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Category Archives: Job

“Sins Of The Eyes And Heart”

SIH STSTA ICONTHE INTRODUCTION:

There is a clear relationship between what we see with our eyes, what we sinfully desire in our hearts, and the fallen outward actions that we commit.  Our Lord, Himself, addressed this relationship in Matthew 5:27-28 when He said…

 

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

This is a very important issue that we need to understand clearly. In this study we will seek to come to an understanding of the Lord’s teachings (and other related verses) on the relationship of our eyes, heart (desires) and the acts of sin we commit.

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

Job 31:1-8

(1)  I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

(2)  For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?

(3)  Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?

(4)  Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?

(5)  If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit;

(6)  Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.

(7)  If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;

(8)  Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.

 

 

Pro 23:7

(7)  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

 

Mat 5:27-28

(27)  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

(28)  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

 

Jas 1:13-16

(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:

(14)  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

(15)  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

(16)  Do not err, my beloved brethren.

 

 

THE STUDY:

 

Mat 5:27-28 – Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

In our Lord’s teachings found in Matt 5:27-28, we are taught that sin can occur within the heart (desires) of a man.  Please notice that “lusting after her” is counted as committing the sin of adultery “in his heart”.  In other words, possessing sinful lusts is one type of sin that can be committed by man.

This also helps us to understand that there are two different ways that any sin can be committed:

  1. First of all, sin can be committed in the heart when we hold burning desires to perform an act of sin.  In the case of Jesus’ teaching, the desire to commit the act of adultery, is, in and of itself, counted as a sin.
  2. Secondly, sin can involve the outward act of the sin.  In Christ’s teaching this would be the physical act of adultery being committed with the woman after whom the inward lust is being committed.

Please note that both the sin of the heart and the actual commission of that sin are recognized as two separate sins. To lust in the heart is sinful, to go farther and actually commit the physical sin of adultery is recognized as a second commission of sin.  We should never think that if we commit sin in our hearts we had “might as well do the act”.  This is a lie that comes from Satan himself, being told to us in an effort to increase our guilt and the sin that abides in our lives.

 

Jas 1:13-16 – Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.   Do not err, my beloved brethren.

In the above verse, James explains to us the steps that produce acts of sin in our lives.  James teachings helps us to better understand the relationship between our eyes, heart and the outward performance of sin.

Every commission of sin begins as a temptation.  These temptations are wholly based upon the desires that we hold within us.  Notice what James says… “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away OF HIS OWN LUST and enticed.”  Folks, anytime an opportunity to sin arises, but we have no desire to commit that sin, it is not a temptation to us.

A very simple example is a person who is on a diet and HATES vanilla ice cream.  I can offer that person vanilla ice cream over and over again and they will never be “tempted” to eat it and break their diet.  Why?  Because they have no desire to eat the vanilla ice cream.   However, if the same person LOVES chocolate ice cream, the moment I offer it to them, the offer becomes a “temptation” to them to break their diet.  Because they desire it, the opportunity to partake of it becomes a temptation to them.

James then goes further and explains that when the person recognizes the opportunity to sin is open to them (they are enticed by it), the sinful lust in their heart then gives birth to the outward act of sin which leads to their death.

WOW!  What a horrible chain of events that leads to all men’s downfall, reminds us of a fish that is caught by a fisherman…

  1. The bait is seen by the fish (using its eyes)
  2. The bait attracts the fish because it is hungry (its desires)
  3. The bait is taken by the fish (the outward act of taking that which is sinfully desired)
  4. The fish is killed by the fisherman (death occurs as the direct result of sin)

The commission of sin takes place in the same way…

  1. We see an opportunity to sin (we place our eyes on it)
  2. We then take advantage of that opportunity (because we desire to commit that sin)
  3. The natural result of the commission of that sin is physical and spiritual death.

 

 

Job 31:1-8 – I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?  Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?  Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?  If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit;  Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.  If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;  Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.

Job understood the two types of sin when he said… “If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes”.

  1. Job described the outward acts of sin as “If my step turned out of the way”
  2. Job described the role of inward sinful desires as “mine heart walked after mine eyes”.

 

Job also understood how sin develops in our lives:

  1. He was describing his sinful desires being fulfilled following the seeing an opportunity to sin… “mine heart walked after mine eyes”:
  2. This results in the outward commission of that sin “If my step hath turned out of the way”.

 

Because of Job’s knowledge of these truths, he was able to successfully avoid sin in his life.  This is why he was able to boldly ask the Lord to look at his life and see that his life was dedicated to pleasing Him.  So what is the secret to Job’s success?…

“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”

 

He saw the need to control what his eyes looked upon to avoid these times of temptation that so easily come upon all mankind.  he understood that, due to our fallen, sinful natures we all possess sinful desires.  The one of the most effective ways to avoid cultivating and fulfilling those desires was by controlling his eyes…

“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”

 

In other words, if Job avoided the opportunity to sin, he would not be feeding his sinful desires nor would he be bringing them to fruition.  What a very important lesson for us all.  By controlling what our eyes look upon we can keep our sinful desires at bay and not “live them out” in our actions!

