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Comments, Questions or Suggestions?

Please email me at:

settledinheaven@gmail.com

 

We always welcome any comments, questions, or suggestions that you may have.

Lord bless you as you study His Word!

Free Download …. “The Spirit’s Workings Among Men” Series Study Guide

In preparation of the upcoming SIH Bible Study Series “Spiritual Gifts” we are offering a free study guide for this series…

SpiritualGiftsPromoWP2849x1493

It is available in two formats for easy viewing:  

(Click the following links for easy downloading)

 

.PDF Format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/swam-book.pdf

 

.DOCX Format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/swam-bookprotected.docx

What Do You Think?

SIH ICONWhat should be the subjects of upcoming SIH Bible Studies and Videos?

Please let us know by taking our survey…

http://wp.me/pU88A-2gO

What Should Be Some Subjects For Our Bible Study / Video Lessons ?

SIH ICONWell folks, it is time for me to start planning upcoming postings for 2014.  I would greatly appreciate your input on what subjects you would like to see SIH cover in the upcoming year.

My desire is for us to study together subjects that will help us along life’s way and be better servants of Christ.  Therefore, I am not asking for you to choose what topic has the greatest interest for you.  Nor am I asking what subject would be the most pleasurable to study.

Here is what I am asking you to do… from the list below please choose up to 5 subjects that you believe would be the most spiritually beneficial for you. If your most spiritually beneficial subjects are not found on the list, you are welcome to make suggestions by leaving a comment for me.

I am trusting the Lord to use this to help me to come to an understanding of the spiritual needs of the SIH readers.  I want your time spent reading the SIH postings to be of greatest benefit for you.  I appreciate so much your visiting the blog and the last thing I want is for your valuable time to be wasted during your visit.

(By the way, I do recognize that it is my responsibility to make all the final decisions on what subjects will be covered in the SIH blog.  I am simply trusting the Lord to use this survey as one of several pieces of information that will help me come to a final decision of the blog’s contents through 2014.)

This weekend we will post the survey for the next Bible Studies/Video Lessons.

All of the Bible Studies/Video Lessons will be taught late in 2013 and into early to mid 2014.

The survey will be available for one month.

PLEASE VOTE FOR UP TO 5 SUBJECTS or you can suggest others by leaving a comment…

Atheist Billboard: Tis the Season to Deny the Existence of God

SIH STSTA ICONAs the Christmas season approaches, Atheist billboards are beginning to pop up declaring that the virgin birth, and even God’s existence, is only a myth.  One example is this billboard…

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/atheist_billboard_near_lincoln.html

With all of this world’s mixed messages about the Lord’s person, His work, and even His existence; I thought it was wise to remind every one of some of the results of denying what the Lord clearly told us in His Word.

The Word of God addresses many subjects including:

  1. the proofs of God’s existence – (Psa 19:1-6, Jer 10:10-16, Acts 17:8-9, etc etc)
  2. the proofs of Christ’s coming to the earth and the work which He performed (Acts 5:29-33, Acts 2:29-36, 1 Cor 15:1-11, etc etc )

as well as many other truths that help us to understand who the Lord is and what He has done for us.

The Lord, by His grace and love, has revealed to us the serious results of denying what He has clearly told us in His Word.  May the Lord bless each of us with an understanding and acceptance of this crucial truth…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Heb 10:19-31

19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;…30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.31[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

THE STUDY:

In Hebrews 10:19-25, we find the importance of not taking God’s gracious workings in the lives of His people for granted…

19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And [having] an high priest over the house of God;

The Lord has given sinful mankind the privilege to enter into His presence now (through prayer and Bible study) and throughout eternity (dwelling with Him face to face).   Although we are sinful, through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ, we can receive forgiveness of sins and communion with Almighty, Holy God.  It is though His work on our behalf that He becomes our intercessor (or priest), standing between God and sinful man, working peace, communion and forgiveness on our behalf.

22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)24And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Because the Lord has brought us into a close relationship with Himself, we are to draw near to Him, knowing that He has cleansed us from our inward and outward sins.  This forgiveness was applied to our account when His Spirit applied the Word to our hearts and lives (Eph 5:26).

We are also to be telling others of His workings in our lives and we are to aid others to serve Him in love (by meeting together to worship, learn and encourage other Christians).

All of these acts of appreciation, we are to observe in a greater way because our time is running short.  Soon our God will be coming back to take us home and be with Him forever.

In Hebrews 10:26-31, we find the solemn results of rejecting the truth by those who are not His people…

26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

After we receive the truths God has shown to us, and then count them as being false, there is no reason to believe that the Lord has, or will, forgive us.  If we remain in a state of denial of His truths we should fear, knowing that we are facing the judgment that is prepared by God for those who are His adversaries.  This judgment includes God’s fiery indignation (burning wrath) upon those who oppose Him.

28He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Now our attention is turned to the penalty of breaking God’s laws given to the nation of Israel.  According to the law given to them… if there were two or three witnesses to the commission of a crime worthy of death, that was ample proof for execution.

We are to compare that type of sin with the rejection of Christ, His work and His shed blood.  After hearing of Christ and His great sacrifice and then counting that as untrue, worthless, or of no benefit, we commit a very heinous sin in God’s eyes.  It is as if Christ and His work is being tred underfoot, dirtied, buried and ignored.

Even if the initial receipt of the truth affects our life causing a worldly, outward, reformation (sanctification) , this is not proof of spiritual life being present.   Simple good works shown in the life is no guarantee of acceptance by God.

A heart of repentant faith in Christ and in His work is an absolutely necessity for the forgiveness of sins.  This type of belief cannot be turned from, nor denied. (2 Cor 7:9-10)

30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.31[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The Lord is plain throughout His Word, not only is He a God of love and grace; He is also a God of justice.  The Lord makes it clear that He will send judgment and deserved punishment upon those who reject the kind, loving, gracious, most valuable work of His Son.

This truth will bring terror upon those who reject Him.  To deny God’s existence and work is to sentence themselves to an eternity of separation from God in eternal misery in the lake of fire.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Let us never forget all that our God has done for us.  He not only created us, but then He saved us from our deserved punishment  through the sacrifice of His Son.   How much more should we be motivated to serve Him after all He has done for us? (Rom 12:1-2)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Please take time to, honestly and with an open heart, study God’s Word and come to an understanding of the many various proofs of God’s existence and His Son’s work on your behalf.

The Bible makes it plain that we have all sinned and are facing punishment for those sins. (Rom 1:18-21, 2:11-12, Acts 17:30-31)  This is why rejecting the existence of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, is tantamount to sentencing yourself to an eternity of suffering at the hands of a Just God.  (Rom 2:5, 2 Pet 2:9, 3:7, Rev 20:15, 21:8)

Things do not have to be this way, however.  This same God, who is just in punishing sin, is also a very kind, gracious and loving God.  He has sent His Son to the earth to save His people from their sins. (Matt 1:21)

Through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, the payment for the sin debt of God’s people was made in full.

By turning from our disbelief, and by trusting in Christ and His work on the cross, we can find forgiveness for our sins and peace with God. (Rom 3:26-28, 4:17-25, 5:1-2, 15:13)

Oh, won’t you change your mind and attitude about God and Christ?   Won’t you believe that God and His Son exist, and that they have performed the necessary work to forgive you of your sins?  By looking to Him and placing your life and future in His hands you will be assured of a life of peace with God.

May the Lord bless you as you seek the truth about Him.

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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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A Thanksgiving Day Devotion

SIH STSTA ICONIt is commonly believed that the first Thanksgiving celebration took place in 1621.  This feast was attended by both Pilgrims and Indians who joined together to thank God for their bountiful harvest of the previous year.  This celebration was continued by the first American colonies, and later by the United States, as a time of thanksgiving for the blessings that God had bestowed upon the American people.

The official Thanksgiving Day holiday was started in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln, at the end of the Civil War, asked Americans to set aside the last Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving to God for the blessings He had shown to America (one of which was an end to the Civil War).

