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Monthly Archives: July 2011

I Am The Lord: That Is My Name

SIH STSTA ICONOn a recent broadcast of the “In Touch” TV program (www.intouch.org), I heard a song entitled “God Of The Ages”.   It is a beautiful, Scriptural song (it is based upon Colossians chapter 1) declaring our Lord as the God of the Ages.

As I listened to this song it brought to my mind the following verses from Isa 42:…

Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, I [am] the LORD: that [is] my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Let’s take a few minutes to see what these verses of Scripture teach us about our wonderful Lord and Savior!

THE SCRIPTURES:

Isa 42:5-12 (KJV)

5) Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

6) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

7) To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

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

9) Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

10) Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.

11) Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up [their voice], the villages [that] Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.

12) Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.

 THE STUDY:

Isaiah’s Description of the Lord…

 Isa 42:5-12 (KJV)

Before Isaiah delivers God’s message to the people of Judah, he emphasizes the greatness of the author of this message….

 5) Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

Isaiah emphasizes three workings of this great God…

1)   He is Creator of All  - he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that  spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it

2)   He gives us Physical Life – he that giveth breath unto the people upon it

3)   He gives us Spiritual Life. – and spirit to them that walk therein:

What This Lord Has Done For Us (By Sending Christ on Our Behalf)…

Isaiah now delivers God’s message to the people.  The message beings with a reminder of all the Lord has done for us when He sent His Son to save us…

6) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

7) To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

The Workings of the Father IN the Son…

1)   The sinlessness of His Son – I the LORD have called thee in righteousness,

2)   The Father’s accompanying of His Son – and will hold thine hand,

3)   The Father’s protection of His Son – and will keep thee,

 The Workings of the Father THROUGH the Son…

1)   The Father’s eternal plan of salvation based upon the work of the Son – and give thee for a covenant of the people,

2)   The Father’s giving of Truth through the Son – for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes,

3)   The Father’s liberation from sin’s bondage through the Son – to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

 How Can We Show Him Our Appreciation?….

 Based on who He is and what He has done for us in sending Christ on our behalf;  how do we show Him our appreciation?

 

1)    By putting Him first in our lives… I [am] the LORD: that [is] my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

  1. “Lord” – Master, Ruler, Authority Holder

2)    By recognizing His greatness -  Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare:

3)    By recognizing what He does for us - Before they spring forth I tell you of them.

4)    By verbally declaring His greatness and workings to all mankind, everywhere - Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.  Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up [their voice], the villages [that] Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.

5)    Making Him shine in the eyes of others through our actions - Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.

  1. Glory – to give great importance to
  2. Praise – to make shine in the eyes of others 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have received the Lord’s gracious offer of salvation, let us serve Him with our whole heart realizing what a great God we serve.

Now that we have seen how our Gracious, Loving Heavenly Father has sent His Son to the earth for the sake of His people…. Our need is to accept this message by faith and turn to the Lord to receive forgiveness and spiritual life.

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

————————————————————————

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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.”

What does God Look Like ?

SIH STSTA ICONWe all have our own concept of what God looks like.  Some of us think of God as an old man with a long gray beard and robes; a young youthful powerful man; a carved or molten totem made by man; or even an inanimate object found in nature.    With all these differing ideas about God’s appearance, how does God appear in His Word?

THE SCRIPTURE:

Dan 7:9-14 (KJV)

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire.  A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.  I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld [even] till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.  As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.

THE STUDY:

Several times in God’s Word we find man seeing God in visions or dreams.  Some of the many times God is seen is found in: Ezek 1:26-28, Dan 7:9-14, Rev 1:13-16, Rev 14:14 etc.  In every case, the vision of God varies in appearance, with each descriptive element of the vision symbolizing a truth about our God.

In this blog entry, we will be looking at Daniel 7:9-14 to help us illustrate the use of symbolism in descriptions of God’s appearance:

The appearance of God the Father:

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit,

The “thrones” that are cast down signifies the overturning of the different nations and rulers of this world by the ultimate authority holder, God Himself.   God is given the title the “Ancient of Days” referring to the fact that He is the One who has, and will eternally exist.

whose garment [was] white as snow,

Here, the purity of God is being described using the symbolism of white clothing.  White being symbolic of purity, while black many times is used to illustrate the wickedness or “darkness” of this world.

and the hair of his head like the pure wool:

Here the wisdom of God is in view.  The head being the center of the thought and judgment processes, while the symbolism of wool for His hair is a representation of thickness, vitality and abundance. The white color of wool is a picture of purity.

