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Atheist Billboard: Tis the Season to Deny the Existence of God

SIH STSTA ICONAs the Christmas season approaches, Atheist billboards are beginning to pop up declaring that the virgin birth, and even God’s existence, is only a myth.  One example is this billboard…

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/atheist_billboard_near_lincoln.html

With all of this world’s mixed messages about the Lord’s person, His work, and even His existence; I thought it was wise to remind every one of some of the results of denying what the Lord clearly told us in His Word.

The Word of God addresses many subjects including:

  1. the proofs of God’s existence – (Psa 19:1-6, Jer 10:10-16, Acts 17:8-9, etc etc)
  2. the proofs of Christ’s coming to the earth and the work which He performed (Acts 5:29-33, Acts 2:29-36, 1 Cor 15:1-11, etc etc )

as well as many other truths that help us to understand who the Lord is and what He has done for us.

The Lord, by His grace and love, has revealed to us the serious results of denying what He has clearly told us in His Word.  May the Lord bless each of us with an understanding and acceptance of this crucial truth…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Heb 10:19-31

19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;…30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.31[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

THE STUDY:

In Hebrews 10:19-25, we find the importance of not taking God’s gracious workings in the lives of His people for granted…

19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And [having] an high priest over the house of God;

The Lord has given sinful mankind the privilege to enter into His presence now (through prayer and Bible study) and throughout eternity (dwelling with Him face to face).   Although we are sinful, through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ, we can receive forgiveness of sins and communion with Almighty, Holy God.  It is though His work on our behalf that He becomes our intercessor (or priest), standing between God and sinful man, working peace, communion and forgiveness on our behalf.

22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)24And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Because the Lord has brought us into a close relationship with Himself, we are to draw near to Him, knowing that He has cleansed us from our inward and outward sins.  This forgiveness was applied to our account when His Spirit applied the Word to our hearts and lives (Eph 5:26).

We are also to be telling others of His workings in our lives and we are to aid others to serve Him in love (by meeting together to worship, learn and encourage other Christians).

All of these acts of appreciation, we are to observe in a greater way because our time is running short.  Soon our God will be coming back to take us home and be with Him forever.

In Hebrews 10:26-31, we find the solemn results of rejecting the truth by those who are not His people…

26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

After we receive the truths God has shown to us, and then count them as being false, there is no reason to believe that the Lord has, or will, forgive us.  If we remain in a state of denial of His truths we should fear, knowing that we are facing the judgment that is prepared by God for those who are His adversaries.  This judgment includes God’s fiery indignation (burning wrath) upon those who oppose Him.

28He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Now our attention is turned to the penalty of breaking God’s laws given to the nation of Israel.  According to the law given to them… if there were two or three witnesses to the commission of a crime worthy of death, that was ample proof for execution.

We are to compare that type of sin with the rejection of Christ, His work and His shed blood.  After hearing of Christ and His great sacrifice and then counting that as untrue, worthless, or of no benefit, we commit a very heinous sin in God’s eyes.  It is as if Christ and His work is being tred underfoot, dirtied, buried and ignored.

Even if the initial receipt of the truth affects our life causing a worldly, outward, reformation (sanctification) , this is not proof of spiritual life being present.   Simple good works shown in the life is no guarantee of acceptance by God.

A heart of repentant faith in Christ and in His work is an absolutely necessity for the forgiveness of sins.  This type of belief cannot be turned from, nor denied. (2 Cor 7:9-10)

30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.31[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The Lord is plain throughout His Word, not only is He a God of love and grace; He is also a God of justice.  The Lord makes it clear that He will send judgment and deserved punishment upon those who reject the kind, loving, gracious, most valuable work of His Son.

This truth will bring terror upon those who reject Him.  To deny God’s existence and work is to sentence themselves to an eternity of separation from God in eternal misery in the lake of fire.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Let us never forget all that our God has done for us.  He not only created us, but then He saved us from our deserved punishment  through the sacrifice of His Son.   How much more should we be motivated to serve Him after all He has done for us? (Rom 12:1-2)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Please take time to, honestly and with an open heart, study God’s Word and come to an understanding of the many various proofs of God’s existence and His Son’s work on your behalf.