Job said that the result of this covenant he made with his eyes, he was able to sincerely invite the Lord to examine his life without guilt or hesitation… “Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity”

 

CONCLUSION:

Do we attempt to control our eyes and avoid temptations whenever we possibly can?  The answer to this question speaks volumes about our character, the person we are within.

King Solomon understood this principle when he wrote in Proverbs 23:7 … “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he;”

In response to Solomon’s writing, lets close by asking ourselves this simple question … “Who are we?”  The answer can be found in our attempts to rule over our eyes and the desires that dwell in our hearts.

 

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“For We Are But Of Yesterday”

SIH STSTA ICON(The SIH 2016 New Year’s Devotional)

With the coming of each New Year, we are reminded of the quickly passing time and shortness of the physical life that we possess.

For some, the concept of a short lifespan on earth is a thing of dread and fear. They possess dread because they know that the pleasures, possessions and relationships of this world will quickly pass away; and fear, due to confusion and uncertainty about, and an unpreparedness for, a coming afterlife.

However, in comparison, there are those who recognize that life is only temporal and will be followed by an eternal existence that will offer a much better existence. These have prepared for its coming and joyously await its arrival.

As we come face to face with another New Year, I just wanted to take a few moments to review the Biblical teachings on the temporal nature of life on earth and the great need to prepare for a coming afterlife while the opportunity still exists for each one of us.

THE SCRIPTURE:

(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) (Job 8:9 KJV)

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (Jas 4:14 KJV)

THE STUDY:

Job, in our text, describes the quickness of the passing of our life as “we are but of yesterday”. In other words, Job is simply saying that, as we look back to the past events of our life, from birth onward, they seem to have just taken place “yesterday”. How very true this is!

On this New Year’s Day, stop and think about the past events of the previous year. For most of us, these events seem like they took place just yesterday.

Now, stop and think about some of your major life events that have taken place throughout your lifetime: births and deaths; sicknesses; new jobs and residences; anniversaries and graduations; and, for the Christian, the moment the Lord brought you unto Himself, trusting in Him for salvation. As you think about all these events, do they not seem to have taken place just a short while ago? For many of us, even the events of life that took place 30, 40, or even 50 years ago, now seem to be fresh in our minds and hearts, as if only a few days have passed.

Job even goes further in emphasizing the brevity of life when he says… “our days upon earth are a shadow”. See also: (Job 7:6, 9:25, 14:2; Psa 78:39, 89:47, 102:11; Isa 40:6).

Understanding the two basic characteristics of a shadow help us to understand what Job was trying to teach us. First of all, a shadow lasts only a short period of time, much like our life in comparison with the eternity that is to follow. Secondly, a shadow is constantly changing (due to movement of the person casting the shadow and the orbiting of the sun)… this pictures for us our temporal life and the many changes that take place on a day by day basis.

Job is bringing to our minds a very basic principle of living that we experience with every new day… Because our lives are uncertain and experience changes every single day, we do not know what each new day will hold for us. James even implies that because our lives are brief, uncertain, and changing, we cannot be sure if we will live yet another day…

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (Jas 4:14 KJV) see also (Proverbs 27:1, 1 Sam 20:3)

Folks, looking back over this last year, we all know people who have passed on unexpectedly. Whether it be by accident, sickness, or the actions of another, every day people pass on before us suddenly with absolutely no prior warning. Perhaps, they expected to celebrate the coming of this New Year along with us but, sadly, they are no longer with us. In this fallen, sinful world unexpected deaths are a very common occurrence.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

With the passing of this, and every New Year, we are reminded of the changing, fleeting nature of our lives. The most important aspect of these life principles is the need to take advantage of the time we have been given on earth and use it wisely.

What is the wisest possible use of our time? It is living our lives in preparation for the eternity that is to come. Because our physical lives and the world in which we live are temporal in nature, only that which is done for eternity’s sake will be of lasting value…
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1Jn 2:17 KJV)

So how do we live for eternity? For the lost it means by coming to an understanding of the true God, our condition before Him, and our need of faith in Him, and the eternal blessings that await the people of God:

1. The Lord Jehovah is the true God over all men. God the Son, Jesus, is the only One through whom we can gain access to God the Father. (Psa 83:18, John 14:6; 1 John 5:20)

2. All men have committed sin and stand before God as guilty, unable to save themselves through their works of righteousness. (Rom 3:23, Rom 3:19, Titus 3:5)

3. It is by grace through the God-given gifts of repentance and faith that a sinful man can receive forgiveness and salvation from the punishment of their sins (Acts 3:19, Acts 11:18, Eph 2:5-8. 1 Thess 1:10).

