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April Fools Day Devotion

SIH STSTA ICONThe April Fools Day right around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to study a Biblical “fool”.

One of the clearest portions of Scripture that describes a “fool” is found in Psalm 14:1-3.  Lets look and see what the Bible says about a “fool”….

 

THE SCRIPTURE:

 Ps 14:1-3 (KJV)  The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God.  They are all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy: [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one.   

 Rom 3:11-12  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one…

 Rom 3:23-24 (KJV)  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 

THE STUDY:

 

Here we find in Ps 14:1-3, the Biblical characteristics of a “fool”.  Also, in our study we will find that all of us, apart from the grace of God, can be classified as a fool. And finally, we will see that the Lord has given each of us a remedy for our “foolishness”… the work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross. 

 

Psalm 14:1-3:

The fool

Here we find one of many verses where the Bible talks about a “fool”.  What does the Lord mean when he describes someone as a “fool”?   Here the Hebrew word for “fool” is describing someone who is without knowledge and wisdom.  Because they are without this wisdom they are not in submission to the desires of God for their life.

 hath said in his heart, [There is] no God.

One characteristic in the life of a “fool”, is their refusal to recognize that Jehovah is a living God who has authority over their lives.  This type of denial can take two forms: 

Firstly, there is a lack of recognition of the very existence of the Biblical God.  (This type of attitude is characterized by the atheists, agnostics, and pagan religions among others.)

 The second type of denial, is a denial of God’s Lordship in an individual’s life.  There are many people who will say that they believe God exists and yet, do not recognize the authority of God over their lives. In practice, they are in denial of the existence of God, and is classified as a Biblical “fool”. (This type of denial we are all guilty of committing.  How often have we, in practice, denied the very Lord that we claimed existed.)

 They are corrupt,

Here the word “corrupt” means to decay, or to enter into a worse condition. 

We are clearly told that those who deny the existence of the Lord are continuously entering into a worse and worse condition. The longer that they deny His existence and fail to recognize His will for their lives, the worse their condition before God.   

 they have done abominable works,

Here, the word “abominable” means to detest or to reject due to filth.  What was our condition before we acknowledged His existence and lived in submission to His authority?  The Lord rejected our good works of righteousness rejecting them because they were filthy in His sight. Remember,  the Lord has loving warned us not to rely on our good works to secure salvation. “But we are all as an unclean[thing], and all our righteousnesses[are] as filthyrags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa 64:6)

 [there is] none that doeth good.  

There is no one, apart from the grace of God, that does good in His sight. 

 

The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God. 

When the Lord searched for someone who recognized His existence and His lordship, desiring His rule for their lives; He could find none…

Here, is what the Lord saw when He looked upon all of us….

 They are all gone aside,

Every one of us, before the Lord saved us, had turned off the right path for our life, choosing to follow our fleshly desires.

 they are [all] together become filthy:

We all had appeared, defiled in His sight, so defiled that He could not accept us due to the filth of our sin that was upon us.

 [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one.

Once again, to emphasize our hopeless situation, the Lord reminds us that our works were not found acceptable in His sight; they all were tainted by our sinful condition and found wanting.

 In the book of Romans, Paul now takes up the message that King David had begun.  Paul continues the same thought but concludes giving us the solution to our dilemma…

 Rom 3:11-12, 23-24:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one…

Here, in Rom 3:11-12, we find Paul repeating the words of David, once again, establishing the principle that we, as sinful mankind, can do nothing to gain the favor of a Holy, Just God.  We are stand as fools, not understanding nor seeking after the only One who can graciously impart salvation unto us.

 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Now, in Rom 3:23-24, Paul helps us to understand that our situation as fallen mankind is not impossible.  We still have hope of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Each of us has fallen short of the holiness that is required to enter God’s presence. 

Before we can spend an eternity with this Existing, Almighty, Holy, Just God, we must be justified (declared innocent) of those sins which we have committed:

First of all, declaration of innocence comes to us freely.  It is nothing we can merit, nor is it something we can work to gain.

 Secondly, this declaration of innocence is an act of His divine grace.  “Grace” is a term used to describe benefiting someone who does not deserve the benefits.  In other words, none of us “deserve” to be declared innocent of our sins, yet He saw fit to declare us innocent.

