Settled In Heaven Blog

Home » SIH Lesson Scripture Texts » Philippians » Philippians 4: (Page 2)

Category Archives: Philippians 4:

Finding God’s Will For Our Lives Part # 5

SIH STSTA ICON“Open and shut doors…”

 

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

 

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

One of the most frequently asked questions I’ve been asked is “How can I find God’s will for my life?”

In the next 6 blog entries we will be seeing what God’s word teaches us about this important subject…

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

    In part number 5 of our study lets study… “Open and shut doors…”

    THE SCRIPTURE:

    1Cor 16:8-9 (KJV) But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and [there are] many adversaries.

    2Cor 2:12-13 (KJV) Furthermore, when I came to Troas to [preach] Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.

     Gal 6:9-10 (KJV)And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

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

    Col 4:2-3 (KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

    THE STUDY:

    In our previous studies, as we search for God’s will for our lives (part #1), our attitude should be one of placing the Lord’s will above any, and all, of our personal desires (part #2).  We’ve also seen that knowledge and application of God’s Word is of ultimate importance (part #3).

    In our last blog entry, we saw that we cannot rely on our thoughts, conscience, emotions and desires to reveal the Lord’s will to us.  We must put all of these “to the test” by comparing them to the Scriptures.  If they align with the principles of God’s Word then we can follow these impressions, knowing we are walking within the confines of God’s Word.  If they oppose His Word, we then must recognize them as coming from our sinful flesh, worldly influences, or perhaps, even demonic influences.  In any case these type of impressions must never be followed, no matter how desirable they may appear to us. (part #4)

    If, after applying God’s Word to our situation and our impressions, we are still uncertain as to the path that He would have us to take, we need to also be observant towards recognizing open and closed doors of opportunity, signs of the Lord’s workings and the area of greatest need which help us determine His will for our lives.

    In several places in Scripture, Paul explains how he decided upon different paths of service for Christ…

    1. Doors of opportunity
      1. Col 4:2-3 – Here, Paul asked for the prayers of others.  What did he ask for?  Not for prayers of deliverance from prison, but prayers that the Lord would open opportunities for Him to proclaim the gospel to the lost around him.
      2. Phil 4:10 – But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

    i.        In this verse, Paul recognized that the church at Phillippi was unable to continue to support him, when the opportunity to do so had closed.  Paul knew that we can only serve the Lord when the opportunity is open to us.

    ii.        Paul describes this idea as “redeeming the time” (Eph 5:15-17, Col 4:5-6)

    iii.        The Lord Himself recognized that there will come a time when we will no longer be able to serve the Lord on earth.  We need to take advantage of the opportunity while it is open to us. (John 9:4)

    iv.        King Solomon knew this principle as well.  (Eccl 9:10)

      1. Gal 6:9-10 – In this section of Scripture, Paul encourages all of us, that when possible, we are to take advantage of every opportunity of service that the Lord opens to us.
    1. Doors of opportunity and seeing the Lord’s blessings in a particular ministry.
      1. 1 Cor 16:8-9 – Paul decided to stay and continue to minister at Ephesus, instead of moving on to another region.  Why?  A “great door” of opportunity was open to him
      2. He had seen the Lord working among the people as he ministered to them.  His ministry, through the power of the Lord, was having great effect (effectual) among the people.
      3. Please notice that Paul was able to discern the difference between “opposition” and a “closed door”.  Paul knew that even though there was opposition to a his ministry the Lord was still allowing him to minister and to show His power.
    2. Paul choose to go to area of his greatest burden when more than one door was opened to him.
      1. 2Cor 2:12-13 – In this case, Paul had at least two doors of service opened to him. One was to continue to minister to the people of Troas, another to search for his friend Titus who had turned up missing.   In this case, Paul chose to look for Titus, perhaps he was thinking that the Lord burdened his heart about the situation.  Maybe, Paul felt as if he would be best used by the Lord to find his brother than to continue ministering to the people of Troas.
      2. If Paul made the correct choice then we can see that when we have more than one option open to us, we should ask “How can I be used the greatest in the Lord’s service?” and also “Where is the need to minister the greatest?”   Paul had made the determination that Titus needed him at that time more that the people of Troas.
      3. There is some question as to whether Paul had done what was pleasing to the Lord by leaving to find Titus.  After all, he made it plain that “ a door was opened unto me of the Lord”.  Would the Lord continue to keep a door open when He did not intend for Paul to stay?
      4. We will never know for sure if the judgment Paul made was the correct one or not.