4. The newly forgiven individual is adopted into God’s family, made a citizen of the eternal, spiritual nation of Israel, and made heirs of an eternal existence with God. This forgiveness, and the blessings that accompany forgiveness, are eternal in nature, can never be lost, based upon the completed work of Christ on the cross (Gals 4:5, Eph 2:19, Roms 8:16-17, Heb 10:10).

For the saved, it means to take advantage of the opportunities we have to show Christ to others around us, by living a Christ-like life through our words, actions, and lifestyles. (Roms 8:28-30, Eph 1:4)

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Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 2)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:

The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span:

Our texts for this lesson are:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, andthere is nothing too hard for thee: (Jer 32:17)

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (Job 42:2)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you…And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; … And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. … And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Heb 2:4)

To begin our look at the Scriptures, I would like us to quickly summarize the above passages in the context of our subject “Can the miracles of the Bible be believed?” Basically, we can draw from the verses above the following truths:

1. Our God is able to do all things…. This includes giving His followers the ability to perform miracles, as a sign of their ministries authenticity (1 Corinthians 12:8-11). If it is His will…. He can do these things! (Jeremiah 32:17, Job 42:2, Hebrews 2:4)

2. Both in the Old and the New Testaments, God’s motive for bestowing this miracle working power upon His followers was to accredit their message and the place of worship He had established. This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” or “accrediting gifts” from God (Exodus 3:14, 4:1-8).

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting. It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history. Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Miracle Workers Moses, Joshua Elijah, Elisha Christ, Apostles
Message Accredited Law Prophets New Testament
Worship Place Accredited Tabernacle Temple Church
Time Span*Dates Are Based Upon Martin Anstey’s Chronology 1530 BC – 1460 BC 835 BC – 765 BC 30 AD – 100 AD

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed. Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time. In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existance for approximately 70 years. In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed. Why? Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene. Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament. It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

We have seen the end of the last period of miracles being described in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10…

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. “(1Corinthians 13:8-10)

This verse is teaching us that the miraculous gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, shall come to an end. At the time of Paul’s writing this letter, the NT was not yet completed. This is why he makes the statement that “we know in part and we prophesy in part”. However, when the New Testament reached completion, bringing about the completed Bible (that which is perfect) then the revelation of His Word, bit by bit, (that which is in part) would be finished and no longer needed. The completion of the Word acted upon the sign gifts of prophecies and knowledge, immediately bringing them to an end. (Note:The sign gift of tongues died out as that generation of gifted men died and went home to their Lord, shortly thereafter.)

Also remember, prior to the Word’s completion, the church had already been established in Jerusalem as the worship place of the True God, through the sign miracles of tongues and healings etc.

This fits perfectly with the other times of accreditation that the Lord used. It was 70 years long followed by a period of silence. Since the completion of the Word and the accreditation of the local church (30 AD-100 AD), we find that there existed another time of “miracle silence” that continues on today.

Accepting the fact that the New Testament and the local assembly are established by God is now simply an issue of faith in His Word. In our day, we need no sign miracles to accredit anything… we have the Word that has recorded these previous accreditations for us to rely on today. In the last days, the working of counterfeit miracles will be on the increase, empowered by Satan, performed to mislead even God’s elect (if it were possible). (2 Thessalonians 2:7-10, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Matthew 12:38-39)

Does the Lord still perform miracles? Absolutely everyday, spiritual and physical healing is common place in today’s time.

Does the Lord still give men the ability to perform the “sign gifts” listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11? Absolutely not. He used the sign gifts to accredit the ministries He had ordained. There is no longer a need for these gifts to be exercised by men. We have a written record in His Word of the accreditation of these ministries.

In our next study, we will be examining the times of the Apostles’ deaths and how that affects the ending of the accrediting gifts of the Spirit.

Additional Information (Verses Referred To In This Study):

The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span:

Exo 3:14

(14) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Exo 4:1-8

(1) And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

(2) And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

(3) And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

(4) And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

(5) That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.

(6) And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.

(7) And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

(8) And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

Job 42:2

(2) I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Jer 32:17

(17) Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

Mat 12:38-39

(38) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

(39) But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

1Co 12:8-11

(8) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

(9) To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

(10) To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

(11) But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

2Co 11:13-15

(13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

(14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

(15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

2Th 2:7-10

(7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

(8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

(10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Heb 2:4

(4) God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own

 

 

 

 

“Why Does Evil Exist? (Part #5)”

SIH STSTA ICON

That they may know[there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else

 “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 studies so far …
1. “Evil” describes something that causes harm or injury
2.  “Evil” can involve moral wickedness or the results of that moral wickedness on our lives
3.  Our Lord is in absolute control of all things, this principle is clearly presented throughout the Bible
4.  The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
5.  The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.  Because of this He is in no way the cause of sin, nor its entrance into the world.
6.  Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world
7.  The Lord created the results of sin that we see taking place in the world.
8.  The Lord either allows the results of sin to take place, or in many cases, He actively brings them to pass.

