Home » 2010 » September

Monthly Archives: September 2010

In God We Trust

The motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on US coins during the Civil War era.   Since that time, with only a few exceptions, the motto has continuously appeared on US government coins.  For a full, in-depth account of the motto’s history please refer to the following:

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml

Without a doubt, this motto has stood as a public testimony of our nation’s belief in the existence of God.   This motto is a part of our legacy as a nation… throughout history, our nation has sought out  God during it’s most troubling hours.   Despite the current attempts to remove this motto from our coinage, our historical reliance on God can never be denied.

The Bible talks about a nation’s need to trust in The Lord.  But in a much more personal context, the Bible repeated declares the necessity for an individual to place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only One who can save us from our sins.

THE SCRIPTURE:

And if ye call on the Father, … 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 1:17-21)

THE STUDY:

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

All mankind will stand before God the Father and be judged for the works that they have done during their life on earth.   (James 5:9, 1 Pet 4:5)   Knowing this, we are to take our time on earth very seriously.  We are to always have a reverence for the Lord, and His desires for us, so that we will not be found wanting at our judgment. (2 Cor 7:1, Hebs 12:28)

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;

“Redeemed” is translated from a Greek word meaning “to be released from bondage through a payment”.

For those who are saved, we need to remember that we have been removed from the bondage of our sin through a payment much more precious than gold or silver.

This payment was not received through the empty pursuits of our previous lifestyle.  It was received as we turned from our past lifestyle of sin to Christ and His work. (Acts 26:17-20, Acts 14:15, Hebs 9:14)

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

The precious payment made was that of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was the sinless Son of God who came to the earth and died on the cross for the sins of His people.  (Matt 20:28, Eph 1:7, Col 1:13-22, Rev 7:14)

Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Christ’s earthly ministry and death on the cross was a part of God the Father’s sovereign plan from before the creation of the world. (Rom 16:25-26, Eph 1:4-14, Eph 3:11, Titus 1:2-3 ).  The fall of man, and man’s need of a Savior, did not come as a surprise to the Lord.  This is another display of His greatness…He is truly an all-knowing God. (Isa 45:21, Isa 46:10, Acts 15:18)

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.

“believe” is translated from a Greek word that means “to entrust” “to commit to”

If we commit our sin, our life, and our eternity to Him…we receive forgiveness of our sins and eternal security through Christ.

It is through the work of Christ that we can receive the ability to believe in God (John 6:26-29, Eph 2:4-9, Mat 16:17, John 6:65)   This same God is the One that brought Christ from the dead and glorified Him at the Father’s right hand in heaven. (1 Cor 15:15, Acts 4:10, Acts 2:32-33, Phil 2:5-12)

Why did Christ die for us and grant us faith so that we could be saved?  So we could live our lives trusting in God and having hope for our future knowing we are saved and headed for a wonderful eternity in heaven.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

We should never undervalue the great price that was paid for our salvation.  Although our salvation was free it was by no means cheap.  Out of appreciation for His great sacrifice and price paid, we should be willingly serving Him.  Knowing we are bought with a great price.

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.(1Co 6:20)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

By committing yourself to Him (your sin, your life, your future), you will be forgiven of your sins and assured of an eternity with Christ.   Without trusting in Christ, the Bible makes it plain that you must face the eternal judgment for the sins you have committed.  The worst aspect of this judgment is being separated from God for an eternity, while receiving your punishment in the Lake of Fire.

God is sending an invitation to you through His Word to turn to Him, entrusting your life to Him, before it is too late.

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mar 1:14-15)

——————————————————————————————————————–To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

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.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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 Thinker

SIH STSTA ICON“The Thinker” is the name of a very widely recognized statue created by Auguste Rodin.  The thinker represents “a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle.”  (Quote from http://www.statue.com/the-thinker-statue.html)

Did you know that the Word of God encourages each of us to be this type of “thinker”?  Let’s take a moment to see what the Lord has to say …

THE SCRIPTURE:

Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.  (Hag 1:5-7)

THE STUDY:

In our text, the main thrust of these verses centers around the phrase “consider your ways” –

The word “consider” is a translation of a three-word Hebrew phrase:

1.   the first word of the phrase means “to consider, to examine, to give attention”;

2.   the second word carries with it the idea of “the heart, the innermost parts”;

3.   the third Hebrew word in our phrase is defined as “according to, because of”

The Hebrew word for “ways” is simply referring to the paths we have chosen to follow in our life.