 Thirdly, this declaration of innocence is based upon the price that was paid by Christ on the cross.  You see, our sin debt could not be paid by us.  But Christ, our sinless substitute died on the cross to pay the price for those who are brought to faith in Him.  This act of redemption cost Christ everything and, yet, costs us nothing to receive.  At His expense, He gave us His free gift of justification.   

 PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

 For those who have never come to a life changing belief in an Existing God…

 Please take just a moment to read the following verses, and by faith, know they are true:

  God exists and has authority over our lives:

 Deut 4:35-39 (KJV)  Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he [is] God; [there is] none else beside him.  Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.  And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;  To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou [art], to bring thee in, to give thee their land [for] an inheritance, as [it is] this day.  Know therefore this day, and consider [it] in thine heart, that the LORD he [is] God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: [there is] none else.

 Ps 83:18 (KJV)  That [men] may know that thou, whose name alone [is] JEHOVAH, [art] the most high over all the earth.

 Isa 54:5 (KJV)  For thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

 Dan 4:34-35 (KJV)  And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

 Zech 4:14 (KJV)  Then said he, These [are] the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

 Jesus Christ and His work is the basis of the forgiveness of our sins:

 Col 1:12-17   Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

 Gal 3:7-13  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith.  And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:

 2Cor 5:17-21 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 Matt 11:27-30  All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [him].  Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

 John 6:28-40  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.  They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?  Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.  Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.  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.

 Believe His Word, turn to Him and come before Him humbly recognizing your need and your inability to save yourself.  Trust in Him for your forgiveness and you will be saved.

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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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Magic Mirror on the Wall

SIH STSTA ICONWe all remember the scene from Snow White.The Evil Queen stands in front of the mirror and says “Magic Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” When the mirror replies that she is no longer the fairest in the kingdom that’s when all the trouble starts for poor Snow White.(Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-i8zKJaHMA&feature=related to refresh your memory).

You’ve got to hand it to the Queen, at least she knew where to go to evaluate her appearance.She knew the mirror would reveal what she needed to know about herself.

Likewise with us, as Christians, our Lord gives us a “mirror” that we are to use for our self-examination.Unlike the magic mirror of Snow White, this “mirror” reveals our life’s condition in the eyes of God.It is a very powerful, valuable tool that is far too often overlooked.

What is this tool?How often should we use it?We’ll answer these questions in today’s blog…

THE SCRIPTURE:

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (Jas 1:22-25)

THE STUDY:

In our text, we can see that the mirror God has given to His people is the Bible, His Word.When we read the Bible and compare it to our lives, we receive an image of what our life looks like in the sight of God.

If you notice also in our text this powerful tool can be misused.Instead of leading us to a more Christ-like life, it can be misused causing self-deceit.If we go to God’s Word, receive its truth but then forget what we have read, we have just deceived ourselves.We are thinking, “Boy, I have really pleased the Lord today, I read His Word! (but then forgot it)”; but, in reality, we have not pleased Him at all.

It is clear to see in our text, that the Lord meant for His Word to be read AND APPLIED.To read His Word without application is like buying a gallon of paint but never putting it on the wall.It is purchased, but it’s not put to use.Likewise, reading His Word.Reading His Word takes an investment of time and energy (in a sense “purchasing it”), but if we never apply it, the Word’s usefulness is ignored.

Notice that our text finishes with a promise of a blessing to those who read and apply His Word.This is incredible display of His grace to us.Don’t we deserve a blessing when we use His Word wisely? Let’s stop and think of some basic truths for just a minute:

Firstly, when God created man, He was NOT obligated to give us His Word to direct our lives.After creation and the fall, He could have just as easily left sinful mankind to go his own way. This would have led mankind into an eternity in the lake of fire. But He didn’t do this. He gave us His Word to lead us to Christ.

Secondly, once again, as newly saved Christians, we did not deserve His Word.But He gave us His Word for the Spirit to use to guide us as we live our life.Please notice, in both cases, He gave to us what we did not deserve; He did it simply because He loved us!