Remember, in the context, we are looking at God who is the Judge of all “the judgment was set and the books were opened”.   What is being described is the fact that God’s judicial decisions are always wise, pure and in abundance.  He never lacks perfect wisdom, nor does He ever cease to exercise it.

his throne [was like] the fiery flame,

His throne, speaks of His authority to rule.  The fiery flame is a picture of punishment of sin (example: lake of fire) and also it pictures judgment based upon the truth of His Word.  His Word is described as a “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” by the psalmist.

[and] his wheels [as] burning fire. 

In those days, thrones had wheels on them allowing them to be moved swiftly.  Here in symbol, we are taught that the judgments of God, even though brought upon the guilty very swiftly, are still just and right.

A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him:

As the Lord renders His sentence upon the lost it is much like a flame of fire, picturing His Word as it departs from His mouth. The flames are also a picture of the end result of His decrees … the judgment of sin.

thousand thousands ministered unto him,

Again, we have the authority of Lord being illustrated.  Millions of people serving the Lord shows His authority over all.  This is a picture of those saved by His grace now serving Him throughout eternity.

and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him:

His judgment of hundreds of millions of people, again shows what great authority and control He exercises over all mankind.  These hundreds of millions show us that He has authority over all the lost.  He stands in righteous, pure judgment over them.

the judgment was set, and the books were opened…

the time of His judging the lost has come…. The 66 books of the Bible are opened, a prelude to the judgment of their works.  (see Rev 20:12)

 

The appearance of God the Son:

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man

Daniel had received these visions in the nighttime (perhaps they were dreams).  In this vision he sees the Lord Jesus Christ entering the throne room.

came with the clouds of heaven,

Several times in the Scriptures Christ’s coming to the earth is associated with the clouds.  Besides His literal coming in the clouds at His second coming, the symbolism here is teaching us that Christ’s origin is heaven.  It also teaches us of His glory and majesty as He is exalted over mankind.

and came to the Ancient of days,

He comes to God the Father, having perfect communion with Him.

and they brought him near before him. 

The servants of God now escort Christ to God… much like a visiting King is escorted into a city by its citizenry.  This procession was a symbol of respect and recognition of authority.

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom,

Here, due to the faithfulness of Christ during His first coming, is exalted as King of King and Lord of Lords.  The Father is placing Christ in a position of authority and honor.  (Phils 2:1-11)

that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him:

The authority of Christ places Him over all mankind. No man or created being holds authority over Him.

his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.

The authority of Christ will never be taken away, it is without end.  Throughout eternity, He will be looked upon as our King and Lord.

As we have seen in this example, Daniel’s vision of God was symbolic in nature, teaching us many truths about the attributes of our God.  This principle holds true with all the other sightings of God that we find in the Word of God.  As a matter of fact, the Bible makes it very plain that…

John 1:18 (KJV)

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].

So basically what we are told in the Bible is that by looking at Christ, His life and His words, we will see the Father in Him.  Christ is the ultimate representative of God on earth… He WAS God on earth.  This is why to be able to see God we must look to Christ.

What does God look like?  I have no idea.  Remember, God is a spirit, it is possible that He is not visible to man, apart from the fleshly body He took upon Himself when He came in the person of Jesus Christ to the earth.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have experienced God’s gracious salvation…

We have already come to know God through His Son Jesus Christ… as we live our lives on earth, our search for God’s will and ways should be centered upon the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is our central focus to see God and learn of His ways.

For those who have never been saved from their sins…

The answer to your search for God is find in Christ Jesus and Him alone.   Your first priority is to learn of the grace and truth of God.  It is through a knowledge of His Word and His gracious intervention in your life that you may be saved and enter a close relationship with God…

John 1:12-14

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

———————————————————————————–

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.”

———————————————————————–

Escaping Fear’s Grip Part 3

SIH STSTA ICONAnyone who is familiar with the current events of the day, realize that we are living in fearful times.

Terrorism; our nation’s debt, crime, and unemployment; the decrease in value of our homes, investments, savings and retirement plans; shortages of oil and food;  the recent rash of  floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes; personal tragedies and trials, the loss of health, the loss of strength that comes with aging or sickness… all of these, and many others, produce anxiety, fear, and in some cases panic, in the hearts and minds of us all.