If we put all of our ideas together we get this idea: the Lord is telling us to “to closely examine our hearts to understand the motives that drive our life choices.”   How important it is for us to simply ask the question, “Why do we do what we do?”

The Lord was speaking to members of Israel whose lives were exhibiting a lack of satisfaction and contentment, and the resulting loss of divine blessings.  He is instructing them to take time to ask the questions… “What is in your hearts that causes you to be never satisfied nor content?” and “What is taking place within you that is causing a lack of blessings to come your way?”

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Both for those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, and for those who have never come to repentance and faith in Him… the need to examine our life’s motives cannot be underestimated.

For the Christian….

By examining our motives for our life choices, we can more easily see when our love for our Lord is beginning to grow cold.  When we love Him as we should, His will and desires for us will take preeminence in our decision making.

We will ALWAYS put Him first, when we love Him as we should.  (Deut 6:5-9, Matt 22:37-38)  Do we find ourselves putting others ahead of the Lord in our life’s decisions?  Someplace along life’s path, sin has slipped into our life and our love for Him has grown cold… (Matt 24:12)  It is our responsibility to come before Him asking for forgiveness and allow Him to restore a right heart… (1 John 1:8-10)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

By examining the driving forces behind your decision making, you will quickly come to a realization that the fulfillment of the desires of your flesh and mind are the driving forces in your life choices.  The Lord explains your condition in this way:

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”(Eph 2:2-3)

If you see yourself in this condition what must be done?  The Lord clearly reveals the answer to this question in the following verses:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 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.”(Eph 2:4-9)

In these verses, the two main points that are presented are:

#1 – Christ must intervene in your life and grant you spiritual life.  This can only be done through an act of God.  No man can merit, nor gain, this gift of spiritual life through any works he may perform.

#2 – It is imperative that one who is dead in their sins come to Christ in submission to Him, humbly recognizing they can do nothing to gain their own salvation.  A part of this submissive spirit is the willingness to turn their past sins, to trust Him with their entire life, and accept Him as Lord of their life.

Christ’s promise to each one who sincerely seeks Him….

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.  (Joh 6:35-40)

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.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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.”

Eureka!, An Ideal City… With A Catch

SIH STSTA ICONEureka is a TV show currently being shown on the SyFy channel.  It’s unique plot line has made it my favorite show currently being aired. http://www.syfy.com/eureka/index.php  I would recommend it for all ages, it is an entertaining, and educational, family oriented show.  The show is about a city that was created by the US government to house all of the greatest thinkers of the day.   You have rocket scientists, brain surgeons, quantum physicists, all the best minds inhabiting one city.  You would think if there was one city that had all its problems handled it would be this one.  Because it is filled with geniuses, they should be able to handle any problem that comes their way.  The interesting thing is this… they actually create their own problems.  Many times, an individual scientist goes “rogue” and botches up an experiment that causes problems for the entire city.

And there is a real life lesson that can be learned from all of this…If a group is not unified in their goal… they are not unified at all.  How true this is in real life… and how true is it amongst many Christian groups today….

There is a clamoring for “unity” claiming the Bible teaches all Christian denominations (Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Brethren, Presbyterian, etc.)  should be unified in spite of doctrinal differences… this is called the “Ecumenical Movement”.

There is another movement called the “Interfaith Movement” that teaches that there should be unity between the different faiths of the world (Christian, Islam, Buddhist, Jewish, etc) to cooperate in promotion of better relations between each group. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenism

I would like to examine the Scriptures to see if that is really what the Bible teaches…. Should all religions unify in promoting spirituality, or, should all Christians unify in worship and service in the midst of doctrinal disagreements?