The Bible makes it plain that we have all sinned and are facing punishment for those sins. (Rom 1:18-21, 2:11-12, Acts 17:30-31)  This is why rejecting the existence of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, is tantamount to sentencing yourself to an eternity of suffering at the hands of a Just God.  (Rom 2:5, 2 Pet 2:9, 3:7, Rev 20:15, 21:8)

Things do not have to be this way, however.  This same God, who is just in punishing sin, is also a very kind, gracious and loving God.  He has sent His Son to the earth to save His people from their sins. (Matt 1:21)

Through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, the payment for the sin debt of God’s people was made in full.

By turning from our disbelief, and by trusting in Christ and His work on the cross, we can find forgiveness for our sins and peace with God. (Rom 3:26-28, 4:17-25, 5:1-2, 15:13)

Oh, won’t you change your mind and attitude about God and Christ?   Won’t you believe that God and His Son exist, and that they have performed the necessary work to forgive you of your sins?  By looking to Him and placing your life and future in His hands you will be assured of a life of peace with God.

May the Lord bless you as you seek the truth about Him.

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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.”

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Christ or Santa Claus; Man, am I confused!

SIH STSTA ICONMost of us know the basic history of Santa Claus…

Nicholas, a 17-year-old Catholic priest, became known for his generosity toward those that were in need (especially children).  Following his death the Catholic church granted him the status of sainthood.  As the Catholic church began to celebrate Christmas, they included St Nicholas in their celebration.

As time progressed, due to the influence of the reformation, the person of St Nicholas began to be changed into a variety of characters.  Different nations began to form their own description and name for this generous person.  St Nicholas’s new names ranged from Father Christmas, Christmas Man, Pere Noel and many others.  The name most commonly used in our country, Santa Claus, came from the Dutch version of St Nicholas, who was given the name, Sinterklaas.

In the early 1800s, most of the specific features of Santa Claus were first developed by two different publications; Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and Thomas Nast’s yearly drawings of Santa Claus in “Harper’s Weekly” magazine.

Finally in the early to mid 1900’s Coca Cola commercials were the first time Santa Claus was pictured with the all of his modern-day features.

http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/santa_claus.htm

During the years of this evolutionary process, Santa Claus became an inseparable part of the American holiday season.  The vast majority of homes in the US continue to include Santa Claus in their Christmas celebration.  According to an AP AOL News poll 85% of those polled believed in Santa Claus as a child.  Also, over 60% of homes with children believe that Santa Claus is “important” to their holiday celebration.   For an eye-opening look at the role of Santa in the American celebration of Christmas please go to the poll:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/23/AR2006122300225.html

Christmas, which mankind has set aside to celebrate the birth of Christ, in today’s time seems to center more on Santa Claus than on the Lord Jesus Christ.  So what gives?  Could it be, that the world has chosen to replace Christ with Santa Claus?  Is Santa Claus the secular version of Christ? Let’s take a look and see what similarities Christ and Santa share…

THE SCRIPTURE:

To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (Isa 40:25)

THE STUDY:

In our text, the Lord is making the point that He is clearly exalted above all creatures, great or small.  Although this is a true statement, many times man tries to find replacements for Christ.  One of those man-made replacements is Santa Claus.

Here is a quick comparison of Christ with Santa Claus:

  1.  Comes in the Sky – Mark 14:62
  2. Has White Hair – Rev 1:14
  3. Wears Red Clothing –  Isa 63:1-2
  4. The Time of His Coming Is Unknown – Matt 24:43-44
  5. Knows All The Actions Of Humans – Hebs 4:13
  6. Can Be Present Everywhere – Jer 23:23-24
  7. Will Not Die – Rev 1:8
  8. Rewards Good / Evil  –  Rev 22:12, Rom 14:12 … Santa leaves gifts or coal
  9. Loves Little Children – Mark 10:14
  10. Described as Christ child – Luke 2:11-12…. Kris Kringle means “Christ Child”
  11. Says Ho Ho – Zech 2:6
  12. Answers requests made to Him – Matthew 7:7
  13. Belief in Him is necessary for gifts to be received – Hebs 11:6
  14. We Look forward to His coming – Titus 2:13

Need I say more?

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

As we celebrate this Christmas season, at the least, we need to be sure that our children understand the true meaning of Christmas.  We can all do this by emphasizing the role of Christ and minimizing the role of Santa Claus.