Now to take it a step further, the Lord promises to bless those of us who not only read, but, apply His Word to our lives.This, after he graciously gave us His Word and His Spirit to lead and guide us!!!Now, He rewards us for what is our duty to do (Luke 17:10).We owe it to Him to apply His Word; we are not doing Him any favors when we use His Word in the way it was intended.What an absolutely incredible display of His mercy and kindness to us.This is amazing grace!

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those of us who are forgiven of our sins…

If we understand how good God has been in giving us His Word, how can we waste this blessing by not applying it to our lives?I am the first to admit, at times, reading His Word and applying it to my life hurts.It’s not easy to see my faults.It’s even harder to overcome them through the power of the Spirit.It’s not easy, it’s painful, but it’s a necessity.We owe it to our Lord.Praise Him, He promises to bless us when we use His Word wisely!

For those who have not come to faith in Christ…

Please remember, one of the greatest reasons the Lord has given His Word to the world is to show mankind its need to be saved from their sin. Also, His Word tells us the way of salvation, placing our God-given faith in Christ.What is your first step to coming to faith in Christ.Look into His Word, see what your condition is and what can be done to remedy that condition.One place you might begin is Ephesians chapter 2.If you have any questions, or you would like to talk to someone about your spiritual condition, feel free to email me or get in contact with any Bible-believing church in your area.

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 Agony of Defeat

SIH STSTA ICONDo your remember the “ABC Wide World of Sports”  series of the seventies?  If you don’t remember the opening you may want to see it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2AZH4FeGsc

In the opening, a ski jumper named, Vinko Bogataj, became the symbol of “the agony of defeat”, as he crashed during the Ski-flying World Championships in OberstdorfWest Germany. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_World_of_Sports_(US_television_show)

During our lifetime, most of us have experienced hardship and the discouragement, but we are not alone.  Throughout the Word of God, we find the most Godly of the Lord’s servants faced discouragement and depression, as they faced various types of hardships and loss in their lives.

Lets take a few minutes to study how to handle the discouraging times in our lives…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ps 42:1-11 (KJV)

…My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where [is] thy God?… Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.

THE STUDY:

Job, Moses, Jonah, and Peter faced loss and discouragement during the course of their service to the Lord.

Job lost his wealth, livelihood, children, wife and health which led him to say “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night [in which] it was said, There is a man child conceived…Why died I not from the womb? [why] did I [not] give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?… For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest” in Job chapter 3.

Moses addressed the Lord and said “Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?… I am not able to bear all this people alone, because [it is] too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.”  After he faced the continual complaining of the people of Israel in Numbers chapter 11.

Jonah, in chapter 4, says “I pray thee, O LORD, [was] not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? … Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for [it is] better for me to die than to live.”  Jonah said this after the Lord had blessed Jonah’s begrudging ministry to the arch-enemies of the Israelites, the Ninevites and their countrymen.

And finally, after denying the Lord, “Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:75.

In all of these examples, we see Godly men who were faced with agony, discouragement and depression in the face of great loss.   Also, please notice that the basis of their discouragement varied.  In Job’s case it was due to great loss of material blessings, family and health; for Moses, it was experiencing obstacles in His service to the Lord;  for Jonah, it was seeing the wicked prosper; and finally, in Peter’s life, he experienced great depression after failing in his service to his Lord.

Four men, four differing experiences, but the same basic response to them all…. Discouragement, it is a common experience in the Lord’s service.

So how are God’s people to handle the discouraging times in life?  Psalm 42:1-11 holds the key….

Principle #1 – During times of hardship, we should seek a closer relationship with the Lord, as our first priority.   (Psa 73:28, James 4:8)

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

David found himself seeking after His Lord.  He desired to have a closer relationship with the Lord, to come to a better understanding of His Word and live a life of greater submission to His will.  Many times, the Lord allows trials into our life to bring us closer to Him.  It is during these times of trials that we pray more, study more, and become more aware of His presence in our lives.

Principle # 2 – During times of hardship, we should seek out sincere Godly friends and acquaintances   (Prov 17:17, John 15:13).

My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where [is] thy God?

