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God’s Word: Believe It Or Deny It… But Don’t Twist It!

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INTRODUCTION:

Over the years I have seen people believe God’s Word and see their need to come to Christ for forgiveness and salvation from their sins.  Also, I have seen many people make a decision to not believe God’s word, ignore its warnings and continue to live a life that is separated from Christ and characterized by the practice of sin.  We all must make the choice to either believe the Word and apply it to our lives, or ignore its message and the offer of salvation that lies in its pages.

But sadly, there is another group of people whom I have seen that choose to make an attempt to  change the Word of the Lord and twist its meaning and its message.  They do this in an attempt to make it align with their own personal morals, philosophies and carnal desires.  They come to a sinful faith in their version of God’s Word, while in affect denying the true gospel message that it contains.

In this study we will be looking at the Scriptural teachings on the need to refrain from attempting to change His Word to meet our carnal desires.

 

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Psa 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

2 Tim 4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

2 Peter 3:16 – As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

 

TODAY’S LESSON:

 

Psa 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Many years ago, King David understood that God’s Word, in its entirety was “true”.  The Hebrew word translated true in this verse refers to something that is trustworthy and certain.  Folks, the reliability of God’s Word is no small issue indeed.  If we cannot depends on the Word in its entirety, we have no assurance of Christ’s existence, identity, or work done on our behalf.  This leads us to understand that we then have absolutely no assurance of our salvation nor of an eternity that awaits us.

King David then continues  by telling us that God’s Word “endureth” forever.   In other words, it remains in existence, and affect, throughout all time and into eternity.  What a blessing this is for all of us.  We can know that not only is God’s Word reliable, but it remains reliable throughout the ages! Never will there be a time when God’s Word will no longer be dependable.  It is only in this truth that we can have eternal confidence of our salvation and the home that awaits us on the New Heavens and Earth.

Sadly, those who seek to change God’s Word, and twist its meaning, are living in denial of its truthfulness and endurance.

 

2 Tim 4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Paul, in his writings, prophesied of a day when men would “not endure sound doctrine”, “heap to themselves teachers having itching ears”,  “turn away their ears from the truth”, and finally ‘be turned unto fables”.   In other words, because their sinful natures and desires they did not desire to hear the truths of God’s Word.  Instead, they sought out false teachers who substituted the truths of the Word with “fables”.  The Hebrew word used for fables refers to fictional tales.

When a man is convicted due to their sinful condition, instead of turning from their sin and looking to Christ as their Lord and Savior, they simply attempt to change the truths of the Word which relieves their conscience and allows them to continue living their sinful lifestyles.  When this takes place they no longer see their need to repent and come to Christ.

 

2 Peter 3:16 – As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Peter confirms the writings of Paul when he says that, even in his day, there were those “that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”   These men were “wresting”,  i.e. twisting or perverting, the teachings of the Scriptures “unto their own destruction”.

Folks, as difficult as it may be to come face to face with our sinful condition and need of Christ, it is far better than to change God’s Word, twisting its content and meaning resulting in a soothed conscience in the midst of our sins which separates us from Christ, keeps us under His wrath, and condemns us eternally.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, the message of the Word is clear, either accept the Word as eternal truth from God, or look upon it as a collection of error filled human writings, but under no circumstances should we attempt to change it to make it more palatable to our personal whims and sinful tastes.

When we simply choose to believe the Word, or deny it, we are responding to the Scriptural responsibility that God has laid on us.  This allows us to clearly see our standing before the Lord.

For those of us who believe His Word and apply it to our lives resulting in a Godly repentance and belief in Christ, we know our sins have been forgiven and we are secure in Him.

For those who choose to deny His Word and reject its teachings, they can clearly see that they have never accepted the gospel message, and therefore never come a saving faith in Christ.  They are yet lost in their sins and stand guilty before the Almighty God who is the Eternal Judge over all mankind.  This knowledge can then be the basis of consistent guilt and conviction which can later drive them to Christ.

