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Principles for Mediation

SIH STSTA ICONA simple definition for mediation is “to make peace between two warring parties”.  Mediation is a type of conflict resolution that involves using a third party to settle a disagreement between two opposing parties.  It can be used in the framework of our legal system, our corporate system or even in personal and family disputes.

As Pastor, there are many opportunities to minister as mediator in the lives of others. Disputes can take place within the pastor’s family, or within church member’s families, or even within the church assembly as a whole.  In many cases, the Pastor is looked to as the individual that is best equipped to bring the disagreeing parties to peace.

Although mediation has become more frequently used in today’s time, mediation has been used throughout history as an avenue leading to peace.   Even in Bible times we find many examples of mediation taking place.

In our blog entry today, we will be looking at an example of mediation being performed by the Apostle Paul.  Let’s see what we can learn about the act of mediation and the Biblical principles that should regulate all acts of mediations….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Philemon 1:1-25

THE STUDY:

For this study the entire book of Philemon will be our text.  Philemon is a very small New Testament book found between the books of Titus and Hebrews.  If you are like me, when I was starting to study the Bible, I used to confuse Philemon with the book of Philippians.  Philemon is made up of only 1 chapter and has three main characters.  It is extremely important to understand these three characters for us to get a clear picture of the content, and teachings, of the book of Philemon:

  1. Philemon – He was a very rich man, a Christian, and a beloved acquaintance of the Apostle Paul. He owned servants and loved them and cared for them as if they were members of his family. Possibly, Philemon was saved under the ministry of Paul.
  2. Onesimus – He was a spiritually lost individual who is described as an “unprofitable” servant of Philemon.  Perhaps, he had stolen from Philemon; perhaps, he was a slacker; or maybe, he was a complainer, stirring up trouble among the other servants; we cannot know for sure.  He had illegally run away from Philemon.  During his flight, he met the Apostle Paul.  Under Paul’s ministry, Onesimus had been saved and desired to go back to Philemon and serve under his authority once again.
  3. Apostle Paul – Paul takes upon himself the ministry of mediation between Philemon and Onesimus.  Paul writes the letter of Philemon, asking His beloved acquaintance (Philemon) to accept Onesimus back and forgive him of any wrongdoing Onesimus had committed against Philemon.

In our study today, we will find many different aspects to Paul’s mediation techniques that set him apart from the mediators of today…

1-3) Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy [our] brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, And to [our] beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s greetings to Philemon and the church that met in his house.   Throughout Paul’s writings we find him wishing other Christians to have grace and peace. (Rom 1:7, 1 Cor 1:3, 2 Cor 1:2, Gal 1:3, Eph 1:2, Phil 1:2, Col 1:2 etc) It is as if this was Paul’s “signature” greeting.   If we have experienced the Lord’s grace in our hearts, and if we have peace and communion with Him we are being blessed indeed.

4-7) I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;  That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.  For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

Philemon’s testimony of faithfulness and service to the Lord had reached the ears of Paul. Here, Paul is thanking Philemon for his faithfulness and trusting the Lord to give Philemon fruits for his faithful labor (“that the communication of thy faith may become effectual”).  Paul also tried to encouraged Philemon to continue his faithfulness by explaining how Philemon was a blessing to others.

Paul, now, begins his ministry of mediation on behalf of Onesimus….

8) Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,

Mediation principle number #1:  We must always make sure that our mediation is upholding the principles of God’s Word.  We should NEVER lead others to act, or make agreements that of against the Word of God.

First, Paul reminds Philemon that Paul has a Biblical basis for commanding Philemon to forgive and accept back Onesimus.  Paul makes it clear that he could pressure Philemon to forgive.

Here, the word “convenient” is translated from a Greek word meaning “to be proper” or “to be fitting”.  As a Christian, it is only proper or fitting for us to forgive others.  Since we have been forgiven for so much by our Lord should we not be willing to forgive others for the little they have done against us? (Matt 18:23-35)

9) Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech [thee], being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

Mediation principle #2: We should always seek a willing agreement to bring peace, not an agreement that is forced or manipulated. 

Paul realized that Philemon should not be forced to forgive Onesimus.  A forced forgiveness is really no forgiveness at all.  To forgive, we must willingly choose to show our compassion to the offender. Paul continues by stating that instead of commanding forgiveness based upon the commands of Christ, Paul is now appealing to Philemon’s love for the Lord, Paul, and even Onesimus.  In other words, Paul is asking Philemon to forgive and accept back Onesimus, because Philemon loves Paul and out of appreciation for what Paul has done for Philemon.  Paul was asking this favor of his longtime friend Philemon.

10-11) I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

Mediation principle #3: the Mediator must be honest and open with both sides, revealing any “hidden agendas” or relationships the mediator has with either of the two parties.

Paul makes clear that he is working on behalf of Onesimus.  Please notice Paul was “up-front” with Philemon telling him of Onesimus and the purpose of his writing to Philemon.

Mediation principle #4: the Mediator should only speak using information he knows is true.  He should not use information based upon assumptions, nor guesses, when he is trying to bring the two parties to peace.

Paul then makes it plain that Onesimus has changed.  The one who used to be an unprofitable servant was now profitable as a aide of Paul’s, and would be profitable to Philemon if he accepted him back.  Paul knew this from his experiences with Onesimus. Paul knew that Onesimus had changed and, therefore, would be profitable to Philemon.

12 – 13) Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:  Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:

Mediation principle #5: the Mediator should willing to live under the same agreement that he is asking the parties to agree to.  If the Mediator isn’t willing to live under either side of the agreement there is a question whether the agreement is fair or not.

Paul tells Philemon that he would be willing to accept Onesimus as his servant.  He sincerely believed that accepting Onesimus back would be of benefit to Philemon.  If Philemon refused to accept Onesimus back, Paul would be glad to fill Philemon’s role as master of Onesimus.

14) But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.

Mediation principle #6: the Mediator must take into account the legal, and moral, rights of both parties of the dispute.

Paul did not simply allow Onesimus to stay with him and serve him.  Paul recognized that Philemon had the legal, and moral, right to Onesimus.  So Paul sent Onesimus back to his rightful owner,Philemon.

15 -17) For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?  If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.

Mediation principle #7: The Mediator should seek an agreement that allows both parties to benefit. Their purpose should be to accomplish the purposes of both the parties of the disagreement. 

Paul had previously said that, if Philemon accepted Onesimus, he would benefit from Onesimus’s service.  Paul now makes sure that if Onesimus is accepted back, it will be for Onesimus’s welfare also.

Paul asks Philemon to accept Onesimus, not as a servant, but as a physical and spiritual family member.  After all, Philemon, Onesimus, and Paul were beloved of God, they were saved and all a part of God’s family.  As spiritual brothers they should be loved of one another as well.

18) If he hath wronged thee, or oweth [thee] ought, put that on mine account;

19) I Paul have written [it] with mine own hand, I will repay [it]: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.

Mediation principle #8: A Mediator should be unselfish and willing to make sacrifices to make bring peace between the two parties. 

In this case, Paul was willing to repay any debt that Onesimus owed to Philemon, if the debt stood in the way of Philemon accepting Onesimus back.  Paul was being very gracious to both parties; to Onesimus (Paul was willing to pay the debt Onesimus had incurred); to Philemon, because He was willing to pay Philemon (even though Philemon owed Paul his very life).   Paul certainly was willing to “bend over backwards” to see this attempt at mediation be a successful attempt.

20) Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.