When I remember these [things], I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

Godly friends will give us Scriptural counsel and stand with us during our testing.  Especially seek out dedicated Christians who have faced the same type of trials that we are facing.  Their counsel, which is based on experience, can be invaluable during times of hardship.

Our carnal friends will only give worldly advice or desert us in the midst of our discouragement.  (Note: Beware of friends who claim to be Christians but are not dedicated to His service.  Many of David’s friends that doubted the Lord were those he had worshipped within God’s house.)

Principle # 3 – During times of hardship, we should not concentrate on our disappointments, but think on things that honor the Lord.   (Phils 4:6-9, Psa 63:6)

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him [for] the help of his countenance.

O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

David now begins to question why he is experiencing this period of discouragement.

He forces himself to think about what is true about His Lord.  (For example: He knows His Lord loves him; and the Lord has promised to accompany him throughout his life on earth.)

David recognizes that, even in this situation, there was much to be hopeful about. Because of this, no matter where David may find himself, he would always remember the Lord and give Him the honor and remembrance due Him.

Principle # 4 – During times of hardship, we should recognize the Lord is in control of all his life’s events. (Job 23:13, Psa 115:3, Isa 46:10-11)

Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

[Yet] the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song [shall be] with me, [and] my prayer unto the God of my life.

David realized that his Lord was in control of all the events that he was currently struggling with.  That is why he said that the “waves and billows” he was facing was thine (God’s).  David knew that God was able to not only bring these upon him, but also because of His sovereignty, He could remove these circumstances anytime that He chose.

Also, David realized that God’s control over all things meant that He could keep all the promises He has made to His people.  This includes His promise to be with us, to show us His continuous loving kindnesses (His graces), and His comforting during life’s trials.

Principle # 5 – During times of hardship, we need to take our disappoinments and issues to the Lord. (Hebs 4:16, Psa 145:18, Psa 139:17-18)

I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

[As] with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where [is] thy God?

The Lord welcomes us to take our issues to Him.  We are to empty ourselves in prayer knowing He hears and understands us.   He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  We are to feel free to come before Him exposing our deepest desires, questions, heartaches, complaints, feelings, disappointments, and failures, knowing He will understand and comfort us as He draws near to us.

Principle # 6 – During times of hardship, count our blessings and realize how good the Lord is to us.     (Psa 40:5, Psa 139:17-18, 2 Cor 4:8-9)

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.

Once again, David questions why he is discouraged when he realizes all that the Lord has done for him.  He said that the Lord was “the health of my countenance” and also that He was “my God”.  David reminds himself that his God “puts a smile on his face” based upon all His blessings given to David.  David also sees that the Lord is “His God”.  In other words, He deserves David’s worship and submission to His will.

We all should practice the principles that David applied to his life during times of  hardship.  By actively following these principles, we can  be a Godly witness to the grace, love and peace that only God can give.

And remember, where there is God there is always hope and peace… Psa 30:5, Jer 29:11

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have experienced God’s grace in their lives…

Ps 34:1-4 (KJV)

[A Psalm] of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise [shall] continually [be] in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear [thereof], and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

For those who have never come to a life changing belief in an Existing God…

Isa 55:6-7 (KJV)

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

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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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Mind Control (And your thoughts are…)

SIH STSTA ICONWe’ve all heard of the phrase mind control.  In the movie “Manchurian Candidate”, (2004, 1962) the possible use of mind control to aid a political candidate win an election battle.  In the 1962 version Frank Sinatra plays the lead character, whereas in the 2004 version, Denzel Washington plays the lead.  Although these movies are based on fiction, they will leave you with a greater understanding of the danger of sinful mankind possessing the power to control the thoughts of others.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Manchurian_Candidate

The Bible also addresses the issue of mind control… not the ability to control the thoughts of others, but the need to control our own thoughts.   Control of our own thought life  is one of the most important principles that a Christian should master in his walk with Christ.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Php 4:6-9)

THE STUDY:

In the context of our text, the Lord is addressing the worrisome times in our lives.  During these times there are several keys to minimizing the stress that a Christian may go through.  These keys are clearly presented in our verses:

Be careful for nothing;

The word “careful” comes from a Greek word that means “do not be anxious” or “do not be full of concern”.  As Christians, we should be worrying about nothing… The Lord who has control of all things has promised to be with us and to work everything out for our good and His glory! (Roms 8:28-29, Hebs 13:5-6, Psa 91:all)

Instead of worrying about the issues of life that we face, what are we to do?

