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SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 5:19

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“Reflections Of His Grace”

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

 

The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

 

This devotional, continues to look at the second main division of the book of Ephesians. Previously, we have looked at “Reflections Of His Grace Revealed” (chaps 1-3). It that section, Paul revealed to us the gracious works of the Lord in the lives of His chosen people.

In this new section “Reflections Of His Grace Applied” (chaps 4-6) Paul will be explaining to us the practical effects of God’s grace in the lives of His people.

  1. The Grace Of Unity (4:1-6)
  2. The Grace Of Maturity (4:7-16)
  3. The Grace Of Renewal (4:17-32)
  4. The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
  5. The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)
  6. The Grace Of Relationships (5:22-33)
  7. The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)
  8. The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-21)

 

The next effect of God’s grace we will be looking at is the grace of WISDOM (5:15-21). The Biblical concept of “wisdom” is “the application of God’s Word to our lives”. To be “wise” is to apply the truths of God to our daily living. This is true wisdom and flows from the gracious hand of our Lord.

Keeping all this in mind, let’s turn our attention to this is a very basic outline of this section of Scripture:

I.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives Universally (vs 15)

II.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives To Use Time Profitably (vs 16)

III.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives By Recognizing God’s Will For Us (vs 17)

IV.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives Through Self-Control (vs 18)

V.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives To Praise and Thank Him (vs 19-20)

VI.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives By Submission To Others (vs 21)

 

 

EXPOSITION:

After explaining the need for us to be “filled with the Spirit”, Paul now teaches us concerning the characteristics of those who are filled with the Spirit (ie are submitted to the Spirit’s control in every rea of our lives.)

(Ephesians 5:19-20) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

 

Here is a listing of the two of the main characteristics of a person filled with the Spirit…

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 

Characteristic #1… inward, personal praise… “Speaking to yourselves” .

Is this verse describing us singing and praising God in a public way to each other in a local assembly (“yourselves”), or is this verse describing singing and praising the Lord inwardly as a personal act (“yourselves”)?

This question is very highly debated among sound Bible believers. The answer lies in the word “yourselves”. To whom was Paul speaking when he used the term “yourselves”? All I can do is share my thoughts with you and ask you to prayerfully study these things on your own.

The Greek word translated “yourselves” is found MANY times in the NT. It is used, at times, to mean…

1. “oneself” and is translated “alone”, “himself”, “herself” , and “your own”. It these cases, it is clearly speaking of a single individual with no other person in view.

2. “one group” and is translated “your own selves”, “themselves” and ”they”. In these cases, the word normally speaks of a specific group that contains many members.

 

My point is this, by simply studying the Greek word used here we cannot come to answer to our question because the word “yourselves” can be used in either way. However, if we look a bit farther in the verse, I believe it clearly solves our dilemma.

Later in the same verse, we read the phrase “in your heart to the Lord”. This phrase CLARIFIES the type of praise which is spoken. It clearly is referring to an inward praise coming from the heart and spirit of the believer.   Although the public worship of the Lord through the singing of songs is one way of praising Him, we need to understand that is not the type of singing of which this text speaks.

If an individual is under the Spirit’s control in every area of life (filled with the Spirit), they will consistently honor the Lord through three differing aspects of praise of the heart…

1. psalms – rehearsing of God’s Word. This word commonly refers to the Book of Psalms in the NT

2. hymns – celebration of the Lord and His works. This word comes from an uncommon root word meaning “joyous celebration”

3. spiritual songs – Spirit led honor, admiration and reverence. This word describes “songs of worship”

 

The Spirit filled believer will find their heart and mind filled with praise to the Lord. This praise will take the form of meditation on the Word, inward joy, satisfaction and contentment centered on Christ, and an attitude of reverence and honor for the greatness of the Lord and His works on our behalf.

This praise is likened to outward singing (“singing”) and playing of instruments (“making melody”) that brought honor and glory to the Lord during times of OT worship. Much like music brings praise to the Lord and refreshes the spirit of man, this type of “singing and making melody” of the heart holds the same results for our inward man.

 

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Characteristic #2… acknowledgment of the manifold blessings of the Lord found in every circumstance of life… “Giving thanks always”

For those filled with the Spirit, the recognition of God’s control of all things (Dan 4:35), linked together with faith in His promise “all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Roms 8:28), results in a willingness to endure all things, as they submit every area of their life to His will and way.

This is the key to being thankful in all conditions of life… recognize the Lord will always work for our good as we submit our entire being to His will.