Mediation Principle #9: Mediation should not simply “a job”, it should be looked upon as a calling, and an opportunity to glorify the Lord through the mediator’s actions  

Paul recognized this mission of mediation had spiritual repercussions.  Seeing Onesimus with Philemon, would bring joy and spiritual strength to Paul, knowing that he had successfully  obeyed the Lord and fulfilled His will for the life of Paul.

21) Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.

Mediation Principle #10 – The Mediator must always approach the mediation with a positive attitude, believing that both parties will sincerely negotiate and, in the end, do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.

Paul knew Philemon and trusted him to do what the Lord desired of him.  Paul believed  that Philemon would be willing to go above and beyond to please his Lord and be kind and gracious to Onesimus the disobedient servant who was in need of forgiveness and grace.

22) But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

23) There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;

24) Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

25) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen. 

Paul then closes his letter to Philemon, making preparations to visit Philemon soon and see him face to face.

Not only is Philemon a wonderful book illustrating many principles for Scriptural mediation, nut more importantly, it also presents to us a picture of Christ’s mediation before the Father on behalf of sinful mankind.  In our next blog entry, we will be studying this aspect of the book of Philemon.  May the Lord be blessed in your study of His Word.

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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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SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:3b

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:3b) … he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Our Lord, as our Shepherd, directs us to please our God with our lives.  It is through the Spirit’s application of the Word that we find direction for our day to day living.  Why does God do this for us?  It is for “His name’s sake”.  In other words, it is to glorify and bring praise to Himself.

Do you want to honor the Lord for all He has done for you?  Then simply read His Word and follow the Spirit’s leadership.  You will be glorifying and honoring Him in the eyes of all who come in contact with you.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                        Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                  SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

The Candle Lighter Award – Dedicated To My Lord Jesus Christ… The Light Of The World

Thank you to Angela at http://meetingintheclouds.wordpress.com for nominating me for the Candle Lighter Award.  It is such a blessing to see how the Lord is using Angela to reach others. Both of us are like minded in realizing that without the Lord “(we) can do nothing”.  The Lord has used Angela as a vessel to deliver to me wonderful, God-glorifying, thoughts for my day and encouragement thru her example of faithfulness to her blogging ministry.

Once, again I would like to emphasize that this award is dedicated to my Lord, for it is only through Him that this blog can exist.  You see, I owe Him my everything: my physical life, my spiritual life, my ability to think and write,  any talents I may possess …. John 9:33 describes me to a tee… “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.”

Oh how true that is… that is why I want to clearly state that this award is my Lord’s.  He is the poet… my life is simply the poem that He has written … Eph 2:10 …For we are his workmanship (or poem), created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

This award was created by Believe Anyway who says “I call my award The Candle Lighter Award. It is for blogs and bloggers that light a candle in the darkness with their blog. What does it mean? Whenever I see a post or blog that I think brings light to the world, I will put a copy of this post and give them The Candle Lighter Award.”

You can read more about the award at

http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/creation-of-new-blog-award-the-candle-lighter-award/

Believe anyway writes: “What does the recipient have to do to accept it? Just accept it and put the Candle Lighter Award badge from my blog onto their blog. Please put the link from this post about my creation of the award in a post on your blog so people can read about it. What else do recipients have to do? Nothing. If they think someone else is a Candle Lighter, they can give them the award anytime they want and as often as they want. There is no limit to how many blogs you award The Candle Lighter Award to and no limit to how many times someone can receive it.”

If you are looking for good blogs to read, Believe Anyway has a list of recipients on her blog. She would like to be sent the links for anyone to whom you pass the award, so they can be added to the list.

Keeping with the spirit of the Lamp Lighters Award… I would like to nominate:

Tom and Charlie at http://photobotos.com/ for their unique photography blog.  It displays the beauty of our Lord’s creation along with adding some humor to my day as well.

I would also like to nominate http://groveonline.wordpress.com .  This blog is written by a Bible College student who shares Bible teaching on various areas of doctrine.  Although, I do not agree with everything that is said (so what else is new).  Grove shares ALOT of good Scriptural information.

And finally I would like to nominate my wife’s blog  http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com/   Here, she uses her photographs and artwork  to present truths about our Lord.

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:3a

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:3)     He restoreth my soul…

Our Lord is a constant source of spiritual strength and vitality for His people.  Dear Christian, do you feel tired in your service to Him?  Are you “weary in well-doing”?  Patiently wait upon His renewal and His comfort in your life. He has not left you alone, nor has He ignored your faithful service to Him…

Isa 40:31 (KJV) – 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.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                           Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:2

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:2) – He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

For the Christian, two of the most overlooked gifts of grace are peace and rest.  Through the work of Christ on the cross, we can rest knowing we are at peace with Him and are being held secure by Him.

In Psa 23:2, the Psalmist centered on these two gifts.  To be “led beside still waters” speaks of the peace that we are given when we follow His path to salvation and Godly service. To be “made to lie down in green pastures”, speaks of the rest we can enjoy knowing we are at peace with Him.

Do you know that your sins have been forgiven and you are in a right standing with God?  This is the first step to being able to rest and be eternally protected in Him.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                        Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

Harmony: The Unity Of The Trinity In Salvation

SIH STSTA ICONHave you ever heard a symphonic orchestra play a piece of classical music?  What a beautiful music can be made when many individual musicians play together in unity!  Of all the classics, one of the most recognizable is the 1812 Overture.

Take a listen here, notice all the differing parts being brought together to produce a wonderfully unified piece of music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2W1Wi2U9sQ

Many people working together harmoniously is a very important part of our life.  In almost every aspect of our world around us we can see the results of unified effort.  In some cases, it seems like a miracle when you have many individuals fulfilling a different set of roles being brought together to accomplish great things.

The Bible is filled with examples of Christians working together in unity for the cause of Christ.  We are given both historical examples, and commands, encouraging the many to work together to proclaim the gospel and serve Him for His glory.

But the greatest Biblical example of unified effort is not found in the service of Christians for the Lord, it is found in the work of the Trinity.  In our text we find a PERFECTLY unified effort on the part of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to graciously bring salvation to His chosen people.

THE SCRIPTURES:

 Eph 1:3-14 (KJV) – 3) Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:  4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,  6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;  8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;  9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:  10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:  11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:  12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13) In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

 THE STUDY:

In our text, note how each person of the Trinity performs different roles in a unified effort to graciously save us from our sins.  In Eph 1:3-14, we find the definitive roles of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit explained in detail:

Vs 3-6 – The working of God the Father includes:

  1. “chosen us in him” – God the Father selected us (the chosen, the elect) out of a sinful, spiritually dead world, so that we would live holy lives and guiltless lives.  Therefore, we should serve Him from a heart of love and gratitude for all He has done for us.

2.  “predestinated us” – God the Father predetermined that we would become an adopted member of His spiritual family.  This adoption would take place based on the work of Christ which was performed in alignment with the desires of God the Father.

Why did the Father choose and predestinate us?  So that He might receive all the praise, glory, and honor for the salvation that was to be given to us.  We cannot claim that we deserve His salvation… we only chose to love Him and come to Him because He first loved us and drew us to Himself. (John 6:44, 1 John 4:19)  Likewise, we were not adopted into His family because we deserved it, it was only based upon His work which resulted in us becoming joint-heirs with Christ. (Roms 8:13-14)

Vs 7-12 – The working of God the Son includes:

  1. “redemption through His blood” – Christ paid the full ransom that was necessary to purchase us (the chosen) from the bondage of sin and deliver us to the Lordship of Christ.  He paid this ransom through His blood that was shed on the cross. (1 Pet 1:18-19)  Coming from this ransom payment is the forgiveness of our sins, past present and future… He paid for ALL our sins because we can not make the payment for ANY of our sins. (Hebs 10:10-13)  He did all this for us, not because we deserved it, nor because   we did any work to attain it, but Because He wanted to show undeserved favor to us.