So what are we to do in these troubled times?  What is the answer to fear in the hearts of someone who has lost their job, is facing the foreclosure of their home and, perhaps, does not know where their next meal is coming from?  What about those who are suffering the loss of a loved one through death or divorce? Even worse, what can possibly take away the anxiety and stress that stems from losing a loved one who was the sole provider for the family? What comfort can be given to someone who is facing failing health with no medical reason to believe things will get better?

By God’s grace, over the next few blog entries we will be looking into the Word of God to see what comfort we can find during these catastrophic times of our life.  In our 3-part study we will be looking at three basic principles:

  1. Realize that the fearful times will remind us of God’s presence in our lives.  He is always with us.
  2. Realize that the fearful times fulfill a purpose in our lives. It opens doors of opportunity to us.
  3. Realize that the fearful times will come to an end.  A glorious eternity awaits us.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Rev 21

1) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.

4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Ps 30:5 (KJV)

5) For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

Rom 8:18 (KJV)

18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2Cor 4:16-18 (KJV)

16) For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day.

17) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;

18) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.

Heb 11:13-16 (KJV)

13) These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

14) For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

15) And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

16) But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

THE STUDY:

If you are like me, it is during the fearful times of my life that time seems to stand still.  My fearful times seem to last for an eternity…. hour by hour, day after day… they seem to continue on, almost without end.  Then finally, there appears light at the end of my tunnel and the sun beings to shine once again.

But this is only my perception of things.  In reality,  the fearful, difficult times of my life, in comparison to eternity, only last a moment….

2 Cor 4:16-18 – “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.”

Let’s stop and think about it just a minute, even if our fearful time last a lifetime, compared to eternity it is nothing. A lifetime is basically 80 years.  Compared to eternity, 80 years is nothing.  If you would take one grain of sand and compare it to all the sand found on every beach in the world, our time of distress would be smaller.  If you would take one drop of water and compare it to all the water in the oceans, rivers, lakes and wells in this world, our time of trials would be less. Truly, in the big scheme of things, a Christian is so blessed knowing that the trials of life are only short-lived and we have a wonderful eternity awaiting us…

 Rom 8:18 – “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. “

 As we read His Word, we become familiar with many of the servants of our Lord who faced trial upon trial, distress upon distress.  Think of the Apostle Paul who suffered tremendous heartache and trials at the hands of those that opposed Christ and His ministers…

2Cor 11:23-27 -” Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; [In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

This same Paul, who so greatly suffered at the ends of the enemies of Christ, was able to write that these sufferings were not “able to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us”.

What a tremendous truth that applies to every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Every fearful time we face is under our Lord’s control… it is for our good and His glory… and it is only temporal in nature. It cannot be compared to the glorious eternity awaiting us!

Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews summarizes the great motivation that kept the OT saints as they served their Lord.  In verse number 13-16 we read…. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

How could the OT saints be faithful to their God in the midst of such trials and struggles that they faced?  How could they continue on in the midst of so many fearful times in life?  It was this very principle that kept them going…. they knew that they had awaiting them a far better place.  They knew they had eternity with their Lord to look forward to.

You may ask, “What is so special about eternity for the Christian?”  No mortal man can begin to explain the greatness of eternity with God.  However, by His grace, He revealed eternity to the Apostle John and, then, God gave John the words to pen in Revelation chapter 21:& 22:. Here, we find beautiful descriptions of eternity with our Lord.  I would encourage every believer to memorize these chapters, and then use them as a constant motivation to serve our Lord.

For purposes of this blog, I will share only the beginning verses of chapter 21.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

When we read these verses, I believe it pretty much sums it up.  Yes, dear fearful, suffering believer, your fears will come to an end and your sufferings will pass.  Someday, in the near future you will no longer be in the presence of sin, sickness, trials and distress.  Fear will be a thing of the past.  We will be with our Lord, enjoying His glory, His love, and His eternal presence.

 As we conclude our study on dealing with the fearful times of our lives, let us all remember that, for God’s people, our sorrows and fears will only last a season…. but joy will come in the morning when we go home to be with our Lord.

 Psa 30:5 – For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

 PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

We have seen that the Bible clearly promises that the fearful times in our lives do not have to overcome us.  We can be victorious even when we are in the midst of these dark, seemingly hopeless situations that we face….

How can we know if this promise applies to us?  David, in Psalm 27:1, touches on this subject.