    The one thing we can know is this… we must use great care in making our decisions based upon “open and closed doors” of opportunity.  They can, at times, be difficult choices due to our emotions and fallen nature.   Also, we need to see that  no one is perfect.  Even if Paul did make a misjudgment as to God’s will, it only shows that he was a part of fallen mankind.  Even those who are the most spiritual will make mistakes in discerning His will from time to time.

     

    THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

    For those who are saved…

    We must be alert to the events surrounding us.  Many times, we overlook opportunities of service that our Lord has opened to us.  Also, when we are confronted with trying to discern His will concerning any given choice we are facing, we should be watching the events take place around us.  It is very possible, that through the events the Lord will be eliminating, or  confirming choices that will help us to see the path He would have us to take.

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

    Prayer Principle #5 –  We must pray for the Lord’s intervention in the circumstances of our lives, using open and closed doors to help us discern His will for our lives.

    For those who have never trusted in Christ…

    Just as the Lord opens opportunities to serve Him for His followers, so too, the Lord has opened opportunities to become a follower of Christ.  The Lord never promised how long the opportunity to trust in Him would last, but He did make it plain that the opportunity to trust in Him would end someday…

    John 12:35 (KJV)

    Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

    None of us know what tomorrow will hold.  A car accident, sickness or other tragedy could bring an end to the opportunity we’ve been given to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  That’s why anyone who has not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ should seek His face NOW.  We have no promise of a tomorrow.  We need to be ready to face eternity while we can.

    If you have questions about the gracious salvation that our Lord offers to us, please feel free to refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” .  Or, you can find any Bible teaching church, I’m sure anyone there would be glad to answer your questions about having a relationship with Almighty God.

    ———————————————————————

    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.”

    —————————————————————

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

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

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

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

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

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

    THE SCRIPTURE:

     God’s Sovereign Will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Eph 1:11-12 -In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

    And many, many more….

    God’s Revealed Will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And many, many more….

    God’s Individual Will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And many, many more….

    THE STUDY:

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

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

    THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

    For those who are saved…

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

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

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

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

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

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

    For those who are not saved….

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

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

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

    ———————————————————-

    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.”

    ———————————————————–

    Mind Control (And your thoughts are…)

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

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

    THE SCRIPTURE:

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

    THE STUDY:

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

    Be careful for nothing;

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

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

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

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

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

    Through…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    True – actual to fact

    Honest – honorable

    just – aligned with God’s law

    pure – clean, innocent

    lovely – acceptable, pleasing

    good report – true through testimony of others

    virtue –  excellence, highest point

    praise – commendable

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

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

    Gain from ministry of other Godly men:

    Learn from their teachings.

    Receive knowledge from accompanying them.

    Hear from others testimonies about them.

    See example set by watching their lives.

    THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

    For the Christian….

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

    For those who have never trusted in Christ…

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

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

    ————————————————————————————–

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

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

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

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

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

    ————————————————————————————

    Halloween Part #5 – The Series Summary

    With the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.

    As Christians, we have the responsibility to…

    “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)

    So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s end our 5 part series on Halloween:

    1. A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)
    2. A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats
    3. A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
    4. A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
    5. A Summary of Our Study On Halloween

    May the Lord be glorified in our study….