The salvation that is given to us by grace is a display of His great wisdom and insight into the true nature of our needy, hopeless condition.

  1. “made known… mystery of His will” –  It is through the first coming of Christ that we have on display the mystery of salvation by grace to Jew and Gentile.  When Christ came, He taught us (through His words and example) of God’s will for salvation to be given to man by grace.  (Rom 16:25-27)
  2. “gather together in one all things”-  At the end of time, as eternity is ready to be ushered in, Christ will gather together all His redeemed into one glorious group of worshippers who will spend eternity  with Him.  This will be done based upon His work on the cross and the gracious giving of salvation to His people. (Col3:11)
  3. “obtained an inheritance” –  Based upon His death on the cross, those who are adopted into His family look forward to an inheritance.  This inheritance involves many blessings, including living eternally with Him on a New Earth over which we will rule (much as Adam and Eve was given dominion over the garden of Eden).(Rev 21:-22:)

Why did Christ do all of this for us?  So that He might be honored, glorified and praised,  He accomplished what we could not accomplish.  He worked salvation from our sins and acceptance by the Father.

Vs 13-14 – The working of God the Spirit includes:  

  1. “ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit” – We (the chosen) came to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ only after we had received the gospel message.  Receipt and belief in the gospel message is an absolute necessity for our salvation.  (Rom 10:14-17)  Following our turning to Christ in faith for salvation, we then were sealed with the Holy Spirit.  To be sealed involves a spiritual mark identifying the new believer with Christ. (2 Tim 2:19)  It also involves a preservation of the believer, securing and protecting Him eternally. (Eph 4:30)
  2. “the earnest of our inheritance” – The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our future inheritance we will receive.  (2 Cor 1:22)  Once again, we see the security of the believer in view.  The Spirit seals us until we receive our glorified bodies and enter eternity with the Lord.  The glorification of the body is the last step in the redemption process and is described here as the “redemption of the purchased possession”.  Praise the Lord, we are eternally secure in Him…. NO ONE (including ourselves) can take us out of His protecting hand of grace. (John 10:28-30, Rom 8:29-30)

Why did the Holy Spirit do all of this for us?  So that He might receive the glory for His part in our salvation.

To summarize…. The work of the Trinity in our salvation is a harmonious work that encompasses every aspect of our salvation from beginning to end.  EVERYTHING involved with our salvation, both His workings and our response to His workings, is an act of His grace.

Jonah, when he was engulfed in the whale’s belly could do nothing to save himself.  His only hope was that the Lord might intervene and sovereignly save him from his predicament.  Jonah learned the lesson that his physical deliverance was only of God when he said, “salvation is of the Lord”.  (Jonah 2:1-10)

As Christians, we should borrow a page from Jonah’s book.  We should come humbly before Him and serve Him from a heart of gratitude proclaiming our spiritual “salvation is of the Lord”.

If you have never come to a saving faith in Christ: turn from your sins, come humbly before Him (realizing your inability to save yourself) and trust Him to meet all your spiritual needs.  Realize your salvation is in His hands… He promises to pardon any that will come to Him.  Rest assured, if you have come to Him (in repentance and faith) He will save you and you will be eternally secure in Him…

John 6:37-39 (KJV)

37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  39) 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.

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page, you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage – http://www.settledinheaven.org

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.”

 

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:1

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:1) A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

A shepherd’s care of his sheep includes feeding, protecting and leading them.  When we understand that our Creator, the All-knowing Lord, is feeding us; and the All-powerful, Sovereign Lord is protecting us; and the Sinless, Loving Lord is leading us… what more could we want?

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                        Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:23

SIH TOTT ICONPhp 4:23:  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. To the Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus.

Throughout Paul’s writings, one of his most common requests is for his readers to be given God’s grace.  “Grace” is shown to us anytime God gives benefits to us that we do not deserve.

When we opposed God, He sent His Son to die so that we might be forgiven of our rebellion against Him.  As fallen mankind, we deserved to be eternally separated from our Lord in never-ending torment.  And yet, He has promised to us, an eternity in His presence.   What great graces He has shown to each and every one of His people!

If we began to list all of His graces, we could never complete the list.  Beyond our salvation… our physical life, our families and other loved ones, our talents and abilities, the fruits of the Spirit, our material possessions, our EVERYTHING are gifts of His grace.

As we begin our day, let us center our attention on how good our Lord is to us.  And then, with thankful hearts, let’s give Him our best knowing that we owe our all to Him!

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                  SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:19

SIH TOTT ICONPhp 4:18-19:

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 In Phil 4:19, we are told that our God has an unlimited amount of resources He can draw upon to meet the needs of His people.  His blessings flow to us through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is really important to note the context of verse 18.  This promise is given immediately after sacrificial giving is discussed.

When we are faced with the opportunity to sacrifice for the cause of Christ, remember, He is able to meet the necessities of our lives.  Give freely of our time, talents and finances to help others, and know He will supply our needs. (Luke 6:38)

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                       Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                     SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

Versatile Blogger Award – Presented To My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ For His Glory

Thank you Angela, (a blogger who loves our Lord and glorifies Him in her writings), at ( https://meetingintheclouds.wordpress.com/ )  for nominating Settled In Heaven, for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Angela’s blog features a unique presentation of the principles of God’s Word that can be understood and beneficial to the young and old alike.  Personally, her blog has been a wonderful blessing to me and an inspiration for my ministry.

THE RULES TO FOLLOW FOR THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD:

1. Add a picture of the award to your blog post.                                                                            2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.                               3. Share 7 random facts about yourself.                                                                                         4. Nominate other Bloggers and inform those they have been nominated.

Here are seven random facts about the role of my Lord in my life (in chronological order):

1. My Lord has graciously allowed me to live (and walk) on this earth for 53 years.  After being born with multiple birth defects (congenital neuro-sacral defect) that normally cause early death or, at the least, paralysis of the lower limbs.

2. My Lord blessed me with a wonderful, supportive family (parents and 2 sisters) that sacrificed so much for me during my early years at home.  I truly believe it was the Lord;’s use of  their love and care for me that I am alive today.  As I grow older, I am coming to a greater realization of all they have done on my behalf.

3. The Lord opened my sin-blinded eyes, broke my sinful heart, turned me to Himself, and granted me faith in Him and made my future secure in Him.  I did not deserve His forgiveness, patience and love.  I owe Him my everything.

4.  My Lord is blessing me everyday with a wonderful, Godly wife that is supportive of my ministries and loves me with an unconditional love. (Trust me, her love HAS to be unconditional to put up with me!)  After being married for 12+ years to Eva,  I still wake up every morning thanking the Lord for bringing us together.  Apart from the Lord Himself, she is my greatest source of encouragment, strength and care.

5. My Lord has also blessed me with a loving Mother-in-law that graciously puts up with me as well.  To be honest, she breaks the typical “mother-in-law” stereotype.  I actually enjoy spending time with her!

6. The Lord mercifully continues to work in my life, in spite of myself.  He forgives my daily sins and He continues to show me truths from His Word.  He graciously allows me to continue to preach, to write, and to study His Word. It is in His Word that I receive daily instructions for living my life on earth.  I praise and honor Him for His Word.  I truly do not know how I could live without it.