Key #1 – Take our concerns to Him, thinking on His greatness and His grace to us.

but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

We are to take all of our concerns and trials to the Lord, placing them at His feet and allowing Him to take care of them for us.  How do we do this?

Through…

“Prayer”:  (Greek – worship, adore Him) – As we bring our concerns to Him we should be thinking of His greatness, His love for us, and His promises to us.  Our attitude should be one of submission and humility

“Supplication”: (Greek – to bring requests, to bring petition) – We should verbalize to Him what our trials are, as well as what we are feeling about this trial.  We should feel free opening up to Him… He desires us to be transparent and reliant on Him.

“Thanksgiving”: (Greek – to appreciate Him) –  We should recognize His grace in allowing us to pour out our soul to Him, and know He will take care of us.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

As we share our concerns with Him, realizing His greatness, His promises and His gracious kindness to us; we can rest assured He will take care of us.  (Job 22:21, 1 Pet 5:6-7, Psa 27:13-14)

Key #2 – We are to keep on our minds centered on that which is pleasing and glorifying to Him.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

During times of trials, Satan attempts to use our thoughts to discourage and hinder our service to the Lord.  By controlling our thought life, we can find rest in the midst of our life’s storms.   Here is a listing of what we should be thinking of during stressful times:

True – actual to fact

Honest – honorable

just – aligned with God’s law

pure – clean, innocent

lovely – acceptable, pleasing

good report – true through testimony of others

virtue –  excellence, highest point

praise – commendable

Key #3 – Follow the example of other Godly men who have faithfully gone through trials themselves.

 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Gain from ministry of other Godly men:

Learn from their teachings.

Receive knowledge from accompanying them.

Hear from others testimonies about them.

See example set by watching their lives.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

By applying these three keys during times of trials, the Christian is allowing Christ to control His thoughts and, in doing so, alleviating many of the avenues of temptation and anxiety.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

First and foremost, you must go to the Lord, recognizing your inability to help yourself or give yourself security in your situation.  Without Christ, you have no assurance of the leadership nor accompanying presence of God in your life.  (Eph 2:12-18, John 15:5-7, Acts 4:12, Phils 4:13)

But when we come to Christ, placing our faith in Him to save us from our sin’s penalty, and turning from our sin to living our life for Him, we can be certain He will be always present to help us and meet our every need as we face the trials of life. (Mark 1:15, Deut 31:6-8, 1 Chron 28:20)

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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.

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

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

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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St Patricks Day Devotion – The Color Green

SIH STSTA ICONSt Patrick was born in Britain in the 4th century AD.  It is believed that as a young man, Patrick was kidnapped and taken into slavery to Ireland.  He claimed that his escape from Ireland and his eventual return to Britain was based upon God’s instructions, given to him in a dream.  After his return to Britain, he began to study for the Catholic priesthood.

Later in life, as a Catholic bishop, Patrick said that he was called to return to Ireland to win over the  Irish who held a belief in many Gods.  It is believed that he used the shamrock to illustrate the doctrine of the trinity.

Although originally being associated with the color blue, gradually green became the representative color for St Patrick’s Day.  It is believed the color green has been associated with the celebration due to the color of the shamrock and the green vegetation found in Ireland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick’s_Day

The symbolic use of the color green is not limited to the St Patrick’s Day holiday.  In the Bible the color green is often associated with a state of blessing from Almighty God.  Psalm 52:8-9 is one example of this usage…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ps 52:8-9 (KJV)

8But I [am] like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.9I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done [it]: and I will wait on thy name; for [it is] good before thy saints.

THE STUDY:

In Psalm 52:8-9, we find King David reflecting on his blessed life and the origin of those blessings…

But I [am] like a green olive tree in the house of God:

Here David is recognizing the blessed conditions of his life.  He describes being blessed greatly as being “like a green olive tree”.    Here, “green” is symbolically describing his flourishing life.  As a green tree is filled with health and life; so too, David was thriving having both his physical and, especially, his spiritual needs supplied by His God.

