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SIH’s Think On These Things: Matt 6:10a

SIH TOTT ICON(Mat 6:10)  Thy kingdom come.

Do we desire for God’s kingdom to come?  If so, we are telling Him that we are willing to submit to His will and desires for our life.  We are saying, Lord, I desire for you to be the King of my life and reign in the world around me.

Are we willing to follow His leadership, as the Lord speaks to us through His Word?

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                       Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:23

SIH TOTT ICONPhp 4:23:  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. To the Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus.

Throughout Paul’s writings, one of his most common requests is for his readers to be given God’s grace.  “Grace” is shown to us anytime God gives benefits to us that we do not deserve.

When we opposed God, He sent His Son to die so that we might be forgiven of our rebellion against Him.  As fallen mankind, we deserved to be eternally separated from our Lord in never-ending torment.  And yet, He has promised to us, an eternity in His presence.   What great graces He has shown to each and every one of His people!

If we began to list all of His graces, we could never complete the list.  Beyond our salvation… our physical life, our families and other loved ones, our talents and abilities, the fruits of the Spirit, our material possessions, our EVERYTHING are gifts of His grace.

As we begin our day, let us center our attention on how good our Lord is to us.  And then, with thankful hearts, let’s give Him our best knowing that we owe our all to Him!

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                  SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:19

SIH TOTT ICONPhp 4:18-19:

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 In Phil 4:19, we are told that our God has an unlimited amount of resources He can draw upon to meet the needs of His people.  His blessings flow to us through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is really important to note the context of verse 18.  This promise is given immediately after sacrificial giving is discussed.

When we are faced with the opportunity to sacrifice for the cause of Christ, remember, He is able to meet the necessities of our lives.  Give freely of our time, talents and finances to help others, and know He will supply our needs. (Luke 6:38)

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                       Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                     SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

Meditate On The Word Of God

In our previous blog entry we looked at the Bible teachings about the role of mediation in the life of a Christian.  One of the most important subjects we are to meditate upon is His Word.

In this blog posting, I would like to look at some of the benefits that can be attained when we meditate on the Word of the Lord.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Joshua 1:1-9

1) Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,2) Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, [even] to the children of Israel.3) Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.4) From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.5) There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.6) Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.7) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it [to] the right hand or [to] the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.8) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.9) Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

THE STUDY:

Joshua 1:1-9 picks up following the 40 year travels of the nation ofIsraelin the wilderness following their deliverance from the Egyptian Empire. Moses, and the generation of unbelieving Israelites have died, leaving Joshua to now led a new generation, who by faith, had been prepared by God to take possession of the promised land.

In our text, as Joshua is being commissioned to lead the Israelites, we find the importance and the benefits of meditating on God’s Word…

Josh 1

1) Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,  Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, [even] to the children of Israel.

Here, we find Joshua being called to lead the children of Israel after the death of His mentor, Moses.  The mission that Moses had failed to accomplish (the entrance of Israel into the promised land) was now Joshua’s undertaking.

3) Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4) From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

5) There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Joshua would not only accept the responsibilities and mission that had been given to Moses, but He would also share in the  blessings and victories as well.     Joshua, by faith would trust in the Lord’s promises of victory and deliverance of the promised land.  The Lord graciously reassures Joshua that He would have the same relationship as He had with Moses.  The Lord would protect Joshua, commune with Joshua, and never leave Joshua. 

6) Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

7) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it [to] the right hand or [to] the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

The Lord now calls Joshua to take hold of these challenges with faith knowing he is equipped and accompanied by the Lord.  He desired Joshua to be empowered and stand strong in the face of his enemies, knowing that his God would bring him the victory.

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

9) Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

How could Joshua cultivate the type of faith that would be needed to led the Israelite nation into the many battles necessary to take the promised land?  By meditation on the Word of God!   Through undistracted times of concentration and examination of His Word, Joshua would find the source of strength and faith he needed to meet the challenges of each new day.  Here are some of the blessings Joshua would receive through meditation on the Word of God:

  1. He would be able to retain the Word in his life.  This would allow him to make the Godly choices of living and ministering through both his words (shalt not depart out of thy mouth) and his actions (thou mayest observe to do).
  2. He would experience spiritual prosperity (make they way prosperous) and success (have good success) in completing God’s will for his life
  3. He would be spiritually strengthened (be strong) to oppose fleshly and worldly temptations.
  4. He would be courageous and not fearful (of good courage, be not afraid), thinking about his great Lord and the promises the Lord gave to him.
  5. He would have spiritual clarity in his thinking and understanding (be not dismayed).  He would be able to see the trials of each day through the filter of God’s word.  He would see each days events through the eyes of the Lord.
  6. In general, through meditation on the Word, Joshua would receive the appropriate equipment he needed to fulfill his God-given responsibilities to lead Israel.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved…

A Christian’s need to meditate on His Word cannot be overestimated.  To remain faithful in the midst of a world that is opposed to the Lord, we must retain our intimacy with the Lord thru His Word.  Our minds should always be upon Him and His desires for us…

Ps 119:14-16 (KJV)

14) I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as [much as] in all riches.15) I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.16) I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

For those who have never received His gracious salvation into our lives…

By meditating on His Word and His intervention, you too can become acquainted with His desires.  The first desire for your life is to recognize your need of salvation, turn from your sins and come trusting in Him as your Saviour and accepting Him as Lord of your life.

John 6:32-48 (KJV)

32) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35) 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.  36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39) 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.  40) 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. 41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42) And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?  43) Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46) Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.  47) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48) I am that bread of life.

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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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SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:18

SIH TOTT ICONPhil 4:18 (KJV)

18) But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

The Apostle Paul, when referring to the sacrificial giving of the church at Phillippi, described the gifts as sacrifices with which God was well-pleased.  Every time that we, as Christians, sacrifice for the cause of Christ our God is well-pleased with us.  The sacrifices we make do not go unnoticed by God.  When we give of ourselves we are simply “laying up in store” for our eternal home. (1 Tim 6:19)  Our God turns our sacrificial giving into our eternal gain!

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                   Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:14

SIH TOTT ICONPhil 4:14 (KJV) – 14) Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

Here, we find Paul commending the church at Phillippi for helping him during a time of affliction.  In the times in which we live financial, emotional, medical and, most importantly, spiritual needs abound.  Are we aware of those facing hardship around us?  Are we willing to step up and help those in need?   Let’s all be “on the lookout” for opportunities to be a blessing to others, and to show Christ’s love to the world around us.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

The Benefits and Dangers of Meditation

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

Mediation is described as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To summarize the above:

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

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

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

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

Phil 4:4-9 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:11-13

SIH TOTT ICONPhil 4:11-13 (KJV)

11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.  12)  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

In our text, we find the very well-known phrase “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”.  This is one of the most comforting and encouraging promises given to Christians.

It is interesting to note the context in which Paul related this truth to us.  It was spoken in the context of contentment.  How wonderful it is to know that the Lord will give His people the ability to be content no matter what condition we might find ourselves.  The next time we find ourselves desiring that which we cannot have,  let’s remember that “God’s grace is sufficient” is give us contentment, even during times of want.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Phil 4:8-9

SIH TOTT ICONPhil 4:8-9  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.

In our text, our Lord graciously reminds us of the need to control our thought life.  When we keep our minds on the things of God, we will find that the peace we experience will increase as we draw closer to Him.  Let’s make a renewed effort to keep the things of God on our hearts and minds today.

To help remind us of the importance of thinking on Him daily, I’m beginning this new “Think On These Things” series of daily blog postings.  Please be in prayer for this new ministry as well as the other “Settled In Heaven” ministries.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Web Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

Abortion: When Does Life Begin In The Womb?

SIH STSTA ICON(Author’s Note: Due to the length of this Bible study, I have explained many of the Scripture verses in a very general, basic way.  If you have any questions concerning this Bible Study please feel free to contact me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I will be answer any emails promptly.)  

With the presidential debates taking place, I thought it would be a good time to review what the Bible teaches about some of the moral societal issues of today.  At the forefront of these issues are abortion and homosexuality (and same sex unions).  In today’s blog, I would like to center our attention on abortion.  In a later blog entry we will look at homosexuality and same sex-marriages.

Let’s begin today’s look at the Scriptural teachings on abortion.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Exod 20:13 (KJV) Thou shalt not kill.