For some of us, we may decide to totally exclude Santa from our holiday celebration and center all of our attention on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  After all, isn’t that what He really deserves?

I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isa 42:8)

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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.”

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A Thanksgiving Day Devotion

SIH STSTA ICONIt is commonly believed that the first Thanksgiving celebration took place in 1621.  This feast was attended by both Pilgrims and Indians who joined together to thank God for their bountiful harvest of the previous year.  This celebration was continued by the first American colonies, and later by the United States, as a time of thanksgiving for the blessings that God had bestowed upon the American people.

The official Thanksgiving Day holiday was started in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln, at the end of the Civil War, asked Americans to set aside the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving to God for the blessings He had shown to America (one of which was an end to the Civil War).

In 1939 FDR moved the holiday to the prior week.  He did this to help businesses by giving them a longer holiday shopping period.  Finally, in 1941 the fourth Thursday in November was declared by Congress to be the official holiday of Thanksgiving.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-proclamation-thanksgiving-day

Clearly, the Thanksgiving holiday began, and was continued, as a time to give thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon our country and its individual citizens.  Most presidents in their Thanksgiving Day proclamation clearly declare that the day is set aside to give thanks to God for the blessings He has given to us. One example of this is George Bush’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation of 1990…

“Now, therefore, I, George Bush, president of the United States of America, do hereby call upon the American people to observe Thursday, November 22, 1990, as a National Day of Thanksgiving and to gather together in homes and places of worship on that day of thanks to affirm by their prayers and their gratitude the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.”

http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/unitssubjhol/a/thanksday_2.htm

There can be no doubt, historically, Thanksgiving is a day set aside for giving thanks to God Almighty for His many blessings He has given to us.  As this Thanksgiving Day approaches let us be sure to verbally explain to the younger generations the wonderful history behind the celebration.  Also, let us be sure that we all have a true thankful attitude towards our God for all His manifold gifts of grace He has given to each of us.

Did you know that everyday should be Thanksgiving for the Christian?

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. “ (1Th 5:18)

Let’s see what the Bible says about “The Christian’s Thanksgiving Day”…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psa 100:3-5)

THE STUDY:

In our text we find three basic questions about Thanksgiving answered:

Question #1 – Who are we to thank? – vs 3

“Know ye that the LORD he is God:”

  1. Our God is specifically identified as “LORD” which is the Hebrew word “Jehovah”.  This word teaches us that our God is “the self existent, eternal One”.    In other words, He is the One true God.  There are many false gods in this world; but, He is the only God that truly exists eternally.  (Psa 83:18, 1 Tim 1:17)

 “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;”

  1. Our God is identified as our Creator.  He is the One to whom we owe our existence.  We owe our physical life to Him.  But we also possess our spiritual life because of Him. (Acts 17:28, John 17:1-4)

“we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

  1. Our God is identified as our Leader and Shepherd. Here, the word for “people” is describing a tribe or a nation.  In other words, we are a part of the tribe or nation that He is leading.  Another way of putting it is we are like sheep that are cared for by a Shepherd.   He leads us, feeds us, and protects us throughout our life’s journey.  (John 10:25-30)

Question #2 – How should we thank Him? – vs 4

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:”

  1. We should verbally thank and praise Him.  To “thank” here is a word related to a choir of worshippers singing of His works.  To “praise” means to sing hymns exalting Him.  In other words, we are to verbally tell other people what He has done for us and, in doing so, place Him above all other people and gods of this world.  (1 Chr 16:8 )

“be thankful unto him,”

  1. Here we find our inward attitude is important as well.  Not only are we to verbally be thankful but we are to have a thankful spirit within us as well.  The word here for “thankful” speaks of extending the hand… much like an infant in need of their parent will hold up their hands asking to be picked up and taken care of.  We should always have an infant’s attitude recognizing our constant need of His care for us.  Truly without Him we can do nothing! (John 15:4-6, Acts 5:38-39)

“and bless his name.”