7. My Lord has blessed me with His peace. Although I do not know what tomorrow may hold, I know that He has me in His hands and He will never let me go… I am eternally secure in Him.

Here are the nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award in no particular order:

1. PJ at PJ’s Prayerline – http://pjsprayerline.blogspot.com/

2. LoopyLoo at My Blog – http://loopyloo305.com/

3. Anthony at You Decide – http://wdednh.wordpress.com/

4.  Paul Cheng at Certainty Of Drawings – http://certaintyofdrawings.blogspot.com

5.  Joy at Live With Joy – http://www.2livewithjoy.com/

6. Eva at Alive With Christ Art –  http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com/

Congratulations to all the bloggers! Enjoy the honor.

Meditate On The Word Of God

In our previous blog entry we looked at the Bible teachings about the role of mediation in the life of a Christian.  One of the most important subjects we are to meditate upon is His Word.

In this blog posting, I would like to look at some of the benefits that can be attained when we meditate on the Word of the Lord.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Joshua 1:1-9

1) Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,2) Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, [even] to the children of Israel.3) Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.4) From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.5) There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.6) Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.7) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it [to] the right hand or [to] the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.8) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.9) Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

THE STUDY:

Joshua 1:1-9 picks up following the 40 year travels of the nation ofIsraelin the wilderness following their deliverance from the Egyptian Empire. Moses, and the generation of unbelieving Israelites have died, leaving Joshua to now led a new generation, who by faith, had been prepared by God to take possession of the promised land.

In our text, as Joshua is being commissioned to lead the Israelites, we find the importance and the benefits of meditating on God’s Word…

Josh 1

1) Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,  Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, [even] to the children of Israel.

Here, we find Joshua being called to lead the children of Israel after the death of His mentor, Moses.  The mission that Moses had failed to accomplish (the entrance of Israel into the promised land) was now Joshua’s undertaking.

3) Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4) From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

5) There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Joshua would not only accept the responsibilities and mission that had been given to Moses, but He would also share in the  blessings and victories as well.     Joshua, by faith would trust in the Lord’s promises of victory and deliverance of the promised land.  The Lord graciously reassures Joshua that He would have the same relationship as He had with Moses.  The Lord would protect Joshua, commune with Joshua, and never leave Joshua. 

6) Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

7) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it [to] the right hand or [to] the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

The Lord now calls Joshua to take hold of these challenges with faith knowing he is equipped and accompanied by the Lord.  He desired Joshua to be empowered and stand strong in the face of his enemies, knowing that his God would bring him the victory.

8) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

9) Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

How could Joshua cultivate the type of faith that would be needed to led the Israelite nation into the many battles necessary to take the promised land?  By meditation on the Word of God!   Through undistracted times of concentration and examination of His Word, Joshua would find the source of strength and faith he needed to meet the challenges of each new day.  Here are some of the blessings Joshua would receive through meditation on the Word of God:

  1. He would be able to retain the Word in his life.  This would allow him to make the Godly choices of living and ministering through both his words (shalt not depart out of thy mouth) and his actions (thou mayest observe to do).
  2. He would experience spiritual prosperity (make they way prosperous) and success (have good success) in completing God’s will for his life
  3. He would be spiritually strengthened (be strong) to oppose fleshly and worldly temptations.
  4. He would be courageous and not fearful (of good courage, be not afraid), thinking about his great Lord and the promises the Lord gave to him.
  5. He would have spiritual clarity in his thinking and understanding (be not dismayed).  He would be able to see the trials of each day through the filter of God’s word.  He would see each days events through the eyes of the Lord.
  6. In general, through meditation on the Word, Joshua would receive the appropriate equipment he needed to fulfill his God-given responsibilities to lead Israel.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved…

A Christian’s need to meditate on His Word cannot be overestimated.  To remain faithful in the midst of a world that is opposed to the Lord, we must retain our intimacy with the Lord thru His Word.  Our minds should always be upon Him and His desires for us…

Ps 119:14-16 (KJV)

14) I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as [much as] in all riches.15) I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.16) I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

For those who have never received His gracious salvation into our lives…

By meditating on His Word and His intervention, you too can become acquainted with His desires.  The first desire for your life is to recognize your need of salvation, turn from your sins and come trusting in Him as your Saviour and accepting Him as Lord of your life.

John 6:32-48 (KJV)

32) 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. 33) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35) 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.  36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39) 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.  40) 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. 41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42) And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?  43) Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46) Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.  47) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48) I am that bread of life.

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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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SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:18

SIH TOTT ICONPhil 4:18 (KJV)

18) But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

The Apostle Paul, when referring to the sacrificial giving of the church at Phillippi, described the gifts as sacrifices with which God was well-pleased.  Every time that we, as Christians, sacrifice for the cause of Christ our God is well-pleased with us.  The sacrifices we make do not go unnoticed by God.  When we give of ourselves we are simply “laying up in store” for our eternal home. (1 Tim 6:19)  Our God turns our sacrificial giving into our eternal gain!

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                   Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:14

SIH TOTT ICONPhil 4:14 (KJV) – 14) Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

Here, we find Paul commending the church at Phillippi for helping him during a time of affliction.  In the times in which we live financial, emotional, medical and, most importantly, spiritual needs abound.  Are we aware of those facing hardship around us?  Are we willing to step up and help those in need?   Let’s all be “on the lookout” for opportunities to be a blessing to others, and to show Christ’s love to the world around us.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

The Benefits and Dangers of Meditation

SIH STSTA ICONIt seems as if the practice of meditation is becoming more popular with the passing of each generation. And no wonder, the claimed benefits of habitual meditation are far reaching.  They range from alleviating stress to helping to break smoking or drinking habits and to help reduce pain.  It is claimed that “Meditation is wonderful in that it’s free, always available, and amazingly effective in short-term stress reduction and long-term health.”  With claims such as these, is it any wonder that the number of those who practice meditation is growing throughout the world?

Mediation is described as:

“Meditation involves sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind.”

“Meditation encompasses a variety of practices that are somewhat different, while holding to the basic principles of consideration and quiet thought to bring about a state of rumination.

“Meditation is not a technique but a way of life. Meditation means ‘a cessation of the thought process’ . It describes a state of consciousness, when the mind is free of scattered thoughts and various patterns . The observer (one who is doing meditation) realizes that all the activity of the mind is reduced to one.”

To view the source of the preceding quotes, the results of meditation and the descriptions of meditation please see: http://stress.about.com/od/tensiontamers/p/profilemeditati.htmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditationhttp://www.project-meditation.org/what_is_meditation.html ;

http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/meditation.html

Based upon the above, it seems as if meditation, in some cases, involves “clearing the mind’, while in other cases, it is said to centered on one centralized point of attention, while excluding “scattered thoughts and various patterns”.   There seems to be lacking a uniform, consistent definition for meditation.

Is meditation mentioned in the Bible?  If so, what is the Bible teaching on meditation?

THE SCRIPTURES:

 Gen 24:63 – 63) And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels [were] coming.

Josh 1:8 (KJV) – 8) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Ps 1:2 (KJV) – 2) But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Ps 5:1 (KJV) – 1) To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth, A Psalm of David. Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

Ps 19:14 (KJV) – 14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Ps 49:3 (KJV) – 3) My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart [shall be] of understanding.

Ps 63:6 (KJV) – 6) When I remember thee upon my bed, [and] meditate on thee in the [night] watches.