Matt 19:18 (KJV) He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Rom 13:9 (KJV)  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Rev 22:14-15 (KJV) Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Matt 18 (KJV) At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matt 19:13-15 (KJV) Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put [his] hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid [his] hands on them, and departed thence.

Gen 25:22-23 (KJV) And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If [it be] so, why [am] I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Luke 1:41 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

Luke 2:12-16 (KJV) And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Job 3:3 (KJV) Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night [in which] it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Luke 1:36 (KJV) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Num 12:12 (KJV) Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.

Luke 1:43 (KJV) And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Ps 51:5 (KJV) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Job 31:13-15 (KJV)  If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Ps 139:13 (KJV) For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Ps 22:9-10 (KJV) But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou [art] my God from my mother’s belly.

Gal 1:15 (KJV) But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called [me] by his grace,

Jer 1:4-5 (KJV) Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Isa 49:1 (KJV) Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

Luke 1:15 (KJV) For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

Psa 139:14-16 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, [and] curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all [my members] were written, [which] in continuance were fashioned, when [as yet there was] none of them.

Deut 22:25-27 (KJV) But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; [there is] in the damsel no sin [worthy] of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so [is] this matter: For he found her in the field, [and] the betrothed damsel cried, and [there was] none to save her.

Lev 20:11-17 (KJV) And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them. And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood [shall be] upon them…. And if a man take a wife and her mother, it [is] wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you… And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it [is] a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

Ezek 18:20 (KJV) The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Rom 12:17-21 (KJV) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Titus 2:4 (KJV) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

1Cor 13:4-7 (KJV)  Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

John 15:13 (KJV) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Matt 23:37 (KJV)  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine]. And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

 

THE STUDY:

I.  The Taking of Innocent Life Is Murder

Most, if not all of us, understand that the taking of innocent life is sinful.  Both in the Old and New Testaments, we find this teaching clearly on display…

“Thou shalt not kill” is not only a part of the Old Testament law (Ex 20:13), but it is also reaffirmed by Christ Himself in the New Testament (Matt 19:18).  Also, we find the Apostle Paul repeating the murder prohibition in Romans 13:9.  Finally, we see clearly that those who are found guilty of the sin of murder will be restricted from heaven and eternally judged for their sin (Rev 22:14-15)  The Bible is clear… murder is a sin in God’s eyes punishable by eternal death.

The Lord Jesus also made it plain that young children were to have special protection, attention and care given to them (Matt 18:1-6, Matt 19:13-15).

In our study of abortion, if we accept that the taking of innocent life is sinful, the question then becomes… does a fetus, in its mother’s womb possess life?  If so, at what point does its life come into existence?   At whatever point the fetus possesses life, the abortion procedure becomes murder.  This is the issue that we are going to examine in this study.

II. A fetus in the womb is considered a child and the pregnant woman is considered the child’s mother.

In Genesis 25:22-23, twins in their mother’s womb are given the title “children”.  The Hebrew word for children is Ben…. It is the common word used to describe children throughout the OT.  In Luke 1:41, John the Baptist while yet in his mother’s womb is described as “babe”.  The Greek word for babe is the word brephos…. This same Grk word is used in Luke 2:12-16 to describe Christ, the babe that was wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger in Bethlehem.

In both of the above examples, we can clearly see that based upon vocabulary usage, the Bible does not differentiate between a babe in its mother’s womb and a babe that has been born into this world.

You can also see this principle in Job 3:3 where we are told that it was a “man child” that was conceived in his mother’s womb.  Luke 1:36 tells us that it was a “son” that was conceived.

In Numbers 12:12 – we find that even in the case of a woman who has given birth to a still born child.  She is still considered a mother, because her child had possessed life while the baby was within her womb.   This same principle is presented in Luke 1:43 when a pregnant Mary is described as the “mother of my Lord”

III. A fetus in the womb is considered a distinct human being with whom the Lord actively intervenes.

In Psa 51:5 the psalmist describes himself, at conception, as “I” and “me”.  Pointing to his personhood beginning with his conception, throughout his mother’s pregnancy and birth and then throughout his life outside the womb.  This can also be seen in Job 31:13-15, where Job describes himself in the womb as “I”, “me” and “us”. In Psa 139:13, the psalmist says “thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb”. Once again, we can see that during his time in his mother’s womb, he was an individual human ( “me”) that was simply “covered” in the womb.

In Psalm 22:9-10 we are told that God was in control of the conception, formation and birth of the child.  This is proof that He was the child’s God even from his mother’s womb.

The Apostle Paul was called by God to his ministry while he was yet in his mother’s womb in Gal 1:15.  The same holds true for Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-5), Isaiah (Isa 49:1), and John The Baptist (Luke 1:15).

IV.  When does life begin in the womb?

In Psa 139:14-16, we find the development of the fetus is in view.  Please notice the 2 stages of development include….

1. the initial formation of genetic material (at conception when the seed meets the egg) “in thy book all were written… when as yet there was none of them.”

2.  the continual forming of the body (based upon the dictates of the genetic material) “in continuance was fashioned” The continual forming and growth of the baby from coneption forward is a sign of the baby possessing life from conception forward.

In other words, the Lord made the Psalmist “in secret” (ie in his mother’s womb – “lowest parts of the earth”) .   When the Lord first made the Psalmist, he was “yet unperfect” (undeveloped) .  However, even though he was undeveloped, all the genetic instructions (“in thy book all my members were written”) were present .   The baby’s body, organs etc, were not physically in existence (“as yet when there was none of them”) although they were in existence in the genetic code.

The baby was in existance and an individual human being from conception.  As the baby grows and develops (following the genetic instructions that are received at conception) the life within the fertilized egg is clearly seen.

Here, we find the answer to the question, “When does the baby receive life while in the womb?”  The Bible makes it plain that the genetic makeup of the child was existing from the very beginning of its formation.  This same genetic code is proof that the child is not simply a part of the mothers’ body.  On a genetic level the baby existed, in it’s entirety from conception.  Add to that the principle of growth and development immediately beginning at conception and we have a clear answer to our question.  The baby’s life began at conception…. the baby existed in it’s entirety at conception and exhibited growth and development from that point forward.

V.  What About Rape or Incest… Is Abortion Allowed In These Cases?

Both Rape and Incest are horrible sins in the eyes of the Lord (Lev 20:11-17, Deut 22:25-27). Any victim of these brutal acts should be treated with the greatest amount of concern, compassion and aid.  As Christians, we have the responsibility to help these victims in any way possible.

In Eze 18:20 we find a basic Biblical principle that I believe applies in these cases…. “the son shall bot bear the iniquity of father”…  Although a pregnancy may have come about due to the heinous sinful act of another, the child should not be punished for the sin of their father.  In other words, taking the child’s life, simply because the child was conceived in a sinful manner (rape, incest) cannot be defended.

Please keep mind, although the child may have been conceived as the result of sin, the murder of the child cannot be justified.  Two wrongs do not make a right, nor is a murder justified by the act of rape or incest.  In Rom 12:17-21… we are reminded that the Biblical method of dealing with wickedness is to “overcome evil with good”.  In other words,  to “recompense” one evil act with another evil act is of no spiritual value.  But by displaying love and kindness to others in the midst of wickedness is glorifying to the Lord who set us

the ultimate example of goodness in the midst of wickedness.

VI.  What About Abortion To Protect The Life of the Mother?

One of the most difficult situations a mother can face is to know that by giving birth to her child may endanger her life.  Anyone in this situation should prayerfully, consider the Biblical teachings on the Mother/Child love relationship.

In Titus 2:4 young mothers are told to” love their children”.   1 Cor 13:4-7 helps us to understand that the basis of a true, Biblical love is self-sacrifice.  Both of these verses, when viewed together, helps us to understand that a mother’s role is one of self-sacrifice… constantly working for the good of the child even at great personal cost.  That great personal cost may even extend to the giving of one’s life.

In John 15:13, our Lord tells us that “greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  This principle applies to a mother and child as illustrated by our Lord in Matthew 23:37… where the Lord speaks of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings, protecting them from harm at the risk of her own life.

In the rare event that a pregnancy puts at risk the mother’s life… would it not be proper for the mother to be willing to risk her life for the sake of her unborn child?