If this is so, our next questions are “Why did the Lord allow the evil of sin to enter His creation and all of mankind knowing that only harm would result from it?”  “And why did He, through allowance or His direct intervention, bring to pass the evil results of our sin?”

To find the answer to the above questions, let’s refer back to one of our foundational texts, Isaiah 45:7…

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

In the verses preceding this text, the Lord clearly explains to us all why He brings to pass the results of our sin, and by implication, why He allowed sin to enter His sinlessly perfect creation… Please note verses 5-7…

I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:  That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else.  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

Why did our loving, kind, gracious Lord “form light and create darkness”…” make peace and create evil”?  It was to reveal Himself to us.  It was to clearly show us that He is the only true God.   This is what our text unmistakably tells us.

So in what way does the entrance of sin and its results into the world reveal God to us?  Lets take a look at three Biblical examples to help explain how He performed this…
1.  The Ten Plagues of Egypt
2.  The Life Of Job
3.  The Miracles of Christ (in our next lesson)

 

Example #1 – The Ten Plagues Of Egypt

In this account of the sinfulness of the Pharaoh of Egypt and the resultant effects of his sin on the nation of Egypt, we find a clear declaration of their purpose….

To Show The Egyptians His Identity As True God and Sovereign Over All…
And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.  Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.  But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, [and] my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.  And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.  And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.”    (Exodus 7:1-6)

 

To Show Pharaoh His Supremacy Among All Gods…
And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, [that] they may remain in the river only?  And he said, To morrow. And he said, [Be it] according to thy word: that thou mayest know that [there is] none like unto the LORD our God.  And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.”      (Exodus 8:9-11)

 

To Show The Israelites His Identity As True God and Sovereign Over All…
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:  And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I [am] the LORD.  (Exodus 10:1-2)
One quick note about the term “hardening” Pharaoh’s heart…  Keep in mind, in our previous study, we saw that the Lord will never “tempt” any man, nor can He be the cause of sinful acts.  The best way for us to understand the phrase “hardening” is to understand that the Lord ALLOWED Pharaoh’s heart to become hardened due to Satanic intervention and the rebellious, fallen nature possessed by Pharaoh.

How did the Lord reveal Himself through the plagues?  Well of course, the greatness of His power is revealed clearly through the performance of the miracles but it goes far beyond that.  Keep in mind that the Egyptians worshipped many, many false gods (probably in the 100s).  In their belief system these gods were ordered in a hierarchy system with certain gods having authority and strength over others.

The plagues that were performed went directly against some of the most powerful and authoritative gods that the Egyptians worshipped.  The following is a list of some possible combinations of plagues and the gods they went against:
1.  water to blood – the god of the Nile river, Hapi
2. frogs – the god of fertility of fields and rivers (holds frog in her hand), Heka
3. lice – the god of the earth, Geb
4. flies – the god with a fly head, Kheper
5. murrain – the bull god – Apis
6. boils – the god of health – Imhotep
7. hail – the goddess of the sky – Nut
8. locusts – the god of the crops – Seth
9. darkness – the sun god – RA (the greatest god of them all)
10. death of firstborn – Pharaoh (believed to be a god) whose first born son would become a god as well
(Please keep in mind, I am certainly not a scholar concerning the Egyptian gods.  I have tried to the best of my ability to match up the proper gods with the proper plague, but there could be variations of the above list. Regardless of which plague goes against which god, the basic principle can be easily seen by the above listing.)

The plagues were like a “faceoff” between the Lord and these different gods.  Each one of these resulted in the Lord actually using their gods to be a plague and to bring evil (harm) to the Egyptians, and in some cases the Israelites.

The Lord, through the plagues that resulted from the rebellious sins of Pharaoh, clearly manifested to both Israelites and Egyptians, His phenomenal power and His absolute supremacy over all of the Egyptian gods.  Truly, He revealed to all that “I am the LORD.”  This could only have happened through the existence of sin and its harmful results.