Ps 77:12 (KJV) – 12) I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

Ps 104:34 (KJV) – 34) My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Ps 119:15 (KJV) – 15) I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

Ps 119:23 (KJV) – 23) Princes also did sit [and] speak against me: [but] thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

Ps 119:48 (KJV) – 48) My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

Ps 119:78 (KJV) – 78) Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: [but] I will meditate in thy precepts.

Ps 119:97 (KJV) – 97) MEM. O how love I thy law! it [is] my meditation all the day.

Ps 119:99 (KJV) – 99) I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.

Ps 119:148 (KJV) – 148) Mine eyes prevent the [night] watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Ps 143:5 (KJV) – 5) I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.

Isa 33:18 (KJV) – 18) Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the receiver? where [is] he that counted the towers?

Mark 13:11 (KJV) – 11) But when they shall lead [you], and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Luke 21:14 (KJV)- 14) Settle [it] therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:

1Tim 4:10-15 (KJV) – 10) 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.  11) These things command and teach. 12) 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. 13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14) Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.15) Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

 THE STUDY:

In the Old Testment, the word “meditate” or “meditation” is translated from three different words.

  1. In Genesis 24:63 the Hebrew word means “to muse” or “to be absorbed in thought, to turn over in the mind”
  2. In all the Psalm 119 references to “meditate” the Hebrew word means “to speak to yourself, to think deeply and thoroughly”
  3. In all the other OT references a different Hebrew word with much the same meaning is used “to mutter, to ponder”

In all the New Testament references, the word “meditate” is translated from a Greek word that means “to revolve in the mind, to look over from every angle”.

What does the definitions for meditate teach us about Biblical meditation?:

  1. In EVERY case, to meditate Biblically involves having our mind thinking about something.  NEVER does the Lord tell us to “empty our mind” or “clear your mind” or “cease your mental processes”. I believe this is a point that needs emphasis… To empty our minds of every thought is a very dangerous practice.  The dark (sinful, demonic) powers of this world seek to inhabit lives that are “emptied” (Matt 12:43-45)  I believe, by emptying one’s mind opens up an opportunity for Satanic oppression of the emptied mind.
  2. Biblical mediation involves active mental concentration and examination.  If you notice in our definitions some of the terms used are “to turn over in the mind”, “to think deeply and thoroughly”, “to ponder, and to look over at every angle”.  None of these words implies a state of rest or cessation of the minds activities.

To summarize our definition study we find that to meditate in a God honoring, Scriptural way involves a mind actively examining and thinking.  NEVER does the Lord advocate a empty or inactive mind.  This type of inactivity, very possibly, can open the door to demonic influence.

Now, let’s continue our study by answering the question what subjects should a Christian be meditating about?

“To meditate” or “meditation” is mentioned in the Bible 21 times… Gen 24:63;  Josh 1:8; Psa 1:2, 5:1, 19:14, 49:3, 63:6, 77:12, 104:34, Psa 119:15, 23, 46, 78, 97,  99, 148, 143:5;  Isa 33:18;  Mark 13:11;  Luke 21:14;  1 Tim 4:15.

If we study these references, in their context we find the following:

  1. Subject of meditation not described: Gen 24:63

(Although we are not told, Isaac was thinking about something!  Based upon the word used for meditation he was “absorbed in thought” over some subject, we are simply not told what that subject is.)

  1. Subject of meditation Word of God: Josh 1:8, Psa 1:2, Psa 119:15, 23, 46, 78, 97, 99, 148
  2. Subject of meditation burdens on heart seeking His mercy: Psa 5:1
  3. Subject of meditation desires of heart being acceptable to the Lord: Psa 19:14,
  4. Subject of meditation spiritual understanding: Psa 49:3
  5. Subject of meditation The Lord and His works: Psa 63:6, Psa 77:12, Psa 104:34, Psa 143:5
  6. Subject of meditation terror for disobedient facing Divine judgment: Isa 33:18
  7. Subject of mediation the gospel message and need for service to Him: 1 Tim 4:10-15
  8. Not to be a subject of meditation: Concern, worry about answering opponents of Lord : Mark 13:11, Luke 21:14

To summarize the above:

  1. As faithful children… we are to be thinking about Our Heavenly Father, His works, and His Word.  They should always be on our minds.   We should seek quiet times when uninterrupted, we can solely place our minds and hearts on Him.
  2. As burdened pilgrims on earth… we should be taking quiet times to concentrate on turning our trials over to Him seeking His presence, mercy and strength.
  3. As faithful servants… we should be meditating on our desires, making sure they are pleasing to Him; we should be examining the understanding He has given to us to enable us to serve Him in greater ways.   Finally, our meditations should also involve an examination of our lives making sure we are leading lives of holiness and separation to His work.
  4. As witnesses of His grace in salvation,… we are to always have the gospel message of grace upon our hearts, remembering what He has done for us and our need to share it with others. We are to lay aside any worry about how to answer those who oppose our message.
  5. As those who have never experienced God’s gracious salvation but are continuing to face His wrath… examine your current condition and allow terror to fill your mind, as you continue to face judgment from Almighty God.  Turn to Him and trust in Him, realizing that the Lord is abundantly gracious, slow to anger and of great mercy.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

The Lord summarize what our daily meditations should be based upon….

May the Lord bless our times of Godly meditation when we turn our minds to these things….

Phil 4:4-9 (KJV)

4) Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice.

5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.

6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

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

8) 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.

9) 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.

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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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SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:11-13

SIH TOTT ICONPhil 4:11-13 (KJV)

11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.  12)  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

In our text, we find the very well-known phrase “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.  This is one of the most comforting and encouraging promises given to Christians.

It is interesting to note the context in which Paul related this truth to us.  It was spoken in the context of contentment.  How wonderful it is to know that the Lord will give His people the ability to be content no matter what condition we might find ourselves.  The next time we find ourselves desiring that which we cannot have,  let’s remember that “God’s grace is sufficient” is give us contentment, even during times of want.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:8-9

SIH TOTT ICONPhil 4:8-9  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.

In our text, our Lord graciously reminds us of the need to control our thought life.  When we keep our minds on the things of God, we will find that the peace we experience will increase as we draw closer to Him.  Let’s make a renewed effort to keep the things of God on our hearts and minds today.

To help remind us of the importance of thinking on Him daily, I’m beginning this new “Think On These Things” series of daily blog postings.  Please be in prayer for this new ministry as well as the other “Settled In Heaven” ministries.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

The Role of Our Government

SIH STSTA ICONOver the past several months our country has been flooded with news reports about the upcoming Presidential elections. During this time the airwaves have been endlessly comparing the political parties’, and individual candidate’s, views on the roles and responsibilities of our government. This is one of the most significant issues at the center of the upcoming elections.

Democrats and Republicans differ on their views concerning how to help the poor, how to intervene in the affairs of foreign governments, defining the role of national governments versus state governments, and how to fund the government. The list goes on and on.

If we think about it, what lies at the core of the Republican candidates differences? It involves what they believe our government should, or should not, be doing. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann all had a slightly different view on what should be the government’s role in our lives. Should the government intervene in the affairs of foreign nations? If so, in what way? Should government help the poor? If so, how? Should government have a say in the personal lives of others? If so, in what areas?