VII. Is There Any Example of Someone Being Punished For Harming A Child In The Womb?

In Ex 21:22-23 we find the case of a pregnant woman who is accidently harmed during a fight between two men.  In this case, if she gives birth prematurely due to the injury she received, the party causing her injury was to be “punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him”.  The implication is that the child is prematurely born but does not suffer harm nor death.

However, these verses go on to explain if “mischief” follows.  IE if the child is permanently harmed or dies then “thou shalt give life for life”.  The offender must pay for the mischief that befalls the child due to the premature birth.  If the child dies due to the premature birth then, the offender life was to be taken… “Then thou shalt give life for life”.

This verse clearly tells us that harm to a child within the womb is to be treated just as if any other human being was harmed.  But more importantly, we see that harm to a child in the womb that results in the child’s death is to be punished with death.

What clearer declaration about the sinfulness of abortion could we find anywhere in Scripture?

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV)

22) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine].

23) And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Currently, since abortions are legal in our country, the abortion decision must be made on an individual basis between the parents of the unborn and their God.  By God’s grace, a proper understanding of the Scriptures will make clear the sinfulness of abortion and the need for the unborn to be brought to full term.

For those who have already aborted their child, or for those doctors who have committed abortions, forgiveness can be found with our God.

Isa 55:7 (KJV)  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Mark 3:28 (KJV)

28) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

If you have more questions concerning forgiveness and the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

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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.

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

Same-Sex Marriage: What does the Bible say?

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the more controversial issues in our country today is the issue of same-sex marriage, civil unions and the role of homosexuality.   With the upcoming Presidential primaries and general election, the subject of same-sex marriages versus civil unions has been receiving more airplay.

I thought it would be a good thing to take a few moments and refresh our memories concerning the biblical teachings on homosexuality, its historical occurrences, and its standing in the eyes of God.

Let’s begin today’s look at the Scriptural teachings on homosexuality.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Lev 18:22-25 (KJV)  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it [is] confusion.  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

Lev 20:13 (KJV)  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

Rom 1:24-29 (KJV) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1Cor 6:9-11 (KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

1Tim 1:9-10 (KJV)  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Jude 1:7 (KJV) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Gen 19:4-8 (KJV)  But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:  And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

Deut 23:17 (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

2Tim 3:1-5 (KJV) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 

THE STUDY:

I.  What does the Bible Teach About Homosexuality?

 In the Old Testament the Bible makes it plain that homosexuality is a sinful act:

Lev 18:22-25 (KJV)  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination…  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

Lev 20:13 (KJV)  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

Please note an “abomination” – is the Hebrew word “tow ebah” which refers to something that is disgusting or abhorred.

The New Testament affirms, and upholds, the sinfulness of the homosexual act:

Rom 1:24-29 (KJV) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Please note “vile” is a Greek word referring to “dishonorable”; while the Greek word for  “unseemly” means “indecent or shameful”.  Likewise the Greek word for “error” refers “to stray to wrong path”.

Each of these words, when linked to the last verse of this text “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”  Plainly shows the sinfulness of the homosexual act.

1Cor 6:9-11 (KJV)  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The Greek word for “effeminate” means “to be soft”.  This possibly refers to the tendency of some homosexuals to purposefully display feminine characteristics to attract other males.  Or, perhaps, it refers to taking younger (soft) males as homosexual companions.  In either case, homosexuality is in view.

The phrase “abusers of themselves with mankind” literally means “to have sexual relations with a male”

1Tim 1:9-10 (KJV) Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Please note: to “defile themselves with mankind” is the same Greek phrase as “abusers of themselves with mankind” found in 1 Cor 6:9-11.  This phrase means “to have sexual relations with a male”

Jude 1:7 (KJV) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The word for “fornication” means uncleanness. What type of unclean activity was Sodom and Gomorrha guilty of committing?… going after “strange flesh”.

Note the phrase “strange flesh” ie foreign, or other body.  In other words, to lust after bodies that are in opposition to the commands of the Lord.  Homosexuality is foreign and goes against the plan of God for sexual unions.

In the above reference, Jude is recalling what took place in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha….  The account of this incident is found in Genesis 19:4-8:

Gen 19:4-8 (KJV) But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

“we may know them” is a common Hebrew phrase (yada) that is used to describe a sexual relationship… (Gen 4:1, Gen 38:26, etc)  Also, please notice that a homosexual is given the title sodomite in the Bible, and is linked to sexual sins in Deut 23:17…

Deut 23:17 (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

When taken in context, it is obvious that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gommorrah did not desire to simply interrogate or become friendly with the angel/men who were visiting Lot…. They desired to have a sexual relationship with them.

II. What about Homosexual Marriage or Same Sex Legal Unions?

Once the sinfulness of the homosexual act is established the question of homosexual marriage or homosexual legal union becomes an easy issue to understand.

To allow the existence of homosexual legal unions is the governmental condoning of sinful acts.  This flies in the face of one of the purposes of human government which is to uphold the Lord’s commands through the punishment of sinful actions (Rom 13:1-5).

To allow the existence of homosexual marriages is not only the condoning of sinful acts, but it is also the perversion of the marriage union which God has ordained to be between one man and one woman… (Matt 19:4-5; 1 Cor 7:1-2)

III. How Are Christians To Relate To Homosexuals?

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” this verse applies to the heterosexual as well as the homosexual.  We are all in the same boat.

As fallen, sinful mankind, we all have the need of salvation through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

As those who have received God’s gracious salvation from our sins… we understand the importance of proclaiming the gospel message to those who are in need of forgiveness…

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Just as Paul made it plain that homosexuality is a sin… he made it just as plain that the sin of homosexuality can be forgiven, just like any other sin….  We should never treat homosexuality as an unpardonable sin or a sin that is beyond the grace of God.

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Therefore we should gladly, willingly share the gospel message with the homosexual community as an act of love and responsibility knowing that apart from God’s grace we, too, would be living lives of separation from Him.

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

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

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

Crucified – A Good Friday Devotion

SIH STSTA ICONIn many of the nations of the world, we find capital punishment being exercised for many differing offenses.   Some nations practice capital punishment against only the most heinous of crimes, for others, executions take place for many varying offenses like smuggling, unlawful possession of firearms or drugs, armed robbery etc.  For a more complete list of capital offenses in the various countries of the world click on this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_capital_punishment_by_nation

The methods of capital punishment also vary among the nations as well.   These methods include: Lethal injection, electric chair, gas chamber, single person shooting, firing squad, hanging, beheading, guillotine, stoning and use of the garrote.

In Bible times, crucifixion was one of the most common methods of capital punishment used in theRoman Empire.  Crucifixion is no longer used officially by any government for the purpose of capital punishment.  However, symbolic and ritualistic crucifixions continue to take place in many countries throughout the world.

The Biblical teachings on capital punishment and physical crucifixions will have to wait for another time and place, for today’s blog entry I would like us to concentrate on the meaning of “being crucified with Christ”.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Gal 2:20 (KJV)

20) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Gal 5:24 (KJV)

24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Gal 6:14 (KJV)

14) But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Rom 6:6 (KJV)

6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

THE STUDY:

Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered a horrible crucifixion at the hands of the Roman government and Jewish religious leaders.  In a sense, we are all guilty of placing Christ on the cross; we are guilty of committing the sins for which He was crucified:

1Cor 15:3-4 (KJV)

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:…

It was because of our sins that He would have to die on the cross, taking the punishment of our sins upon Himself so that we might be saved:

Gal 3:13 (KJV)

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:

1Pet 3:18 (KJV)

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:

But the results of Christ’s crucifixion do not end on the cross.  We are told throughout the New Testament scriptures that we, as Christians, share in the experience of the crucifixion. Let’s begin our study by looking at Gal 2:20 (KJV):

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The term “crucified” relates to us the idea death and its results.   When Christ was crucified, His physical life was laid aside (death). The results of His death was that His body was left in the tomb, while His spirit entered heaven for three days and three nights; this entailed separation, ie  separation of His spirit from His body, and also the separation of both His body and spirit from this world).