In 1939 FDR moved the holiday to the prior week.  He did this to help businesses by giving them a longer holiday shopping period.  Finally, in 1941 the fourth Thursday in November was declared by Congress to be the official holiday of Thanksgiving.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-proclamation-thanksgiving-day

Clearly, the Thanksgiving holiday began, and was continued, as a time to give thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon our country and its individual citizens.  Most presidents in their Thanksgiving Day proclamation clearly declare that the day is set aside to give thanks to God for the blessings He has given to us. One example of this is George Bush’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation of 1990…

“Now, therefore, I, George Bush, president of the United States of America, do hereby call upon the American people to observe Thursday, November 22, 1990, as a National Day of Thanksgiving and to gather together in homes and places of worship on that day of thanks to affirm by their prayers and their gratitude the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.”

http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/unitssubjhol/a/thanksday_2.htm

There can be no doubt, historically, Thanksgiving is a day set aside for giving thanks to God Almighty for His many blessings He has given to us.  As this Thanksgiving Day approaches let us be sure to verbally explain to the younger generations the wonderful history behind the celebration.  Also, let us be sure that we all have a true thankful attitude towards our God for all His manifold gifts of grace He has given to each of us.

Did you know that everyday should be Thanksgiving for the Christian?

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. “ (1Th 5:18)

Let’s see what the Bible says about “The Christian’s Thanksgiving Day”…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psa 100:3-5)

THE STUDY:

In our text we find three basic questions about Thanksgiving answered:

Question #1 – Who are we to thank? – vs 3

“Know ye that the LORD he is God:”

  1. Our God is specifically identified as “LORD” which is the Hebrew word “Jehovah”.  This word teaches us that our God is “the self existent, eternal One”.    In other words, He is the One true God.  There are many false gods in this world; but, He is the only God that truly exists eternally.  (Psa 83:18, 1 Tim 1:17)

 “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;”

  1. Our God is identified as our Creator.  He is the One to whom we owe our existence.  We owe our physical life to Him.  But we also possess our spiritual life because of Him. (Acts 17:28, John 17:1-4)

“we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

  1. Our God is identified as our Leader and Shepherd. Here, the word for “people” is describing a tribe or a nation.  In other words, we are a part of the tribe or nation that He is leading.  Another way of putting it is we are like sheep that are cared for by a Shepherd.   He leads us, feeds us, and protects us throughout our life’s journey.  (John 10:25-30)

Question #2 – How should we thank Him? – vs 4

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:”

  1. We should verbally thank and praise Him.  To “thank” here is a word related to a choir of worshippers singing of His works.  To “praise” means to sing hymns exalting Him.  In other words, we are to verbally tell other people what He has done for us and, in doing so, place Him above all other people and gods of this world.  (1 Chr 16:8 )

“be thankful unto him,”

  1. Here we find our inward attitude is important as well.  Not only are we to verbally be thankful but we are to have a thankful spirit within us as well.  The word here for “thankful” speaks of extending the hand… much like an infant in need of their parent will hold up their hands asking to be picked up and taken care of.  We should always have an infant’s attitude recognizing our constant need of His care for us.  Truly without Him we can do nothing! (John 15:4-6, Acts 5:38-39)

“and bless his name.”

  1. To “bless” means to kneel down.  This speaks of our need to recognize His greatness and our need to be humble in His presence.  We bring ourselves to a point of submission and total reliance on Him when we sincerely say… “Not my will but thine be done” in all areas of our lives. (Luke 22:41-42)   This is the true submissive spirit of a thankful heart doing all in the name of Christ.  (Col 3:15-17)

Question #3 –  Why should we thank Him? – vs 5

“For the LORD is good;”

  1.  Why do we thank Him… Because He is a “good” Lord.  In other words, He is a God that does bountiful, beneficial works on our behalf.  He is a gracious God, working on our behalf even though we do not deserve His blessings. (Neh 9:17, Joel 2:13, 2 Cor 4:12-15)

” his mercy is everlasting;”

  1.  We thank Him because He is eternally merciful to us.  He shows us “mercy” when He withholds harm from us even though we justly deserve that harm to come upon us.  The greatest example of His mercy is an eternity in the Lake of Fire.  Even though we deserve an eternity in hell, He withholds it from those whom He has forgiven.  This is truly an act of His great everlasting mercy.  For this He deserves a lifetime of our thanks. (Psa 103:8-11)

“and his truth endureth to all generations.”

  1. Finally, we are told we should be thankful for His Word that He has given to us.  It is this timeless Word that holds the message of salvation, the keys to successful living on earth, and great promises of our eternity with Him.  Without His Word, we would all be destined for a life of spiritual failure as well as an eternity in hell. (Psa 119:105, Prov 6:23, Phil 2:14-17)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

As we take time to celebrate the Thanksgiving season, let’s remember to take a time out and specifically thank the Lord for all of His many blessings He has given to us.   Let’s tell others about what He has done for us.

“Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.”(1Ch 16:8-9)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Take time out to read the Lord’s Word and see what He did by sending His Son to die on the cross and pay the price for the sins of His people. (Titus 3:4-7, Roms 5:8-11, 2 Cor 5:19-21, 1 Jhn 4:9-10).  After doing all of this for His people, surely we can do what He asks of us.

What is His desire for our life? We are to turn from our sins and our false beliefs and rely on the message of the gospel to show us the truth about the way of salvation….

“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”(Mar 1:15)

After turning to Christ and trusting in His work to save us from our sins, we can join with other true believers and say…  “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2Co 9:15)

You may also like the SIH 2012 Thanksgiving Devotion: http://wp.me/pU88A-1t8

Also SIH is celebrating Thanksgiving the entire month of November 2012 with a series of much shorter daily devotions the series begins here: http://wp.me/pU88A-1rR

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

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

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

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

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

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Getting Acquainted With God (Part #2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURE:

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

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

THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

Now we can understand why the Bible says…

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

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

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

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

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Turn, Turn, Turn – Our Ever Changing World

SIH STSTA ICONThe 1960’s group the Byrds recorded a hit song “Turn, Turn, Turn”.  This song is based on a section of Scripture found in Ecclesiates 3:1-8.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4

Basically, these verses tell us that God’s plan for mankind is constant change.  This means that events are constantly changing around us, nothing on this earth can be expected to last, nor can it be expected to possess eternal value.

The Byrds named this song “Turn, Turn, Turn” to reflect the ever changing nature of the world.  However, they did not realize that by entitling this song “Turn” they were also giving us the key to stability and eternal security in the midst of this ever changing world….

THE SCRIPTURE:

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luk 24:46-47)

THE STUDY:

Our text can be divided into 2 parts:

Part #1 – vs 46 –

This verse teaches us the basis of true peace, contentment and security in the midst of an ever changing world… the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on behalf of His people.

Thus it is written,

The basis of our security on this earth is a subject covered in great detail throughout the entire Bible.  Both Old and New Testaments are filled with prophecies, historical accounts, and personal testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ, His work while on earth, and the results of that work.

and thus it behoved

The Greek word translated “behoved” is a word that means “it was absolutely necessary”, “binding to fulfill a purpose”.  In other words, what Christ accomplished as He lived, died and arose was a work that was absolutely necessary to be performed.  He was bound to perform this work if His people were to be saved and made secure.

 

Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

This work of Christ involved, His suffering and death at the hands of the Jews, the Romans, and by implication, each one of us.   He suffered and died for the sins of His people so that they might be saved. (Matt 1:21)  We all have sinned, and therefore, by implication, are responsible for the suffering and death of Christ.

Christ’s suffering and death on the cross was an absolute necessity to pay the price for the sins of His people (Col 1:20-23, Col 2:13-15)    Then, Christ’s resurrection was the proof given to man that His sacrifice was acceptable to God to pay the price for the sins of His people. (1 Cor 15:12-18)

Together these works of Christ (His death, burial, resurrection, and their proofs, make up the gospel “good news” of Christ 1 Cor 15:1-8).