All of these truths are reaffirmed to us:
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.”   (Romans 9:17)

 

Example #2 – The Life Of Job

In Job 42:1-7, we find Job describing what he had learned throughout his long period of evil (harmful things) that he had received from the hand of Satan, under the Lord’s allowance…
Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every [thing], and [that] no thought can be withholden from thee.  Who [is] he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.  Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.  I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.  Wherefore I abhor [myself], and repent in dust and ashes.  And it was [so], that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me [the thing that is] right, as my servant Job [hath].”  (Job 42:1-7)

 

Job, as he had gone through these many trials had come to recognize:
1. “I know that thou canst do every [thing]” –  the unlimited power of the Lord
2.and [that] no thought can be withholden from thee.– the unlimited knowledge of the Lord
3. “Who [is] he that hideth counsel without knowledge? – our futility in understanding all of His workings
4. “therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. – Coming to an understanding of the above three principles, worked within Job a spirit of humility and great reverence.
5. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.  – Although, prior to His experience, Job had mental knowledge of all these things, it was only after experiencing God’s greatness in his life that he came to understand these truths in his heart. He had previously “heard” of Him but, now, he has “seen” Him. This would result in his life being affected by these great truths as compared to simply possessing a head knowledge of them.

To summarize, just as with the Egyptian plagues, a sincere, heart-felt recognition of God’s person and a genuine humility were gained through this experience of Job’s.

That which could not be learned of the Lord through the teachings of His Word, were learned through this life experience by Job.  This is a very important point that deserves to be emphasized in our study. We can possess a great mental understanding of the person of our Lord and yet never come to genuine experiential knowledge of them.   We could be taught all we want about the Lord’s supremacy and greatness, but it is through experiencing Him during the “evil” times of our lives that we can come to a much clearer, life-changing understanding of them.
If we were truthful, we would all have to say that if we are His child, we have learned much about Him through our daily walk with Him (which includes feeling the results of sin in our lives).  This is all a part of why He has chosen to allow sin and the results of sin into this world.  For us to come to a greater understanding of Who He is, What He does, and our need to submit to Him.
In our next study we will look at the miracles performed by Christ, Himself, as a source of understanding how the Lord is glorified by the harmful events that take place in this world…

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
Anything that clearly reveals the Lord to those who are lost is an act of love, grace and kindness.  Although they may result in suffering on earth, they can reap the benefits of eternity with the Lord.

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 only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
14. The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.
15. Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world
16.  The Lord is the author and sovereign controller of the results of sin upon mankind
17.  The Lord uses the evil (harmful) things of this world to reveal Himself to mankind
18.  In the 10 Plagues of Egypt, the Lord revealed Himself by defeating 10 of the main gods of the Egyptians
19.  In the life of Job, Job came to experience truths about the LORD, that he had previously known in his mind but was unable to grasp in his heart.

 

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

 

 

Please visit…

Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org
Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com
Settled In Heaven Ministries Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com

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

“Why Does Evil Exist? (Part #4)”

SIH STSTA ICON“I Create Evil”

“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 studies so far …
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 only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
14. The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.
15. Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world

If God, due to His holiness, cannot be the author of sin then what did He mean when He said “I create evil”?…

“I Create Evil”… Exactly What Did Our Lord Create? 

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

To understand what the Lord is speaking of we must remember the Biblical definition for “evil”.

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.”

In other words, the term “evil” can describe either:
1. the act of sin
2. OR the result of that sin.

We have already seen that, due to the absolute holiness of God, the creation of sin cannot be attributed to the Lord. Therefore when He says “I create evil”, He cannot be speaking of the act of sin.  However, there is no reason to deny that He was speaking of the results of sin in the world.  As a matter of fact, the Bible makes it clear to us that this is exactly what He is saying.

Following the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, the LORD IMPOSED upon the serpent, mankind and all nature several “evils” in response to the commission of sin by Adam.  These included: the curse upon the serpent, enmity between serpent and man, physical, spiritual and eternal death, the growth of weeds, and the mother’s pain in childbearing and the dominance of man over the woman…

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.  And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”   (Genesis 3:14-19)

In these we can see the Lord’s acceptance of the responsibility for these “evils” upon Satan, the woman, the man, and nature by the phrases “I will” and “cursed”.

What about some of the results of sin upon nature?  The evils of tornados and earthquakes, floods, and famines all of which only exist due to the entrance of sin into nature…

Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:” (Psalms 148:8)

 

The Psalmist tells us that the elements of nature exist at the Lord’s bidding and fulfill His will.  But the Word goes much farther in Job 37:

For he saith to the snow, Be thou [on] the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.  He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.  Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.  Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.  By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.  Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:  And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.  He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

 (Job 37:6-13)

Here, we are clearly told that the Lord is the One that “causeth it to come” and that He then uses these evils of nature “whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

Throughout the Word we see His origination, control and usage of the many “evils” of nature.  A few well-known examples include:
1. Gen 6:-9: – the worldwide flood of Noah’s day
2. Exo 9:-13: – the many of the ten plagues of Egypt
3. Deut 28: – drought as punishment for sin
4. 1 Kings 16: – rain withheld
5. Jonah 1: – storm to stop Jonah’s flight
6. Nahum 1: – whirlwind and drought used as examples of judgment from the Lord

All of these were created by God, controlled by God and meted out in response to the presence of sin in the world.

