit’s intervention in our life, He will enable us to be patient and kind when it is so very difficult to do.   Like all others areas of the Christian life, reliance on the Lord’s strength is the key to successful living.

None of us can live a Godly life without His intervention and strength…”I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. “(Joh 15:5)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

After setting the example for us, and then, enabling us to live a gentle life, what more could we ask from Him?  All he asks from us is to live a life that displays Him to others.  By us being kind, we are showing others His kindness; by us showing mercy, we are showing others His mercy; by us forgiving others, we are showing others how He forgives sin.

Showing our Lord to others, through our lifestyle, is the greatest privilege possessed by a Christian…“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Col 3:12-13)

If anyone has not received Christ as their Lord and Savior, go back and review the verses about God’s kindness He has shown to man.   In both cases, the Father’s and the Son’s kindness is extended toward you.  He will not turn anyone away who comes to Him for salvation.    By coming to Him, in faith, trusting His words and His works, you will be saved.   Please read some or all of the following verses from God’s Word, they will help you to understand more about trusting in Christ and what God has done for us:

God the Father’s role in our salvation (Eph 1:1-6); God the Son’s role in our salvation (Eph 1:7-12); God the Spirit’s role in our salvation (Eph 1:13-14)

Our responsibility is to trust Christ’s words and His works for us (John 6:63-64; John 10:24-30; Acts 4:10-12; Acts 16:30-32; Roms 10:8-9)

If you have any questions, or would like more information please feel free to contact me at the email address at the end of this blog.  Or, if you would rather, contact any Bible believing church in your area.  I’m sure they will be glad to answer any questions you may have about the forgiveness of our sins or living a gentle life.

If you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

It’s not just Doctors who need patience!

SIH STSTA ICONWe’ve all heard a joke that goes something like this….  “A pediatrician was finishing up a long, busy day in his office, dealing with obnoxious parents and their unruly children.  As he walked past the front desk, he muttered to his head nurse, “I need patience, more patience.”   His nurse, with a shocked expression on her face, said… “But doctor, our schedule is full through the end of next month, how can we fit them in?”

Every one of us have days similar to this doctor’s day. A day filled with frustration and anxiety is inevitable for us all.  How do we get through such a day?  We use something called “patience.”

Patience seems to be in short supply in today’s society.  Why do I say this?  Just stand in a checkout line at a store, or sit at a railroad crossing waiting for a long train to pass, listening to the comments of others, and you will see the shortage of patience in today’s society.

What is really sad is that even though many of us see the need for more patience, the development of that patience is far easier said than done.  So what are we to do?   God’s Word addresses the need, the source, and the acquisition of patience for our lives….

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

(Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

The term “longsuffering” in Galatians 5:22 is translated “patience” thirty-three times in the New Testament.  The word comes from a Greek word that means “to bear long under”.

Picture a pack mule carrying his owner’s possessions on his back.  As his master places item after item on his back, his burden becomes increasing heavy to bear.   Instead of kicking off the burden, the mule stands there bearing the load and allowing his master to place more weight on his back.  This is the perfect picture of this Greek word translated “longsuffering” or “patience”.

This mule is “bearing long under” his burdens.  He is patiently holding them up on his back, even when there is no sign of the burden decreasing.  This is exactly what we need today.  It is the ability to bear up under the difficulties in life, without flinching or fighting, simply accepting the difficulties and continuing on.

Where do we find such a gift of patience?  Our verses tell us that longsuffering (patience) comes from the working of the Holy Spirit of God in the lives of followers of Christ.

Think of Christ’s patience that He has exercised for us…

“(Christ) Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Pe 2:22-24)

Think of the patience it took for Christ to go through with His crucifixion.   Please remember, Christ WILLINGLY partook of death for us. (John 10:17-18)  He willingly allowed His body to be bruised and His life to be taken.  And with His last breath a message of love, and patience, was declared… “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.  What an amazing Lord, setting a perfect example of patience for all of us to follow.

But how do we develop patience in our lives?  If you are like me, you won’t like the answer, but here it is…

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (Jas 1:3-4)

For the Christian, the development of patience is brought about through the trying of our faith.

As we face trials in our life, we may ask God the question “Why me, dear Lord?”    Here, we find one answer (of many) to our “Why me?” question.    The Lord allows trials in our life to help us to develop patience in our lives.   The next time we face a trial, we should stop and think… this is an opportunity for me to develop patience and, eventually, be spiritually mature and lack nothing (see James 1:4).

For those who have never trusted in Christ… the first step towards living a patient life is looking in faith to the One who is so very patient with all of us.   Our Lord is so patient, He allows us to live a life of rebellion and sin, and yet does not turn His back on us.   He promises, no matter what we have done in our life, He will not “cast us out” if we come to Him through His Father’s grace.  (John 6:37).