Part #2 – vs 47 –

This verse teaches us of our need to turn to Christ to receive His salvation and security.

And that repentance and remission of sins

Here, the word “repentance” comes from a Greek word defined as “to turn”, “to reverse” or “to change”.

In other words, salvation will only come to those who are willing to turn from their sin and their unbelief.

In Mark 1:14-15, Jesus Himself issues an invitation to those who see their need of forgiveness, communion and security from God.  What was His call? “Repent ye and believe the gospel”.

He was telling sinners everywhere that they were to turn:

  1. from sin to His service (they must come being willing to give up their sin and be willing to now obey Him.)
  2. from rebellion to submission (they must be willing to no longer live for themselves but now be willing to submit to His will for their lives.)
  3. from disbelief to faith in Him (they must leave their doubting and denial behind and come to acceptance of His existence, Deity and work on their behalf.)

This is the type of “turning” that the Bible prescribes for anyone who sees their sinful condition and desires forgiveness from the Lord Jesus Christ.  This “turning” works faith in our hearts as our attitudes about sin, Christ, and His Word changes we come to a point of belief in Him.

 

As Christ intervenes in our life He turns us from sin to Him and, in doing so, grants us remission for our sins.  “Remission”  means “to deliver” or “to grant freedom from”.  Much like a rescued slave is delivered from their captivity and granted their freedom, Christ does the same for the truly repentant.  (Gals 4:3-7)

 

should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

This message is so important Christ has given a command for us to take this message of “repentance and remission” to everyone on the face of the globe.   Why? Everyone has sinned and is in the need of a Savior.  (2 Tim 2:25-26, Acts 17:30)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

We should always have thankful hearts, realizing Christ gave us the ability and led us to repentance entirely based upon His grace….  (Jer 31:18, 2 Tim 2:25-26).  Lets serve Him today from a heart filled with appreciation for all He Hass done for us!!!

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

The call of Christ is plain “repent ye and believe the gospel”. Turn to Christ and trust Him with your sin, your life, your needs, your goals… and your eternity.   It is only through turning to Him and trusting Him that you can receive forgiveness from your sin, peace in the midst of a turbulent world, and security knowing you are headed for an eternity with Him in paradise.   (Romans 6:, 2 Cor 4:)

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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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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”.

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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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Halloween Part #4 – The Necromancy Symbols

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 look at part 4 of 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:

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.(Isa 8:19-20)

Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:31)

And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine. A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. (Lev 20:26-27)

Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night. And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me. Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way. But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof: And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night.(1Sa 28:7-25)

THE STUDY:

The History of The Necromancy (to prophesy using the dead) Symbols:

Séances – Attempts to communicate with dead spirits have taken place throughout history.  From rites performed among many ancient religions, to the Biblical account of King Saul consulting the witch at Endor (see below), to the Fix sisters claims of speaking to the dead through the first modern-day use of séances in 1848; the desire to speak to those who have died has been an ongoing pursuit.

The modern Spiritist movement began in 1848 by the Fox sisters of New York.  The sisters began hearing strange noises at night.  It was believed by the sisters that these noises came from a spirit dwelling in the home.  In response to a series of questions posed by the sisters, the spirit began to answer them using a series of knocks.  Interest in this phenomenon grew as word of the event spread.

In 1888, one of the sisters confessed that the entire series of events was staged.  According to her, the sisters had used joint cracking and apples dangling from strings to create the illusion of the sprit’s responses.  Later, the sister recanted her confession, however, most researchers believe that the confession of fraud was truthful.

It was through this series of allegedly fraudulent events that the popular use of modern séances was begun.  http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Séance

Ouija Boards – The first use of Ouija boards was thought to be in China in the 1100 BC.  It is recorded in the Chinese history under the tern “Fuji” or “pointer writing”.  Portions of the Chinese text “the Daozang” is claimed to have been written entirely through the use of the Fuji.

Patents for the modern day lettered board were filed in 1891.  The first board with the name “Ouija” was produced in 1901.  One of the creators claimed the name “Ouija” is Egyptian for “good luck”.  However, the more widely accepted translation for “Ouija” is “Yes”.  This board reached its peak of popularity in the early to mid 1900’s.

In both the Quija board and Séances, we have the attempt to speak to the spirits of dead humans in view.  This easily fits into the Halloween tradition of attempting to commune with, honor and pacify the dead spirits that roam the earth.

Is it possible to communicate with the dead?  Is the Lord pleased with attempts to communicate with the dead?  Let’s see what the Bible says…

In our texts, we have different aspects of communicating with the dead described by two different terms:

“them that have familiar spirits” –  Hebrew phrase “one that speaks in a jar”  “one that mumbles”

“wizards (that peep, and that mutter)” – Hebrew  phrase “a knowing one” “one that conjures”

As followers of the Lord, we are to seek counsel, wisdom and knowledge from our God not the dead:

“should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony:”

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”

We must always judge messangers based upon the Word of God.  If a messenger proclaims anything that does not align itself with God’s Word, they are to be recognized as lost individuals and unreliable messengers of God:

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Please notice, that the Lord clearly condemns attempts to communicate with the dead:

“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them”

This is a grave sin punishable by death according to the Old Testament law:

“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”

The account of King Saul going into the witch at Endor is a very important event that we need to address in our study of “necromancy” (to prophesy using the dead)

Please read our text … 1 Samuel 28:7-25.

The two questions that we must answer about this account are:

1.  Was the spirit seen by the witch actually the prophet Samuel, or was it a demon masquerading as the prophet?

2.  If it was Samuel, does that mean that the Lord used a forbidden act (necromancy) to deliver His message to King Saul?

To answer these questions we must remember some basic, Biblical principles…

  1. King Saul received God’s punishment (death) due to this horrible sin he had committed (1Ch 10:13-14)
  2. Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us that He spoke to mankind using necromancy.  In times past, He spoke through His prophets and, later, His Son.  His Word is the only reliable record of the messages spoken by His prophets and Christ. (Hebrews 1:1-3).
  3. Nowhere does the Bible say that the Lord used the spirit of a dead man to speak to anyone. Likewise, the Bible does not say that we can speak to those who have died.  Conversely, the Bible indicates it is an impossible. (Luke 16:24-27)
  4. Satan is a very powerful deceiver, who can deceive the minds of men. (2 Thess 2:9-10)
  5. Based on our previous study on death (Halloween Part 2) we said that there is no intermediate dwelling place for dead spirits. They immediately enter into the eternal state, from which they cannot depart (Lk 16:25).
  6. Saints are said to be at rest and in glory with the Lord after their death.  It is hard to believe that they can be yanked out of their state of peace, at the whim of a medium.  (2 Cor 5:, Rev 6:11)
  7. If we say that Samuel actually appeared to Saul and delivered God’s message; in essence, we are saying that God refused to speak to Saul when Saul approached Him.  But, when Saul used an illicit method of communication, the Lord conceded and sent His message to Saul. (1 Sam 28:5-6, 28:15-21)
  8. Satan and his demons can masquerade as messengers of God with the hopes of deceiving the listeners. (2 Cor 11:14-15)
  9. Keep in mind, that Saul had not received any new information from “spirit Samuel”.  This being had only repeated the very same message that Saul had received previously from God. Compare 1 Samuel 15: with the message “spirit Samuel” spoke to him.
  10. The witch claimed that she saw “gods” ascending out of the earth.  This Heb word can speak of angels, or mighty ones.  What she actually saw were demons (fallen angels) who have access to this earth.  They were seen coming up out of the earth, just as the second demonic beast of Revelation came out of the earth as well (Rev 13:11)
  11. What had taken place was, following his breach with the Lord, Saul entered a state of being open to Satanic intervention.  Much like a “reprobate” described in Rom 1:21-32.