[A Psalm] of David. The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

 In these verses, David links his relationship to God with the application of His promises to us.  David describes his relationship to God as “the LORD is my light and my salvation”.  David here says that the Lord has given him the “light” of knowledge and understanding of the truth of His Word.  He goes further and says that the Lord is his “salvation”.

It is only when we have been enlightened with the truths of His Word and we have received deliverance from our sins, that we can apply His promises to our lives.  Have you ever been forgiven of your sins?  Have you ever come to Him understanding your spiritual needs and His divine supplies?

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 ————————————————————————

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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.”

Escaping Fear’s Grip Part 2

SIH STSTA ICONAnyone who is familiar with the current events of the day, realize that we are living in fearful times.

Terrorism; our nation’s debt, crime, and unemployment; the decrease in value of our homes, investments, savings and retirement plans; shortages of oil and food;  the recent rash of  floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes; personal tragedies and trials, the loss of health, the loss of strength that comes with aging or sickness… all of these, and many others, produce anxiety, fear, and in some cases panic, in the hearts and minds of us all.

So what are we to do in these troubled times?  What is the answer to fear in the hearts of someone who has lost their job, is facing the foreclosure of their home and, perhaps, does not know where their next meal is coming from?  What about those who are suffering the loss of a loved one through death or divorce? Even worse, what can possibly take away the anxiety and stress that stems from losing a loved one who was the sole provider for the family? What comfort can be given to someone who is facing failing health with no medical reason to believe things will get better?

By God’s grace, over the next few blog entries we will be looking into the Word of God to see what comfort we can find during these catastrophic times of our life.  In our 3-part study we will be looking at three basic principles:

  1. Realize that the fearful times will remind us of God’s presence in our lives.  He is always with us.
  2. Realize that the fearful times fulfill a purpose in our lives. It opens doors of opportunity to us.
  3. Realize that the fearful times will come to an end.  A glorious eternity awaits us.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Dan 4:34-35 – “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?”

Ps 40

1) To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2) He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, [and] established my goings.

3) And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

Blessed [is] that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

4)Many, O LORD my God, [are] thy wonderful works [which] thou hast done, and thy thoughts [which are] to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: [if] I would declare and speak [of them], they are more than can be numbered.

Ps 64:9-10 (KJV)

9) And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.

10) The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

THE STUDY:

PRINCIPLE #2 – Our God Has A Purpose For Every Fearful Time of Our Life…

As Christians, we all need to understand that our Lord controls all events in our lives.  Even wicked King Nebuchadnezzar, after having received a divine work of grace in his heart came to understand the absolute authority of the Lord….

 Dan 4:34-35 – “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?”

 With acceptance and understanding of this truth comes the acknowledgment that all the events of our life are either caused, or allowed by the Lord.  In the book of Job, we find the perfect example of the will of allowance exercised by the Lord in the lives of those who have trusted in him.  In this example, the Lord allows Satan to intervene in the life of Job within limits set by God…

 Job 1:6-12 – “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them… Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

 Job 2:1-6 – “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD…  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.  But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he [is] in thine hand; but save his life.”

 Even Satan, himself, is limited in his workings by our Lord.  The Lord restrains and controls Satan limiting the extent of his interaction with God’s people.  This principle applies to every event that takes place in our lives…. the Lord either causes the event, or He allows the event to take place in our lives.

Knowing that the Lord is in control of all things, leads us to our next question. “If our Lord is in control of every event in my life, why does He allow the fearful times to come?”  There is a simple answer to this question, as well as a more complex answer.  Let’s look at the simple answer first….  The Bible is clear, everything the Lord allows in the life of His people is for their benefit…

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.”

 As His people, we can know for certain that everything that takes place in our lives is allowed for our benefit.  In one way shape or form we will gain by going through this time of anxiety, doubt, and fear.

 Now for the more complex answer to our question, “Why does God allow the fearful times of our lives?”

#1 – These difficult times in our lives are used by Him to get our attention.

We all live in a busy world.  Unfortunately, for many of us, we get so busy that we do not take the time to listen to the leading of the Spirit in our lives. The Lord uses the fearful times in our lives to bring us back to Him and to be more receptive to His leadings through studying His Word.  When fears enter our lives they drive us to our knees approaching Him in prayer.  As we come to Him in prayer and Bible study, we come listening and willing to obey His will.  The prophet Hosea makes this clear for us in Hosea 5:15, as he describes the reason for the dark times Israel was facing….