I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.           

David, as he recounts his many blessings from God, now looks ahead in faith.  He realizes that the Lord can be relied upon for his future physical and his spiritual needs, just as He had met David’s past needs.

The bestowing of God’s blessings is based upon His mercy.

We, as fallen creation, are destined for eternal separation from God.  This is because sin cannot enter into God’s presence.  However, based upon the mercy of God we can receive forgiveness of our sins and live an eternity with Him.  How did our God do this?  He sent His Son to take the debt of sin and separation from God upon Himself so that we can live an eternity with Him.

This is all a part of how God had shown mercy to David. This is why David said that he would trust God’s mercy forever.  It was because of God’s great mercy to Him that his eternity was now secure, knowing that he had been forgiven of his sins.  Once he knew his eternity was secure based on the Messiah’s work. allowing him to enjoy the blessings of God in his physical life on earth and his spiritual walk with the Lord.

I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done [it]:

David is dedicated to praise and honor his Lord because of all his Lord had done for Him.

and I will wait on thy name;

David continues by vowing to seek His will and obey his Lord.  His Lord was going to sacrifice His Son so that David would receive forgiveness.  David is now simply offering to be faithful servant based upon all the Lord has done for him.

for [it is] good before thy saints

Faithfully serving God, affects the lives of the saints.  It sets a Godly example and is an encouragement and strength to the saints (throughout the Bible a “saint” is describing anyone who has been forgiven of their sins).

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who have trusted in Christ…

As we see the “wearing of the green” on this St Patrick’s Day, let all of us be reminded of our blessed life based upon God’s mercy to us.  Once reminded of God’s mercy shown to us, let’s appreciate His workings by taking advantage of the opportunities that He places before us.   When we have the opportunity, lets be a good example and encouragement to others who have trusted in Christ.  This means being careful, even on St Patricks Day, to set a Godly example of holiness in living as others see our lives of faith.

1Tim 4:10-13

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

This St Patrick’s Day, can hold a new greater meaning for our lives.  By recognizing our need of His blessings of mercy upon our lives, and then looking to Him in faith; we can experience the greatest of all His blessings, the forgiveness of our sins.

Trusting in Christ is, basically, handing over our life to Him.  It is an action that declares that we know we can do nothing to obtain the forgiveness of our sins.  Our turning our life over to Him is an act of faith, trusting Him to forgive our sins and make our future secure through Christ’s work on the cross.  It is also coming to a realization that He is Lord of our life and, therefore, we will be submitting to His authority and dedicating our life to fulfill His will.”

May the Lord bless you as you seek His salvation and seek His Lordship for your life.

1Pet 2:21-25 (KJV)

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

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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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New World Order – Part 4 – Is The Lord Pleased

SIH STSTA ICONThe word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

Part #1 – The NWO – What is it? – Will it take place?

Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

THE SCRIPTURE:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Joh 16:33)

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  (Isa 53:4-5)

A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psa 103:1-5)

THE STUDY:

In our previous studies we saw that the Lord was in opposition to all the attempts at a NWO.  Why would this be?

First of all. In many of these cases, those attempting to form a NWO by force, were harming His people.  He would not allow this to take place… Psa 91:14-16

Secondly, to date, every attempt to form a NWO has been motivated by a desire for power, wealth or glory.  The Lord makes it plain that He is the One to be glorified, and honored. (Psa 118:128, Isa 42:8, Isa 48:10-11, Exo 34:14)

To receive glory, honor, and power we are to submit to His Lordship and then allow Him to exalt us according to His will.  We are not to pridefully seek our own exaltation. (Luke 14:11, Oba 1:4, Jer 49:16)

He is the One that gives authority, power and glory. (1 Pet 5:6-7, Psa 89:15-18, Job 36:22)