To summarize, the story of Saul and the witch of Endor is a story of a man, who, after willfully sinning against the Lord, is separated from God due to his sin.  Once separated from God, He continues on his downward path, falling deeper into sin by seeking counsel from the dead through the use of a medium.  At this point, Satan intervenes, sending a demonic messenger to Saul, in the hopes of deceiving Him into thinking he is communicating with a messenger from God.

Satan’s purpose? To further deceive Saul and mislead him into a further corrupting of the nation of Israel.  This is much like the role that Satan and his demons play in our society today…”Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1Timothy 4:1)

Think of the great deception that has followed due to this sin on the part of Saul… Not only was the witch, and Saul, deceived into thinking this was Samuel, but many people throughout the following generations, have tried to use this account to validate and legitimize necromancy.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

Once again, as before, let me ask each of us the question I asked at the beginning of our series… have we taken the time to prayerfully consider 1 Thess 5:21-22…“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

It is obvious that by participating in the holiday of Halloween in no way makes a Christian guilty of consulting with spirits.  However, is participating in the Halloween festival “abstaining from all appearance of evil”?  This is what each of us should prayerfully consider.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

There has been a recent surge in interest concerning the afterlife.  The entertainment industry has been fueling this flame with a release of many movies and TV series that deal with the subject of consulting with spirits and other issues of the occult.   As we have seen in our study, to get a proper understanding of the afterlife, we should consult the Scriptures alone.

The Bible makes it plain that, through the intervention of Christ into our lives graciously granting to us forgiveness and peace, we can be prepared to enter the afterlife.

Do you know that you are prepared for the afterlife? 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”.

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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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Who’s On First, Who’s In Space … or What did you say? (Part #2)

SIH STSTA ICONIn our previous study, we examined the Lord’s teachings on The Proper Preparation for Prayer. (Matt 6:5-8)  We will not begin looking at The Makeup of Our Prayers. (Matt 6:9-13)

THE SCRIPTURE:

And when thou prayest, … For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Mat 6:5-13)

THE STUDY:

After this manner therefore pray ye:

Please note the Lord never said to recite this prayer.  He makes this plain earlier in the context of this prayer. (Matt 6:7-8 – Please see Part #1 for a further explanation).

If we study the phrase “after this manner” we find that the Greek word for this phrase means “in this way” or “following this pattern”.  It does not mean to “use these words” or “repeat after me”.   He is giving us a “pattern” for us to follow as we pray.

As we pray we should express… 

#1 – Our Reverence Of Him

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

We need to recognize His greatness and express that greatness and what it means to us.  In this example Christ is centering on the Father’s greatness by expressing the need for His name to be treated as higher than all other names. “… Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. “  (Neh 9:5)

#2 – Our Desire For His Will To Be Done Above All Else

 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

These two phrases are simply repeating the same point twice:

“Thy kingdom come” – let your kingly rule take perfect control of all things.

“Thy will be done… heaven” – His will is being done perfectly in heaven… we are to desire the same here on earth.

 This has two implications as we pray…

First, we are to desire His will to be done in any issues we bring to Him.

We should follow the perfect example of Christ, who prayed as He sought for the crucifixtion to be taken from Him… “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. “ (Mat 26:39)

Secondly, we should be willing to do whatever He may reveal to us as we seek His guidance for our lives.

Again, we are to follow Christ’s perfect example for us… “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (Joh 4:34)

 #3 – Our Physical Needs

Give us this day our daily bread.

We are to bring all of our physical needs before Him;  our financial, health, and vocational needs, to name a few.

 #4 – Our Spiritual Needs

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

We are to bring before Him our need of forgiveness and our need to treat others as the Lord would treat us.   Repentance for known private, and public, sin in our lives should be dealt with during our prayers. Also, the need for others should be addressed in our prayers.

 #5 – His Leadership For Our Life

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

Acknowledge His sovereignty over all events in our lives and the activities of Satan and demons.  Especially, seek to avoid situations of temptations, relying on His leadership to detour us.

 #6 – Verbally Praise and Glorify Him

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Our prayer is to be made with God’s glory in mind.  Everything that a Christian does is to be done in faith, for God’s glory.  (Roms 14:23, Roms 11:36)  This is the main difference between the sinful moral acts of a lost man and the God pleasing acts of His saints. (Isa 64:6, Eph 2:2)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Prayer is not as complicated as we want to make it… it is simply, honestly, recognizing His greatness and then, by grace, speaking to Him by opening up ourselves and seeking to hear and follow His instructions.

Prayer should be more like approaching a King who is our brother or father.  Approach Him with reverence as God and King, but knowing He is sympathetic towards our every fault and need.

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

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

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.”

Who’s On First, Who’s In Space … or What did you say? (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICONAbbott and Costello, the legendary comedy team of the 40s and 50s, was the most famous comedy team of their time, and perhaps, of all time.  Their performance of “Who’s On First?” has passed the test of time, still being enjoyed by all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfmvkO5x6Ng  “Who’s on First” is an example of a failure to communicate clearly to others .

SETI, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, originating in the early sixties, is man’s attempt to communicate with aliens from another planet.  After almost 50 years of trying, SETI has, to date, yielded no proof of alien communication with earth, nor the existence of alien life.  It seems to be a serious waste of much needed capital, which could be used to fund many other fields of scientific exploration.  http://www.seti.org

How about the day to day communication that should take place between husband and wife? Most polls indicate that a failure in communication is one of the top three reasons why marriages end in divorce.   Here, a lack of communication causes a rupturing of the family unit and the breaking of marital vows.  This is an extremely serious problem that leads to the ruination of lives.

But there is one other type of communication failure that brings about even worse results… a person’s inability to communicate with Christ.  In the case of the unsaved, his communication ruptured by his sinful condition. (Isa 59:2) The only remedy to restore that communication is God’s forgiveness. (1 John 1:6-10)

However, the Christian can also experience a loss of communion with the Lord.  Christ presents a lesson on communion’s hindrances and remedies for those who are saved and seeking a closer walk with Him….

THE SCRIPTURE:

And when thou prayest, … For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

(Mat 6:5-13)

THE STUDY:

In Part #1 of our study we will be looking at Our Preparation For Prayer. (Matt 6:5-8)

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.   But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Here we find our Lord presenting to us five different principles…

Principle #1 –  We should prepare our hearts to be sincere in our prayers. We need to be SINCERE.   

The Greek word for “hypocrite” is a word that means “to play a role” or “ to be an actor on a stage”. Our prayer life we are not just putting on an act or going through the motions; trying to impress Him or others?  True, Scriptural prayer is entering into sincere communion with our Lord.

Principle #2 – We should enter into our communication with Him as a secret act between Him and us alone.  We need to be SELFLESS

Our heart prepared to meet with Him and Him alone.  This is done by confession of sin and thinking upon His Word.  Also we should have His Word open in front of us as we pray, awaiting to hear from Him during our communion time.  We should be ready to read His Word during this time, knowing He reveals His will for us through His Word.

Principle #3 – We should prepare our heart making sure our motive for prayer is not personal gain but humbling wanting to seek His face and then submit to the His revealed will for our lives. We need to be   SUBMITTED

As His will is revealed to us, we must have a heart prepared to follow His leadership.  As His will is revealed we should place any hindrances aside (no matter what the cost) and immediately seek to align ourselves with His desires.

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Principle #4 – We should be desiring to communicate with the Lord not impress Him.  We need to be SEARCHING

The Lord does not desire for us to be repeating any prayer verbatim, including His model prayer in the following verses.  He desires sincere communication that is simply being transparent and speaking the truth from the heart.  Which would mean more to our spouse… having a friend of ours write a poem  of love that we could read , or for us to simply open our heart and proclaim our love in our own words?

 Principle #5 – We should be dwelling on His greatness, His knowledge of all things and His ability to change any circumstance if it is His will to do so.  We need to be SEEING

 As we enter into prayer our hearts should be filled with a knowledge of His greatness.  In prayer, we are coming before the Sovereign Lord of all.  We should be in awe and appreciation for His wanting to meet with us.  We should be joyful knowing He is the One who can truly meet every need in our life.  Nothing is too hard for Him.