What about the physical (medical) evils that comes upon mankind…. Is the Lord in control of these things?  Below are just a few of many examples of the Lord causing, and then using, physical afflictions for His purpose..
1. Gen 19: – men of Sodom smitten with blindness
2. Exo 9: – boils upon animals and Egyptians
3. Deut 28: – boils, hemorrhoids, rashes
4. 2 Kings 6: – Dothan’s army smitten with blindness
5. Acts 9: – Blindness upon Saul
6. Acts 12: – Herod smitten with worms
In the above six I chose, ALL of them clearly tell us that the Lord, or one of His angels, brought these afflictions upon these men. And all of these are related to the sinful condition of mankind.
The Bible clearly tells us that the Lord creates and uses many direct and indirect evils (harmful events) in response to the sinfulness of mankind.  It is, in this sense, that He says “I create evil”
Note: Please keep in mind, the evil results of sin do not always proceed upon men directly from the hand of the Lord.  The example of Job helps us to understand that, at times, the Lord sovereignly allows Satan to bring the results of sin upon man.  In Job’s case, it included both physical sickness, as well as, natural catastrophes as well as others (Job 1:-2:).
Be that as it may, it opposes the clear declaration of the Scriptures to believe that all of these evils come indirectly from the Lord. There are many times in Scripture where we are clearly told that these types of evils come directly from the hand of the Lord because of the sinful condition of mankind.

In our next lesson… Why does a loving God allow sin to take place and why does He bring to pass the evil results of sin upon mankind?

 

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 only because the Lord is in control of all things that we can place our unwavering faith in Him
12.  The Sovereignty Of God affects: His ability to aid us, His answering our prayers, His ability to save, His prophecies to use
13. The Lord is in control of Satan himself, who can do nothing apart from the Lord’s allowance
14. The Lord is perfectly holy and separate from sin.
15. Satan and Adam are the ones who are responsible for sin’s existence and entrance into this world
16.  The Lord is the author and sovereign controller of the results of sin upon mankind

 

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

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

 

 

Please visit…

Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Settled In Heaven Ministries Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com

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

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.

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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.”

Is There Life After Death?

SIH STSTA ICONThroughout history the subject of life after death has a much debated subject.  It is no different in today’s time.  Views on the existence of life after death vary, based upon the belief set held by the individual.  Some of the most common views include:

  1. Denial – the belief that all aspects of life ceases at physical death.
  2. Reincarnation – is the belief that a soul is reborn in a new body.
  3. Spiritism – in many of its forms, believes that the soul of the dead remain upon the earth in the form of ghosts (or spirits)
  4. Eternalists – teachings include the belief that the souls of the dead continue to exist being separated from this temporal world, and entering into eternal, spiritual habitations.

What we believe about life after death is of extreme significance; what we believe about life after death will dictate how we look at the role of our life on earth:

  1. If no afterlife exists, then there is no reason to prepare for an afterlife. This view centers on experiencing all that this world offers to please our flesh.  We can basically, eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
  2. If there is reincarnation, then our works and our lessons learned in this life are central to our future state of our soul.  This centers us on our outward works and gaining lessons through experience.  It implies that our eternal state is dependent upon our works.
  3. If Spiritists are correct, after death, our relationships with those on earth are not severed, the dead can still communicate, and be present, with those living on earth.  There is very little use to prepare for the afterlife; in many ways, life continues on as it was, only in a spirit form rather than a corporeal body. 
  4. If the Eternalist view of the afterlife is correct, the need to prepare while on earth is of utmost importance.   There are no second chances, the importance of the material world is minimized when compared to the spiritual world to come. 

We are going to find out what the Bible says about life after death and how this belief set and the affect it had on Job’s life…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Job 19:23-27 (KJV)

23) Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!

24) That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

25) For I know [that] my redeemer liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth:

26) And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body], yet in my flesh shall I see God:

27) Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me.

THE STUDY:

Job, at this point in his life, was facing many difficult trials, brought about by Satan, but allowed by God. (Job 1:6-12, Job 2:1-6)

Some of the trials Job was facing included:

  1. Loss of possessions and livelihood (Job 1:13-17)
  2. Loss of children (Job 1:18-19)
  3. Loss of health (Job 2:7-8)
  4. Loss of Wife’s support (Job 2:9-10)
  5. Loss of Friends support (judgmental, prideful) (Job 4:-on)

Basically, Job was alone, poverty, stricken, sick, and mourning… yet what was his response?…

Job 19:

23) Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!

24) That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

Job knew his mind wouldn’t change, what he was about to say was the foundation of his life and belief system.  

Also, he knew these words could be of help to many others following in his footsteps of a tried, tested life.  These words should be kept throughout the ages.