In the above verse, we find that Christians are described as being “crucified with Christ”.  In other words, just as Christ was literally put to death and then experienced separation, so to we, as Christians, are put to death and separated in three ways:

1.  We no longer live to fulfill our sinful, fleshly desires.  Although we still commit sin, but we no longer are enslaved by our fleshly desires.  A separation has been formed between us and our desires  We now strive to obey our Lord in everything that we do fighting against our desires and striving to live lives of holiness.  Gal 5:24 (KJV)  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

2.  We are no longer alive to the affects of the sinful world around us.  Many are the temptations and sins that are placed before us in this sinful world.  Not only do we no longer serve our fleshly desires, we no longer serve the sinful world around us.  We are no longer “alive” to these temptations, but we now are counted as dead, separated from them. Gal 6:14 (KJV) But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

3.  Our “old man” is also put to death through the workings of Christ on the cross. Our “old man” is a phrase used to describe our old sin nature and the resulting sinful lifestyle.  Our past habits and practices have been changed.  We were slaves to our sinful lifestyle but now have become the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is also described in God’s Word as becoming a “new creature in Christ”  (2 Cor 5:17).  Rom 6:6 (KJV) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

In our Gal 2:20 text, the verse continues on…. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:…”

Here the phrase “nevertheless I live…” is teaching us that just as the death of Christ on the cross resulted in His resurrection and new physical life on earth; so too, our sharing in His crucifixion results in our new life in Him.  Although we are counted as dead to our sinful desires, the sinful world and our “old man” ; we are made spiritually alive. This spiritual life is accompanied by the indwelling of the Savior, in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Our text closes by stating… and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

This newly received spiritual life, and the accompanying change in lifestyle, is based upon faith in Christ.  How does a person share in the crucifixion of Christ? Through faith.  How does a Christian live a new life of submission to Christ? Through faith.  This same Christ in whom we trust, is the same Christ that loved us before the world began.  Based upon His love, He came to the earth and died on the cross so that we might be saved.

If you see that your sin has caused the Lord grief and pain;  if you abhor the sin that is in your life and you are willing to turn from that sin; come to Christ in faith, trusting in Him to forgive your every sin, and make your future with Him secure.

Matt 11:28-30 (KJV)

Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

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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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From Gold to Brass: The Effects of Sin

SIH STSTA ICONDevaluing of the US dollar is a significant issue in today’s time. A devalued dollar has both good and bad results. Increased exports and a lower balance of payments deficit are the two most referenced positive results to devaluing the dollar. The greatest downfall of a devalued dollar is increased inflation and a higher interest payment, for government borrowing.

As you can see from the the chart in the link below, the dollar has been greatly devalued, beginñng in the 1970s and it continues to retain its lower value even unto today. You can read much more about the devalued dollar at: ‘
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historv of the United States dollar.

This chart speaks volumes about the decline of the US economic system. Prior to the seventies, the economy of the US was strong and a devaluing of the dollar was unnecessary to sustain international supremacy. Beginning with the 70s, and the decline in our economy and deficit balance of payments, the US has had to permanently devalue its dollar to remain competitive in the new “global” economy. As the dollar continues its decline, it will signal a continuing weakness of the US economy.

Gold and the US dollar are valuable assets for anyone to own, but; there are spiritual possessions that far outweigh the value of these. Our faith, and its resulting testimony to others around us, will retain eternal, spiritual value.

1 Pet 1:6-9 (KJV)
6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,  though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ; 8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9) Receiving the end of your faith, (even] the salvation of [your] souls.
THE SCRIPTURES:
1 Kgs 10: 16-17 (KJV)
16) And king Solomon made two hundred targets [of] beaten gold: six hundred [shekels] of gold went to one target.  17) And [he made] three hundred shields [of] beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of theforest ofLebanon:

1 Kgs 14:21-28 (KJV)
21) And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam [was] forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there. And his mothers name was Naamah an Ammonitess 22) And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they, provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. . 23) For they also built them high places, and images, and groves. on every high hill, and under every green tree. 24) And there were also sodomites in the land: [and] they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.  25) And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam,’ [that] Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:  26) And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s. house even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solornon had made.  27) And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed [them) unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house.   28) And it was [so], when the king went into the house of the LORD, that the guard bare them,
and brought them back into the guard chamber.

THE STUDY:  

1Kgs 10:16-17 (KJV)

16) And king Solomon made two hundred targets [of] beaten gold: six hundred [shekels] of gold went to one target.

“target” – large shield, you can hide your entire body behind it

“600 shekels of gold” – equals approximately 300 oz of gold with a value of $357,000.00 per target

17) And [he made] three hundred shields [of] beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.

“shield” — smaller shield hooked to arm, hold it up to defend in hand to hand combat

3 Hebrew pounds = 3.75 American lbs = 6Ooz = $ 72,000.00 per shield

All of the targets and shields together totaled over $93 million dollars.

These were only for show and not for use in battle.  We know this because the targets were too heavy for a warrior to easily maneuver during battle, and the metal was too soft to supply protection for either the target or the shield.

This collection of targets and shields was symbolic of the nation’s wealth.  This collection was a testimony to the strength, presence and grace of Jehovah, as He brought prosperity to the Nation of Israel.  These symbols of God’s blessings, were meant to bring Him honor and praise throughout all generations.

Approximately 20 years after the making of the targets and shields that King Solomon died and his son Rehoboam took the throne of the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
1 Kngs 14:21-28

21) And Rehoboam the son of Sotomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam [was] forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in – Jerusalem, the city[which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess

At the death of Solomon, Rehoboam his son, takes the throne of Judahthe southern
kingdom. During his reign Rehoboam did not follow the desires of God for his nation but allowed his nation to turn to the worship of false gods and sinful lifestyles….

 22) And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done 23) For they also built them high places and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. 24) And there were also sodomites in the land: [and]  they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

Israelhad turned their backs on being faithful to Jehovah! They began to worship the false Gods of the Gentiles. The high places, images, and groves were all instruments for their idol worship taken from the heathen nations that surroundedIsrael. Not only did they worship false gods; but they incorporated the sin of homosexuality with the idolatrous, worship services.

25) And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, [that] Shishak king Egypt came up against Jerusalem: 26) And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

Following the five year decline ofJudahinto idolatry, the Lord allowedEgyptto invadeJudahand pillage the land. Some of the riches that were taken  by the Egyptians were the contents of theTempleofSolomon.  The contents included the shields of gold that had been previously stored there by Solomon.  The times of blessings and superiority that Jehovah had given to the Israelites had come to an end.

 27) And king Rehoboam made in their, stead brasen shields,” and committed [them] unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the King’s house  28) And it was [so], when the king went into the house of the LORD, that the guard bare them and brought them back into the guard chamber.

King Rehoboam now replaces the golden shields with those made of brass.  What a poor replacement for those that were previously displays of Jehovah’s blessings and prosperity uponJudah.  These new shields were now a stunning admission of the loss of Jehovah’s favor upon this adulterous nation, who had turned their affections from the true God Jehovah to the idols and practices of the ungodly world around them.  These replacement shields were a public declaration of sin and its devastating effects upon the public testimony of God’s chosen nation.

Please remember, gold throughout the Bible is a picture of high value and Divine presence; brass, on the other hand, is a picture of minimal temporal value and Divine displeasure.

Israeltraded their worship of the True God, His presence and His favor and blessings; for the worship of man made gods, and the loss of spiritual fidelity, intimacy and displeasure of Almighty God.


PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are not saved…

Just as habitual sin ruinedIsrael’s testimony and communion with Jehovah; sin in the lives of Christians, can bring ruin to our testimony and relationship with the Lord, as well.  One of our greatest privileges is to possess communion with the Lord and a testimony which is unspotted from this world and results in eternal praise to Almighty God. Let’s strive for faithfulness, allowing the Lord to be shown through our lives to His eternal glory.

Jas 1:27 (KJV) – 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.

Job 23:10 (KJV) – But he knoweth the way that I take: [when] he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

For those who are not saved…

Living a spiritually prosperous and blessed life of communion with God begins by entering into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  By trusting in His person and work on the cross, you can receive the forgiveness of sins and an assurance of communion with Him.

John 1:10-13 (KJV)

10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Heb 13:5-6 (KJV)

5) [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

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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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Biblical Soberness

SIH STSTA ICONAlcohol abuse affects approximately 14 million Americans.  This represents approximately 5% of our population.    The effects of alcohol abuse in our country is clearly on display… 20 % of suicide victims are alcoholic, alcoholism is the third leading cause of preventable death in the US, over 2 million people drive under the influence in the US per year.  These and many other statistics can be found at http://www.alcoholics-info.com/Statistics_on_Alcoholics.html.