As we pray, our heart should be:

Sincere

Selfless

Submitted

Searching

Seeing

In Part #2 of our study we will be looking at The Makeup of our Prayers. (Matt 6:9-13)

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

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.”

In God We Trust

The motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on US coins during the Civil War era.   Since that time, with only a few exceptions, the motto has continuously appeared on US government coins.  For a full, in-depth account of the motto’s history please refer to the following:

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml

Without a doubt, this motto has stood as a public testimony of our nation’s belief in the existence of God.   This motto is a part of our legacy as a nation… throughout history, our nation has sought out  God during it’s most troubling hours.   Despite the current attempts to remove this motto from our coinage, our historical reliance on God can never be denied.

The Bible talks about a nation’s need to trust in The Lord.  But in a much more personal context, the Bible repeated declares the necessity for an individual to place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only One who can save us from our sins.

THE SCRIPTURE:

And if ye call on the Father, … Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1Pe 1:17-21)

THE STUDY:

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

All mankind will stand before God the Father and be judged for the works that they have done during their life on earth.   (James 5:9, 1 Pet 4:5)   Knowing this, we are to take our time on earth very seriously.  We are to always have a reverence for the Lord, and His desires for us, so that we will not be found wanting at our judgment. (2 Cor 7:1, Hebs 12:28)

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

“Redeemed” is translated from a Greek word meaning “to be released from bondage through a payment”.

For those who are saved, we need to remember that we have been removed from the bondage of our sin through a payment much more precious than gold or silver.

This payment was not received through the empty pursuits of our previous lifestyle.  It was received as we turned from our past lifestyle of sin to Christ and His work. (Acts 26:17-20, Acts 14:15, Hebs 9:14)

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

The precious payment made was that of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was the sinless Son of God who came to the earth and died on the cross for the sins of His people.  (Matt 20:28, Eph 1:7, Col 1:13-22, Rev 7:14)

Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Christ’s earthly ministry and death on the cross was a part of God the Father’s sovereign plan from before the creation of the world. (Rom 16:25-26, Eph 1:4-14, Eph 3:11, Titus 1:2-3 ).  The fall of man, and man’s need of a Savior, did not come as a surprise to the Lord.  This is another display of His greatness…He is truly an all-knowing God. (Isa 45:21, Isa 46:10, Acts 15:18)

Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

“believe” is translated from a Greek word that means “to entrust” “to commit to”

If we commit our sin, our life, and our eternity to Him…we receive forgiveness of our sins and eternal security through Christ.

It is through the work of Christ that we can receive the ability to believe in God (John 6:26-29, Eph 2:4-9, Mat 16:17, John 6:65)   This same God is the One that brought Christ from the dead and glorified Him at the Father’s right hand in heaven. (1 Cor 15:15, Acts 4:10, Acts 2:32-33, Phil 2:5-12)

Why did Christ die for us and grant us faith so that we could be saved?  So we could live our lives trusting in God and having hope for our future knowing we are saved and headed for a wonderful eternity in heaven.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

We should never undervalue the great price that was paid for our salvation.  Although our salvation was free it was by no means cheap.  Out of appreciation for His great sacrifice and price paid, we should be willingly serving Him.  Knowing we are bought with a great price.

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.(1Co 6:20)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

By committing yourself to Him (your sin, your life, your future), you will be forgiven of your sins and assured of an eternity with Christ.   Without trusting in Christ, the Bible makes it plain that you must face the eternal judgment for the sins you have committed.  The worst aspect of this judgment is being separated from God for an eternity, while receiving your punishment in the Lake of Fire.

God is sending an invitation to you through His Word to turn to Him, entrusting your life to Him, before it is too late.

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mar 1:14-15)

——————————————————————————————————————–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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The Thinker

SIH STSTA ICON“The Thinker” is the name of a very widely recognized statue created by Auguste Rodin.  The thinker represents “a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle.”  (Quote from http://www.statue.com/the-thinker-statue.html)

Did you know that the Word of God encourages each of us to be this type of “thinker”?  Let’s take a moment to see what the Lord has to say …

THE SCRIPTURE:

Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.  (Hag 1:5-7)

THE STUDY:

In our text, the main thrust of these verses centers around the phrase “consider your ways” –

The word “consider” is a translation of a three-word Hebrew phrase:

1.   the first word of the phrase means “to consider, to examine, to give attention”;

2.   the second word carries with it the idea of “the heart, the innermost parts”;

3.   the third Hebrew word in our phrase is defined as “according to, because of”

The Hebrew word for “ways” is simply referring to the paths we have chosen to follow in our life.

If we put all of our ideas together we get this idea: the Lord is telling us to “to closely examine our hearts to understand the motives that drive our life choices.”   How important it is for us to simply ask the question, “Why do we do what we do?”

The Lord was speaking to members of Israel whose lives were exhibiting a lack of satisfaction and contentment, and the resulting loss of divine blessings.  He is instructing them to take time to ask the questions… “What is in your hearts that causes you to be never satisfied nor content?” and “What is taking place within you that is causing a lack of blessings to come your way?”

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Both for those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, and for those who have never come to repentance and faith in Him… the need to examine our life’s motives cannot be underestimated.

For the Christian….

By examining our motives for our life choices, we can more easily see when our love for our Lord is beginning to grow cold.  When we love Him as we should, His will and desires for us will take preeminence in our decision making.

We will ALWAYS put Him first, when we love Him as we should.  (Deut 6:5-9, Matt 22:37-38)  Do we find ourselves putting others ahead of the Lord in our life’s decisions?  Someplace along life’s path, sin has slipped into our life and our love for Him has grown cold… (Matt 24:12)  It is our responsibility to come before Him asking for forgiveness and allow Him to restore a right heart… (1 John 1:8-10)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

By examining the driving forces behind your decision making, you will quickly come to a realization that the fulfillment of the desires of your flesh and mind are the driving forces in your life choices.  The Lord explains your condition in this way:

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”(Eph 2:2-3)

If you see yourself in this condition what must be done?  The Lord clearly reveals the answer to this question in the following verses:

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”(Eph 2:4-9)

In these verses, the two main points that are presented are:

#1 – Christ must intervene in your life and grant you spiritual life.  This can only be done through an act of God.  No man can merit, nor gain, this gift of spiritual life through any works he may perform.

#2 – It is imperative that one who is dead in their sins come to Christ in submission to Him, humbly recognizing they can do nothing to gain their own salvation.  A part of this submissive spirit is the willingness to turn their past sins, to trust Him with their entire life, and accept Him as Lord of their life.

Christ’s promise to each one who sincerely seeks Him….

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

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.”

Eureka!, An Ideal City… With A Catch

SIH STSTA ICONEureka is a TV show currently being shown on the SyFy channel.  It’s unique plot line has made it my favorite show currently being aired. http://www.syfy.com/eureka/index.php  I would recommend it for all ages, it is an entertaining, and educational, family oriented show.  The show is about a city that was created by the US government to house all of the greatest thinkers of the day.   You have rocket scientists, brain surgeons, quantum physicists, all the best minds inhabiting one city.  You would think if there was one city that had all its problems handled it would be this one.  Because it is filled with geniuses, they should be able to handle any problem that comes their way.  The interesting thing is this… they actually create their own problems.  Many times, an individual scientist goes “rogue” and botches up an experiment that causes problems for the entire city.

And there is a real life lesson that can be learned from all of this…If a group is not unified in their goal… they are not unified at all.  How true this is in real life… and how true is it amongst many Christian groups today….

There is a clamoring for “unity” claiming the Bible teaches all Christian denominations (Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Brethren, Presbyterian, etc.)  should be unified in spite of doctrinal differences… this is called the “Ecumenical Movement”.