Paul, who was self-described as the “chief of sinners”, was saved when He came to Christ for salvation.  Salvation is available to all who come to Him without any limitation to nationality, gender, or most importantly, past history of sin.  Peter knew this when he wrote…“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”   (2Pe 3:9)   Won’t you trust in Christ to save you before it is too late?

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Forgiveness

SIH STSTA ICONA note from the author:  The following Bible study should be read with a Bible close at hand for two reasons…

 First, due to lack of space, I had to place many references in the text of this lesson without displaying the entire Bible passage.  Reading these passages will add more information that can be used by the reader.

 Secondly, please keep in mind, that the importance of this Bible Study cannot be underestimated, therefore, it is vital that we look to the Bible for all of our beliefs on this subject.  I have tried to diligently declare only what the Bible says on the subject of forgiveness, however, for the reader’s benefit, an open Bible used alongside this study make certain this study contains only Biblical truth.

 May the Lord Jesus be glorified in this study,  Rob Barkman

Have you ever lived with dread, knowing that you have wronged someone severely and there was nothing you could do to “take it back” or “undo it”?  Do you avoid the person you have wronged, knowing every time you see them you are reminded, and guilt stricken, at what you have done?  Do you ever wish you could start all over and be freed from this burden of guilt and shame? Thanks to a small, eleven letter word we can begin again, freed from the awesome weight of our guilt.

That word is “forgiveness”.  Although a small word, “forgiveness” has a very huge meaning…. “to release, to let go, to send away.”  Forgiveness is saying that we no longer hold the offense against the offender, instead it will be put away; we no longer desire retribution for the offender’s actions, but now seek a restored relationship with them.

What would life be like without forgiveness? Forgiveness is the only thing that can restore broken relationships and allow healing to begin.  Forgiveness is one of the greatest virtues that man can possess.  With forgiveness, the broken can be fixed and the crooked can be made straight once again.

The Word of God presents to us many different types of forgiveness… from one-time forgiveness for the smallest of infractions (Lk 11:4), to the need for multiple acts of forgiveness for great offenses (Matt 18:21-22), the Bible presents to us the necessity of forgiveness in our day to day walk of life.

But beyond human forgiveness, the Word speaks of a special type of forgiveness that is given by God to man through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is the forgiveness that is given by God for offenses we have committed against Him….

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Col 1:12-14)

From these three verses we can learn much about God’s forgiveness and it’s results in our lives:

1.  Giving thanks unto the Father” – If we are forgiven by God, we are thankful!

No one can begin to describe the awesome sense of relief, and gratitude, we possess when we receive the forgiveness of our many sins!  Just having the knowledge that we will never face an eternal judgment for our sins, but instead eternal paradise with our Lord, results in eternal gratefulness for His forgiveness…

“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.” (Psa 107:21-22)

2.  “which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” – If we are forgiven by God, we have a new inheritance from Him!

Just think of it… once our sins are forgiven, the Lord promises us an eternal dwelling place where God Himself will be present with us.  And beyond that, we will have an eternal life freed from pain, sorrow, and sickness and, most importantly, sin!

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. “ (Rev 21:1-4)

3.   “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” – If we are forgiven by God, we are no longer the servants of sin, but now the servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Before our salvation, the Bible described all of us as being the “servants of sin”.  This is because following the original fall of man in the Garden of Eden, a sin nature began to exist in all of mankind.  Because of that sin nature, all humans are born separated from God, the servants of sin, and facing both physical and spiritual death.  (Rom 5:12-14, Rom 6:23, Ezek 18:4, 1 Cor 15:21)

The phrase “physical death” is speaking of the soul/spirit being separated from the body.  This is the death we read about in the papers everyday; this is the death that separates a loved one from this earthly family and friends.  (1 Cor 15:55-56)

The phrase “spiritual death” is used to describe a different type of separation.  It is not separation of the body from the soul/spirit, it is the separation of an individual from God.  As sinners, our relationship with God has been ruptured by our sin.  (Psa 66:18,  Prov 15:29,  Isa 1:15,  John 9:31)  Being spiritually dead, results in eternal punishment and separation from God in a place called hell, the lake of fire and everlasting fire (Luk 16:21-31, 12:4-5, Rev 20:13-14, Mat 25:41)

The physical and spiritual death that we face, due to our sin, is devastating; devastating to our life on earth, and devastating to our eternal existence; as well as devastating to our loved ones and the world as a whole.  But, through the work of Christ, we can be delivered from our sin and changed to servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Where we once were bound in death to sin, we are now alive to serve our Lord Jesus.  (Rom 6:11-12)

What a magnificent work of God in our lives!  To take us, as a member of rebellious, sinful mankind, wanting nothing to do with Him; and, then, making us a part of His privileged family, given an eternal inheritance and blessings beyond number!