Who can help us come to an understanding of the proper role of government? Our Lord. After all, we need to go to the One that originally created and authorized human governments to exist and function (Rom 13:1, Col 1:16, 1 Pet 3:22) to find out what role He had intended for governments.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Ps 72:1-14 (KJV)
1) [A Psalm] for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.
2) He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
3) The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
4) He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
5) They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
6) He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers [that] water the earth.
7) In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
8) He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
9) They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
10) The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
11) Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
12) For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and [him] that hath no helper.
13) He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
14) He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

Rom 13:1-7; 1Tim 2:1-3; 1Pet 2:13-17

THE STUDY:

In the Bible, we find many texts that help us to understand the God-given authority of human government. In our study today, we will be concentrating on Psa 72:1-14 which is one of the four major passages that stress the government’s God given role: Psa 72:1-14, Rom 13:1-7, 1 Tim 2:1-3, and 1 Pet 2:13-17.

In Psalm 72:1-14, we read of some of the responsibilities Solomon would fulfill as King…

Before we are given a list of the responsibilities of government, we are reminded of the need for the Lord’s intervention in our government and in the lives of our politicians…

  “1) [A Psalm] for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.”

Before Solomon could lead his nation in a way pleasing to the Lord, Solomon must be taught and graced by God. How true this is for the politicians of today… how can we expect our nation to be led in the paths laid by God, if our candidates have no knowledge of God’s will for government? How can we expect fallen, sinful men to properly lead our nation when the candidates are not relying on God’s wisdom and strength?

We now begin to look at the role of government as sanctioned by God:

1. a government is to make lawful, moral, decisions.

“2) He shall judge thy people with righteousness,”

2. a government is to uphold the rights of the poor, exercise compassion toward and help to meet the needs of those who cannot help themselves.

“3) He shall judge ….thy poor with judgment.”
“4) He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy,”
“12-13) For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and [him] that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.”

3. a government is to be a blessing to its people, working for their growth and advancement

“6 ) He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers [that] water the earth.”
(Roms 13:4 –“For he is the minister of God to thee for good.”)

4. a government is to support, and reward, the cause of those who align themselves with God’s laws

“7) In his days shall the righteous flourish;”
(Rom 13:3 – “do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:”)

5. a government is to work for peace among it’s people and other nations around them

“7) and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.”
(1 Tim 2:1-3 – “…supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made…For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”)

6. a government is to work to bring an end to the abuse of its people (especially the defenseless) through the punishment of evildoers.

“4) And shall break in pieces the oppressor.”
“14) He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.”
(Roms 13:3-5 – “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?… But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil…Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”)
(1Pet 2:13-14 – “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man… as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

The need for us, as Christians, to let our voices be heard in the election process cannot be overemphasized. We should be voting for those who we believe best understand the role of government from God’s perspective. But also, we should be voting for those we believe will look to the Lord for guidance and strength as they attempt to lead our country in these troublesome days.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

We are all confronted with the declining condition of our country. As our nation continues to turn from the Lord, and the principles found in His Word, our country’s condition will only get worse. For our country to turn around both the leaders and the common citizen must turn back to the Lord and seek to obey His commands. (2 Chron 7:14, Isa 55:6-7)

The most first thing you can do to please the Lord and fulfill His will for your life is to recognize your sinful condition and your need of salvation. Then turn from your sin, trust in Him as your Savior and seek to follow Him with your life.

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area. They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com. I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”. On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage –
http://www.settledinheaven.org

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):
http://www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com
http://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.”

Abortion: When Does Life Begin In The Womb?

SIH STSTA ICON(Author’s Note: Due to the length of this Bible study, I have explained many of the Scripture verses in a very general, basic way.  If you have any questions concerning this Bible Study please feel free to contact me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I will be answer any emails promptly.)  

With the presidential debates taking place, I thought it would be a good time to review what the Bible teaches about some of the moral societal issues of today.  At the forefront of these issues are abortion and homosexuality (and same sex unions).  In today’s blog, I would like to center our attention on abortion.  In a later blog entry we will look at homosexuality and same sex-marriages.

Let’s begin today’s look at the Scriptural teachings on abortion.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Exod 20:13 (KJV) Thou shalt not kill.

Matt 19:18 (KJV) He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Rom 13:9 (KJV)  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Rev 22:14-15 (KJV) Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Matt 18 (KJV) At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matt 19:13-15 (KJV) Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put [his] hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid [his] hands on them, and departed thence.

Gen 25:22-23 (KJV) And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If [it be] so, why [am] I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Luke 1:41 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

Luke 2:12-16 (KJV) And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Job 3:3 (KJV) Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night [in which] it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Luke 1:36 (KJV) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Num 12:12 (KJV) Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.

Luke 1:43 (KJV) And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Ps 51:5 (KJV) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Job 31:13-15 (KJV)  If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Ps 139:13 (KJV) For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Ps 22:9-10 (KJV) But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou [art] my God from my mother’s belly.

Gal 1:15 (KJV) But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called [me] by his grace,

Jer 1:4-5 (KJV) Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Isa 49:1 (KJV) Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

Luke 1:15 (KJV) For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

Psa 139:14-16 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, [and] curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all [my members] were written, [which] in continuance were fashioned, when [as yet there was] none of them.

Deut 22:25-27 (KJV) But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; [there is] in the damsel no sin [worthy] of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so [is] this matter: For he found her in the field, [and] the betrothed damsel cried, and [there was] none to save her.

Lev 20:11-17 (KJV) And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them. And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood [shall be] upon them…. And if a man take a wife and her mother, it [is] wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you… And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it [is] a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

Ezek 18:20 (KJV) The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Rom 12:17-21 (KJV) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Titus 2:4 (KJV) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

1Cor 13:4-7 (KJV)  Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

John 15:13 (KJV) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Matt 23:37 (KJV)  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine]. And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

 

THE STUDY:

I.  The Taking of Innocent Life Is Murder

Most, if not all of us, understand that the taking of innocent life is sinful.  Both in the Old and New Testaments, we find this teaching clearly on display…

“Thou shalt not kill” is not only a part of the Old Testament law (Ex 20:13), but it is also reaffirmed by Christ Himself in the New Testament (Matt 19:18).  Also, we find the Apostle Paul repeating the murder prohibition in Romans 13:9.  Finally, we see clearly that those who are found guilty of the sin of murder will be restricted from heaven and eternally judged for their sin (Rev 22:14-15)  The Bible is clear… murder is a sin in God’s eyes punishable by eternal death.

The Lord Jesus also made it plain that young children were to have special protection, attention and care given to them (Matt 18:1-6, Matt 19:13-15).

In our study of abortion, if we accept that the taking of innocent life is sinful, the question then becomes… does a fetus, in its mother’s womb possess life?  If so, at what point does its life come into existence?   At whatever point the fetus possesses life, the abortion procedure becomes murder.  This is the issue that we are going to examine in this study.

II. A fetus in the womb is considered a child and the pregnant woman is considered the child’s mother.

In Genesis 25:22-23, twins in their mother’s womb are given the title “children”.  The Hebrew word for children is Ben…. It is the common word used to describe children throughout the OT.  In Luke 1:41, John the Baptist while yet in his mother’s womb is described as “babe”.  The Greek word for babe is the word brephos…. This same Grk word is used in Luke 2:12-16 to describe Christ, the babe that was wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger in Bethlehem.

In both of the above examples, we can clearly see that based upon vocabulary usage, the Bible does not differentiate between a babe in its mother’s womb and a babe that has been born into this world.

You can also see this principle in Job 3:3 where we are told that it was a “man child” that was conceived in his mother’s womb.  Luke 1:36 tells us that it was a “son” that was conceived.