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:23-24)

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  (Mat 15:7-9)

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.  (Eph 4:11-16)

THE STUDY:

There can be no doubt that one of the main goals of Christ’s work on the cross was to create a unified body of believers; note these quotations…

“he should gather together in one” – Joh 11:51-53;

“that they also may be one in us… that they may be one, even as we are one…” Joh 17:20-23;

“for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross… Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” Eph 2:11-22)

Yes, undoubtedly, the Lord desires for His followers to be unified.  The question isn’t “Should we all be unified?”  The real question is “Can we unify without holding to the same set of beliefs?”

Our set of scripture references addresses this question. Note that our Lord gives the parameters for true, Godly worship to take place….

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:23-24) 

Here, He clearly states that a sincere spirit must be present with the truth of His Word for true worship to take place.  This is a real troublesome passage for those who believe that all denominations or religions should overlook their differences for the sake of unity.  The Lord clearly states that “the truth” must be sincerely held to for true worship to take place.

Let me give you two examples of truth versus error:

1.  Is it true that the Bible states that salvation can be found in Christ alone? (Act 4:10-12)

If so, every religion that exists, apart from Christianity, is teaching error.  Under this truth/error test can all religions gather and share in worship?

2.  Is it true that the Bible teaches salvation is by grace and through faith and not by the works of man? (Eph 2:7-9)

Again, let me ask… if this is the case, what about all the Christian denominations that mix works with salvation?  Can we all unite in the name of Christ and worship together when there is such great error being taught?

People are dying and going to hell by believing there is salvation in another besides Christ, or because they are relying on their good works to save themselves.  How can we be united in the promotion of error?  Folks, this should not be.

These are just two examples of many different MAJOR doctrinal issues that I could be presenting to outline the stark differences between the different religions and the different denominations.  The issue is clear… when an important doctrine (one that salvation hinges) is disagreed upon, there can be no unity in worship.

What would happen if we tried to unite?  Our second passage refers to this by stating….

 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. “ (Mat 15:7-9) 

 This Scripture speaks for itself.  This is the end of all who choose to unite without a sincere belief in Biblical truth.

So what is the remedy for this?  Everyone must accept the truth first, and then, unite for the cause of Christ.  How do we do this?  Here’s where our third Scripture reference comes in….

 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”  (Eph 4:11-16)

We are to learn from Godly men who are proclaiming the truths of His Word.  As we learn we will come together in doctrinal unity, unified around the Word and not around the teachings of man.  This is God’s way of unification.  This is the type of unity that pleases our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The next obvious question is this… How can we know who is a teacher of truth and not a teacher of error?

We are to live like the Bereans…

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. (Act 17:10-12)

By searching the Scriptures in our own personal studies, to affirm what is taught to us by men, the Holy Spirit will lead us to teachers of the truth… This is our responsibility.  To compare what our teachers are saying with what the Word says.  This is the only way we can discern truth from error.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Any true Christian, when confronted with the truth of His Word, would choose to worship in “spirit and truth” as compared to worshipping the Lord in vain… this is the simple choice that is at hand for us all.

Will we take a stand for the truth and unite with other Bible believing and proclaiming Christians for the cause of Christ… or will we unite with all “religious people” and get unity for unity’s sake??  I’m afraid today, for the sake of numbers of followers, many are compromising the truth for the sake of acceptance and promotion among other groups.  Shame on us.  May the Lord be merciful to us as sinners.

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.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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.”

Go To The Light… and it ain’t the Ghost Whisperer Talkin!

SIH STSTA ICON

Anyone who has watched the TV show Ghost Whisperer, has heard the phrase “Go to the light” at least two to three times an episode.  (see more about this here… http://www.youtube.com/show?p=yaJn4TCMqCQ&s=5&clips=1)

Why does she tell them to “Go to the light”?  According to the show, it is because it is only “in the light” that those who have died can find final peace, forgiveness and the resulting rest in the afterlife.  In the series, however, it is never clearly explained what “the light” is.