I will go [and] return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. “

 Why does He need to get our attention?  Many times, during the course of our lives we allow sin to creep into our lives, or we cling to tightly to a possession in our life, we have gradually drifted away from Him.   As we seek His face through prayer and Bible study, He shows us His will and  guides us to a closer walk with Him.

#2 – These difficult times are placed in our lives to prepare us for greater service to Him.

The Lord uses the fearful times of our lives to strengthen us and prepare us for future service for Him.

The fearful times of our lives can be used to increase our faith, teach us to count our blessings, to   under the importance of spiritual blessings and minimize the importance of temporal blessings.   Also, these times draw us closer to Him, and gives us a firm foundation of experience in His will and ways.

In Ps 64:9-10, we find several aspects of this principle… “And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

When we come face to face with His power and glory we will become better witnesses for Him.  Why? It is during these hard times of life that we begin to consider His workings and dwell on His purposes, as well as His greatness and gracious intervention in our lives.   This, then, leads us to a greater trust in Him, more gladness during the hard times and an increase in glory and honor to Him.

All of these characteristics are used by Him to make us better servants.

# 3 – These difficult times come in our lives to prepare us for future trials to come.

We live in a fallen world.  We live in a world that is slowly decaying due to the affects of sin.  This is a very sad, yet true fact of life.  Because sin exists and its affects upon us,  we will always be faced with hard times in our life.  Many times the Lord allows us to go through hard times now so that we will be built up to face future trials.

Let’s look at the life of the young boy David.   When David was a young boy he was given the responsibility care for his father’s sheep.  During his tenure as shepherd, David was faced with great trials.  At different times, David was faced with protecting the sheep during attacks by predator animals.  Specifically, a bear and a lion attacked his flock.  At the time these attacks took place, David was faced with dark, fearful life experiences.  He had to risk His own life to protect the sheep he had been called to protect.

It was these dark events in his life that prepared him for an even greater fearful event…. facing the giant Goliath.

Remember the account of David facing Goliath?  Please notice what David said in 1 Samuel 17:32-37…

And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou [art but] a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.”

 Clearly, we can see that David’s dark times of facing a bear and a lion had prepared him for the future fearful time of facing the giant Goliath.   Could it be that the current trials we are facing in life are being allowed by God to gradually build us up for greater trials that lie ahead?  This is a real possibility.  If this is so, it is a wonderful display of our Lord’s love for us.  He loves us so much, He is taking the time to prepare us and equip us, so we can handle the future dark times of our lives.  David recognized this fact about the Lord in Psa 121:5-8…

The LORD [is] thy keeper: the LORD [is] thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

 What a great Lord we serve, He uses even the fearful times of our lives to help us and prepare us for the future…. To God be the glory great things He hath done.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

We have seen that the Bible clearly promises that the fearful times in our lives do not have to overcome us.  We can be victorious even when we are in the midst of these dark, seemingly hopeless situations that we face….

How can we know if this promise applies to us?  David, in Psalm 27:1, touches on this subject.

[A Psalm] of David. The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

 In these verses, David links his relationship to God with the application of His promises to us.  David describes his relationship to God as “the LORD is my light and my salvation”.  David here says that the Lord has given him the “light” of knowledge and understanding of the truth of His Word.  He goes further and says that the Lord is his “salvation”.

It is only when we have been enlightened with the truths of His Word and we have received deliverance from our sins, that we can apply His promises to our lives.  Have you ever been forgiven of your sins?  Have you ever come to Him understanding your spiritual needs and His divine supplies?

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 ————————————————————————

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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.”

Escaping Fear’s Grip Part 1

SIH STSTA ICONAnyone who is familiar with the current events of the day, realize that we are living in fearful times.

Terrorism; our nation’s debt, crime, and unemployment; the decrease in value of our homes, investments, savings and retirement plans; shortages of oil and food;  the recent rash of  floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes; personal tragedies and trials, the loss of health, the loss of strength that comes with aging or sickness… all of these, and many others, produce anxiety, fear, and in some cases panic, in the hearts and minds of us all.

I am the first to admit that, at times, I am scared.  I don’t know what the future holds for my family, my country and my self.

It is during times like this that I realize how blessed I have been in life.  There was a time terrorism was insignificant in the world, our nation was being blessed economically, socially and spiritually. Life still contained personal trials and heart aches, but  I had the strength and health that was necessary to face any task that was at hand, in general, life was good.  Sadly, looking back, I realize I did not appreciate the blessings I was given.