There is another movement called the “Interfaith Movement” that teaches that there should be unity between the different faiths of the world (Christian, Islam, Buddhist, Jewish, etc) to cooperate in promotion of better relations between each group. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenism

I would like to examine the Scriptures to see if that is really what the Bible teaches…. Should all religions unify in promoting spirituality, or, should all Christians unify in worship and service in the midst of doctrinal disagreements?

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:23-24)

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  (Mat 15:7-9)

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.  (Eph 4:11-16)

THE STUDY:

There can be no doubt that one of the main goals of Christ’s work on the cross was to create a unified body of believers; note these quotations…

“he should gather together in one” – Joh 11:51-53;

“that they also may be one in us… that they may be one, even as we are one…” Joh 17:20-23;

“for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross… Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” Eph 2:11-22)

Yes, undoubtedly, the Lord desires for His followers to be unified.  The question isn’t “Should we all be unified?”  The real question is “Can we unify without holding to the same set of beliefs?”

Our set of scripture references addresses this question. Note that our Lord gives the parameters for true, Godly worship to take place….

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:23-24) 

Here, He clearly states that a sincere spirit must be present with the truth of His Word for true worship to take place.  This is a real troublesome passage for those who believe that all denominations or religions should overlook their differences for the sake of unity.  The Lord clearly states that “the truth” must be sincerely held to for true worship to take place.

Let me give you two examples of truth versus error:

1.  Is it true that the Bible states that salvation can be found in Christ alone? (Act 4:10-12)

If so, every religion that exists, apart from Christianity, is teaching error.  Under this truth/error test can all religions gather and share in worship?

2.  Is it true that the Bible teaches salvation is by grace and through faith and not by the works of man? (Eph 2:7-9)

Again, let me ask… if this is the case, what about all the Christian denominations that mix works with salvation?  Can we all unite in the name of Christ and worship together when there is such great error being taught?

People are dying and going to hell by believing there is salvation in another besides Christ, or because they are relying on their good works to save themselves.  How can we be united in the promotion of error?  Folks, this should not be.

These are just two examples of many different MAJOR doctrinal issues that I could be presenting to outline the stark differences between the different religions and the different denominations.  The issue is clear… when an important doctrine (one that salvation hinges) is disagreed upon, there can be no unity in worship.

What would happen if we tried to unite?  Our second passage refers to this by stating….

 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. “ (Mat 15:7-9) 

 This Scripture speaks for itself.  This is the end of all who choose to unite without a sincere belief in Biblical truth.

So what is the remedy for this?  Everyone must accept the truth first, and then, unite for the cause of Christ.  How do we do this?  Here’s where our third Scripture reference comes in….

 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”  (Eph 4:11-16)

We are to learn from Godly men who are proclaiming the truths of His Word.  As we learn we will come together in doctrinal unity, unified around the Word and not around the teachings of man.  This is God’s way of unification.  This is the type of unity that pleases our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The next obvious question is this… How can we know who is a teacher of truth and not a teacher of error?

We are to live like the Bereans…

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. (Act 17:10-12)

By searching the Scriptures in our own personal studies, to affirm what is taught to us by men, the Holy Spirit will lead us to teachers of the truth… This is our responsibility.  To compare what our teachers are saying with what the Word says.  This is the only way we can discern truth from error.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Any true Christian, when confronted with the truth of His Word, would choose to worship in “spirit and truth” as compared to worshipping the Lord in vain… this is the simple choice that is at hand for us all.

Will we take a stand for the truth and unite with other Bible believing and proclaiming Christians for the cause of Christ… or will we unite with all “religious people” and get unity for unity’s sake??  I’m afraid today, for the sake of numbers of followers, many are compromising the truth for the sake of acceptance and promotion among other groups.  Shame on us.  May the Lord be merciful to us as sinners.

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.”

Go To The Light… and it ain’t the Ghost Whisperer Talkin!

SIH STSTA ICON

Anyone who has watched the TV show Ghost Whisperer, has heard the phrase “Go to the light” at least two to three times an episode.  (see more about this here… http://www.youtube.com/show?p=yaJn4TCMqCQ&s=5&clips=1)

Why does she tell them to “Go to the light”?  According to the show, it is because it is only “in the light” that those who have died can find final peace, forgiveness and the resulting rest in the afterlife.  In the series, however, it is never clearly explained what “the light” is.

Similarly, in the modern day “near death experience”, going to a light, or seeing a bright light during an out of body experience is commonplace.  These accounts do not include any explanation of this light with few, if any exceptions.

I’m not going to look at the Scriptural implications of the “going to the light” idea, or all the events that make up a “near death experience;” that is for another day and time.  But, I would like to look at the Bible’s teachings on a “light” that will give us forgiveness, peace, and rest; in this life and in the afterlife as well…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  (Joh 8:12)

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (Joh 9:5)

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:15-16)

THE STUDY:

John 8:12:

Christ describes Himself as “the Light of the World”.  He then goes on to explain why He possesses that title.  He says that “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  In other words, if we are a follower of Christ, we will not be spiritually blind any longer, but He will open our blinded eyes, allowing us to be understanding of His words and in receipt of spiritual life now and throughout eternity.

John 9:5:

Christ makes it plain that He will be the Light of the World as long as He is present in this world.  But what then?…..

Matthew 5:15-16:

In the context, Christ is speaking to those who have placed their trust in Him as Lord and Savior, and are now followers of Him.   He says that, in His absence from the earth, we are now the Light of the World, shining forth His Word as a candle shines forth its light.  How do we shine forth that light?  Through our words and our works we reflect the light of Christ to this world, which results in His Father being glorified.

The above picture was painted by my wonderful wife, Eva Barkman.  Her picture of a lighthouse can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who shines forth for all to see.  Her description reflects that thought….. “A lighthouse always reminds me of our great Lord, who is the light of the world to all who will see Him (the saved).  When things get dark and depressing, it’s a blessing to have the one true light of Jesus Christ to guide your way.”

(My thanks to Eva for allowing me to use her picture in this posting… Also the “Settled In Heaven” banner at the top of this page is a combination of her “Calvary” painting and her digital captioning.

If you would like a blessing… visit her website for more of her paintings and their Scriptural applications…. http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com/ )

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, is your life reflecting Christ to the world?  Or, I could ask the same question in a different way…. When someone looks at our life, do they see Christ?  That’s what being a witness for Christ is all about.  By bearing the fruits of the Spirit (Gals 5:22-23, Eph 5:8), we are letting our light shine in the world.   This light then reveals Christ and glorifies the Father in the eyes of all those around us.

Stop and think about it…if we do not reflect the light of Christ into this world, who will?  Since Christ is now no longer physically in this world, it is an ABSOLUTE necessity that we reflect His light, and shine it forth in the midst of a sin darkened world. (Acts 13:47, 1 Ptr 2:9)

Do we have a loved one whose spiritual condition is a burden to us?  Have you been praying for an acquaintance to come to a saving relationship with Christ?  If you answered “yes” to either of these questions then my next question to you is this… Are you displaying Christ’s light to them through your words and actions?   You can do this by telling them what Christ has done for you; then, live a life before them that honors the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   There is no stronger witness than to have a Godly life supporting the Godly message we are delivering… this is our Lord’s way to be an effective witness for Him.

I know in today’s time we have all the “modern” ways of evangelizing the lost around us. All I can say is this…. Our Lord’s way of evangelizing is the ONLY way to be an effective witness for Him…. He made that way clear by telling us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. To depart from this is to depart from the will and ways of our Father in heaven.

For those who have never been saved, “Go to the light”!   Not the way the ghost whisperer means it… but, in the way the Bible means it.  We are to experience His gracious intervention in our life, abhor our sin, fall at His feet and humbly seek the salvation only He can give.  (2 Cor 4:6, Eph 5:14)

(For much more information on this subject please read, with an opened Bible, the blog page entitled “salvation”.  On this page you will find various blog entries dealing totally with salvation.)