Similarly, in the modern day “near death experience”, going to a light, or seeing a bright light during an out of body experience is commonplace.  These accounts do not include any explanation of this light with few, if any exceptions.

I’m not going to look at the Scriptural implications of the “going to the light” idea, or all the events that make up a “near death experience;” that is for another day and time.  But, I would like to look at the Bible’s teachings on a “light” that will give us forgiveness, peace, and rest; in this life and in the afterlife as well…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  (Joh 8:12)

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (Joh 9:5)

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:15-16)

THE STUDY:

John 8:12:

Christ describes Himself as “the Light of the World”.  He then goes on to explain why He possesses that title.  He says that “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  In other words, if we are a follower of Christ, we will not be spiritually blind any longer, but He will open our blinded eyes, allowing us to be understanding of His words and in receipt of spiritual life now and throughout eternity.

John 9:5:

Christ makes it plain that He will be the Light of the World as long as He is present in this world.  But what then?…..

Matthew 5:15-16:

In the context, Christ is speaking to those who have placed their trust in Him as Lord and Savior, and are now followers of Him.   He says that, in His absence from the earth, we are now the Light of the World, shining forth His Word as a candle shines forth its light.  How do we shine forth that light?  Through our words and our works we reflect the light of Christ to this world, which results in His Father being glorified.

The above picture was painted by my wonderful wife, Eva Barkman.  Her picture of a lighthouse can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who shines forth for all to see.  Her description reflects that thought….. “A lighthouse always reminds me of our great Lord, who is the light of the world to all who will see Him (the saved).  When things get dark and depressing, it’s a blessing to have the one true light of Jesus Christ to guide your way.”

(My thanks to Eva for allowing me to use her picture in this posting… Also the “Settled In Heaven” banner at the top of this page is a combination of her “Calvary” painting and her digital captioning.

If you would like a blessing… visit her website for more of her paintings and their Scriptural applications…. http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com/ )

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, is your life reflecting Christ to the world?  Or, I could ask the same question in a different way…. When someone looks at our life, do they see Christ?  That’s what being a witness for Christ is all about.  By bearing the fruits of the Spirit (Gals 5:22-23, Eph 5:8), we are letting our light shine in the world.   This light then reveals Christ and glorifies the Father in the eyes of all those around us.

Stop and think about it…if we do not reflect the light of Christ into this world, who will?  Since Christ is now no longer physically in this world, it is an ABSOLUTE necessity that we reflect His light, and shine it forth in the midst of a sin darkened world. (Acts 13:47, 1 Ptr 2:9)

Do we have a loved one whose spiritual condition is a burden to us?  Have you been praying for an acquaintance to come to a saving relationship with Christ?  If you answered “yes” to either of these questions then my next question to you is this… Are you displaying Christ’s light to them through your words and actions?   You can do this by telling them what Christ has done for you; then, live a life before them that honors the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   There is no stronger witness than to have a Godly life supporting the Godly message we are delivering… this is our Lord’s way to be an effective witness for Him.

I know in today’s time we have all the “modern” ways of evangelizing the lost around us. All I can say is this…. Our Lord’s way of evangelizing is the ONLY way to be an effective witness for Him…. He made that way clear by telling us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. To depart from this is to depart from the will and ways of our Father in heaven.

For those who have never been saved, “Go to the light”!   Not the way the ghost whisperer means it… but, in the way the Bible means it.  We are to experience His gracious intervention in our life, abhor our sin, fall at His feet and humbly seek the salvation only He can give.  (2 Cor 4:6, Eph 5:14)

(For much more information on this subject please read, with an opened Bible, the blog page entitled “salvation”.  On this page you will find various blog entries dealing totally with salvation.)

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.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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.”

Are We Lost In Space? Or Maybe Lost On Earth?