Our thankfulness should be pointed towards the Triune God (all three persons are active in bringing about His will in our lives). And should be presented to God based upon Christ and His work on our behalf. It is the work of Christ which gives us access to the Father and makes our thankfulness acceptable in the sight of God.

 

APPLICATION:

Folks are we “filled with the Spirit?” (ie have we handed over every aspect of our lives to the control of the Spirit?) If so, we will see these different characteristics of that filling in our lives….

1. Our minds will be filled with meditation on the Word, inward joy, satisfaction and contentment centered on Christ, and an attitude of reverence and honor for the greatness of the Lord and His works on our behalf.

2. We will be willing and thankful to undergo any circumstance in life as we recognize our Lord is in absolute control of our circumstances, and is working all things out for our eventual good.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more! 

 

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Why Does Evil Exist? (Part #2)

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He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand,

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].” (Isaiah 45:7)

“[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:…” (Habakkuk 1:13)

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” (James 1:13)

In above set of Scriptures, we find one of the supposedly contradictory texts of the Scriptures. On one hand, from the lips of the Lord Himself, He clearly states that “I create evil”. Then later in the Scriptures we find Habakkuk, as he speaks concerning the Lord, says “[Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:” then, to add confusion to our subject, James states clearly that God “cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:”

In this series of lessons, we will be looking into two basic questions, first, “What Is God’s Role In The Existence of Evil ?” and, secondly, “What Is The Purpose Behind The Existence Of Evil ?”

THE STUDY:

Before we begin this portion of our study, let’s pick up with the summary from our last study (Lesson #1)…
1. “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2. “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3. “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4. “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5. “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6. “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7. “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8. “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness

So, in summary, “Evil” can describe an act, or the results of that act, and, in every case that it is used in the Bible, it is describing something that is harmful to man. In other words… Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”

We will now attempt to come to an understanding about the Sovereignty Of God….

Before we actually see the Bible teachings on the origin of evil, we need to lay a foundation of a few other basic truths about our Lord…

Our Lord Is In Control

One of the many attributes that is exclusive to our Lord, is the attribute of “absolute sovereignty”. To put it simply, “absolutely sovereignty” means that our Lord is in total control of all things. The Bible is very clear on this subject. So clear, as a matter of fact, I think it is important to simply let the Bible speak for itself as we read these verses and are in awe at His greatness on display:

The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. (1 Samuel 2:6-7)

And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, And said, O LORD God of our fathers, [art] not thou God in heaven? and rulest [not] thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand [is there not] power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? (2 Chronicles 20:5-6)

For the kingdom [is] the LORD’S: and he [is] the governor among the nations. (Psalms 22:28)

A Psalm of David. The earth [is] the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (Psalms 24:1-2)

But our God [is] in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. (Psalms 115:3)

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

[There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand. (Proverbs 19:21)

The king’s heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)

The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, [so] shall it stand: (Isaiah 14:24)

This [is] the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this [is] the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul [it]? and his hand [is] stretched out, and who shall turn it back? (Isaiah 14:26-27)

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

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

But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

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: (Ephesians 1:11)

Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (Hebrews 1:3)

From this sampling of verses we can see that the Biblical teaching of God’s absolute sovereignty is not an issue of the misinterpretation of a few select Bible passages. The truth of His control over all things is a subject clearly declared in many passages and is found in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible.

Let’s imagine a world where the Lord is not in control of all things. Let’s imagine that Satan is not under the Lord’s control and, therefore, could thwart His workings among men. If that was the case….

1. When we pray to the Lord, we would have absolutely no confidence He is able to answer us. He may have every intent to fulfill our request but, Satan could always intervene and stop the Lord’s gracious workings on our behalf. The principle is this…. If God is not in control, there is no reason to believe He would, or could, answer any of our prayers.

2. When faced with trials and temptations, there would be no reason to look to Him for help. Again, He may intend on helping us, but Satan could always intervene and stop the Lord’s actions. This, in effect, would isolate us from the Lord’s presence and aid, and therefore leave us to stand alone to face Satan…. If God is not in control, there is no reason to rely upon Him in our times of need.

3. In the area of our lost loved ones, there would be absolutely no need to pray for them or even share the gospel with them. After all, if there is one thing we would be certain of, it would be that Satan would stop the Lord’s workings in the lost person’s sins hardened heart. Out of everything the Lord would try to do, Satan would certainly put the priority upon stopping a lost person from coming to Christ… If God is not in control, there is no reason to look to Him to save our lost loved ones.