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”   (Rom 6:17-18)

4.   “In whom we have redemption through his blood” – If we are forgiven by God, we have been purchased by Christ through His death on the cross!

The most important question we should ask is “Now what?”  What do we do now that we see our horrible straits? How do we receive the blessings that are awaiting us?  Christ, through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension has given us the perfect answer to this very perplexing problem.

Christ, during His life on earth, made it very plain what we must do to have our sin problem taken away.   We must look to Him in faith, trusting Him as our Deliverer and Lord of our life. In doing so, we will be trusting Him, and His work, while turning from our sins (repentance) to serve Him as Lord.  (Rom 3:21-26,  Gal 2:16, Eph 2:5-10, Heb 6:1)

Christ, through His shed blood on the cross, took the punishment of the sin of His people upon Himself so that we would not have to be punished. (1 Pet 3:18)

Christ, through His resurrection, declared to everyone that He had successfully paid the sin debt of His people and was the God He had claimed to be. (1 Cor 15:12-28)

Christ, after His resurrection to heaven, is now standing, pleading our case on our behalf to God the Father… he is ever living to declare our justified standing to God (Heb 7:23-28)

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. “ (1Pe 1:18-21)

5. “even the forgiveness of sins” – If we are forgiven by God, we have been released from the shame, guilt and punishment for our sins!

As we trust in Christ, we find that we are justified (declared innocent) of all the sins that we have committed.   No longer do we have to labor under our sin debt, nor do we need to be concerned about our future.  (Rom 5:1-2)  We can know that Christ, as the indwelling spirit, is with us helping us in this life and securing our future with Him.   (Col 1:27, John 14:16-17, 1 Cor 1:20-22, Eph 1:13-14)

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1Jn 1:5-10)

May we all praise the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all he has done for us….

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “  (Php 2:5-11)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

All Aboard the Peace Train (Boarding at the Pearly Gates)

SIH STSTA ICONGoogle the phrase “World Peace” and you will be bombarded with website after website declaring the desire for a worldwide peace.  It is the desire of most Miss America’s, seemingly the entire 60’s generation, and probably, over 90% of the world’s population.  In my younger days, one of the more popular songs was a song entitled “Peace Train”, recorded in 1971.  This song voiced the hope for peace and was in the top ten for an extended time.  For those of you who don’t remember it please take a look here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G52Z84vF4fk&feature=related)

Certainly, world peace has been and continues to be one of the greatest wants of mankind.  It is very easy to understand why there is such a longing for peace.  Just think of the number of human lives lost in all the past wars here on earth.  I’m sure the total is staggering.  Just in my lifetime, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan has cost the lives of more than 63,000 Americans, not to mention over 380,000 Americans wounded.  These numbers do not count the civilian casualties, much less the casualties from the other countries participating in these wars.

It would seem that, with world peace being such a popular idea, and the price of war being so terribly high, we could have a permanent peace.  But we don’t.  As much as we want it, no matter how hard we try to attain it…we have no peace.

However, when it comes to world peace, all hope is not lost.  The Bible teaches us that the existence of wars and the threats of coming wars doesn’t surprise our Lord.  The Lord knew these “perilous” times would come upon the world, and He proved it by giving us advance warning (Lk 21:8-11.) He made it quite plain that in spite of all these horrible wars brought about by man, He remains in complete and absolute control (Dan 4:35).  The Lord guarantees us that, someday, He will restore a perfect peace to this earth (Isa 11:4-10).

Besides this outward, worldly peace, there is another more important inward peace that comes only from our Lord.  This is the peace of Galatians 5:22-25 …

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

The peace of Gals 5:22 is one of the “fruits of the Spirit”.  It is given to us through the Spirit of God that indwells us at salvation.  It is the assurance that both our life here on earth, and in the hereafter, are in the hands of our Lord.  It is the peace we receive when we know HE WILL CARE FOR US, PROTECT US, and ACCOMPANY US from here through eternity.  It is a peace that “passes all understanding” (Phil 4:6-7).   It is the peace that only God can give (John 14:27).

Can you imagine a peace that brings us joy in the midst of any trial we face in life?  Can you imagine being able to think about death with an assurance that we have an eternity with God awaiting us?  Have you put down the burden of your sin knowing all of your acts of disobedience have been forgiven by God?   This is what this peace is all about.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

But it doesn’t end there.  God does not give us this peace to hide within ourselves. He gives it to us that we might display it in our lives.  That is why it is called a “fruit” … it is to be given off by us, like an apple tree gives off an apple for another’s benefit.

For a Christian, peace is given to us, contained within us, and then revealed to others by us. As we exhibit this peace in our lives, others see it and are shown what they are missing.   As an act of thankfulness to God, we display our peace, glorifying Him in the eyes of a lost mankind.  This is being a fruit-bearing Christian.