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.”

Are We Lost In Space? Or Maybe Lost On Earth?

SIH STSTA ICONWhen I was a kid, I used to LOVE watching the TV series “Lost In Space’, it is still one of my favorite TV shows of all time.  It’s all about the Robinson family of space explorers who are thrown off course and become lost in space (get it…. that’s where they get the name! yuk yuk)  Anyhow, the series is about this family traveling from one planet to the next always looking for a way back to earth.

YouTube has many clips of the show (here’s one example … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP-s3OqCGhA) Also, you can watch the entire series at http://www.fancast.com/tv/Lost-in-Space/)   I would heartily recommend this show for wholesome family viewing.

The thing about the Robinson family was that they knew where they wanted to go, but they didn’t know how to get there.  I am afraid that this is the situation that many of us are experiencing in our lives today.  We desire peace, lasting joy, a sense of belonging, a sense of accomplishment, assurance of our destiny in the after life… the list goes on and on.  We know what we want but, sadly, many of us don’t know how to attain it.  We turn to many different worldly sources of advice to give us guidance in fulfilling our desires, but to no avail.  Nothing this side of heaven gives us the peace, joy and satisfaction and assurance that we so greatly desire.

If it were not for God’s grace, none of us would have the know-how or the ability to attain any of these goals.   But, thanks to Him, the realization of our goals becomes possible through His Word and His divine intervention in our lives.

Let’s see what God’s Word says….

THE SCRIPTURE:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1Co 1:27-31)

THE STUDY:

Lets quickly notice in our first set of verses:

1. The Lord makes it plain we should not be surprised at the world’s inability to give satisfaction and peace to man.  (vs 27-29)

2. The result of the world’s inability to satisfy is described in the phrase “That no flesh should glory in his presence”. (vs 29)  In other words, no earthly human being can stand up and say “I can give you true peace, joy and satisfaction, come follow me and I will fulfill all your desires.”  No human can supply to us our life’s needs.

3. The source of true peace and satisfaction and our eternal security is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we have a personal relationship with Christ, His Spirit indwells us.  The Spirit, in turn gives us an understanding of His Word and supplies guidance to us as we live our day to day life on earth.  It is through Christ, and His Spirit, that we can find true spiritual satisfaction and security.  (vs. 30-31)

4.  The Godly basis of our life’s satisfaction and security is described by four terms:

A. wisdom –  Godly wisdom is the ability to take God’s Word and apply it to the decision we make in life.  This is the wisdom that enables us to make choices that honor God and lead a life that is honest,  and kind towards man.  Possessing this wisdom gives us confidence knowing that our life is pleasing to God and man.

B. righteousness –  Godly righteousness is being “lawful” in the eyes of God and also man.  To be righteous means to have peace within knowing our Lord has forgiven us of our sins and that we have  His innocence placed on our account.  Possessing His righteousness also means that we are now living lives that are just and fair to others around us.

C. sanctification – Godly sanctification results in us being “set-apart’ for God’s use.  It places us in His family of believers, and takes us out of the dominion of sin.  Sanctification also aids us as we submit to His will and resist temptation.

D. redemption – Godly redemption results in us being “purchased” through the death of Christ on the cross.  His redemption placed on our account tells us we are loved by God, the price for our sins has been paid, and we are eternally secure in Him.

By knowing the Lord has intervened in our lives in all 4 ways gives us the peace, joy and satisfaction we so greatly desire.

The above picture by Paul Cheng illustrates the stark difference between a life lived with Christ and a life lived without Him.

Paul’s description is a great summary of our need to be sure we have been saved…  “As you can see, only in the cross there is life but outside there is no life. It is symbolically a parallel universe where our spiritual destiny is determined by our choice to believe in Jesus or not today (John 3:16).”

(You can see more of Paul’s wonderful art at his website:  http://www.certaintyofdrawings.blogspot.com/  Take a look at Paul’s work… it will be a great blessing to you.  Also my thanks to Paul for allowing me to use his work on this blog posting.  It is greatly appreciated.)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, let’s be sure to praise and honor the One who has made our life complete.  It is only through Christ and His work that we can truly lead fulfilled, contented lives.

For those who are not saved, if you have begun to see the great void that exists in your life, look to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him to intervene, save you from your sins, and fulfill your desires for peace, love and security.  It is only then that you will be able to live your life to it’s fullest.

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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.”

Oh, How Good It Looks… Oh, How Bad It Is For You

SIH STSTA ICONOne of my weaknesses is my desire for a cheeseburger.  I love cheeseburgers…. Burger King Whoppers with cheese to be exact.  But actually, how can anyone find fault with me?  Just take a look at this Burger King Whopper commercial…. (be forewarned, I don’t know how anyone can resist this!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pltp_xNrego

After having a mild heart attack about 5 years ago, it is for my good that I don’t make a habit of eating these babies.  It seems as if ever since I was told to “lay off the Whoppers” that I have only wanted them more.  We have all experienced something like this… temptation is universal, everyone has experienced it at one time or another.

Sadly, this universal experience is one of the greatest hindrances we face to living a faithful, obedient Christian life.  Why does temptation make such an impact in a Christian’s life?  How can we overcome such a strong influence?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about temptation…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1Jn 2:15-17)

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Gen 3:6)

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (Mat 4:1-11)

THE STUDY:

1 John 2:15-17

Here, we find the three basic areas of attack that temptation takes… the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  These are the three types of sinful desires we all have within us.  These are the areas that temptation appeals to and to which we submit, producing sin in our lives. (James 1:13-15)

Genesis 3:6

Here, we read of the very first temptation of mankind.  Note the three areas attacked by Satan during his temptation of man:

the tree was good for food” (lust of the flesh);

it was pleasant to the eyes” (lust of the eyes);

a tree to be desired to make one wise” (the pride of life).

This is a consistent pattern throughout the Scriptures.  Every temptation that is enacted upon man is aimed at one (or more) of these three types of sinful desires we all possess.

Matt 4:1-11

In this account, we have the temptation of Christ brought into view. Notice that, again, temptation’s attack is in a three-fold direction:

command that these stones be made bread” – Christ’s hunger after His fasting (this would have appealed to His desires of the flesh)

If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down:… lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” – By doing this, Christ would be proving to everyone His divine origin (this would have appealed to His desire to exalt Himself or His pride of life)

The devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, …if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” – This was appealing to the sight of all the kingdoms of the world.  (By doing this the temptation involved the desires of His eyes)

In each case, a similar area of Christ’s life was being attacked (just like in the other two examples we looked at.)  However, in the case of Christ, we have a perfectly sinless response to these temptations.  Why?  Christ’s did not have a sinful nature that fallen mankind possesses.  This is one reason why Christ was perfectly able to resist these temptations.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

For our benefit, Christ clearly displayed the method in which to overcome any temptation that we may face.  Please notice, in each of the three attacks by Satan, the Lord used the Word of God to gain the victory over Satan.   “It is written”, “it is written”, “it is written”; was Christ’s constant refrain.

In each case Satan lied (John 8:44), in each case Christ refuted the lie by going to the source of all truth, God’s Word.

Satan can use our friends, our family, even our experiences to lie to us.  The only sure source of truth we can rely on is the Word of God.  If anything in our life leads us contrary to Scripture, we must put it aside, and follow the Scripture exclusively.

The example of Christ, once again, speaks to us concerning the importance of Bible study and memorization for the Christian.  It is truly the only offensive weapon we have to deflect Satan’s attacks against us. (Eph 6:14-17)

Another lesson from Christ’s example is the need to take special care when we see a weakness in any of these three areas in our life.  We should be constantly striving for control of our pride, control of our eyes and control of our fleshly desires.  When these begin to dominate us, we are headed for defeat.

For those who have never submitted to the Lord…

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (Jas 1:13-15)

Without the forgiveness of Christ, spiritual, eternal death is the end result of temptations workings in mankind.  The only remedy for this is to look to Christ, the life-giver, who gave Himself on the cross so that we might share eternal life with Him. (2 Tim 1:8-10)

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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.”