Thirdly, remember the desired goals for a future NWO are universal peace, prosperity and decreasing of problems worldwide.  And yet, the Lord makes it plain that these are given to mankind from the Lord.  He is the source of these not a NWO in which man can bring them to himself.  (peace – John 14:27, Psa 29:11, Psa 12:5;  prosperity – Psa 1:1-3, 128:1-4, Josh 1:7-8; deliverance from problems – Psa 50:15, 34:1-4, Psa 91:15)

Also, many of these evils that the NWO is hoped to solve, will only be taken from the earth at the coming of Christ. (peace- 1 Thess 5:1-3, Matt 24:5-6, Isa 2:1-4 Isa 65:24-25;  prosperity- Mark 14:7, Deut 15:11, Jer 31:12-13; deliverance from problems – John 16:33,  Jer 8:15, Roms 8:16-19, Rev 21:1-4

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

In our texts two basic principles are brought forth…

First, it is a certainty, that due to the fallen nature of mankind, as long as we live in a sinful world there will be trials and troubles.

But, secondly, through the Lord Jesus Christ we can find peace in the midst of the storms of life, and in eternity we will find total deliverance from the trials we face.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (Joh 16:33)

“A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psa 103:1-5)

How does the Lord bless us as we face our trials and deliver us in the future?  Through His death on the cross, He made the payment for our sins and worked deliverance for us…

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  (Isa 53:4-5)

How does sinful man receive the forgiveness of their sins and the promise of an eternity with Him?

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it kNWOn unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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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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New World Order – 3 – The Tower of Babel

SIH STSTA ICONThe word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

Part #1 – The NWO – What is it? – Will it take place?

Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

THE SCRIPTURE:

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech…. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city… (Gen 11:1-9)

THE STUDY:

From our text:

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.”

Before the tower of Babel all of mankind shared in the same language and speech.  In other words, they spoke the same language and the same dialect.  Because of this, it was much easier for them to unify and work toward the same goals.

“And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

They, by consensus, they decided to travel together as one nation and to build a tower that would serve as a centralized meeting place for all mankind.  Note the phrase “whose top may reach unto heaven”, this is not stating that they desired to enter into the 3rd heaven (the abode of God), instead they desired it to be a very high tower that stood out from all others. It could be seen from a long distance away, thus allowing them to become a conspicuous people (“name”) among all of God’s creation and stay united (”lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth”)

Here, we can see mankind choosing to form a “New World Order” by uniting and working to gain recognition, strength and perpetual unity. These were selfish motives which went in direct opposition to glorifying and honoring the Lord.  Instead of glorifying God they desired to bring honor, praise and renown to themselves.

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”

The Triune Lord responded by “confounding their language”, which resulted in them dividing and scattering.  Probably, after they began speaking in various languages… they formed various groups, made up of those who spoke the same language.

The New World Order that mankind attempted to create was brought to an end by the Lord.  We can see that the Lord, through His sovereign intervention, stopped the attempt to unify and glorify mankind instead of Himself.

Throughout history, this has been the story of the attempts to unify into a NWO.  Mankind has wanted to unify, under the guise of improving the condition of mankind… and yet, in every case, this unification would result in individuals being glorified, empowered and made wealthy as the end result of this unification.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Once again, we see that man’s plans, which do not take into consideration the will of the Lord, is destined for failure. (James 4:14-15, Pro 19:21, Lam 3:37, Hebs 6:3)  No matter how determined mankind might be, it is futile to rebel against the Lord. (Psa 16:18-19, Pro 29:23, Acts 12:21-23)  Eventually, man’s rebellion will be brought into submission to the Lord.  (Roms 14:11-12, Phil 2:9-11, Isa 2:11-12)

For those who have trusted in Christ, pride and going ahead of God’s will only leads to a life of heartache and sorrow.  We should be constantly aware of His will for our lives and our need to submit to it.

For those who have never trusted in Christ, the most valuable lesson that can be learned is that rebellion against the desires of God for our lives only works sorrow, and eventually, eternal separation from the Lord.  By submitting to the Lord, and humbly turning to Him, He promises to forgive us of our rebellion and secure our eternity with Him…

But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not. (Neh 9:16-17)

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (Joh 17:2-3)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat 11:28-30)

If you would like more information concerning God’s gift of salvation, please take time to visit my blog page entitled “All About Salvation”.  http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

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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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