After getting  just a glimpse of the effects of alcohol on theUSpopulation, it becomes easy to understand while there is a consistent, steady call for “soberness” in our society.  In today’s society the idea of “soberness” involves abstinence from intoxication, or in many cases, the complete abstinence from alcohol. “Soberness” is almost always used in the context of alcohol usage and abuse.

However, in the Word of God, the idea of “soberness” carries with it a slightly different meaning.  In the New Testament to be “sober” is not used exclusively in relation to alcohol but it is used in many aspects of our lives.  Also, the original language of the New Testament (Greek) being “sober” carries with it a variety of ideas:

  1. One of the Greek words for sober is a word that carries with it the ideas of “self control”  and “moderation.”
  2. The other Greek word translated “sober” means “to be sensible”, “to be aware”, and “to be watchful”

Let’s see how the idea of being sober is explained to us in the Word of God.

THE SCRIPTURES:

2Cor 5:12-13; 1Thess 5:6-10; Titus 2:2-6; 1Pet 1:10-16; 1Pet 5:8-9

THE STUDY:

Being sober is referred to in five different texts in the New Testament.

In the first text, 2 Cor 5:12-13, we find this idea, “sober” is referring to a sound, self-controlled mind…

For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to [answer] them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.

Here, we find that Paul and the other ministers of the gospel did not try to defend themselves by explaining their sincerity and motives to the Church at Corinth.  Instead, they chose to allow their life and message to speak for itself.  Paul and the others allowed the church to decide on their own about the motives of Paul’s ministry.

For whether we be beside ourselves, [it is] to God: or whether we be sober, [it is] for your cause.

Paul then continued, if the ministers of Christ were accused of being out of their mind (“besides themselves” – Acts 26:24), they put up with this false accusation for God’s glory.  Or, of people recognized that they were really of sound, controlled mind (sober) they were ministering out of a heart of concern and love for the church’s wellbeing

In this second text, 1 Thess 5:6-10, we find “sober” referring to the need for Christians to be watchful and alert.

Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

In the context, the Lord’s second coming is in view (1 Thess 5:1-5) Here we are told of the Christians need to be watchful (alert) against the sin and darkness of this world and to be watchful (alert) for the coming of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul uses two examples of being unprepared and unsuspecting, sleep and drunkenness.  In both cases, you have individuals who do not have keen senses, nor are they in full control of their actions, thoughts, and speech.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

How does a Christian accomplish this responsibility of watchfulness and alertness?  By putting on the spiritual armor of God that enables us to remain faithful to the Lord while in the midst of a sin darkened world.  It is this same armor that gives us the ability to be consistently watching for Him to come at the second coming.  What is the driving motive for our watchfulness?  Christ’s death on the cross for us and His promise of an eternity with Him.

In Titus 2:2-6, we find that to be sober presents the need to be sensible or serious.

The idea of being sensible and serious about our lives touches every age group and gender…

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

Old men are to be keenly aware of their influence on the lives of others.  As older men, who are held up as the wisest in society, they were to be to sensible about their outward testimony and take it very seriously.

Note all the other aspects of their testimony being described is outward in nature…

Grave – honest

Temperate – self-controlled

Sound in faith – doctrinally sound in teachings and beliefs

Charity – self-sacrifice for others, servant spirit

Patience – willing to suffer long for the sake of another

The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach

Just as older men must sensibly take their testimony seriously; so too, aged women are to do likewise.  Also, their outward actions are being emphasized in Paul’s instructions:

Becometh holiness – to be attractive based upon morality and separate from sin

False accusers – not to deceitfully defame others

Not give to much wine – No alcohol abuse leading to uncontrolled behavior, no drunkenness

Teachers of good things – Instructors of things pleasing to the Lord.

The older women were to teach the young women through their actions and words…

the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  

The younger women were to take their testimony seriously as well.  They may not be as influential in general society due to their lack of maturity; however, they are extremely influential in the lives of their families (husband and children).  This is why they are to…

Love husbands/children – be willing to sacrifice themselves for their husbands and children.

Discreet – self controlled in mind and actions

Chaste – modest

Keepers at home – to guard, watch over, rule home

Good – morally upright and pleasing to God

Obedient to husband –  to recognize and submit to husband’s authority/responsibility to God.

By doing all of these, the young woman isn’t the cause of the Word being spoken against or defamed

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

After listing several times, the basic issues involved with being sensible and serious minded about our testimonies; the younger men are now instructed to follow the same basic principles that we have seen in the preceding teachings.

In our fourth text, 1 Pet 1:13-16, we find watchfulness and preparedness being a key aspect to being sober.

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;

In the previous context, the person and work of Christ was clearly revealed in Old Testament prophesies.  Based upon these miraculous OT revelations of Christ, the Christian responsibility is two fold:

Firstly, we are to serve Him in the midst of this sinful world.  To do this we are to strengthen our weak and vulnerable areas and be watchful and alert to the temptations and workings of Satan  in our lives.

Secondly, we are to be alert and watchful, as well as retain our confidence about the future promises He has given to us.

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.

By being watchful and prepared for service and His second coming we are children that are pleasing to Him.  Also  we are separating ourselves from this sinful world for His use.  By doing this we can follow His example and strive for consistent holiness in all areas of our lives.

Finally, in 1Pet 5:8-9 we find being sober is referring to being sensible and controlled.

Be sober, be vigilant;

Here, the responsibility handed to the Christian involves being”

Sober – sensible, serious and self controlled

Vigilant – to be on guard and expectant

As Christians, we are to be sensible, serious, controlled and on guard because…

because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Satan is “out to get us” and destroy our testimony and service to the Lord. He is searching with care and deception trying to bring us to ruin.

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

This is why we must solidly stand against him.  We are to realize we are not alone in this fight, but Christians everywhere are being tempted and opposed in their service as well.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

In our study we have seen the importance of living sober lives, which involves:

  1. Living controlled lives of moderation by…
    1. Keeping our minds and desires under control as we serve Him.
    2. Be serious and sensible about our testimonies for Him.  We can do this by taking care to live Godly lives which include, but is not limited to, no drunkenness; it also includes honesty, love, patience, doctrinal soundness, modesty, and spiritual alertness, among others.
    3. Taking the threat of Satan and His workings seriously.  He is out to destroy us we are to recognize His workings and affects in our lives and the lives of others.
  2. Living watchful, and alert lives that are…
    1. Against the sin and temptation of this world through the use of spiritual armor given to us by the Lord.
    2. Focused on and confident of the second coming of Christ.

Are you living a sober life of service to our Lord?

For those who have yet to be saved…

As you can see from our study, the only way to live a spiritually sober life is through the divine intervention of Christ alone.  Without His presence in your life and His intervention through the indwelling Holy Spirit, none of us can lead a spiritually sober life.  Do you desire His presence and intervention?  Realize you have failed Him, and your sin is a great offense against Him, turn from your sin and turn to Him in faith, believing He will save you from your sins and submit to His Lordship for your life…

Matt 11:28-30 (KJV)

28) Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30) For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

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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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New Year’s Devotion: Entering 2012 With Hope

SIH STSTA ICONIn Jeremiah 29:11, we find a wonderful promise that our Lord gives to His people…

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

The ESV translates this passage with a slightly different phrasing “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Although the Lord originally gave this promise to the believers in the physical nation of Israel… in today’s time this promise applies to all believers (both Jewish and Gentile) who make up His spiritual nation of Israel.  (Gals 6:14-16).  As we begin the New Year, as believers in Christ, let us remind ourselves of this precious promise and the great hope that awaits us in the coming year.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Jeremiah 29:11

 

THE STUDY:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

“know” – to observe, to perceive                      “thoughts” – plot, plan, invention, weave “think” – same as “thoughts”                             “saith” – to reveal, to utter, to proclaim “LORD”- Jehovah                                                 “thoughts” weave, plot, work                “peace” – harmony, health, prosperity              “evil” – adversity, mischief, sorrow, troubles “expected” – expectation, to count on, rely on “end” –  after part, end,

Here we find a clear declaration from our Lord concerning His plans and watch care for our lives.  The Lord makes 3 basic declarations in this verse.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you”. – First of all, the Lord tells us that He personally makes individualized plans for each of our lives. He does not rely on others to plan our lives, nor does He simply allow our lives to go unguided and protected.  He has invented a plan for each of us.  This plan includes….