However, when they try to twist the Word to meet their own personal preferences, they are, in effect, fooling themselves into thinking that they are right with God.  They are telling themselves that they are living according to God’s Word and in good standing before Him.  Yet, in reality, they are under the bondage of sin, possessing a carnal assurance of a nonexistent salvation.  They have blinded themselves from the truth and have made themselves “two-fold more the children of hell”. They are living with a false sense of spiritual security when, in actuality, are doomed to eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.

Lord help anyone of us who have chosen this path of self-deception and self-assurance for our lives.

 

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Personal Experience Or God’s Word, Which Is Our Standard? #3

SIH STSTA ICONShould we trust the Word based upon Biblical revelation?

 

Throughout our lifetime, we are called upon to choose between trusting the revelation of God’s Word or placing our faith in our life experiences.  Phrased another way, are we to make our life decisions based upon what our senses have revealed to us, or do we look to God’s Word as the only unquestionable  standard by which our life is to be directed?

This is study I would like us to come to an understanding of God’s will on this all important issue.  There will be three parts to our study for us:

1.  Should we trust the Word when we lack life experiences?

2.  Should we trust the Word instead of our life experiences?

3.  Should we trust the Word based upon Biblical revelation?

THE SCRIPTURES:

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent.  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: (Exo 7:8-13)

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.    (1 Samuel 17:32-37)

 

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.  (Psalms 119:98-100)

 

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.   (Isaiah 8:19-20)

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.  (2 Peter 1:16-21)

 

 

THE STUDY:

In our study, so far, we have seen through the use of examples from the past, present, and events which are yet to take place, the need for us to use the Scriptures as the standard for us to judge all of our life experiences.   If we lack an experience, we are to trust the Word and follow our Lord. If, on the other hand, we have just had an experience, the Bible is the sole standard for the Christian to use to discern the true nature of that experience.  We are to never take either of these for granted.

Apart from the examples we have looked at, we will now being looking at declarations from Scripture that reveal to us the need to recognize that the Bible as the only authorized instrument we are to use to understand the character of our life experiences.  In 2 Peter 1:16-21, we find a shocking Scriptural truth that is taught to us.  If this truth is taken to heart, we will never again rely upon any life experience to reveal to us the will of God.

Note what Peter says:

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables,…”

Here, we find Peter emphasizing that the truths he has presented in his past teachings were not wisely constructed tales of fiction.  He was not lying to his readers in an attempt to mislead them.  This shows us that, even in the times of the writing of the NT, believers understood the existence of false teaching and the grave danger of accepting that teaching as truth.  Peter is assuring them that what they have heard from him was the truth of the Word.

“…when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount..”

What past teaching of the Apostles was Peter describing? It was the account of the transfiguration of Christ upon the mount.   Peter is assuring them of the truthfulness of this event.  He is assuring them that this great miracle was genuine and above question.

Now for the shocker….

 “…We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed,…”

Peter now makes the statement that, although this great miracle of the transfiguration of Christ was genuine, we have an even more stedfast, reliable and firm proof from God concerning the person of Christ.  What was that “more sure” standard?  It is the “word of prophecy” (ie God’s Word).

Please understand what is being said.  The Word’s teachings on Christ were more reliable revelation about His person than the miracle of the Transfiguration.  Here, Peter has just placed the reliability of God’s Word above that of a known, proven, incomparable miracle performed by God Himself.

In my mind, if there was ever a life experience that could be relied upon, and used as a standard for truth about Christ’s person, it would be the divine miracle of the Transfiguration.  And yet, Peter clearly tells us that the truths found in God’s Word are “more sure”.

Folks, if there is ever a text that declares to us the need to use the standard of the Bible as the only standard for our judging our experiences of life, this is it.  It says what it says.  There is truly nothing that can be added to it.   And nothing can be taken away from it.

 

“…as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:…” 

The Word will shine in this sin-darkened world clearly revealing the true nature of the events taking place around us.  This role of the Word will continue on until Christ comes back, He takes us home to be with Him, gives us a much greater understanding of truth, and removes us from the presence of sin.