25) For I know

Job didn’t “think” or “hope” or “was pretty sure”… he “KNEW”  – in other words, he was certain of this set of 5 truths:

[that] my redeemer

1st Truth – Job knew that he had been purchased out of the bondage of sin.

liveth,

2nd Truth – Job knew his Redeemer could help him now.  He was living, He not only had worked on his behalf in the past, but he could help him now through the trials he was facing.

 and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth:

3rd Truth – Job knew that his Redeemer would come again.  Job recognized that he was King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is coming a day He will return and judge the world for their sins.

26) And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body], yet in my flesh shall I see God:

4th Truth – Job knew that he would be resurrected someday with glorified body. Being delivered from the many trials of life that he faced.

27) Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me.

5th Truth – Job knew He knew he would be dwelling with the Lord, personally, for an eternity.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

What a wonderful set of motives to keep Job on the right track, serving God and being in submission to His will, no matter what the obstacles we may face in life.  Job summed up his commitment to the Lord by saying…. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Job 13:15

As Christians, we should all be sharing in Job’s motive and his resolve to put His Lord first in his life no matter what we may face along life’s way.

For those who have yet to be saved…

Job shares, with all believers, the knowledge that his life on earth will be followed by a wonderful eternity with His Lord.   All of this was given to Job freely, through the grace of God, as Job responded to the calling of His Lord and trusted in the coming Messiah. 

This same set of promises can be a part of your life.  How does this take place? By simply turning from your sins and coming to Jesus accepting Him as your Lord and Savior.  He promises to save you and give you a glorious eternity with Him.

John 5:22-29

24) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

25) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

26) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

27) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

28) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

 ——————————————————————————————-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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Gonna Take A Sentimental Journey

SIH STSTA ICONThe song Sentimental Journey was performed by Vikki Carr in 1961 (when I was just 3 years old).  As I grew older, I remember this being one of the first songs that I ever heard.  It turned into a big hit for Doris Day four years later in 1965  …

What was the appeal of the song “Sentimental Journey”?  I think one area of appeal was the lyrics, describing an older person looking back on their life and remembering “the good old days”.  It is very common for those of us who are older to look back and remember our younger days.

Two of the most famous of all Bible characters, Job and David, began looking back to their younger lives when they both were facing very difficult circumstances.   Was this a good thing for them to do?  Is it a good thing for us to do in today’s time?  Let’s see what the Word of God teaches us concerning remembering our past.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; … But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock. Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished? For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste….

(Job 29:1-30:31)

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. (1Sa 17:32-37)

THE STUDY:

In our two Scripture references we find two men reminiscing over their life’s experiences:

Job 29:-30:

In the case of Job, this “looking back” led to greater depression and misery. As Job looked back at the “good old days” when God’s blessings were upon him (chapter 29), he did not use his past experiences to give him faith and strength to continue on.  Just the opposite was true.  He used these thoughts of the past to remind him how miserable he was in the current time (chapter 30:).  This led to a greater depression and lack of faith in his Lord.  In Job’s case, based on how he used his memories, looking back at his past blessings was not glorifying to his Lord.

Paul also knew of the danger of depression and anxiety when we reminisce, and he wrote in Phils 3:13-15:

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Paul knew that recalling past sins, or lost blessings, can lead to depression and anxiety as we seek to serve the Lord now.

1Sa 17:32-37

In the case of David, his “looking back” resulted in him being encouraged to take a greater step of faith in his service.  Note what he did… David was blessed with the opportunity to glorify his God by facing the giant Goliath.   But how could he ever win such a match?  Well, by looking back and remembering how the Lord had given him past victories over a lion and a bear, David realized the Lord could give him the victory over the giant Goliath as well.

This is why Moses instructed the Israelites to always remember the great deliverance the Lord gave to them when he brought them out of Egypt and delivered them to the Promised Land:

Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. “(Exo 13:3)

Many times, when we remember the Lord’s past blessings, they can encourage and strengthen our faith as we face difficulties now.  One of my most used expressions is this… “If the Lord was able to do all that for me in the past; surely, He can deliver me from the troubles I face today.”

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

So to answer our previous question, “When facing difficult circumstances in our life is it a good thing to look back at our younger days?”  The answer is …. It can be a good thing, if it is done properly!

If we can look back with a heart of faith, remembering His blessings and using them to encourage us in our current situation… the Lord is greatly pleased.