SIH STSTA ICONWhen I was a kid, I used to LOVE watching the TV series “Lost In Space’, it is still one of my favorite TV shows of all time.  It’s all about the Robinson family of space explorers who are thrown off course and become lost in space (get it…. that’s where they get the name! yuk yuk)  Anyhow, the series is about this family traveling from one planet to the next always looking for a way back to earth.

YouTube has many clips of the show (here’s one example … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP-s3OqCGhA) Also, you can watch the entire series at http://www.fancast.com/tv/Lost-in-Space/)   I would heartily recommend this show for wholesome family viewing.

The thing about the Robinson family was that they knew where they wanted to go, but they didn’t know how to get there.  I am afraid that this is the situation that many of us are experiencing in our lives today.  We desire peace, lasting joy, a sense of belonging, a sense of accomplishment, assurance of our destiny in the after life… the list goes on and on.  We know what we want but, sadly, many of us don’t know how to attain it.  We turn to many different worldly sources of advice to give us guidance in fulfilling our desires, but to no avail.  Nothing this side of heaven gives us the peace, joy and satisfaction and assurance that we so greatly desire.

If it were not for God’s grace, none of us would have the know-how or the ability to attain any of these goals.   But, thanks to Him, the realization of our goals becomes possible through His Word and His divine intervention in our lives.

Let’s see what God’s Word says….

THE SCRIPTURE:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1Co 1:27-31)

THE STUDY:

Lets quickly notice in our first set of verses:

1. The Lord makes it plain we should not be surprised at the world’s inability to give satisfaction and peace to man.  (vs 27-29)

2. The result of the world’s inability to satisfy is described in the phrase “That no flesh should glory in his presence”. (vs 29)  In other words, no earthly human being can stand up and say “I can give you true peace, joy and satisfaction, come follow me and I will fulfill all your desires.”  No human can supply to us our life’s needs.

3. The source of true peace and satisfaction and our eternal security is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we have a personal relationship with Christ, His Spirit indwells us.  The Spirit, in turn gives us an understanding of His Word and supplies guidance to us as we live our day to day life on earth.  It is through Christ, and His Spirit, that we can find true spiritual satisfaction and security.  (vs. 30-31)

4.  The Godly basis of our life’s satisfaction and security is described by four terms:

A. wisdom –  Godly wisdom is the ability to take God’s Word and apply it to the decision we make in life.  This is the wisdom that enables us to make choices that honor God and lead a life that is honest,  and kind towards man.  Possessing this wisdom gives us confidence knowing that our life is pleasing to God and man.

B. righteousness –  Godly righteousness is being “lawful” in the eyes of God and also man.  To be righteous means to have peace within knowing our Lord has forgiven us of our sins and that we have  His innocence placed on our account.  Possessing His righteousness also means that we are now living lives that are just and fair to others around us.

C. sanctification – Godly sanctification results in us being “set-apart’ for God’s use.  It places us in His family of believers, and takes us out of the dominion of sin.  Sanctification also aids us as we submit to His will and resist temptation.

D. redemption – Godly redemption results in us being “purchased” through the death of Christ on the cross.  His redemption placed on our account tells us we are loved by God, the price for our sins has been paid, and we are eternally secure in Him.

By knowing the Lord has intervened in our lives in all 4 ways gives us the peace, joy and satisfaction we so greatly desire.

The above picture by Paul Cheng illustrates the stark difference between a life lived with Christ and a life lived without Him.

Paul’s description is a great summary of our need to be sure we have been saved…  “As you can see, only in the cross there is life but outside there is no life. It is symbolically a parallel universe where our spiritual destiny is determined by our choice to believe in Jesus or not today (John 3:16).”

(You can see more of Paul’s wonderful art at his website:  http://www.certaintyofdrawings.blogspot.com/  Take a look at Paul’s work… it will be a great blessing to you.  Also my thanks to Paul for allowing me to use his work on this blog posting.  It is greatly appreciated.)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, let’s be sure to praise and honor the One who has made our life complete.  It is only through Christ and His work that we can truly lead fulfilled, contented lives.