  1. To “bless” means to kneel down.  This speaks of our need to recognize His greatness and our need to be humble in His presence.  We bring ourselves to a point of submission and total reliance on Him when we sincerely say… “Not my will but thine be done” in all areas of our lives. (Luke 22:41-42)   This is the true submissive spirit of a thankful heart doing all in the name of Christ.  (Col 3:15-17)

Question #3 –  Why should we thank Him? – vs 5

“For the LORD is good;”

  1.  Why do we thank Him… Because He is a “good” Lord.  In other words, He is a God that does bountiful, beneficial works on our behalf.  He is a gracious God, working on our behalf even though we do not deserve His blessings. (Neh 9:17, Joel 2:13, 2 Cor 4:12-15)

” his mercy is everlasting;”

  1.  We thank Him because He is eternally merciful to us.  He shows us “mercy” when He withholds harm from us even though we justly deserve that harm to come upon us.  The greatest example of His mercy is an eternity in the Lake of Fire.  Even though we deserve an eternity in hell, He withholds it from those whom He has forgiven.  This is truly an act of His great everlasting mercy.  For this He deserves a lifetime of our thanks. (Psa 103:8-11)

“and his truth endureth to all generations.”

  1. Finally, we are told we should be thankful for His Word that He has given to us.  It is this timeless Word that holds the message of salvation, the keys to successful living on earth, and great promises of our eternity with Him.  Without His Word, we would all be destined for a life of spiritual failure as well as an eternity in hell. (Psa 119:105, Prov 6:23, Phil 2:14-17)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

As we take time to celebrate the Thanksgiving season, let’s remember to take a time out and specifically thank the Lord for all of His many blessings He has given to us.   Let’s tell others about what He has done for us.

“Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.”(1Ch 16:8-9)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Take time out to read the Lord’s Word and see what He did by sending His Son to die on the cross and pay the price for the sins of His people. (Titus 3:4-7, Roms 5:8-11, 2 Cor 5:19-21, 1 Jhn 4:9-10).  After doing all of this for His people, surely we can do what He asks of us.

What is His desire for our life? We are to turn from our sins and our false beliefs and rely on the message of the gospel to show us the truth about the way of salvation….

“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”(Mar 1:15)

After turning to Christ and trusting in His work to save us from our sins, we can join with other true believers and say…  “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2Co 9:15)

You may also like the SIH 2012 Thanksgiving Devotion: http://wp.me/pU88A-1t8

Also SIH is celebrating Thanksgiving the entire month of November 2012 with a series of much shorter daily devotions the series begins here: http://wp.me/pU88A-1rR

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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.”

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Getting Acquainted With God (Part #2)

SIH STSTA ICONIn our previous study we answered two questions concerning acquainting ourselves with God.

First of all, we answered the question “How do we acquaint ourselves with God”… we found the answer to this question was two-fold:

  1. By learning about Christ we can acquaint ourselves with God.
  2. Since Christ is no longer physically present on the earth, we should look to the Word of God to learn more about Christ, and by association, learn about God as well.

Secondly, we answered the question “Why should we acquaint ourselves with God”… we found a two-fold answer to this question as well:

  1. Our text promised “peace” to those who are acquainted with God. With peace, we can withstand the must violent storms that life can bring our way. Peace takes away worry and discord among those who serve the Lord.
  2. Our text also promised “good” or “grace” upon those who become acquainted with God.  With grace we can be assured of victory in our spiritual battles, as well as continued the strength to serve in any way in which we are called.  With grace, not only is our life on earth secure but our eternal life as well.

In this study, lets take a bit of time to see a few things the Word tells us about our God…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. (Job 22:21)

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! … Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa 40:9-31)

THE STUDY:

In Isaiah 40: we find the prophet Isaiah attempting to show the people of Judah the true God of all mankind.  (note: “Behold your God” – vs 9 sets stage for rest of Isa 40:)  Isaiah was faced with a very difficult problem.  How can He describe a God who is so great that He cannot be described?   It is an extremely difficult situation.  Our God is so great, our human minds cannot comprehend His greatness.

Isaiah’s solution to this difficulty is to use earthly comparisons to help the people of Judah, and us, understand the greatness of God….