Therefore, when we go home to be with the Lord, there will no longer be a need for us to discern between good and evil because we will no longer be in evil’s presence.

 

“…Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.” 

Peter continues by teaching us that the Bible was given for all God’s people to use and understand.  It can be used by ANY OF HIS PEOPLE to discern good from evil, the things of God from the workings of Satan.  No one must rely upon the testimony of others to recognize truth from error.

Why is the Word so reliable and able to be understood by all believers?  It is because it was literally spoken by God and then penned by men through the intervention of the Holy Spirit.  The same God that spoke the Word, and the same Spirit that intervened in its writing, is the same One that indwells all believers and gives them an understanding of the truths of the Word.

But the truth of the Word does not stop there…

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.  (Psalms 119:98-100)

When we come to understand the supreme place of importance that the Word of God should have in each of our lives, we can come to understand the need to use the Word as the ultimate standard of discernment.

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies:

How is the Christian to gain wisdom for His life?  How is he to gain the victory over the enemies that will attempt to overcome him?   It is not through carefully examining the events that have taken place in his life… it is through coming to know, understand and apply the Word of God to his life.

 

for they [are] ever with me. 

It is this same Word, whose principles are written upon the tables of the Christian’s heart and mind, that forever become a part of his person.  With the Word in the Christian’s heart and the Holy Spirit applying God’s Word to his life, the Christian finds himself “thoroughly furnished unto all good works”.

 

I have more understanding than all my teachers:

The Christian, through a comprehensive understanding of God’s Word, finds they able to properly discern the proper response to any situation that may come his way.  The advice found in God’s Word transcends any counsel that he may receive from those who were active in his education and nurturing.

 

for thy testimonies [are] my meditation. 

By remembering and reflecting upon God’s Word throughout the day, the Christian will be in a constant state of readiness to face any obstacle that this fallen world may place before them.  Once again, there is nothing that can replace this role for God’s Word in our lives.

 

I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. 

With the Word of God being the ultimate source for knowledge and instruction, we can rest assured there is nothing the men of old know that we cannot come to understand as well.  What a blessing it is to know that, in the Word, we have the complete set of truths that God has desired for mankind to possess.

The principles of the above verse are echoed throughout the pages of the Scriptures.  The Christian is to look to the Word for the knowledge, understanding and wisdom that they need for any circumstance that they will have in life.    Nothing more is needed, nor is anything else recommended as the source of all spiritual discernment for the Christian.

So what about our life’s experiences?  What role do they play in our lives?

We have seen in our previous studies that if we rely upon our life experiences to give us discernment of the will of God we can be very easily misled and suffer spiritual defeat.   However, in 1 Samuel 17: we find the perfect example of the proper role of our life experiences…

David, as a shepherd boy, is preparing to face the giant Philistine, Goliath. Many of us are familiar with this story, but if you are not, please take a moment to acquaint yourself with this historical event by reading the entire chapter of 1 Samuel 17:.

For our study please notice, the use of a life experience by David to convince King Saul, and prepare David’s own heart for the coming battle…

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. (1 Samuel 17:32-37)

David used a past life event to:

1. reinforce the principles of God’s Word.
For example, the principles of the Lord’s enabling of His servants,  the Lord’s accompanying of his servants, the Lord’s sovereignty and His grace, among many others are clearly displayed and reinforced in this event of David’s life.

2. find encouragement for service.
David, as he recalls all that his gracious Lord has done for Him , then finds inspiration and strength to fight the upcoming battle.  Many times, remembering previous God-given victories in life will encourage us to take further steps to obey the Lord.

3. persuade others of their need to obey God.
David uses these accounts to persuade Saul to trust the Lord in this situation, thus allowing David to face the giant Goliath.

Folks, please understand the basic principle that we find in this passage.  David’s life experiences only display and reinforce the truths that are presented in God’s Word.  There is NEVER a time when our experiences will lead us to truth from God that is not found in Word.