For those who are not saved, if you have begun to see the great void that exists in your life, look to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him to intervene, save you from your sins, and fulfill your desires for peace, love and security.  It is only then that you will be able to live your life to it’s fullest.

—————————————————————————————————————–

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.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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.”

Oh, How Good It Looks… Oh, How Bad It Is For You

SIH STSTA ICONOne of my weaknesses is my desire for a cheeseburger.  I love cheeseburgers…. Burger King Whoppers with cheese to be exact.  But actually, how can anyone find fault with me?  Just take a look at this Burger King Whopper commercial…. (be forewarned, I don’t know how anyone can resist this!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pltp_xNrego

After having a mild heart attack about 5 years ago, it is for my good that I don’t make a habit of eating these babies.  It seems as if ever since I was told to “lay off the Whoppers” that I have only wanted them more.  We have all experienced something like this… temptation is universal, everyone has experienced it at one time or another.

Sadly, this universal experience is one of the greatest hindrances we face to living a faithful, obedient Christian life.  Why does temptation make such an impact in a Christian’s life?  How can we overcome such a strong influence?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about temptation…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1Jn 2:15-17)

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Gen 3:6)

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (Mat 4:1-11)

THE STUDY:

1 John 2:15-17

Here, we find the three basic areas of attack that temptation takes… the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  These are the three types of sinful desires we all have within us.  These are the areas that temptation appeals to and to which we submit, producing sin in our lives. (James 1:13-15)

Genesis 3:6

Here, we read of the very first temptation of mankind.  Note the three areas attacked by Satan during his temptation of man:

the tree was good for food” (lust of the flesh);

it was pleasant to the eyes” (lust of the eyes);

a tree to be desired to make one wise” (the pride of life).

This is a consistent pattern throughout the Scriptures.  Every temptation that is enacted upon man is aimed at one (or more) of these three types of sinful desires we all possess.

Matt 4:1-11

In this account, we have the temptation of Christ brought into view. Notice that, again, temptation’s attack is in a three-fold direction:

command that these stones be made bread” – Christ’s hunger after His fasting (this would have appealed to His desires of the flesh)

If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down:… lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” – By doing this, Christ would be proving to everyone His divine origin (this would have appealed to His desire to exalt Himself or His pride of life)

The devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, …if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” – This was appealing to the sight of all the kingdoms of the world.  (By doing this the temptation involved the desires of His eyes)

In each case, a similar area of Christ’s life was being attacked (just like in the other two examples we looked at.)  However, in the case of Christ, we have a perfectly sinless response to these temptations.  Why?  Christ’s did not have a sinful nature that fallen mankind possesses.  This is one reason why Christ was perfectly able to resist these temptations.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

For our benefit, Christ clearly displayed the method in which to overcome any temptation that we may face.  Please notice, in each of the three attacks by Satan, the Lord used the Word of God to gain the victory over Satan.   “It is written”, “it is written”, “it is written”; was Christ’s constant refrain.

In each case Satan lied (John 8:44), in each case Christ refuted the lie by going to the source of all truth, God’s Word.

Satan can use our friends, our family, even our experiences to lie to us.  The only sure source of truth we can rely on is the Word of God.  If anything in our life leads us contrary to Scripture, we must put it aside, and follow the Scripture exclusively.

The example of Christ, once again, speaks to us concerning the importance of Bible study and memorization for the Christian.  It is truly the only offensive weapon we have to deflect Satan’s attacks against us. (Eph 6:14-17)

Another lesson from Christ’s example is the need to take special care when we see a weakness in any of these three areas in our life.  We should be constantly striving for control of our pride, control of our eyes and control of our fleshly desires.  When these begin to dominate us, we are headed for defeat.

For those who have never submitted to the Lord…

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (Jas 1:13-15)

Without the forgiveness of Christ, spiritual, eternal death is the end result of temptations workings in mankind.  The only remedy for this is to look to Christ, the life-giver, who gave Himself on the cross so that we might share eternal life with Him. (2 Tim 1:8-10)

——————————————————————————————————————

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.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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.”