    THE SCRIPTURE:

    Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Co 6:14-18)

    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:1-2)

    Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  (Jas 1:27)

    Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1Pe 1:13-16)

    Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (1Co 8:7-13)

    Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1Co 10:31-33)

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

    THE STUDY:

    In our previous studies we have seen 4 basic principles concerning the Halloween festival:

    1. The festival of Halloween’s history is connected with the belief that the spirits of dead men walk the earth, it was observed in preparation for the worship of “the Lord of Darkness”,  it was held to appease and secure peace with these spirits for the upcoming year.
    2. The death symbols of Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Vampires, and Bats all were connected to the spirits of the dead which did not immediately go to their eternal state, but were able to dwell on the earth, avoiding the judgment they were facing and wreaking havoc among earthly beings.
    3. The sorcery symbols of Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons were related to  the casting of magical spells and incantations that affect mankind.   Also, the worship of false gods through idols derived from God’s creation (moon, planets, etc) was associated with these symbols.
    4. The necromancy symbols of Séances and Ouija Boards has the purpose of communicating with the spirits of the dead.

     

    The Halloween festival, its related characters, and their connection to the occult, are very important considerations in the examination of our level of participation in the holiday.

    Some areas of our examination should include:

    1. Are we properly separating ourselves from the sin of this world by participating in the Halloween festival?  (2Co 6:14-18)
    2. Is our level of involvement in Halloween considered “conforming” (molded into the shape of) or “fashioned” to this world? (Rom 12:1-2)  (1Pe 1:13-16)
    3. Is the Halloween celebration “spotting” our testimony for the Lord? (Jas 1:27)
    4. Is our participation in Halloween causing our weaker brothers to “stumble” in their walk for Christ?  In other words, are they encouraged to make bad life choices based on the example we are setting? (1Co 8:7-13)
    5. Can our participation in Halloween be done for the Lord’s glory? (1Co 10:31-33)
    6. When we are participating in this celebration can we be having our minds on that which is true, honest, just etc.? (Php 4:6-9)

    Over the years, I have seen four basic “levels” of participation in Halloween by God’s people:

    1. A total participation which involved decorating and dressing up with any of the symbols our study has examined. Along with participation in trick or treating and other exclusively Halloween activities.
    2. A participation that involves decorating and dressing up but avoiding demonic images and using only more benign symbols like princesses, cowboys etc. while still participating in trick or treating etc.
    3. A participation in “Harvest” or “Fall” parties on a date other than Oct 31st that totally exclude the Halloween title and avoid all aspects of the holiday (no trick or treat, no costume wearing etc.)
    4. No celebration of any type.  No decorating, no costumes, no parties. They treat the holiday just like any other day.

    Which do I believe is the proper approach?

    1. First, let me emphasize that every Christian must decide for him/her self as to the level of participation in Halloween activities.  There is no ‘thus saith the Lord’ on the subject.
    2. Remember, participation in Halloween is NOT participation in the sins it represents.  In other words, you can participate in Halloween and not be guilty of the sins of necromancy, the casting of spells etc.
    3. The question for the believer is … by participating am I appearing to condone these activities that Halloween symbolizes?  Am I placing upon myself the appearance of approval or indifference to those activities? By participating am I saying…. “Hey its no big deal” ?
    4. So what do I think?
      1. Please remember, it really doesn’t matter at all what I think, all that matters is what God’s Word says.  However, for the sake of you who are reading this, I need to take the time to explain what I believe…I think a full participation in Halloween, with costumes and decorations that include the occult symbols is a very questionable stand for a Christian to take.  My feeling when it comes to my service to the Lord is …”it is always better to be safe than sorry”.  If you have a question about an action.  Don’t do it!
      2. By removing the occult symbols out of the Halloween celebration is certainly a big step in the right direction. “The appearance of evil” is basically being removed from the issue. However, the activity of trick or treating and wearing of any costume does have less obvious occult implications.  But certainly, this is a far better than our first option. Also, by participating in trick or treat, it opens the opportunity for witnessing by distributing tracts and pocket sized Bibles with the candy that is passed out to children who come to your door.  The Christian considering this option will have to weigh the gospel going out against the indirect occult association of Halloween.  For me, this is a very difficult decision to make.  I can easily see both sides of this option.
      3. I see no problem at all with the last two options of a harvest party or no celebration at all. Both are totally benign options that have no occult connections whatsoever.