From time to time there are those who desire to proclaim “a new truth from God” that they claimed to have received from their life experience.  DO NOT LET THIS CLAIM LEAD US ASTRAY.  One of two things has actually taken place:

1.  Either it is actually an old truth found in His Word of which they are not aware

2.  or else, it is a principle that does not come from our Lord, but finds its origin in the darkness of the world.   In this case, it is a part of the Satanic plan to mislead us.

It is through comparison of their claim with God’s Word (as our ultimate standard) that will allow us to try the spirits and come to a genuine Godly discernment of their claim.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world….We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth  (the doctrines of the Word Of God), and the spirit of error (the false teachings of the powers of darkness).   (1 John 4:1-6)

So, the next time we think upon a life experience ask ourselves the question, what principle(s) from God Word can I see being placed on display in this event?

The Lord allows us to experience many life events for the purpose of reinforcing a principle of the Word that we will need in our future service for Him.  Let us all be aware of His workings in our lives and learn from our life experiences the principles we have been given in His Word.  His truths of old are recorded within the pages of His Word and brought to life everyday of our life.  May we all recognize these truths in our day to day walk with Him.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

So what is our conclusion in this entire matter?  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use the Word of God as our standard to judge each, and every, life experience.

It does not matter how “miraculous” the event may be, how sensible the revelation might seem, or how wonderful the results of an action might seem, if they do not align themselves with the revealed Word of God (the 66 books of the Bible) they are to be set aside, ignored, and marked as false and dangerous.

If our experiences lead us to a conclusion that differs from God’s Word, this proves that we have misinterpreted our life experience or we facing an attempt to be misled of Satan.   There are never any exceptions to these principles.

The only value of our life experiences lies in their ability to remind us and reinforce in our minds the truths of God’s Word.  Any life experience that would lead us away from the truth of the Word can be proven to be positively dangerous for the Christian and a tool that Satan has used to try to cause us to be shipwrecked in service to our Lord.

One of the greatest examples of this type of human experience is found in the historical event being described Exodus 7:8-13.  In this event the servants of God, Moses and Aaron perform a genuine miracle to help persuade the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go and to prove they possessed genuine, Godly authority, but in response the servants of Pharaoh, through Satanic empowerment, performs the exact same counterfeit miracle that was meant to deceive and mislead …

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent.  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: 

If our account ended with this event, there would be utter confusion and great harm would be done to the cause of Jehovah. This is because it would appear that Pharaoh, and his hosts, possessed as much power and authority as the servants of Almighty God.  It would cause confusion and conflict among the very nation of Israel itself.

But thanks to the Lord our account continues…

but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.  And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. 

Here, we see the Lord actively intervening to undo the workings of the Satanic servants of Pharaoh.  By Aaron’s rod swallowing up the rods of the Egyptian magicians, the Lord was making it plain that He was the Ultimate Authority over all.

Just as the Lord gave the Israelites a way in which they could discern the true nature of the servants of Pharaoh, He has done the same thing for us in today’s time.  He has given to us the completed word of God which we can use as the standard to judge our every life experience….

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.   (Isaiah 8:19-20)

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth concerning this very important subject.

 

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

The Benefits and Dangers of Meditation

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

Mediation is described as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1Tim 4:10-15 (KJV) – 10) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.  11) These things command and teach. 12) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14) Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.15) Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

 THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To summarize the above:

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

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

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

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

Phil 4:4-9 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Finding God’s Will For Our Lives Part #3

SIH STSTA ICONThus saith the Lord

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 my most frequently asked questions 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 3 of our study lets look at… “Thus saith the Lord”

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ps 19:8 – The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes.

Ps 119:105 – NUN. Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Prov 6:23 – For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life:

2Tim 3:16-17 – All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

THE STUDY:

King David and his son, King Solomon, understood the important role of God’s Word in our decision making processes…

  1. In Psalm 19:8, David makes it plain that the Word of the Lord “enlightens” the believer’s eyes.  The word “enlightens” refers to “the break of day”.  In other words, without the Bible, we are living our life in darkness (much like the darkness of a cloudy nighttime).  But when we use the Bible in our day to day walk, it is like dawn (when the sun appears and enlightens everything around us) making it easy for us to see clearly and make wise decisions.
  1. In Psalms 119:105 – David makes the same point about God’s Word using the example of a lamp and light that enlightens the paths of life that we are to take.  Again, we see how the Word enlightens us as we make our daily decisions, helping us to understand clearly the will of the Lord.
  1. In Proverbs 6:23 – David’s son, Solomon, also exhibited the importance of God’s Word as a guide for his life.  He said that “the commandment is a lamp and the law is light” basically restating what his father has stated previously. But then he went on to say “reproofs of instruction are the way of life”, again, referring to the Word of God (reproofs of instruction), he said that they are the path that we are to follow in life.