There’s A Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On!

SIH STSTA ICON

Author’s Note:

Over the Labor Day weekend, Christchurch New Zealand suffered a 7.1 earthquake. By God’s grace there were no fatalities and only a few minor injuries. (Please be in prayer for the people of Christchurch concerning the expected aftershocks.)  It light of this event, I thought it was the right time to post this to my blog. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/04/new-zealand-earthquake-curfew

Jerry Lee Lewis had it right, even though he didn’t know it when he sang” “there is a whole lotta shakin goin on” (his 1957 hit song – You can see him performing the song at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yRdDnrB5kM)

Back then he had no idea his song would apply to the age we are living in.  In today’s time, there is increasing number of earthquakes rocking the globe.  In the above chart, you can easily see that there has been a definite increase in reported earthquake activity over the past 18 years. (Above is a chart that clearly shows the increase in the number of earthquakes taking place over the past 18 years….  You can see the raw data that this chart was derived from at the USGS.gov website.  Please use the following links to see the data:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/info_1990s.php

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/eqstats.php

Please note the data they have for 2009 and 2010 is incomplete and not included on the chart)

Some scientists look at the data and have come to the conclusion that climate change is the culprit in this issue.  They claim that, until climate change (they used to call it global warming until our environment started to cool) is in check, we can expect the number of earthquakes to continue to increase.  I do not doubt the earthquake rate is increasing…. But I question the cause in their “theory”.

Then there are other scientists, on the other side of the issue, that say that there really is no increase in earthquake activity but simply an increase in the number of seismographs worldwide.  Their reasoning is that what is happening is that there are simply more earthquakes being reported due to the increase in number of measuring devices.  In actuality, they say, the number of earthquakes has not increased.  I believe, they are denying the obvious.

So what is going on with all these earthquakes?  Does the Bible even mention them or explain what is going on?  Let’s see what we can find in our study today….

THE SCRIPTURE:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Rom 8:18-25)

THE STUDY:

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, not only was mankind affected; but, so too, all of earthly creation.  This is the meaning of the phrases “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly” and “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption” found in our Rom 8: text.

This principle is a pretty easy one for us to grasp.  When man committed sin in the garden, not only did it affect mankind, but it also affected nature.  Where once you had peace between all animals, you now have animals feeding on one another.  Where once you had animals that were in perfect submission to man, you now have animals that are wild, not easily tamed and dangerous to mankind.  Where there used to be no weeds or thistles to harm our crops, you now have them spring up all over the place making an added burden upon man to keep them under control.   The cataclysmic change in weather following the flood of Noah’s day is directly attributed to the sinfulness of mankind.  (Gen 6:5-8)  In these, and in many other ways, nature has changed due to sin.

As we continue on in our text, we find that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”  (To “groan” has the idea of the noise founded in grief due to great loss.  The earth, just as mankind, lost much due to the fall. To “travail” means birth pains.  It implies increasing frequency and intensity as time progresses.)

To rephrase our verse… now that creation has fallen with man, creation is slowly decaying and wasting away waiting to be purified for the 2nd coming of Christ (Rev 19:11-Rev 20:5) and then reborn as the new heavens and earth for eternity (2 Pet 3:10-13, Rev 20:12-Rev 21:5)

One result of the earth’s decaying and wasting away are the increasing earthquakes we are experiencing in today’s time. The Lord speaks of earthquakes in connection with the signs of the last days several times in Scripture (Rev 11:13, 11:19, 16:18, Zech 14:5, Matt 24:7 etc.)

As these earthquakes take place, they are a solemn reminder of sin’s affects on the earth and the coming end of the world, as promised in the Scriptures.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved the earthquakes should awaken within us the urgency of spreading the good news of Christ to a lost world.  The earthquakes are one proof that mankind truly is fallen and in need of salvation, but it also causes us to reflect on the end of this sinful world and the restoration that the Lord has so graciously promised.