“thoughts of peace and not of evil” – the purpose of these plans is to bring to us prosperity and good, not sorrow and troubles.  By simply seeking His will for our lives, and then following that will, He will allow our lives to be successful in our endeavors for Him. By following His plans our lives will be spiritually prosperous and in harmony with our Lord.  These plans will not lead us into sin, sorrow or spiritual trouble.

Romans 8:28, reveals this same principle to us… And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

“to give you an expected end” – Third, The Lord tells us what the result of this truth should be for our lives…. An expected end… in other words, a future that we can place our hope and confidence in.  By understanding that the Lord has planned our lives in advance, and knowing that those plans will result in our good and spiritual prosperity, why should we not be hopeful and looking forward to a bright future for each of us?

Lamentations 3:25-26 – The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD

The ability to discern, follow, and patiently do His will for our lives can be a very difficult task.  In Daniel we have the perfect example of a King who rejected God’s will for His own will and had to learn a very difficult lesson.

Daniel 4:29-36

29At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.  30The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?  31While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. 32And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

33The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

34And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from   generation to generation:  35And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?  36At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

By patiently seeking the face of the Lord, and doing His will, we can be confident of what the future holds for us.  We can count on the fact that by simply serving Him our future will be filled with hope and spiritual prosperity.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

The first step towards spiritual peace and prosperity is found by trusting the Lord with our past present and future.  Trust that He died on the cross, paying the price for the sins of His people.  Come to Him in a spirit of remorse with a willingness to turn from our sins and accept Him as the Lord of our life.  From that point forward we can know that He is leading and guiding us and preparing us a wonderful future of peace, and spiritual properity.  And we can know that our future will culminate in having a perfect, eternal habitation that He has prepared for us.

John 14:1-4

1) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2) In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

4) And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

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

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

Little Is Much When God Is In It

SIH STSTA ICONOne great chorus that has been sung in churches for many years is the chorus “Little Is Much When God Is In It”:

1. In the harvest field now ripened, There’s a work for all to do. Hark, the voice of God is calling, To the harvest calling you.

2. Does the place you’re called to labor Seem so small and little known? It is great if God is in it, And He’ll not forget His own.

3. When the conflict here is ended And our race on earth is run, He will say, if we are faithful, “Welcome home, my child, well done.”

CHORUS:
Little is much when God is in it. Labor not for wealth or fame. There’s a crown and you can win it, If you go in Jesus’ name.

If you would like to hear this song being sung you can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDAsDwvDDAc

Is this song Scriptural?  Are there examples in the Bible where God uses the small things to yield great results for Him?  Lets take a look at what the Bible says….

THE SCRIPTURES:

 

Judges 7:1-8, 16-23

THE STUDY:

The Context Of Our Study: Judges 6:…

  1. Vs 1-7 – The Israelites for their sin are oppressed by Midian
  2. Vs 8-10 – A prophet rebukes them
  3. Vs 11-16 – An angel sends Gideon for their deliverance
  4. Vs 17 – 23 – Gideon’s present is consumed with fire – The proof of Gideon’s calling
  5. Vs 24 -27 – Gideon destroys Baal’s altar, and offers a sacrifice upon the altar Jehovah-shalom
  6. Vs 28 -32 – Joash defends his son, Gideon, and calls him Jerubbaal – “Let Baal Plead (Argue) With Him”
  7. Vs 33 –35 – Gideon’s army gathered from Israel

“God Is In It” – Gideon’s fleece proof of victory from the Lord: Judges 6:36-40…

 

 

36) And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,

Gideon asks the Lord for a miracle which would prove that Israel will get the victory over the Midianites.  Note the lack of faith on the part of Gideon, but the patience, kindness and grace of Jehovah.  Gideon not totally lacking faith, he had been willing to destroy the idols of Baal, placing his life at risk at the hands of the Baal worshippers.

37) Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; [and] if the dew be on the fleece only, and [it be] dry upon all the earth [beside], then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.

38) And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.

Jehovah proceeds to do exactly as Gideon asks…. He places dew on the fleece while keeping the floor dry.  Proof Israel will get the victory.

 

39) And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.

40) And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

Notice that Gideon is aware of his lack of faith and the Lord’s patience and grace being shown to him.  Keep in mind, Gideon ALREADY knew God’s will (Jud 6:14-16, 6:36), he was in doubting if the Lord’s promise was true.  This fleece incident is not to DISCERN the Lord’s will, it is to AFFIRM the Lord’s will.

The Lord, once again, acts to ease Gideon’s concerns by working another miracle.  This miracle was the exact opposite as the previous miracle.  Dew was now on the ground while the fleece was dry.

 

“The Little” – Gideon’s 300 men: Judges 7:1-8…

 

1) Then Jerubbaal, who [is] Gideon, and all the people that [were] with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

Gideon is now preparing to go against the Midianites.

2) And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that [are] with thee [are] too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

Why did the Lord desire to decrease the number of Israelites?  So that He might be glorified not the military might of Israel. (Zech 4:6, Psa 20:7)

**Principle #1 – The Lord uses the little things to accomplish great acts of service for Him so that He might be glorified

 

3) Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever [is] fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.

**Principle #2 – The Lord uses those of faith to accomplish great things.

4) And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people [are] yet [too] many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, [that] of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

5) So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.

6) And the number of them that lapped, [putting] their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.

7) And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the [other] people go every man unto his place.

The Lord divides the remaining group into two groups based upon those who lapped and those who bent down to drink water.  We now have 32,000 down to 10,000 down to 300.

Men on knees taking longer drink – concerned about satisfying desires of flesh.

Men lapping taking short drink – ready for war, placing call of God ahead of fleshly satisfaction.

**Principle #3 – The Lord uses those who put Him first and their fleshly desires second to accomplish great things.

What a miracle the Lord was about to perform. He was going to use 300 Israelites to defeat an innumerable army of Midianites and Ammonites (Jud 7:12)

8) So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all [the rest of] Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

Gideon obeys the Lord and takes the 300, leaving the other Israelites in their tent with sustenance.

 

 

“The Much” – A Great Victory Over Midianites: Judg 7:16-23 …

 

16) And he divided the three hundred men [into] three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.

He now equips his men with a trumpet, a pitcher and a lamp.  Note that there was no military weapons used.  Gideon understood they stood no chance for a military victory.  They would only gain a victory through an absolute miracle from Jehovah.

17) And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be [that], as I do, so shall ye do.

18) When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that [are] with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, [The sword] of the LORD, and of Gideon.

Gideon divides the 300 into 3 groups of 100 each. Gideon’s instructions to His warriors… follow my lead, blow your trumpets and shout “the Sword of the Lord and of Gideon”.

Note: It is not plural “swords” but the Lord’s “sword” being used through Gideon. The desire of the Lord was being fulfilled… the Israelites were understanding that the weapons of this warfare was of God, through His servant.  To Him be the glory.

**Principle #4 – The Lord accomplishes great things by working in and through weak sinful human instruments.  It is the Lord that accomplishes the work.  He simply uses men to do it. Much like a writer uses a pen to place his words on the paper.

 

19) So Gideon, and the hundred men that [were] with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that [were] in their hands.

20) And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow [withal]: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.

Gideon’s plan is put into motion.

Please note that:

1. Gideon placed his plan into action at the beginning of the “middle watch” .  It was a time of confusion with the men just getting into their place for their turn at the watch.

2.  It was very dark.  There were three night watches of equal length.  They ran from 6:00pm to 6:00am.  Therefore, Gideon made his move at approx 10-11 pm.

 

21) And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

Through the Lord’s intervention, at the sudden sounding of the trumpets, the breaking of the pitchers and the shining of the light terrified the Midianites; they probably thought that there was a great number of invaders surrounding them and ready to pounce upon the Israelites.

22) And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, [and] to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.

Their confusion is so great they turn on one another and begin to war within their own ranks. They then flee for their lives.

 

23) And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.

The closest Israelites, then gathered and begin to pursue the defeated Midianites. These would have included those of little faith and those who knelt to drink.