In all of these Old Testament passages the importance of God’s Word in our decision making processes is clearly on display…. However, one of the most important verses on this subject is found in the New Testament, written by the Apostle Paul….

In 2 Tim 3:16-17, we find Paul declaring that the Scriptures are of utmost importance in our decision making, because they are the very word of God handed down to man…

  1. “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God” – here “inspiration” is made up of two Greek root words, one is the word for “God”, the other is a word for “blow” or “breathe”.  This teaches us that the Bible was given to man by God breathing or blowing it to them.  Just like when we speak, we gently blow out, in the same way the Lord literally spoke the words which are recorded in the Bible.  The Scriptures are, literally, the perfect, complete, reliable, words spoken by God to man.
  1. Paul goes further explaining that these words can benefit man in the following ways
    1. For doctrine – teaching, to impart knowledge or facts
    2. for reproof – evidence, to convince the knowledge is true
    3. for correction – to straighten, to restore to proper position
    4. for instruction in righteousness: – tutor, to learn to be aligned with commands of God  The result of endoctrination, conviction, restoration and education in the truth…

i.    perfect – spiritually mature

ii.    throughly furnished unto all good works – completely equipped to perform any work that is pleasing to God.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Please, especially take note of what Paul said at the end of 2 Timothy 3:16-17. In this section of Scripture…. “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  Paul made the statement that God spoke His Word to man, was so that His followers may be spiritually mature, and entirely equipped to perform all works that are pleasing to God.

In other words, His Word was given to those who are saved so that we can, through the Spirit, recognize and then take the paths that He has chosen for us to take in life… by following these paths we perform the ministries (good works) that He has desired for our lives.

Paul, through the inspiration of Almighty God, says that the Word is all that is needed for the Christian to follow God’s will, and live a life that is pleasing to Him.  Paul did not say “the Scriptures plus good feelings”, nor did he say “the Scriptures plus a miraculous sign from heaven (like a lightning bolt striking a fore ordained object)”, nor did he say “the Scriptures plus other men’s approval”.   Absolutely not, Paul made it plain that the Scriptures alone would mature and completely equip a Christian to lead a life that was pleasing to God.

Not only are we to be sure that our desires are in submission to the Lord’s will for our lives (part #2). But also, we are to give our full attention to His Word as the road map guiding us in the many choices of our lives.

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

Prayer Principle #3 –  We must pray for understanding and application of His Word, through the Spirit, concerning the Lord’s leadership in our lives.

For those who are not saved….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURE:

 God’s Sovereign Will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And many, many more….

God’s Revealed Will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And many, many more….

God’s Individual Will:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And many, many more….

THE STUDY:

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

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

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

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

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

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

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

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

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

For those who are not saved….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gloom, Despair, and Agony On Me…!

SIH STSTA ICONBack in the 60s and 70s a TV show called “Hee Haw” hit the airwaves.   It was one of the funniest series I have ever seen.   One of the funniest re-occurring features involved a group of “good old country boys” that were feeling sorry for themselves.   They recounted their misfortunes in a song entitled…”Gloom Despair and Agony On Me”.