    If you would like to have more information about the proper Christian role in Halloween please take a look at: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/1126.  This is a link from Bro John McArthur’s website and well worth our time to read it. (A special thanks to Sharon A. for sending me this link, it’s a good one!  It is much appreciated.)

    THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

    For the Christian….

    So let me end this study as I began this study by saying can we, as Christians, say our participation in Halloween aligns itself with (1Th 5:21-22) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

    May the Lord lead each of us to an understanding of His will and an attitude of understanding and temperance towards other Christians.

    For those who have never trusted in Christ…

    The greatest need that we all face in our lives is the need for the forgiveness of our sins.  We all have sinned and come short of our Lord’s expectations for us.  If you have never been saved, Halloween should not be your main concern, but concern about your sinful condition should take priority.  How do we find forgiveness of our sins and peace with our Lord?

    The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

    ——————————————————————————————————————————-

    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.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————-

    Don’t Worry… Be Happy!

    SIH STSTA ICON“Don’t worry, be happy”, this song was made famous by Bobby McFarren in the 90’s (If you would like a touch of stress relief listen to the song here –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHFDa9efCQU&feature=related ).

    In this song, we find some great, much needed advice. The only problem is that putting down our worries is much easier said than done.

    There are a great number of reasons why we shouldn’t worry. It has been proven that stress and anxiety can cause many health related problems such as HBP, heart disease, diabetes, mental and emotional problems, etc.  Despite all these reasons, it seems as if most people find it difficult to keep a check on their anxieties and fears. (Just take a look at my chewed down finger nails and you can quickly come to the conclusion that I, too, struggle with worry from time to time.)

    So what can a Christian do to keep from worrying?  Our Lord graciously gives us clear instructions on how we can remain peaceful during the anxious moments of our lifetime…

    THE SCRIPTURE:

    Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 kjv)

    THE STUDY:

    After the Lord encourages us to not worry, “Be careful for nothing”, He then gives to us the key to gaining true peace “Let your requests be made known unto God”.  What a privilege we have… as Christians, we can take all of our concerns to the Lord who controls all things.

    If He chooses, He can remove any situation from us, no matter how hopeless our situation may seem.  Jeremiah had come to an understanding of this truth… “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).  If He doesn’t choose to do so, we can rest knowing this trial is for our good, His glory, and only for a fleeting time. (Roms 8:28; John 11:4; Roms 8:18).  In either case, by coming to an understanding of these truths, we can rest knowing we are in His hands.

    As our verses proceed, they do not promise He will remove the trial we face.  However, they do promise peace in the midst of our personal storms, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

    Please notice that the clear result of approaching God with a thankful attitude, and laying our concerns at His feet, is a special peace that goes beyond human understanding.  Have you ever seen a Christian going thru a devastating trial in their life and yet they seem so at ease?  That is the peace of God at work.   What a tremendous testimony this type of peace leaves in the midst of a chaotic world desperately in need of the peace only Christ can give.

    THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

    It was once said that the true sign of a close walk with Christ is not shown during times of prosperity, but only during times of great trials and difficulties.

    It makes sense… it takes very little faith to praise the Lord and live for Him during the smooth times in life.   He blesses us and we respond by thanking Him.  It is the natural thing to do… no big deal.

    But what about those faithful Christians who praise and serve Him even in the midst the difficulties of life?   It goes against their human nature to serve Him and thank Him when “the bottom drops out”.  This is where our faith is put on public display… this is where our testimony shines out loud and clear.

    When we are faced with trials, let us lay them down at His feet realizing it not only results in our inner peace, but also it is a living testimony to all around us.  This testimony declares that faith in Christ is the answer for a world filled with anxiety and fears.

    Let all of us, as Christians, have such a strong faith in Christ that can repeat what Job said as he faced innumerable trials… “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation: … “(Job 13:15-16)

    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.”