When I think of these things, Romans 13:11-14 comes to mind:

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

For those who have never experienced the saving grace of God in your life.  Allow these earthquakes, and their significance, to motivate you to seek the Lord before it is too late.  There is no question of mankind’s need of salvation… the Bible is so very clear about this (Rom 3:9,19,23, 5:12, 11:32, Gals 3:22 Etc.)   But also, the earthquakes remind us that time is short… we should not delay coming to Christ in submission, placing our spiritual life in His hands, by faith.   The Word makes this urgency clear…

“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Co 6:2)

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jer 8:20)

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.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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 Christians Labor Day

SIH STSTA ICONThe US holiday we commonly call “Labor Day” was “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”   (The History of Labor Day”, US Gvt DOL website – http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm)  In times past, Labor Day was commonly referred to as the “working man’s holiday”.  Specifically set aside in appreciation for the hard work of the American citizen (especially members of the Labor Unions).

Speaking for myself, I always look forward to Labor Day, enjoying an additional paid day off work and much needed time with my family.  But as much as I enjoy the US Labor Day celebration, there is a much greater Labor Day in the future for those of us that are servants of the Lord.  Let’s take a few minutes and learn more about the eternal Labor Day that the Lord has so graciously promised to us.

THE SCRIPTURE:

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.  (Rev 14:13)

THE STUDY:

Here in Rev 14:13 we find one of many references to the eternal rest that the Lord has promised to those who serve Him.  Please note the four basic principles concerning this rest:

Principle #1 – “Blessed” This eternal rest we receive is a great blessing from the Lord. It not only is a reward for faithfulness but also a great encouragement as we serve the Lord on earth.   What a great blessing it is to know that we someday will enjoy eternal rest with Christ!

Principle #2 – “the dead which die in the Lord” We enter this eternal rest at the completion of our course here on earth.  Keep in mind, all who are servants of Jesus will enter into that rest, whether when we die or when He comes back to take us home at His second coming.

Why do we not rest from our labors while we are still on the earth?  The Lord clearly explains to us that “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”   There is so much work left to do here on earth… now is not the time for rest…. It is the time for service!

Principle #3 – “they may rest from their labors” When the servant’s work on earth is completed, he enters into a very wonderful special type of rest… this rest is described in detail in Rev 21:3-4;  It involves a rest from pain, sorrow, and physical suffering.  But also, the Christian will no longer have to struggle against sinful flesh, but will now be able to worship the Lord in sinless freedom (Rev 22:3-5; Rom 8:21; ”glorious liberty of children of God”)

Principle #4 – “their works do follow them”  What a tremendous blessing! Just to know that when we serve the Lord on earth, our labors are remembered into eternity.  The rewarding of the faithful servant of the Lord is a central, widespread theme throughout God’s Word. (2 Tim 4:7-8; Heb 6:10-11)

Keep in mind, the rewards we will receive in heaven will have a wonderful significance.  The rewards are not given to faithful Christians to bring praise to the Christian.  Keep in mind, any service we have rendered to the Lord is entirely by His grace.  Our health, our physical life, our understanding of Scripture, our salvation, EVERYTHING having to do with our service to Him is a gift from Him.   This is why when we receive our rewards for service we lay them back down at His feet. (Rev 4:10-11)  It is our way of saying “If it was not for you Lord, we never could have served You”.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

On this Labor Day weekend, let’s take a few minutes to give thanks to the Lord for His laborers that are faithfully working the fields that are “white unto the harvest”.  Give your pastor, missionary or Sunday School teacher a quick call or email thanking them for their service as well.  But above all else, we need to be sure that we are doing what our Lord has called us to do, recognizing our time of rest has not yet come!

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Take some time out this weekend to read the Bible and see the work that Christ has performed for His people.  Here are some chapters to get you started. If you read a Romans chapter in the morning and a John chapter in the evening you can easily finish these this holiday weekend. (Romans chapters 5, 8,11; John chapters 3,4,5;)

May the Lord bless you.

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.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

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.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,090 other followers