If you would like to relive the good ole Hee Haw days, you can watch it on the RFD-TV network, or you can see the skit on youtube… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ5ob9B9yD4

Many times, as Christians, we start to feel sorry for ourselves as we face the trials and difficulties this life has to offer.   The Psalmist in Psalm 119: put a different type of “twist” on the trials he faced in during his lifetime… he looked beyond the pain he felt during the trying times and he concentrated on the end results of those trials.  His conclusion about those trials can be found in Psa 119:65-72…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. (Psa 119:65-72)

THE STUDY:

Why does the Lord allow bad things to happen to good people?  As pastor, this is one of the most common questions that hurting, faithful, Christians have asked me.  Only the Lord will be able to give us a complete answer as to why we face trials in life, but one thing is certain…  TRIALS BRING A CHRISTIAN CLOSER TO THE LORD.   In every case, after the trial is over, a true Christian will readily admit, they are closer to the Lord after the trial than when the trial first began.

Trials in life will always bring the true Christian closer to the Lord. This is the point that King David, the author of Psalm 119: clearly proclaims.  If you remember, David had faced many trials during his lifetime.  His life had been threatened by King Saul following his defeat of Goliath (1 Sam 18:8-9); He had miserably failed the Lord in the incident with Bathsheba, which resulted in the loss of his child (2 Sam 11: and 12:); and later in his life His own son, Absalom, rebelled against his reign seeking to overthrow his kingdom by force.  This led to Absalom’s early death. (2 Sam 17: and 18:). In spite of all these problems, and others, David was able to thank the Lord for the trials because they had brought him closer to the Lord.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those of us who are saved….

In Psalm 119:65-72, David clearly reveals to us how to deal with the trials we face in our lives…..

Principle #1 Count the blessings that the Lord gives to us…

“Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.”

“Thou art good, and doest good”

David starts by saying that the Lord had treated him well during his lifetime. In spite of the trials, David recognized the presence of God’s grace throughout his lifetime, and the forgiveness God had given to him.

Principle #2 – Recognize the value of His Word, especially during times of trials

The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.”

Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.

David compares the value of the Word to the value of precious metals.  His conclusion?  The Word is of far greater eternal, spiritual value than all the riches this world has to offer.   David also compared the wealth and excess of his enemies with his possession of God’s Word.  His conclusion?  God’s Word brought him much greater joy than his enemies’ enjoyment of great excess and wealth.

Principle #3 – Always desire to grow in knowledge of Him and His Word; while retaining faith in His Word…

“Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.”

“teach me thy statutes.”

“The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.”

David knew the value of His Word and, therefore, craved to receive more knowledge of His Word. As David trusted in God’s Word, he realized great blessings and peace even in the midst of the trials he faced.  Think about what our life would be like without God’s Word… no comfort, no peace, no direction for our life, no counsel, no wisdom….  No wonder David was craving a greater understanding of His Word as he faced the trials of his life!

Principle #4 – Concentrate on the end result of the trials we are facing….

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.;”

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

This is the hardest principle indeed… to look beyond the pain and sorrow and to see the end result of the trials we are facing… a closer walk with Him based on a greater knowledge of His Word!   What a privilege it is to face trials… Let’s thank Him for the trials we face, knowing they will result in a closer walk with Him.

For those of us who have never trusted in Christ as their Savior….

Please keep in mind, the many precious promises the Lord gives in His Word apply only to those who are saved.  Until an individual places his trust in Christ, he cannot claim to be a recipient of God’s gracious intervention in His life during times of trials and heartaches.

Are you tired of facing your trials alone?  Do you desire to know without a doubt, that the trials you face are for your good and your ultimate gain? (Roms 8:28) Do you need a friend that sticks closer to you than a brother, someone who will NEVER leave you nor forsake you? (Pro 18:24, Hebs 13:5)

If this is your greatest desire then look to The Lord Jesus Christ and submit your life, and your eternity to Him.   Be willing to turn from your sin and begin to serve Jesus as Your Lord. (Ezek 33:14, Acts 17:29-32)  He will abundantly pardon you. (Isa 55:7)  He will save you form your sin and adopt you into His family. (Gals 4:4-6) You will never be alone again.

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.”

Is It God or Is It Memorex?