So as Isaiah phrased it; “Behold Your God”…

  1. He is a compassionate, caring, Shepherd
    1. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
  2. He is the great Creator of all nature
    1. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
  3. He is all-knowing, the Origin of all wisdom and understanding
    1. Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
  4. He is the Sovereign Lord and King of all nations and kingdoms
    1. Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
  5. He is deserving of all worship… no sinful man can please Him with the works of man’s hands.
    1. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
  6. He is unequaled by any false god.
    1. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
  7. He has been revealed to mankind since the beginning of time through His creation.
    1. Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
  8. He holds ultimate authority in heaven and earth
    1. That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
  9. He is a God that judges sin
    1. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
  10.   He is indescribable.
    1. To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
  11.   He is sustainer of all His creation.
    1. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
  12.  He knows us better than we do… none can hide from Him.
    1. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
  13.   He empowers and enables those who seek His face.
    1. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Now we can understand why the Bible says…

Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. (Psa 86:8-10)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

As we consider our Lord’s greatness let us appreciate Him for saving us and caring for us along life’s pathway.  Let’s have thankful hearts this Thanksgiving season knowing He has intervened in our lives and our past present and future is secure in Him!

“So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations. (Psa 79:13)”

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Please keep in mind this same great God has sent His Son to live life on earth and die on a cross so that anyone who comes to Christ might receive forgiveness for the times they have failed God.  Come to Christ realizing you can do nothing to save yourself from your sin.  Look to Him, realizing He is your only hope of forgiveness and a secure future in Him.  He promises that He will not cast you aside.  And as you approach this Thanksgiving season you can have a new sense of security, joy and peace knowing you have been forgiven of your sins…

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Joh 3:14-18)

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)

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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.”

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Getting Acquainted With God (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICONTo be “acquainted” with someone is an interesting concept.  Basically, the term “acquainted” refers to getting used to someone.  Or perhaps, a better way to express the thought is “to attune your self to another’s thoughts, feelings and actions”.

Remember the old Newlywed Game TV show?  It aired back in the 60s and 70s with host Bob Eubanks.  I used to watch the show all the time.  It involved taking 4 pairs of newlyweds and asking them a variety of questions to see how well they knew each other.  At times, some of their answers were hilarious.  In some cases, one of the spouses would answer a question in the exact opposite way as their spouse.  How embarrassing!  It was as if they were admitting to everyone watching the show that they really didn’t know their spouse very well at all.   For a quick peek at the show, take a look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4DD_OyT-sQ

As impossible as it might seem, God’s Word tells us that we can become acquainted with Almighty God! Can you imagine what it is like to have lives attuned with the Sovereign Creator of all?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say…

In part 1 of our study we will see how and why we acquaint ourselves with God.

In part 2 of our study we will begin a journey to acquaint ourselves with God.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. (Job 22:21)

THE STUDY:

It is through Christ that we can become acquainted with God the Father…

“Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” (Joh 14:8-11)

When Christ was on the earth, mankind had a living and breathing revelation of God amongst them.  They could watch the actions of Christ and hear the words of Christ, which would allow them to become acquainted with the Father.   However, now that Christ is no longer physically present with us on the earth, how can we learn about Christ; and in doing so, become acquainted with the Father?…

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  (Joh 5:39)

We can read the Word of God and learn about Christ and His life on earth.  The Old Testament is filled with prophecies and symbolism revealing Christ; likewise, the gospels in the New Testament are written records of His life on earth, while the remaining portions of the New Testament helps to explain in more detail what Christ taught and did while on the earth.

The key to becoming acquainted with the Father is by becoming acquainted to Christ through the Word of God.   The Word is the only reliable source of knowledge about Christ and The Father.

(Please note: It is possible to learn about God through the experiences in our lives.  However, MUCH CARE must be taken in our interpretation of our life events.   For example, following being tempted, I could say… “I have now learned that God tempts people, because I have been tempted.”  However, by interpreting my life experience through the lens of the Scripture, I come to realize that God does not tempt any man but it was a combination of my lust, Satan, or the sinful world that caused the temptation – James 1:13-14.

We MUST ALWAYS interpret any life event within the context of Holy Scripture.  This is of great significance.  The Bible must take priority over any life event that may seem to teach us a lesson about God.  If we do not do this, we can come to gross misunderstandings about how God works.  In the worst scenario, these misunderstandings lead to heretical teachings and the misleading of those who are sincerely attempting to acquaint themselves with their God.