4. Think of all the future promises our Lord has given us. Do we realize if He is not in control of all things, He is not to be relied upon to keep His promises? Think about it. The wonderful promises of an eternity with Him, rewards for faithfulness, an eternity separated from sin, the future resurrection and glorification of our bodies etc etc etc . Even the assurance of salvation can no longer be relied upon as certain, if Satan is able to overcome the plans and intents of the Lord… If God is not in control, there is no reason to have any assurance of future with Him.

But praise the Lord, we know that no one, not even Satan, can do anything that the Lord does not allow. One example of that is…

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:6-12)

And we have the assurance the Lord will have the ultimate victory over Satan, we can know this based upon the truth of His sovereignty over all, and His ability to perform the future prophecies found in the Word….

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41)

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)

Based upon the indisputable fact the Lord is sovereign, we must come to the conclusion that the evil that takes place in the world around us is under His sovereign control. No evil takes place in this world that He does not allow….

the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (Ephesians 1:11)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What we have seen in our study so far….

We have attempted to come to a very basic understanding of the term “evil” as used in the Bible. We have come to see that:

1. “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2. “Evil” can be referring to harm that is so severe, that it causes total destruction or uselessness
3. “Evil” can, but not necessarily, involves moral wickedness
4. “Evil” can describe sin or it can describe the results of sin
5. “Evil” can describe the direct results of sin
6. “Evil” can describe the indirect results of sin
7. “Evil” can describe an act that is morally wicked
8. “Evil” can describe, not the act, but the result of moral wickedness
9. Evil is “the condition/act of sin, OR the direct or indirect results of sin, that are harmful, and potentially ruinous, to any part of God’s creation.”
10. Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
11. It is because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in His enabling, His responses to our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies of future events
12. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance

In our next study, we will examine the holiness of the Lord and the source of evil in this world.

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

For The Free Study Guide For This Series:  .pdf format    .docx format

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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.”

Finding God’s Will For Our Lives – What Is God’s Will? (Part #1)

Prov 3:6 – “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 In this short 12 word verse, we find one of the most precious promises of the Bible… the promise for the Lord’s leadership and guidance in our lives.   But in this same verse, we find one of the most difficult aspects of the Christians life… following the path the Lord desires for our life.

One of the most frequently asked questions posed to me during my ministry has been “How can I find God’s will for my life?”   In the next 6 blog entries we will be seeing what God’s word teaches us about this important subject…

  1. What is God’s will?
  2. Not my will, but thine be done.
  3. Thus saith the Lord
  4. Oh what a feeling
  5. Open and shut doors
  6. Summary of the study

In part number 1 of our study lets answer the question… What is God’s will?

THE SCRIPTURE:

 God’s Sovereign Will:

 Prov 16:9 – A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Prov 16:33 -The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof [is] of the LORD.

Dan 4:35 -And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Acts 2:23-24 -Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Acts 4:27-28 – For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Rom 9:17-24 – For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?[What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Eph 1:11-12 -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:That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

And many, many more….

God’s Revealed Will:

Ps 119:1-12 – ALEPH. Blessed [are] the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.Blessed [are] they that keep his testimonies, [and that] seek him with the whole heart.They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded [us] to keep thy precepts diligently.O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed [art] thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

Matt 28:20 -Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 14:21 -He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Eph 5:15-17 -See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].

Eph 6:5-7 – Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Heb 8:10 – For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

1John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

And many, many more….

God’s Individual Will:

Prov 3:6 – In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Eccl 9:10 – Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Jer 10:23 –  O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Acts 11:12  – And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:

Acts 16:6-8 – Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

Gal 6:10 – As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Phil 4:10 – But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

And many, many more….

THE STUDY:

  1. God’s Sovereign Will – This is the “secret’ will of God that has been determined before the foundation of the world.   This will includes EVERY event that actually takes place throughout history. (Deut 29:29)
    1. Prov 16:9 – Here we find that mankind makes many plans concerning his future, but the Lord is the One that controls all the future events in one’s life.
    2. Prov 16:33 – Here, we find that although the casting of lots from man’s standpoint is a random occurance… it is actually predetermined and under God’s total control.
    3. Dan 4:35 – It is clearly declared that His sovereign will is done both in heaven and on earth. No one can hinder it
    4. Acts 2:23-24, 4:27-28 – Even the crucifixtion of Christ was a part of His “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God”
    5. Rom 9:17-24 – Pharoah, his rebellion and his defeat, was all a part of God’s plan, which ultimately resulted in glorification of God. We cannot question His will, He knows the end from the beginning, but we do not.
    6. Eph 1:11-12 – Even our salvation and our inheritance are a part of His eternal plan.  All of this is why we are to thank and glorify Him for all things.  He is the One in ultimate control of all.
  1. God’s Revealed Will – This is God’s desires for our lives as revealed in His will.  Commands like “be ye holy” and “thou shalt not lie”, as well as “think on these things” etc. are all a part of God’s will for all His people.  These are all revealed to us in the Bible.
    1. Ps 119:1-12 – In the entire Psalm 119:, we find the importance of God’s Word for our lives stressed.  The Word of God in Psa 119: is given the titles “Law”, “Ways” , “Precepts”, “Statutes”, “Commandments”, “Judgments”, “Word”… the list goes on and on. And yet, the basic principle is that we are responsible to be in submission to His Word for our own good.
    2. Matt 28:20 – The Lord’s churches are to teach new believers to observe all of His commands (which are found in His Word)
    3. John 14:21, 1 John 5:3 – Keeping His Word is a sign of our love for Him.
    4. Eph 5:15-17 – By understanding the principles of His Word, and applying them to our lives, we can wisely walk in this world, using our time on earth to the greatest spiritual benefit.
    5. Eph 6:5-7 – We are to sincerely obey His Word with the right motives in our hearts.  This is an act of service to the Lord.
    6. Heb 8:10 – The Word is placed in our hearts, minds and consciences.  As we study and learn more of His Word we carry it with us and, hopefully, live according to it.  (Psa 119:11)
  1. God’s Individual Will – This is God’s desires for each one of us as individuals.  Throughout the Scriptures, we find followers of Christ being directed in their lives.  This direction normally takes the form of open and closed doors of opportunity.
    1. Prov 3:6  – Here we find that if we recognize His Lordship and submit to it in our lives then He will supply the direction we need to choose the correct life paths.
    2. Eccl 9:10 – “whatever thy hand findeth to do” – this can be describing the opportunities we have open to us.  Our responsibility is to take advantage of the opportunities we have in God honoring ways.  He is the One that controls what opportunities open to us.
    3. Jer 10:23 – We do not have the ability in and of ourselves to control the future events and opportunities of our lives.  This is all in the Lord’s hands.
    4. Acts 11:12, Acts 16:6-8 – Here is one example where the Lord used His Spirit to lead Peter to accompany men to a house where Peter received the call to Joppa.  Also the Lord led Paul in his ministry to forego preaching the Word in Asia and Bithynia.  In both of these cases the Lord used His Spirit to lead His servants to areas of ministry.  This Spirit leading could have been received as a combination of open/closed doors, the Word in conjunction with the human conscience, or even supernatural revelation (prior to the completion of His Word).  Neither Peter, nor Paul, explicitly details how the leading came about in their lives.
    5. Gal 6:10 – Paul clearly declares that we are to minister for the Lord based on the opportunities that are open to us.
    6. Phil 4:10 – Paul as he was writing to the church at Philippi made it plain that the church had faithfully supplied their support of Paul when they had opportunity.  But for an unspecified length of time, they lacked the opportunity to support him.  Note, that Paul was not critical of them and their lack of support during the inopportune times.  He only praised them for continuing to support him when they had the opportunity.

The above outline helps us to understand that there are three aspects to the will of God.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Here are the beginning principles we must understand as we begin our study of finding God’s will for our lives:

  1. The Sovereign Will of God cannot be changed by man.  This will of God will always be done.  Every event in history that has taken place, and will take place is a part of this sovereign controlling will of God. (Dan 4:35).  We have no need to be concerned about following this will of God.  It will always take place.
  1. Please notice that the Word of God (His Revealed Will) is the basis of the future judgment of the believer’s life. (Roms 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10)   It is this same Word that was given to us to lead us and guide us along life’s pathways. (Psa 119:105, Psa 119:11)

Therefore, all of our life’s decisions are to be made based upon our knowledge and understanding of His Word. The revealed will of God for each of our lives is regulated by the Spirit’s inner witness through the use of His Word (1 Pet 1:22, Ezek 36:27) and in our conscience (1 Tim 1:19, Heb 13:18)

  1. The individual will of God is regulated based upon the Spirit’s intervention in each of our lives normally through open or closed doors of opportunity (Gals 6:10)

In our search for God’s Will to be shown to us in our lives….

Prayer Principle #1 –  We must pray for the Lord’s leadership in our lives.

For those who are not saved….

The Lord’s will for the life of those who have never trusted in Christ is clearly declared in 1Tim 2:3-6 …

For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

For more information about salvation and the forgiveness of sins, please refer to my blog page found here: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

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

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

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

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

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Escaping Fear’s Grip Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURES:

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

Ps 40

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

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

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

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

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

Ps 64:9-10 (KJV)

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

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

THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://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.”