**Principle #5 – Those who are weaker spiritually are strengthen by God when others exhibit faith in their service to Him.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved…

Those who are the smallest and the most unlikely to succeed in their service to Him are the ones most likely to glorify Him through their acts of faithful service to Him.  We all have a special privilege  and opportunity to serve Him in times of weakness.  It is during these times we can glorify Him in the greatest ways.

2Cor 10:2-5

2) But I beseech [you], that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

4) (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

2Cor 3:4-5

4) And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:

5) Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God;

2Cor 4:7

7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

1Cor 1:18-24

18) For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

19) For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

20) Where [is] the wise? where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

21) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

22) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

23) But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1Cor 2

1) And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

3) And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

4) And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

5) That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of 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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The Religions of The World

SIH STSTA ICONCurrently there are approximately 40 major religions that exist in the world today. You can see a listing and description of forty of them at http://www.religionfacts.com/

The some of the largest religions include… Christianity , Islam, Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist, Hinduism, Chinese traditional religion, Buddhism, primal-indigenous, African Traditional & Diasporic, Sikhism, Juche, Spiritism, Judaism, Baha’I, Jainism, Shinto, Cao Dai, Zoroastrianism, Tenrikyo, Neo-Paganism, Unitarian-Universalism, Rastafarianism, and Scientology.

One thing we can know for sure, each of these religions vary in doctrine and practices.  Their teachings range from Atheism that denies the existence of god, to the Wicca religion that teaches many gods exist.  There are similar irreconcilable discrepancies between the religions in the area of man’s condition, salvation, the afterlife, and their founders.

As you study the basic differences between the beliefs of these religions, one thing becomes very clear… these religions contradict each other in almost all areas of their teachings.  This establishes the fact that all but one of these religions must be based upon error.

Why do so many various religions exist?  The Bible helps us to understand why these varied belief systems exist.

THE SCRIPTURES:

 

2Tim 4

1) I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4) And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 

1Tim 4

1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

3) Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

2Cor 11

1) Would to God ye could bear with me a little in [my] folly: and indeed bear with me.

2) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.

3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

4) For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him]….

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

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

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

 

THE STUDY:

False religions have been with us from the beginning of time.  In the very beginning, Adam and Eve were called upon to choose which set of spiritual truths they were to embrace and follow with their lives.  Would they accept the truths that had been given to them from God or the lies that were told to them by Satan?  We are all familiar with the choice that they had made and the affects of that choice upon all mankind.

Adam and Eve choose to submit to the teachings and desires of Satan. This represents the first act of human belief in a false religion….

2 Cor 11:3-4, 13-15

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him]……  For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Since false religions have been with us from the Garden of Eden, as Christians, what are we to do?  By remembering Adam and Eve’s sin, and its results, we are reminded of the devastating effects of following a false religion.

In 2nd Timothy 4:1-4, Paul writing to the young pastor, Timothy, gives timeless insight into false teachings and the religions that oppose the truth of the gospel of Christ.   Paul’s instructions are so important for us all…

 

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Remember, as Christians, we are given the responsibility to remain faithful to the truths of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

This same Lord that we serve, will someday judge both lost and saved, those who will be physically dead and those who will be alive at His coming.  This means that all men will be held accountable for the choice they make concerning which God they will serve.  The choice is plain, follow the teachings of Jehovah God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ; or the teachings of the  many false gods of this world, created, empowered and supported by Satan.

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Timothy was to:

  1. proclaim the truth of God’s Word
  2. continue to be faithful in blessed times and in times of trial and heartache
  3. convince others of the truth
  4. correct the errors held by others
  5. encourage others to stand by the truths to which they held
  6. do all the above through the use of patience and the teachings of doctrinal truth.

These responsibilities not only apply to Timothy, nor to pastors in today’s time, but to all who hold to the truths and faith of Christ Jesus.  We are to stand for the truth and work for it’s continuance and growth.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Why is it so important for Christians to work for the propagation of the truth?

Because due to the sinful desires of mankind, the natural course of the fallen world is to reject the truth and follow after those who teach error.   The doctrines of sin, man’s inability to gain salvation of his own merit, God’s grace, and salvation through Christ’s work alone, are a few of many truths that go against the lusts of the depraved human heart.    

And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

When looked at from the light of God’s Word, fallen mankind is responsible, guilty, shameful, and unable to deliver themselves from their horrible condition.  God’s Word presents a clear view of the wickedness of man contrasted by the love, grace and the ability of Almighty God.   This is why lost mankind, apart from God’s gracious intervention, will reject the truths of His Word at every turn.

It is due to this desire of our fallen natures to hear fables that we have the false teachings of this world flourishing.  It is much more pleasing to a fallen human heart to hear that they are not wicked and separated from a Holy God; or although sinful, they deserve salvation and can attain it through their own good works.   These are the basic messages of the false religions of the day. These are the messages of error, that if followed, will condemn mankind to an eternity of separation from God in the Lake of Fire.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

As the coming of Christ draws near, each of us must be on guard against allowing error to enter into our lives and beliefs.  As Paul stated so clearly in 1 Timothy 4:1-2….

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; …

Turning from the truth to a false religion is proof of an imitation salvation experience and  a mark of an unregenerate nature.  In other words, if we find ourselves turning from the truth of God’s Word to a false religion, we can rest assured that our original salvation experience was a counterfeit.  It only involved a mental acceptance of truth, without ever receiving a changed heart through the gracious workings of Christ.

For those who have yet to be saved…

In this blog posting, you have come face to face with a small portion of the Biblical teachings on the false religions of today.  The motive behind God’s Word and this blog entry is the same.  It is an attempt, motivated by love to warn those who have been deceived by the seducing spirits of this world and the fallen nature within each of us.

Please, look into the Word of the Lord and by faith, accept it’s truths.  Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done for His people.  Look to Christ and receive salvation from your sins and eternal life with Him.  If you would like more information about the teachings concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation He so graciously gives you have many options:

  1. Open His Word and read about Him
  2. If you are uncertain where to start in His Word you can take a look at my blog page “All About Salvation” to help get you started
  3. You can look at these links for more information:

http://www.bryanstation.com/articles/a-message-to-the-lost

http://www.intouch.org/resources/content/topic/how_well_do_you_know_god

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A335

http://www.lwf.org/site/PageNavigator/jesus/who_is_jesus

  1. You can contact a Bible believing church.  They will be glad to help you to understand what Christ has done for you
  2. Or, you are more than welcome to contact me through my email address settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for you.

With the multiplicity of false religions, comes proof that the second coming of Christ is coming soon.  Time is short.  No one knows what tomorrow holds.  Look to Jesus know while He is at work in your heart and you still have time.  Don’t say as did the prophet Jeremiah…

Jer 8:20

20) The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

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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.”

—————————————————————————-

Finding God’s Will For Our Lives – Part # 6

SIH STSTA ICON“… He shall direct thy paths.”

 

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

 

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

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

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

In part number 6 of our study lets study… “… He shall direct thy paths”

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ps 25:9-10 (KJV)

The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.All the paths of the LORD [are] mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Prov 3:5-6 (KJV)

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Prov 16:9 (KJV)

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Isa 48:17 (KJV)

Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I [am] the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way [that] thou shouldest go.

Jer 10:23 (KJV)

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

THE STUDY:

Please notice all the above verses… these are just a few, of many verses that affirm, and then reaffirm, to us the promise that the Lord will show His will to anyone who sincerely desires to follow Him.

Throughout our study we have seen the graciousness of our Lord brought into view.  From His first promise to show us His will; to giving us the desire to put His will first; to giving us His Word, the foundation and authority for all our decision making; to giving us thoughts, desires, and a conscience to lead us to His desires for us; to personally intervening in our lives opening and closing opportunities for us; we have His grace clearly shown.

As in every area of our life… we should be always appreciative for His many acts of grace on our behalf.

Now let’s apply all of our previous studies on His will to a very simple example… (please see practical application)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Keeping our previous studies in mind, lets consider a practical application to our study…

Let’s assume that I am a young man that has been called to preach God’s Word.  I am currently seeking aBibleCollegeto begin my studies.  I am not sure which college the Lord would have me to attend…. Now what?

Step 1:  I can be assured that the Lord has a will for my life, and I can put my full trust in His promises to show it to me.