For those who are not saved by God’s grace, please be honest and sense the burden you are living under.  God’s Word makes it clear that we all have sinned.  Because of this sin we are separated from our God.  (Romans 3:23 & 5:12)   Separation from God has two aspects to it: first, it includes no communion with Him and secondly, facing His eternal judgment in the lake of fire.   (Isaiah 59:2 & Rev 20:15)  If we come to the Lord, trusting Him and His work on the cross, we can be saved.  This trust involves our willingness to submit our entire lives to His leadership and rely on His work on the cross to pay the sin debt that we all owe to God.  (2 Peter 1:10-11 & Galatians 3:11-14)

It is only through this faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that salvation from our sins can be received.  It is only through this faith that we can share in the peace that all God’s people possess.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Happiness is Something We Should Be Joyful About!

SIH STSTA ICONWhen I was at home, as a youngster, I wanted to grow up and be out on my own.  You know how it was …. the folks were sticks in the mud, kill-joys, and grinches all combined.   It seemed like anything I really wanted to do they were against… like lighting the cats tail on fire, playing basketball inside the house, and of course, staying up until 3:00 AM watching my favorite horror movie.  These were the important things in life… these are the things that would give a guy real satisfaction… and all they could say was “NO”.   That’s why, at times, I wanted to be away from my folks… then I could do what I want when I want.

Well, my folks thought otherwise, they would tell me, “Rob, appreciate your life at home.  You have very few responsibilities and people who love you and look out for you.”   Believe me, I didn’t see what they meant, but I sure do now!  They were right, my time at home, growing up with a loving family, was one of the best times of my life.  I was blessed and I didn’t’ realize it, I took the blessing of a loving family for granted and only later in life (when I was out on my own) did I really begin to understand how blessed I had been.

This brings to my mind, the songs I would hear my Mom or Dad sing at home…“Count Your Many Blessings”  (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIYl6lK1c50 )    There are many songs we sing that have a practical application to them, but throughout my life, I have found that this song is one of the most needed songs for my life.   One of the most amazing things takes place in my life, when I am discouraged, and then I think of this song, I begin to apply it’s message and joy replaces my discouragement as I think of all my God has done for me.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

In our Galatians verses, we find that “joy” is among the list of fruits that the Spirit gives to us when we are saved.  For us to understand the fruit of joy, we need to know it’s relation to happiness in the Bible. “Joy” and “happiness” are associated with one another in God’s Word, but they are not the same.   When we are “happy” … “joy” should follow.

The Greek word for happy is most times translated “blessed”.  In the New Testament, a man who is described as “happy” refers to a man who is blessed.   This is his condition in life.  In the Bible “happy” is a state of being, not an emotion.     In other words, when a man is said to be “happy”…. the New Testament is saying that this man is receiving blessings from the Lord.  This is clearly brought out in several verses, here is just one….”Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. “ Here, in James 5:11, the Bible says that when we see someone who is able to endure all this life throws at them, remaining faithful to their Lord… that is proof that they are being blessed by God.

“Joy” on the other hand, does not refer to a condition, but to an emotion.  “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; “ (2 Tim 1:4)   Paul was saying that when he could see Timothy face to face, he would be filled with the emotion of cheerfulness or “joy””.  So to summarize, the Bible describes anyone who is “blessed” as being “happy”, whether he realizes that he is blessed or not.    The Bible describes a man as “joyful” because he recognizes he is blessed and then outwardly displays his appreciation through joy.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: (Psa 103:2)

So to put these two ideas together, the idea is this…. we are to desire and recognize the blessings we are given every day.  Then out of appreciation for all He has done for us, have a joyful attitude about us.   We are not to forget what He has done for us, but we are to allow the blessings He’s given to us be an encouragement and strength to us.

In other words, we should be joyful that He has blessed us.

For those of us who are saved, it is an absolute necessity to recognize all His blessings He has given to us.  How sad it is for us to forget what He has done after He has done so very much for us.  He came to the earth, humbled Himself as a man and then died on the cross for our sins (Phil 2:5-11).   It is through this joy that we receive the encouragement and strength to serve Him in the midst of a fallen world.  (Neh 8:10)

For those who have never received Christ as their Savior…. trust in Christ and His work today… it is only through Him that you can have a true, permanent, fullness of joy (Psa 16:11).  This joy is given to us through His death on the cross, as He died to save His people from their sins.  (Matt 1:21)  By trusting in Christ as Lord and Savior, His grace, forgiveness and presence, bring forth joy and gladness in our hearts.  He has saved us from an eternity of punishment for our sins… He has saved us from the rule of sin in our lives. What a reason to be joyful!!!

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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