I have found that it is a much safer practice to refer to the Word for all my knowledge about My Lord and the Father.  I have NEVER learned anything from my life experiences about the workings of God that the Word has not clearly declared.  My life experiences simply affirm what the Word says about my Lord.  As I learn more from His Word, I begin to see more of His intervention in my life.)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

A life attuned to God, is an absolute necessity for us to live a victorious life for Him.  As our text brings forth… if we are acquainted with Him, both peace and good (or grace) will accompany our life here on earth.  With peace, we can withstand the must violent storms that life can bring our way.  With grace we can be assured of victory in our spiritual battles, as well as continued the strength to serve in any way in which we are called.  Paul understood the importance of grace and peace for the Christian’s life. That is Paul wishes His readers “grace and peace” on many separate occasions. (Roms 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3, 2 Cor 1:2, Gal 1:3, Eph 1:2, Phil 1:2, Col 1:2,  1 Thess 1:1, 2 Thess 1:2,  1 Tim 1:2,  2 Tim 1:2,  Tit 1:4, Phlm 1:3)

By becoming increasing familiar with His Word, through study (Acts 17:10-11), meditating (1 Tim 4:13-15), and memorization (Psa 119:11), we can learn much of our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Heavenly Father.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

The first step to developing a close walk with the Lord is by trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior.  By coming to a point of acknowledgement of the sin in your life, and your inability to do anything to bring about the forgiveness of your sin, you will realize your only hope is in Christ.

Then by placing your spiritual well-being into the hands of the Lord, He will intervene in your life, grant repentance and give you the ability to understand His Word.  This is the first step that is necessary for you to walk closely with your God. (Isa 55:6-7, 2 Cor 3:13-17)

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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.”

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The Worm, The Hook, The Great Deception

SIH STSTA ICONFor any of you who have ever fished, you probably know how Bill Dance feels in this video compilation of some of his greatest bloopers…. You’ll love it!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_BLggf-mqs

The Bible addresses the issue of temptation, by picturing it as a fisherman attempting to catch a fish.  Unfortunately, in this scenario, temptation is the fisherman (empowered by Satan, our flesh and the world) and we are the fish.  What is the purpose of temptation? To bring misery and death to those who choose to take the bait and be reeled in by the sinful forces of this world.

Here is what the Bible has to say about temptation and it’s results…

THE SCRIPTURE:

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)

THE STUDY:

In our first text, we find the steps of progression from temptation to the actual act of sin:

Step 1:  he is drawn away of his own lust  We come into contact with something that appeals to our desires.  Much like a fish is attracted to the bait, due to its hunger.

Step 2:  and enticed.  Enticed means to deceive, mislead.  Much like the fish, after being attracted, does recognize the hook; but believes that the bait is harmless.

Step 3:  Then when lust hath conceived  the idea of conceived means to grasp or take.  Once the fish takes the bait, sealing his fate.

Step 4:  it bringeth forth sin  By acting to satisfy the lists within us, we now commit the sin and, of course, bring an act of sin into our lives.  The result of this sin? Death.  Much like the fish that now has taken the bait is reeled to its awaiting death.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

To avoid the commission of sin we need to derail the temptation to sin process anyway we can.

Here are ways to derail the process at each of the first three steps of the four step process:

Step #1 – If we deal with our lusts properly… our sinful desires will be weakened and the opportunity to full those desires will be lessened.

We will be avoiding as many opportunities to fulfill our sinful lusts as possible.

An example: If our lusts lead us to easily abuse alcohol, we should avoid going into bars or restaurants that serve alcohol.

Or, we can think refuse to dwell mentally on our lust and its fulfillment, weakening our lusts by starving them.

An example: Do our lusts trouble us in the area of coveting the possessions of others?  If we see something we desire that is owned by another, we should not continue to think on the items.  This stirs up our lusts and opens the door to covetousness.

Step #2 – We need to stop and think about the true results of the sin we are about to commit.  We will not see the bait as harmless but as something that will work death to us.

An example: How will this action affect me tomorrow, or next week, or next year?  How will it affect those around me?  What will it do to my testimony?

Step #3 – We need to seek the wisdom of God before we commit to actions we are unsure about.  Ny doing this, we will be directed away from committing sin and resolving to do what is honoring to God.

An example:  Before we commit to an action, we should seek out God’s Word and/or the Godly counsel of others, asking the question “What saith the Lord?”.

By derailing the process before the sin is actually committed, we will be avoiding future pain for ourselves and others around us; while pleasing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Before you can begin to win the victory over temptation in your life, you must first submit your life and desires to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This submission is an absolute necessity for the forgiveness of your sins and living a new life of victory over sin and death.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.(Jas 4:7-8)

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 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 6:16-18)

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.