If however, we are looking back in our flesh, using our remembrances as a hindrance to our future service… it will not help, it can even harm us.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Today is the day to begin your life’s walk with the Lord.  By trusting in Him and His work on the cross, you will be gaining a loving Heavenly Father who will be there to aid you in every situation of life you come to face.  Until you place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no reason to believe that you will be blessed or that you are securely in His care.   It is only when we humbly turn to Him in faith, trusting Him with our life that we can know that He is with us. (Roms 8:12-18)

For you looking back at your life, will only reflect a life that is filled with missed opportunities to serve the Lord.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1Pe 5:6-7)

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

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

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

Getting Acquainted With God (Part #2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURE:

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

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

THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

Now we can understand why the Bible says…

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

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

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

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

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

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

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

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.(Joh 6:35-40)

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

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

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

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

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

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Getting Acquainted With God (Part #1)

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

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

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURE:

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

THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

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

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

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Do You Believe In Magic ? How About Miracles?

SIH STSTA ICONIn 1965 the Lovin Spoonful band asked the question “Do you believe in magic?” , this became a top 10 song for their group. (Listen to this song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBVOYkhNb1o&feature=related)

Although the “magic” the song spoke of was the magical effect of music on it’s listener… it is still a great question to ask in many different contexts.

One of the areas of today’s entertainment that I enjoy is magicians practicing their craft.  David Copperfield, Doug Henning, David Blaine, Penn and Teller, Kevin James the list goes on and on.   It never ceases to amaze me how their “magic” looks so real, it almost makes me a believer.  And yet, in actuality, it is only an illusion they have created for the benefit of their audience.  In other words, today’s magic is complex deception meant to entertain and amuse.

What about the sign miracles performed in the Bible?  Were they real, or just deception, that was intended to entertain?  Could they be believed in?

Let’s see what God’s Word says….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: (Jer 32:17)

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (Job 42:2)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you…And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.  And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; … And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. … And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?  (Heb 2:4)

THE STUDY:

To begin our look at the Scriptures, I would like us to quickly summarize the above passages in the context of our subject “Can the miracles of the Bible be believed?”  Basically, we can draw from the verses above the following truths:

1.  Our God is able to do all things…. This includes giving His followers the ability to perform miracles, as a sign of their ministries authenticity (1 Cor 12:8-11).  If it is His will…. He can do these things! (Jer 32:17, Job 42:2, Heb 2:4)

2.  Both in the Old and the New Testaments, God’s motive for bestowing this miracle working power upon His followers was to accredit their message and to prove He was the only true God.  This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” from God (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)   A listing of the sign gifts can be found at 1 Cor 12:8-11.

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting.  It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history.  Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Group 1                 Group 2                               Group 3

Miracle Workers:      Moses, Joshua        Elijah, Elisha, Prophets     Christ, Apostles

Worship Accredited:  Tabernacle             Temple                               Church

Message Accredited:  Law                         Prophets                            New Testament

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed.  Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time.

In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existance for approximately 70 years.  In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no  sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed.  Why?  Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene.  Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament.  It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

We have the end of the last period of miracles being described in 1 Cor 13:8-10…

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. “(1Co 13:8-10)

This verse is teaching us that the miraculous gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, shall come to an end.  At the time of Paul’s writing this letter, the NT was not yet completed.  This is why he makes the statement that “we know in part and we prophesy in part”.  However, when the New Testament reached completion, bringing about the perfect Bible (that which is perfect) then the revelation of His Word, bit by bit, (that which is in part) would be finished and no longer needed.  The completion of the Word acted upon the sign gifts of prophecies and knowledge, immediately bringing them to an end.

(Note:The sign gift of tongues died out as that generation of gifted men died and went home to their Lord, shortly thereafter.)

Also remember, prior to the Word’s completion, the church had already been established in Jerusalem  as the worship place of the True God, through the sign miracles of tongues and healings etc.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

How do we know the church is where we are to worship?  We can read all about the wonderful miracles the Lord performed as the New Testament church was being established that proves to us it is His place of worship.

How do we know the Bible is truly His Word?  We can look in the Bible and see where all the segments of the Bible have been accredited previously… the Old Testament which is made up of the law and the prophets, and the New Testament.  They have all been clearly proven to be the Words of the True God through the sign miracles that were performed.

It is now simply an issue of faith in His Word. In our day, we need no sign miracles to accredit anything… we have the Word that has recorded these previous accreditations for us to rely on today.  In the last days, the working of counterfeit miracles will be on the increase, empowered by Satan, performed to mislead even God’s elect (if it were possible). (2 Thess 2:7-10, 2 Cor 11:13-15, Matt 12:38-39)

Does the Lord still perform miracles? Absolutely everyday, spiritual and physical healing, to name a few, are common place in today’s time.

Does the Lord still give men the ability to perform the “sign gifts” listed in 1 Cor 12:8-11? Absolutely not.  He used the sign gifts to accredit the ministries He had ordained.  There is no longer a need for these gifts to be exercised by men.  We have a written record in His Word of the accreditation of these ministries.

As Christians, our responsibility is to be on guard, always watching for the workings of Satan and the deceptions that only he can perform…

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. (Mat 24:23-25)

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

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

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