In Numbers 12:12 – we find that even in the case of a woman who has given birth to a still born child.  She is still considered a mother, because her child had possessed life while the baby was within her womb.   This same principle is presented in Luke 1:43 when a pregnant Mary is described as the “mother of my Lord”

III. A fetus in the womb is considered a distinct human being with whom the Lord actively intervenes.

In Psa 51:5 the psalmist describes himself, at conception, as “I” and “me”.  Pointing to his personhood beginning with his conception, throughout his mother’s pregnancy and birth and then throughout his life outside the womb.  This can also be seen in Job 31:13-15, where Job describes himself in the womb as “I”, “me” and “us”. In Psa 139:13, the psalmist says “thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb”. Once again, we can see that during his time in his mother’s womb, he was an individual human ( “me”) that was simply “covered” in the womb.

In Psalm 22:9-10 we are told that God was in control of the conception, formation and birth of the child.  This is proof that He was the child’s God even from his mother’s womb.

The Apostle Paul was called by God to his ministry while he was yet in his mother’s womb in Gal 1:15.  The same holds true for Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-5), Isaiah (Isa 49:1), and John The Baptist (Luke 1:15).

IV.  When does life begin in the womb?

In Psa 139:14-16, we find the development of the fetus is in view.  Please notice the 2 stages of development include….

1. the initial formation of genetic material (at conception when the seed meets the egg) “in thy book all were written… when as yet there was none of them.”

2.  the continual forming of the body (based upon the dictates of the genetic material) “in continuance was fashioned” The continual forming and growth of the baby from coneption forward is a sign of the baby possessing life from conception forward.

In other words, the Lord made the Psalmist “in secret” (ie in his mother’s womb – “lowest parts of the earth”) .   When the Lord first made the Psalmist, he was “yet unperfect” (undeveloped) .  However, even though he was undeveloped, all the genetic instructions (“in thy book all my members were written”) were present .   The baby’s body, organs etc, were not physically in existence (“as yet when there was none of them”) although they were in existence in the genetic code.

The baby was in existance and an individual human being from conception.  As the baby grows and develops (following the genetic instructions that are received at conception) the life within the fertilized egg is clearly seen.

Here, we find the answer to the question, “When does the baby receive life while in the womb?”  The Bible makes it plain that the genetic makeup of the child was existing from the very beginning of its formation.  This same genetic code is proof that the child is not simply a part of the mothers’ body.  On a genetic level the baby existed, in it’s entirety from conception.  Add to that the principle of growth and development immediately beginning at conception and we have a clear answer to our question.  The baby’s life began at conception…. the baby existed in it’s entirety at conception and exhibited growth and development from that point forward.

V.  What About Rape or Incest… Is Abortion Allowed In These Cases?

Both Rape and Incest are horrible sins in the eyes of the Lord (Lev 20:11-17, Deut 22:25-27). Any victim of these brutal acts should be treated with the greatest amount of concern, compassion and aid.  As Christians, we have the responsibility to help these victims in any way possible.

In Eze 18:20 we find a basic Biblical principle that I believe applies in these cases…. “the son shall bot bear the iniquity of father”…  Although a pregnancy may have come about due to the heinous sinful act of another, the child should not be punished for the sin of their father.  In other words, taking the child’s life, simply because the child was conceived in a sinful manner (rape, incest) cannot be defended.

Please keep mind, although the child may have been conceived as the result of sin, the murder of the child cannot be justified.  Two wrongs do not make a right, nor is a murder justified by the act of rape or incest.  In Rom 12:17-21… we are reminded that the Biblical method of dealing with wickedness is to “overcome evil with good”.  In other words,  to “recompense” one evil act with another evil act is of no spiritual value.  But by displaying love and kindness to others in the midst of wickedness is glorifying to the Lord who set us

the ultimate example of goodness in the midst of wickedness.

VI.  What About Abortion To Protect The Life of the Mother?

One of the most difficult situations a mother can face is to know that by giving birth to her child may endanger her life.  Anyone in this situation should prayerfully, consider the Biblical teachings on the Mother/Child love relationship.

In Titus 2:4 young mothers are told to” love their children”.   1 Cor 13:4-7 helps us to understand that the basis of a true, Biblical love is self-sacrifice.  Both of these verses, when viewed together, helps us to understand that a mother’s role is one of self-sacrifice… constantly working for the good of the child even at great personal cost.  That great personal cost may even extend to the giving of one’s life.

In John 15:13, our Lord tells us that “greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  This principle applies to a mother and child as illustrated by our Lord in Matthew 23:37… where the Lord speaks of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings, protecting them from harm at the risk of her own life.

In the rare event that a pregnancy puts at risk the mother’s life… would it not be proper for the mother to be willing to risk her life for the sake of her unborn child?

VII. Is There Any Example of Someone Being Punished For Harming A Child In The Womb?

In Ex 21:22-23 we find the case of a pregnant woman who is accidently harmed during a fight between two men.  In this case, if she gives birth prematurely due to the injury she received, the party causing her injury was to be “punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him”.  The implication is that the child is prematurely born but does not suffer harm nor death.

However, these verses go on to explain if “mischief” follows.  IE if the child is permanently harmed or dies then “thou shalt give life for life”.  The offender must pay for the mischief that befalls the child due to the premature birth.  If the child dies due to the premature birth then, the offender life was to be taken… “Then thou shalt give life for life”.

This verse clearly tells us that harm to a child within the womb is to be treated just as if any other human being was harmed.  But more importantly, we see that harm to a child in the womb that results in the child’s death is to be punished with death.

What clearer declaration about the sinfulness of abortion could we find anywhere in Scripture?

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV)

22) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine].

23) And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Currently, since abortions are legal in our country, the abortion decision must be made on an individual basis between the parents of the unborn and their God.  By God’s grace, a proper understanding of the Scriptures will make clear the sinfulness of abortion and the need for the unborn to be brought to full term.

For those who have already aborted their child, or for those doctors who have committed abortions, forgiveness can be found with our God.

Isa 55:7 (KJV)  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.

Mark 3:28 (KJV)

28) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

If you have more questions concerning forgiveness and the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

———————————————————————–

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.”

Same-Sex Marriage: What does the Bible say?

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the more controversial issues in our country today is the issue of same-sex marriage, civil unions and the role of homosexuality.   With the upcoming Presidential primaries and general election, the subject of same-sex marriages versus civil unions has been receiving more airplay.

I thought it would be a good thing to take a few moments and refresh our memories concerning the biblical teachings on homosexuality, its historical occurrences, and its standing in the eyes of God.

Let’s begin today’s look at the Scriptural teachings on homosexuality.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Lev 18:22-25 (KJV)  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it [is] confusion.  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

Lev 20:13 (KJV)  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

Rom 1:24-29 (KJV) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1Cor 6:9-11 (KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

1Tim 1:9-10 (KJV)  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Jude 1:7 (KJV) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Gen 19:4-8 (KJV)  But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:  And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

Deut 23:17 (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

2Tim 3:1-5 (KJV) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 

THE STUDY:

I.  What does the Bible Teach About Homosexuality?

 In the Old Testament the Bible makes it plain that homosexuality is a sinful act:

Lev 18:22-25 (KJV)  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination…  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

Lev 20:13 (KJV)  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

Please note an “abomination” – is the Hebrew word “tow ebah” which refers to something that is disgusting or abhorred.

The New Testament affirms, and upholds, the sinfulness of the homosexual act:

Rom 1:24-29 (KJV) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Please note “vile” is a Greek word referring to “dishonorable”; while the Greek word for  “unseemly” means “indecent or shameful”.  Likewise the Greek word for “error” refers “to stray to wrong path”.