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.”

Why?

SIH STSTA ICON“Why is the sky blue?”  “Why does a dog bark?”  “Why is ice cream cold?”  The list goes on and on.  When we were much younger, we were concerned about all the “whys” of life.  Sad to say in the process of getting our answers, we drove our parents to the edge of insanity!

However, something happened to many of us as we grew older… the “whys” of life no longer seemed to be as important.  As we grew busier in our life’s activities, we no longer were concerned about “why”.  This change resulted in cheating us out of a greater appreciation of the world around us.

When it comes to God’s Word, understanding the “whys” is an absolute necessity to grasp the entire truth that is being presented.  For this blog entry, I would like us to look at one example of this principle.   Let’s look at the answer to a very common question that is asked by many Christians…. “Why did the Lord forgive us of our sins?”

THE SCRIPTURE:

And you hath he quickened,… That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:1-7)

THE STUDY:

This Scripture text is basically answering two questions:

In verses 1-3 we have the answer to: “What was our condition before The Lord forgave me of my sins?”

In verses 4-7 we have the answer to: “Why did the Lord forgive me of my sins?”

Our study will begin with verses 1-3…

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”

Before the Lord intervened in our life we were “dead in trespasses and sins”.  In other words, spiritually we were separated from God and unable to help ourselves.  We could no more give ourselves forgiveness and spiritual life than a dead corpse can give itself CPR and bring itself back to life.

“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:”

Before the Lord’s intervention, our lifestyle was one of disobedience and rebellion to the will and ways of God.   Although we may have lived moral lives, our morality was of no more value than that of filthy rags (Isa 64:6).   Why were they of no lasting spiritual value? Our moral actions were not done out of a heart of love for the Lord.

“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;

Instead of our moral works being done out of love for God, they were motivated by the lusts of our flesh and mind.  In other words, our moral actions were motivated out of a love for self and pleasure.  Our entire lifestyle was one of living for self gratification.

“and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Our sinful nature, which we received from Adam, was deserving of God’s punishment.  We shared this same type of nature with all mankind.  Everyone, possesses this same nature within themselves. (1 Cor 15:22)

(Note on verses 1-3….Please notice these verses set the groundwork for the following verses 4-7.   Basically what we are saying is this…. Since I was in such a horrible condition (vs 1-3) why did the Lord ever make the time and effort to save me? (vs 4-7))

In verses 4-7…

So why did The Lord forgive us?

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,”

Reason #1

We are forgiven because of His mercy and His love for us.   In other words, He is willing to withhold our deserved punishment from us (his mercy) because He so greatly loved us.

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”

 This is a quick review of our horrible condition before His intervention in our lives. This review is given to remind us that we didn’t deserve, nor did we earn, His love or mercy…. It is given entirely by His willingness to give us undeserved blessings.  These undeserved blessings include His forgiveness which saved us from the punishment of our sins.

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Reason #2

We are forgiven so we might live eternally with Him.  The Lord raised us from our spiritual death, so that we might share an eternity in heaven with Him.

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

Reason #3

We are forgiven so that The Lord might be glorified.  From the moment of our salvation, the Lord glorifies Himself in the lives of those He has saved.  Anyone who is truly saved, becomes a new creature in Him.  Because of this great inward change, our outward lives change as well. (2 Cor 5:17) This change glorifies Him.

Also, throughout eternity, our presence with Him in heaven will be a continual testimony of His grace and forgiveness that He has given to His people. (Rev 4:10-11)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

When Christians are asked “Why did the Lord forgive you of your sins?” their two favorite responses are… “Because He loved us” and “Because He wanted to go to heaven and not hell”.  In our above text, we saw both of these are true.

However, please notice the third reason why He chose to save us.  It is because He wants to glorify Himself in our lives.  This is so important for each of us to understand.  If we have been saved we are to serve Him with our lives.  By doing, this we are bringing to fulfillment His third desire … that He might be glorified.  (Eph 2:8-10)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

If you have never received the Lord’s gracious forgiveness… you can see your horrible condition without His intervention in your life. Turn from your sins and turn to Him in faith, recognizing He is your only hope… He will not cast you aside. (John 6:33-40)

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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.”

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