Step 2:  I examine my heart to be sure that it is His will that I desire.  In prayer, I lay out my desires, asking Him to bless my efforts.  However, I ALWAYS seek His will above any desires I may harbor within.

Step 3:  I begin to compile a list of Bible Colleges that would meet my academic needs.  I take into account their curriculum, their doctrinal statement, the testimony of their instructors, and the mission statement of the school.  Also, the location of the nearest Bible teaching church, the ministries that would be open to me at each school, the cost of the classes, etc etc etc.

I look into the Bible to find the requirements of the position to which I have been called, the major Bible doctrines that should be taught, the requirements of Godly teachers, and the mission of those who are called of the Lord, the Lord’s teachings on indebtedness, etc, etc, etc.

Through this process I should be able to weed out some of the schools due to unscriptural doctrine, ungodly teachers, a lack of opportunities to serve the Lord while in college, excessive, wasteful costs or in some other way, not meeting my needs to prepare me for the ministry to which I have been called.

Step 4:

With the remaining choices left, I am sure that some school choices would seem more appealing than others.  Now I have to be honest with myself… since from a Scriptural standpoint, all my remaining choices seem to be basically “equal”; why do some appeal to me more than others?

Is it perhaps, the Holy Spirit, placing in my heart the desire to attend the school the Lord would have for me, or is it simply a fleshly desire that really should not have a part in my decision making process.  I come to the conclusion that it is due to the location of the school.  I like warmer weather and the school I am drawn to is in the South.  For now I take it into account, but I cannot allow it to be the final decision. That desire has no real spiritual significance.

My prayer now should be “Dear Lord, you know my desire to follow your will.  Also, you know my desire for warmer weather.  To my knowledge, this southern school is no better, or worse, that any of the other schools based upon principles of your Word.  Please allow the doors to remain open so that I may attend… but not my will but thine be done.

Step 5: I apply to all the remaining schools, including the southern school… again, through the Lord’s intervention some more of the schools will be eliminated.  Of the remaining schools to which I have been accepted, I begin a review of all the Biblical research I had done in step number 3.  If the Lord shows me nothing new in His Word and, therefore, all the schools are still on equal footing after a review, then I are free to go to any of the schools to which I have been accepted.

If the southern school is one of the schools to which I have been accepted, I can feel free to go.  The Lord has graciously kept the door to this school open for me. I should step through the open door with a thankful heart, knowing He has blessed me with a sound school and given me the desire of my heart.

Please remember, the Lord will hold me responsible to follow the directions of His Word.  By researching schools in the context of His Word and then doing a final review, I have done all I can do to follow His teachings.   Since He has opened doors to several schools, I can assume these schools would all fit into “His will” for my life.  I can go to any I would choose with confidence, I have put His will first and now have His blessings upon me.

Ps 32:7-11

Thou [art] my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.Be ye not as the horse, [or] as the mule, [which] have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.Many sorrows [shall be] to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all [ye that are] upright in heart.

In our search for God’s Will ….

Prayer Principle #6 –  At the end of this process we need to thank Him for showing us His will (even if it is a “no” answer or a “you must wait” answer).  Also, we must commit ourselves to continued submission as we begin down this new path of life He has opened to us.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

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

John 12:35 (KJV)

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

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

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

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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.”

——————————————————————–

Finding God’s Will For Our Lives Part # 5

SIH STSTA ICON“Open and shut doors…”

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

    THE SCRIPTURE:

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

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

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

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

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

    THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

    For those who are saved…

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

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

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

    For those who have never trusted in Christ…

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

    John 12:35 (KJV)

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

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

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

    ———————————————————————

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

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

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

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

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

    —————————————————————

    Finding God’s Will For Our Lives Part # 4

    SIH STSTA ICON“Oh what a feeling…”

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

     

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

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

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

    In part number 4 of our study lets study… “Oh what a feeling…”

    THE SCRIPTURE:

    Acts 17:10-11 (KJV)

    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.

     

    Rom 12:1-3 (KJV)

    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. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

    Phil 1:9-11 (KJV)

    And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment;That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;Being filled with the fruits

    of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

    Phil 2:12-13 (KJV)

    Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

    Eph 5:6-13 (KJV)

    Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.Be not ye therefore partakers with them.For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:(For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

    1Thess 5:16-22 (KJV)

    Rejoice evermore.Pray without ceasing.In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.Quench not the Spirit.Despise not prophesyings.Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    THE STUDY:

    In our search for God’s will, many times we find ourselves relying on our ”feelings” to help us determine His desires for our lives.  For example, a lack of a guilty conscience can be interpreted as the Lord’s approval for a certain action.  Likewise, a feeling of excitement, or certainty, can be interpreted as the Lord’s urging us forward in our plan of action.  How about a depressed, or anxious, feeling?  That can be interpreted as the Lord putting the brakes on our current life path, showing us a need to seek another. A fleeting thought that enters our mind, can be interpreted as the Spirit revealing to us the path the Lord would have us to take.  Seeing the need in the life of other people, many times, is interpreted as the Lord’s call to a certain ministry.

    I am not denying that the Holy Spirit, at times can use our thoughts, conscience, emotions and desires to aid us in the understanding of His will for our lives.  However, we should never rely exclusively on these inward “impressions” to decide the life path for us to take.  So how can we discern the Lord’s will in our life “impressions”?

    1 Thess 5: 21 gives us a very straightforward answer to our question… “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

    The Lord gives us some basic principles of guidance to “prove” (put to the test) our feelings thoughts and emotions in Phil 1:9-11:

     … that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment” –

    Our life should be centered upon showing love… love for our Lord and love for others around us.

    How do we show our love for the Lord?  One way, is to put His will for our lives ahead of our own.  Another way, is to become familiar with His Word (knowledge) and then apply it to our life decision making (judgment).

    “That ye may approve things that are excellent” –

    Another way to show our love for our Lord is to take the time and effort to put to the test all our life experiences ,and feelings, so we can know which ones He approves.  By using our knowledge of His Word and then exercising Godly judgment, we can discern which emotions, desires and feelings are coming from Him.

    This point cannot be underemphasized…. One of the greatest uses of His Word is to use it to prove what is pleasing to Him.  This applies to any area of our life.  The teachings we receive, the world’s influences on our lives, and His will for our lives (including the events we experience and the feelings we have) are to be put to the test using His Word and a mind that is renewed through a growing knowledge of His Word .   See Acts 17:10-11 (the Scriptures), Eph 5:6-13 (the truth) , Roms 12:1-3 (a renewed mind).

    “that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness”  –

    What is the result of putting the teachings we receive, the influences of the world, and our life experiences and feelings to the test?

    It is two-fold righteousness both an inward righteousness (“sincerity”) and an outward righteousness (“without offence”). These two types of righteousness combine to bring about a life that is fulfilling His will and bearing an abundance of spiritual fruit.

    “which are by Jesus Christ” –

    Living a life that is fulfilling His will is a work of Christ in our hearts.  Christ, through His Spirit enables us to serve Him in spite of our sinful, fallen nature.

    “unto the glory and praise of God” –

    Living lives that fulfill His will brings all the praise and glory to the Lord.  Why? Because we are living our life according to His will due to His will because He is at work within us.

    Phil 2:12-13

    Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

    THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

    For those who are saved…

    We can prove what is His will for our lives, through an attitude of submission to His will and the renewal of our minds.  This renewal comes through a consistent increase in knowledge and application of His Word.

    The more we are familiar with His Word, the better we can discern His will for our lives.  The greater our knowledge of His Word, the easier it is to discern if our thoughts, feelings and urgings are from the Lord or elsewhere.

    Again, as in our prior study, we find that His Word takes preeminence in our life decisions.  If our feelings, thoughts, or emotions run parallel to His Word we can follow them without hesitancy knowing that we are living within the instructions of His Word.

    If however, our impressions, in any way, depart from the principles laid out in His Word, we can rest assured that the impression is not from the Lord, but is being produced from a sinful origin (our flesh, the world, or powers of darkness).  In this case, we are to flee from the path these impressions would indicate we are to follow.

    Rom 12:1-3 (KJV)

    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. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

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

    Prayer Principle #4 –  We must pray for the Lord’s discernment of His leading in our lives.

    For those who are not saved….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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