I  have no one to blame but myself.  I didn’t count my blessings and now, as I grow older, I begin to see these temporal blessings falling by the wayside.  As these blessings begin slip away, anxiety, stress and fear fill the void.

So what are we to do in these troubled times?  What is the answer to fear in the hearts of someone who has lost their job, is facing the foreclosure of their home and, perhaps, does not know where their next meal is coming from?  What about those who are suffering the loss of a loved one through death or divorce? Even worse, what can possibly take away the anxiety and stress that stems from losing a loved one who was the sole provider for the family? What comfort can be given to someone who is facing failing health with no medical reason to believe things will get better?

By God’s grace, over the next few blog entries we will be looking into the Word of God to see what comfort we can find during these catastrophic times of our life.  In our 3-part study we will be looking at three basic principles:

  1.  Realize that the fearful times will remind us of God’s presence in our lives.  He is always with us.
  2. Realize that the fearful times fulfill a purpose in our lives. It opens doors of opportunity to us.
  3. Realize that the fearful times will come to an end.  A glorious eternity awaits us.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Isa 41:10 (KJV)

Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

 Ps 27

1) [A Psalm] of David. The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

 THE STUDY:

PRINCIPLE #1 – Our God Is With Us During The Fearful Times of Our Lives…

As we face the troublesome times of our lives three basic issues produce the feelings of fear that we experience…

  1. feelings of isolation (no one knows what I am facing, no one can remedy my situation, no one cares about me)
  2. feelings of confusion (why is this happening to me? What should I have done differently?, what can I do now to change my situation?) and finally,
  3. feelings of inability (my circumstances are out of my control, I cannot continue on under this burden, I’ve done all I can and it has not helped)

In our text (Isa 41:10), we are given insight into overcoming all three issues that produce our anxiety and fear.

“Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee:” –

#1 -feelings of isolation – Remember our gracious Lord is ALWAYS with His people. We are never alone as we face the many fearful times in our life.  He is with us, holding our hand through the difficult times that we face.

Do we remember Psalms 23?  It is perhaps the most familiar portion of Scripture known to man.  Within the verses this Psalm we find verse 4:  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

How about Psalms 57:1?  “To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until [these] calamities be overpast.”

Throughout a lifetime of trials and anxious moments, David had come to an understanding that His Lord was ALWAYS with him and that He was the refuge to whom David would flee.

“be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God:”

#2 – feelings of confusion – Remember our Lord is with us to lead and guide us through our troublesome times.  Although we may not understand the path we should take during these times, our Lord does know and He will lead us on a daily basis.  Although confusion may abound as we try to “figure things out”, our Lord will be our mainstay and compass, directing us through the indwelling Spirit to the right path to take.

David wrote about this principle in Psalm 18:28 – “For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.”   When we are in the middle of the dark times of our life, it is much like being in a darkened room.  We cannot see what lies ahead of us, nor can we perceive how to proceed.   But  David understood, as we can understand, that the Lord, through His Spirit, would enlighten His path.

“I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

#3 – feelings of inability” – Remember, our God is the all-powerful Creator and Lord of heaven and earth.  There is nothing our God cannot do.  He can intervene and change even the most hopeless situations that we may face.   It is during the times of our greatest weaknesses and inabilities that our Lord can display His greatest acts of power and sovereignty.

Paul understood this principle as he came to a point of acceptance of his physical infirmities in 2 Cor 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Isaiah during the course of his prophetic ministry had faced persecution, rejection, mockery all while being ignored by almost his entire nation.  It was only through the many experiences of rejection and seeming failure that Isaiah came to understand this important principle found in Isaiah 40:28-31…

“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. 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. “

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

We have seen that the Bible clearly promises that the fearful times in our lives do not have to overcome us.  We can be victorious even when we are in the midst of these dark, seemingly hopeless situations that we face….

How can we know if this promise applies to us?  David, in Psalm 27:1, touches on this subject.

“[A Psalm] of David. The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

In these verses, David links his relationship to God with the application of His promises to us.  David describes his relationship to God as “the LORD is my light and my salvation”.  David here says that the Lord has given him the “light” of knowledge and understanding of the truth of His Word.  He goes further and says that the Lord is his “salvation”.

It is only when we have been enlightened with the truths of His Word and we have received deliverance from our sins, that we can apply His promises to our lives.  Have you ever been forgiven of your sins?  Have you ever come to Him understanding your spiritual needs and His divine supplies?

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

————————————————————————

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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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