Each of these words, when linked to the last verse of this text “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”  Plainly shows the sinfulness of the homosexual act.

1Cor 6:9-11 (KJV)  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The Greek word for “effeminate” means “to be soft”.  This possibly refers to the tendency of some homosexuals to purposefully display feminine characteristics to attract other males.  Or, perhaps, it refers to taking younger (soft) males as homosexual companions.  In either case, homosexuality is in view.

The phrase “abusers of themselves with mankind” literally means “to have sexual relations with a male”

1Tim 1:9-10 (KJV) Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Please note: to “defile themselves with mankind” is the same Greek phrase as “abusers of themselves with mankind” found in 1 Cor 6:9-11.  This phrase means “to have sexual relations with a male”

Jude 1:7 (KJV) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The word for “fornication” means uncleanness. What type of unclean activity was Sodom and Gomorrha guilty of committing?… going after “strange flesh”.

Note the phrase “strange flesh” ie foreign, or other body.  In other words, to lust after bodies that are in opposition to the commands of the Lord.  Homosexuality is foreign and goes against the plan of God for sexual unions.

In the above reference, Jude is recalling what took place in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha….  The account of this incident is found in Genesis 19:4-8:

Gen 19:4-8 (KJV) But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

“we may know them” is a common Hebrew phrase (yada) that is used to describe a sexual relationship… (Gen 4:1, Gen 38:26, etc)  Also, please notice that a homosexual is given the title sodomite in the Bible, and is linked to sexual sins in Deut 23:17…

Deut 23:17 (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

When taken in context, it is obvious that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gommorrah did not desire to simply interrogate or become friendly with the angel/men who were visiting Lot…. They desired to have a sexual relationship with them.

II. What about Homosexual Marriage or Same Sex Legal Unions?

Once the sinfulness of the homosexual act is established the question of homosexual marriage or homosexual legal union becomes an easy issue to understand.

To allow the existence of homosexual legal unions is the governmental condoning of sinful acts.  This flies in the face of one of the purposes of human government which is to uphold the Lord’s commands through the punishment of sinful actions (Rom 13:1-5).

To allow the existence of homosexual marriages is not only the condoning of sinful acts, but it is also the perversion of the marriage union which God has ordained to be between one man and one woman… (Matt 19:4-5; 1 Cor 7:1-2)

III. How Are Christians To Relate To Homosexuals?

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” this verse applies to the heterosexual as well as the homosexual.  We are all in the same boat.

As fallen, sinful mankind, we all have the need of salvation through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

As those who have received God’s gracious salvation from our sins… we understand the importance of proclaiming the gospel message to those who are in need of forgiveness…

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Just as Paul made it plain that homosexuality is a sin… he made it just as plain that the sin of homosexuality can be forgiven, just like any other sin….  We should never treat homosexuality as an unpardonable sin or a sin that is beyond the grace of God.

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Therefore we should gladly, willingly share the gospel message with the homosexual community as an act of love and responsibility knowing that apart from God’s grace we, too, would be living lives of separation from Him.

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

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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.”

Crucified – A Good Friday Devotion

SIH STSTA ICONIn many of the nations of the world, we find capital punishment being exercised for many differing offenses.   Some nations practice capital punishment against only the most heinous of crimes, for others, executions take place for many varying offenses like smuggling, unlawful possession of firearms or drugs, armed robbery etc.  For a more complete list of capital offenses in the various countries of the world click on this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_capital_punishment_by_nation

The methods of capital punishment also vary among the nations as well.   These methods include: Lethal injection, electric chair, gas chamber, single person shooting, firing squad, hanging, beheading, guillotine, stoning and use of the garrote.

In Bible times, crucifixion was one of the most common methods of capital punishment used in theRoman Empire.  Crucifixion is no longer used officially by any government for the purpose of capital punishment.  However, symbolic and ritualistic crucifixions continue to take place in many countries throughout the world.

The Biblical teachings on capital punishment and physical crucifixions will have to wait for another time and place, for today’s blog entry I would like us to concentrate on the meaning of “being crucified with Christ”.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Gal 2:20 (KJV)

20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Gal 5:24 (KJV)

24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Gal 6:14 (KJV)

14) But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Rom 6:6 (KJV)

6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

THE STUDY:

Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered a horrible crucifixion at the hands of the Roman government and Jewish religious leaders.  In a sense, we are all guilty of placing Christ on the cross; we are guilty of committing the sins for which He was crucified:

1Cor 15:3-4 (KJV)

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:…

It was because of our sins that He would have to die on the cross, taking the punishment of our sins upon Himself so that we might be saved:

Gal 3:13 (KJV)

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:

1Pet 3:18 (KJV)

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:

But the results of Christ’s crucifixion do not end on the cross.  We are told throughout the New Testament scriptures that we, as Christians, share in the experience of the crucifixion. Let’s begin our study by looking at Gal 2:20 (KJV):

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The term “crucified” relates to us the idea death and its results.   When Christ was crucified, His physical life was laid aside (death). The results of His death was that His body was left in the tomb, while His spirit entered heaven for three days and three nights; this entailed separation, ie  separation of His spirit from His body, and also the separation of both His body and spirit from this world).

In the above verse, we find that Christians are described as being “crucified with Christ”.  In other words, just as Christ was literally put to death and then experienced separation, so to we, as Christians, are put to death and separated in three ways:

1.  We no longer live to fulfill our sinful, fleshly desires.  Although we still commit sin, but we no longer are enslaved by our fleshly desires.  A separation has been formed between us and our desires  We now strive to obey our Lord in everything that we do fighting against our desires and striving to live lives of holiness.  Gal 5:24 (KJV)  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

2.  We are no longer alive to the affects of the sinful world around us.  Many are the temptations and sins that are placed before us in this sinful world.  Not only do we no longer serve our fleshly desires, we no longer serve the sinful world around us.  We are no longer “alive” to these temptations, but we now are counted as dead, separated from them. Gal 6:14 (KJV) But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

3.  Our “old man” is also put to death through the workings of Christ on the cross. Our “old man” is a phrase used to describe our old sin nature and the resulting sinful lifestyle.  Our past habits and practices have been changed.  We were slaves to our sinful lifestyle but now have become the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is also described in God’s Word as becoming a “new creature in Christ”  (2 Cor 5:17).  Rom 6:6 (KJV) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

In our Gal 2:20 text, the verse continues on…. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:…”

Here the phrase “nevertheless I live…” is teaching us that just as the death of Christ on the cross resulted in His resurrection and new physical life on earth; so too, our sharing in His crucifixion results in our new life in Him.  Although we are counted as dead to our sinful desires, the sinful world and our “old man” ; we are made spiritually alive. This spiritual life is accompanied by the indwelling of the Savior, in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Our text closes by stating… and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

This newly received spiritual life, and the accompanying change in lifestyle, is based upon faith in Christ.  How does a person share in the crucifixion of Christ? Through faith.  How does a Christian live a new life of submission to Christ? Through faith.  This same Christ in whom we trust, is the same Christ that loved us before the world began.  Based upon His love, He came to the earth and died on the cross so that we might be saved.

If you see that your sin has caused the Lord grief and pain;  if you abhor the sin that is in your life and you are willing to turn from that sin; come to Christ in faith, trusting in Him to forgive your every sin, and make your future with Him secure.

Matt 11:28-30 (KJV)

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.

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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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