SIH STSTA ICON“Is it live or is it Memorex?”   For those of us old enough to remember, these are very familiar words from a series of Memorex commercials shown in the 70s and 80s. (To refresh your memory, you can watch one on youtube…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bkt8Dwzl6Sg)  In these commercials, famous singers from the day would shatter crystal wine glasses with their voice alone.  The question would then be asked “was it live or was it Memorex?”.  Memorex claimed that you couldn’t tell the difference between a live voice and one recorded on their audio tape.  They said that the recordings stored on their tapes would be more accurate and they would last for a longer period of time than their competitors.

Memorex isn’t the only one that is in the business of recording words…. Our Lord recorded His Words and then went far beyond what Memorex attempted to do. What Memorex claimed, Our God perfected… The Lord recorded His Word that will exist unchanged for an eternity!   He did this for us, that we might know His mind and see Him more clearly…

THE SCRIPTURE:

For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.

(Psalms 119:89-91  kjv)

THE STUDY:

Why should we take time to read, study and meditate on God’s Word?   We have this question answered for us in the preceding verses.

Please notice in vs 89 we have a clear declaration of the permanence of God’s Word.  This truth is brought out to us in two phrases…  “for ever” and “settled”.

Let’s look at the last phrase first.   To be “settled” means “to have a firm foundation placed under something so that it cannot be moved, shaken, or altered”.  In other words, the Lord has completed His Word and it will not change.  He has settled on it.

For example, if we have a big decision to make we may take some time to decide the best course to take.   Once we have made our decision, we say, we have”settled the issue.”   In other words, we have decided on it, and have put it to rest in our minds.  Our conclusion will not change.

Likewise, the Lord, who dwells in heaven, has “settled on” His Word.  He has proclaimed it through the Godly men of old… He has decided on it…. it is now settled and it will not change.

Praise God, we can trust in His never changing Word!   When times get tough and we feel like there is no hope left for us, turn to God’s Word knowing that He, and His Word, never fails.

Now let’s look at our first phrase. “Forever” simply means “without end”.  Have you ever spent anytime at the ocean side?  When you look out over the ocean you can see no end to it.  It seems to continue on forever.   Scientists, as they look into the heavens, tell us that they cannot see the limits to the vast area we call outer space.  These examples of “seeing no end”, show us the definition of the Hebrew word for “forever”.  This word is defined as “seeing the vanishing point”.

The Lord has established His Word and we cannot see an end to it… we can be assured that no matter how long time exists, the Word will exist and be relevant to our lives… there is no limit to His Word or the keeping of it.  Yes dear friend, because of these truths even our eternal existence can be entrusted to our Lord and His Word.

Vs 90-91 give us an earthly example of the permanence of His Word… the physical creation we see all around us.  The Lord created the earth… it continues to exist. All of His living and nonliving creation continues on.  This pictures for us the continuity of His Word.   Because God decrees that His creation will proceed… it does.  No if, ands, or buts about it.

Every morning, as we awaken from our sleep, and see nature all around us, it should remind us that, just as His creation exists for another day… so to does His faithful Word.  He is so good to us supplying us with a wonderful world to live on, with a never-failing revelation from Him to live by!   .

Finally, please notice the reason why the earth continues to exist….it’s because the Lord has ordained (decreed or said) that it would.  How powerful is God’s Word!  He simply speaks and it is done.  He spoke the world into existence (Genesis 1:), likewise He calmed the sea during a massive windstorm, simply using His Word (Mark 4:39-41), His Word even raised a dead man to life (John 11:43-44).  This same powerful word is the Bible…. it is one in the same.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

We have the gracious privilege of being able to hold, read and most importantly, rely upon this Word for our eternal salvation and instructions for our day to day walk of life.

Have you received the salvation from your sins that the Lord so graciously gives?  If not, please begin to read more about His salvation in His Word.  Great places to start would be  Romans 3:19-31 and  John 3:10-21, in both these passages our Lord makes the necessity of salvation very clear to us, as well as the way of salvation which is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And for those of us who are saved, let’s not take His Word for granted.   Everyday, let’s appreciate His Word, read, study, and meditate on it, so that we can be “equipped fully unto all good works” ( 2 Tim 3:14-17)

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.”