There’s A Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On!

SIH STSTA ICON

Author’s Note:

Over the Labor Day weekend, Christchurch New Zealand suffered a 7.1 earthquake. By God’s grace there were no fatalities and only a few minor injuries. (Please be in prayer for the people of Christchurch concerning the expected aftershocks.)  It light of this event, I thought it was the right time to post this to my blog. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/04/new-zealand-earthquake-curfew

Jerry Lee Lewis had it right, even though he didn’t know it when he sang” “there is a whole lotta shakin goin on” (his 1957 hit song – You can see him performing the song at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yRdDnrB5kM)

Back then he had no idea his song would apply to the age we are living in.  In today’s time, there is increasing number of earthquakes rocking the globe.  In the above chart, you can easily see that there has been a definite increase in reported earthquake activity over the past 18 years. (Above is a chart that clearly shows the increase in the number of earthquakes taking place over the past 18 years….  You can see the raw data that this chart was derived from at the USGS.gov website.  Please use the following links to see the data:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/info_1990s.php

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/eqstats.php

Please note the data they have for 2009 and 2010 is incomplete and not included on the chart)

Some scientists look at the data and have come to the conclusion that climate change is the culprit in this issue.  They claim that, until climate change (they used to call it global warming until our environment started to cool) is in check, we can expect the number of earthquakes to continue to increase.  I do not doubt the earthquake rate is increasing…. But I question the cause in their “theory”.

Then there are other scientists, on the other side of the issue, that say that there really is no increase in earthquake activity but simply an increase in the number of seismographs worldwide.  Their reasoning is that what is happening is that there are simply more earthquakes being reported due to the increase in number of measuring devices.  In actuality, they say, the number of earthquakes has not increased.  I believe, they are denying the obvious.

So what is going on with all these earthquakes?  Does the Bible even mention them or explain what is going on?  Let’s see what we can find in our study today….

THE SCRIPTURE:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Rom 8:18-25)

THE STUDY:

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, not only was mankind affected; but, so too, all of earthly creation.  This is the meaning of the phrases “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly” and “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption” found in our Rom 8: text.

This principle is a pretty easy one for us to grasp.  When man committed sin in the garden, not only did it affect mankind, but it also affected nature.  Where once you had peace between all animals, you now have animals feeding on one another.  Where once you had animals that were in perfect submission to man, you now have animals that are wild, not easily tamed and dangerous to mankind.  Where there used to be no weeds or thistles to harm our crops, you now have them spring up all over the place making an added burden upon man to keep them under control.   The cataclysmic change in weather following the flood of Noah’s day is directly attributed to the sinfulness of mankind.  (Gen 6:5-8)  In these, and in many other ways, nature has changed due to sin.

As we continue on in our text, we find that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”  (To “groan” has the idea of the noise founded in grief due to great loss.  The earth, just as mankind, lost much due to the fall. To “travail” means birth pains.  It implies increasing frequency and intensity as time progresses.)

To rephrase our verse… now that creation has fallen with man, creation is slowly decaying and wasting away waiting to be purified for the 2nd coming of Christ (Rev 19:11-Rev 20:5) and then reborn as the new heavens and earth for eternity (2 Pet 3:10-13, Rev 20:12-Rev 21:5)

One result of the earth’s decaying and wasting away are the increasing earthquakes we are experiencing in today’s time. The Lord speaks of earthquakes in connection with the signs of the last days several times in Scripture (Rev 11:13, 11:19, 16:18, Zech 14:5, Matt 24:7 etc.)

As these earthquakes take place, they are a solemn reminder of sin’s affects on the earth and the coming end of the world, as promised in the Scriptures.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved the earthquakes should awaken within us the urgency of spreading the good news of Christ to a lost world.  The earthquakes are one proof that mankind truly is fallen and in need of salvation, but it also causes us to reflect on the end of this sinful world and the restoration that the Lord has so graciously promised.

When I think of these things, Romans 13:11-14 comes to mind:

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

For those who have never experienced the saving grace of God in your life.  Allow these earthquakes, and their significance, to motivate you to seek the Lord before it is too late.  There is no question of mankind’s need of salvation… the Bible is so very clear about this (Rom 3:9,19,23, 5:12, 11:32, Gals 3:22 Etc.)   But also, the earthquakes remind us that time is short… we should not delay coming to Christ in submission, placing our spiritual life in His hands, by faith.   The Word makes this urgency clear…

“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Co 6:2)

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jer 8:20)

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.”

The Christians Labor Day

SIH STSTA ICONThe US holiday we commonly call “Labor Day” was “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”   (The History of Labor Day”, US Gvt DOL website – http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm)  In times past, Labor Day was commonly referred to as the “working man’s holiday”.  Specifically set aside in appreciation for the hard work of the American citizen (especially members of the Labor Unions).

Speaking for myself, I always look forward to Labor Day, enjoying an additional paid day off work and much needed time with my family.  But as much as I enjoy the US Labor Day celebration, there is a much greater Labor Day in the future for those of us that are servants of the Lord.  Let’s take a few minutes and learn more about the eternal Labor Day that the Lord has so graciously promised to us.

THE SCRIPTURE:

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.  (Rev 14:13)

THE STUDY:

Here in Rev 14:13 we find one of many references to the eternal rest that the Lord has promised to those who serve Him.  Please note the four basic principles concerning this rest:

Principle #1 – “Blessed” This eternal rest we receive is a great blessing from the Lord. It not only is a reward for faithfulness but also a great encouragement as we serve the Lord on earth.   What a great blessing it is to know that we someday will enjoy eternal rest with Christ!

Principle #2 – “the dead which die in the Lord” We enter this eternal rest at the completion of our course here on earth.  Keep in mind, all who are servants of Jesus will enter into that rest, whether when we die or when He comes back to take us home at His second coming.

Why do we not rest from our labors while we are still on the earth?  The Lord clearly explains to us that “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”   There is so much work left to do here on earth… now is not the time for rest…. It is the time for service!

Principle #3 – “they may rest from their labors” When the servant’s work on earth is completed, he enters into a very wonderful special type of rest… this rest is described in detail in Rev 21:3-4;  It involves a rest from pain, sorrow, and physical suffering.  But also, the Christian will no longer have to struggle against sinful flesh, but will now be able to worship the Lord in sinless freedom (Rev 22:3-5; Rom 8:21; ”glorious liberty of children of God”)

Principle #4 – “their works do follow them”  What a tremendous blessing! Just to know that when we serve the Lord on earth, our labors are remembered into eternity.  The rewarding of the faithful servant of the Lord is a central, widespread theme throughout God’s Word. (2 Tim 4:7-8; Heb 6:10-11)

Keep in mind, the rewards we will receive in heaven will have a wonderful significance.  The rewards are not given to faithful Christians to bring praise to the Christian.  Keep in mind, any service we have rendered to the Lord is entirely by His grace.  Our health, our physical life, our understanding of Scripture, our salvation, EVERYTHING having to do with our service to Him is a gift from Him.   This is why when we receive our rewards for service we lay them back down at His feet. (Rev 4:10-11)  It is our way of saying “If it was not for you Lord, we never could have served You”.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

On this Labor Day weekend, let’s take a few minutes to give thanks to the Lord for His laborers that are faithfully working the fields that are “white unto the harvest”.  Give your pastor, missionary or Sunday School teacher a quick call or email thanking them for their service as well.  But above all else, we need to be sure that we are doing what our Lord has called us to do, recognizing our time of rest has not yet come!

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Take some time out this weekend to read the Bible and see the work that Christ has performed for His people.  Here are some chapters to get you started. If you read a Romans chapter in the morning and a John chapter in the evening you can easily finish these this holiday weekend. (Romans chapters 5, 8,11; John chapters 3,4,5;)

May the Lord bless you.

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.”