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Serving Christ For His Glory… What Does “His Glory” Mean?

SIH STSTA ICONINTRODUCTION:

From the pulpit, from the classroom, and from the mouths of most Christians, we hear the instruction to “serve the Lord for His glory”… unfortunately, this phrase can be very confusing for each one of us due to the variety of teachings about the Lord’s glory found in the Bible.

Many times, when the Bible describes God’s glory (as in Exo 24:17), it is speaking of a bright manifestation of the very presence of God.  This meaning of the phrase reveals to us that God’s glory “appears” (Exo 16:10), “can be seen” (Num 14:22) and is “revealed” (Isa 40:5) to us.   When we tell others to “serve the Lord for His glory” are we telling them to serve our Lord in the hopes of seeing His presence revealed as a bright, overwhelming light?  I think we all understand this is not the case.

In at least three different occasions (Job 40:10, Psa 93:1 and 104:1-2), God’s symbolic clothing is described as his glory.  If we use this Biblical definition then we are to serve Him to receive a vision of the symbolic clothing that He is said to wear.  Of course this is not the meaning of “for His glory” that is to motivate us to service for Christ.

The Bible also describes His glory as being revealed in a thunderstorm (Psa 29:3).  Does this mean we serve Him so that we will see lightning and hear thunder roll?  We can all agree, this is not the case.

The list goes on and on.  When God’s glory is described it can be revealed to man in many, many different ways.

So what is “God’s glory” and how is it shown to mankind when we serve Him and bear his fruits in our life?  In other words, what is the Scriptural motivation for our service to Christ?  These questions are what we will be seeking to answer in this Bible study.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Matt 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

1Co 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

 

TODAY’S LESSON:

To come to an understanding of our motive for service (as we serve Christ “for His glory”, we need to understand the definition of the term “glory”.  The word glory is translated from several different words in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, it is translated from these Hebrew words and their forms:

  1. kabowd – weight, splendor, honor
  2. paar – to gleam or boast
  3. hadar – ornament, splendor
  4. halal – to shine, flash forth, boast
  5. shabach – laud, praise, command
  6. tipharah – beauty, boasting
  7. howd – splendor, majesty, vigor
  8.  addereth – mantle, garment, robe
  9. tohar – brightness
  10. yeqar – wealth

 

In the New Testament, it is translated from these Greek words and their forms:

  1. doxa – dignity, honor, praise, worship
  2. kauchema – to  cause to boast
  3. kleos – praise, respect

 

As we can see, in both the Old and New Testaments, the most basic, shared meaning behind all the words translated “glory” involves a revelation of the Lord’s excellence.  Whether it be speaking of the bright light like fire that appeared over Mt Sinai, the Lord’s clothing being symbolized as a bright light or His voice thunders and “is full of glory”, we can see that the Lord’s greatness is being described.

Excellence, or the Supremacy over all others, is the central theme we can see in all the above words translated “glory” in the Word of God.  To put it very simply, the phrase “the glory of the Lord” is describing a revelation of the Lord’s greatness.

When we are told to “serve the Lord for his glory” we are being told to serve the Lord motivated by the desire to reveal His Greatness to others.  This should be the motive and goal in all of our ministries and in everything we do…

1Co 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

 

We should never seek to exalt ourselves or others around us, our one purpose of ministry is to allow the greatness of Christ to be displayed in us.  This is symbolically like Christ’s glorious light that shines forth from us revealing our Savior to the world around us….

Matt 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

 

As you can see from the above passage the way that Christ’s light shines forth from us is through the fruits of the Spirit which we possess within us.  When we bear these fruits the end results are good works which exalt Christ.

This is the true meaning behind the phrase “we are to serve the Lord for His glory”.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Let’s close our study this morning by asking a few very simple questions….

Why do we serve the Lord and live our daily lives for Him?

Is the end result of our ministry His glory, our glory, or a combination of both?

May we all seek to have Jesus glorified in everything we do!

 

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Coming To SIH Ministries In One Week…

  A New 20 Part Series On “Spiritual Gifts”:

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This series will concentrate on presenting, in an understandable way, Bible teaching on this very important, and sometimes controversial subject.  

Please feel free to join us every Saturday this Spring and Summer (April thru August) for this Biblically based teaching.

 

 

“The Gifts Of The Spirit”…. A New Series Coming To SIH Ministries!

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The Filling of the Spirit (The Spirit Controlling Our Lives)

SIH STSTA ICON(Due to the length of this blog entry, I have chosen to abbreviate the Scripture texts… please have an open Bible at hand as we study this important subject.)

One of the most talked about subjects among Christians is the doctrine of “Spirit filling” and the results of this filling in the lives of Christians.   The only way for us to come to a sound understanding of this doctrine is to examine the many examples of Spirit filling that are found in both the Old and New Testament scriptures:

THE SCRIPTURES:

Exod 28:1-4 (KJV)

…And thou shalt speak unto all [that are] wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, …

Exod 31:1-5 (KJV)

….Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,…

Exod 35:30-35 (KJV)

… Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;…

Deut 34:9-12 (KJV)

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom;…

Luke 1:13-16 (KJV)

…and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

Luke 1:39-42 (KJV)

… and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb.

Luke 1:67-70 (KJV)

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied,…

Luke 4:1-2 (KJV)

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan,…

Acts 2:1-4 (KJV)

…And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 4:5-14 (KJV)

…Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, …

Acts 4:27-31 (KJV)

…and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Acts 6:3-5 (KJV)

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom,…

Acts 7:54-60 (KJV)

…But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, …

Acts 9:10-19 (KJV)

…that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost…

Acts 11:22-26 (KJV)

….For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord…

Acts 13:8-11 (KJV)

…Then Saul, (who also [is called] Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,And said,…

Acts 13:50-52 (KJV)

…And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

THE STUDY:

  1. The OT references to “Spirit filling”
    1. Exo 28:3, 31:3, 35:31–     In each of these cases, the Spirit filled men which gave them the wisdom and ability to construct the furniture and garments related to the tabernacle and the worship services.
      1. Exo 28:3 – Being “wise-hearted” was the result of Spirit filling

ii. Exo 31:1-3, 35:31 – The God’s sovereign call of Bezaleel brought about the Spirit filling which gave him the wisdom understanding and knowledge to perform all manner of workmanship.

  1. Deut 34:9–     The filling of Joshua took place when Moses laid hands on him.   Laying on of hands was the public declaration of God’s choice of Joshua was the successor to Moses.
    1. This filling then enabled Joshua to lead the children of Israel in the promised land.

The NT references to “Spirit filling”

    1. Luke 1:15–     Here we find John the Baptist, filled while in his mothers womb. John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ was to announce Christ’s coming to the world.  This event was the first time he announced Christ’s coming.
      1. This filling enabled John to recognize, and react to, the Messiah who was still in the womb of Mary.
    2. Luke 1:41-67–     In these verses, we read of John’s parents Elizabeth and Zacharias blessed Mary and the Messiah who was in her womb.
      1. The Spirit filling allowed both Elizabeth and Zacharias to recognize the Messiah in Mary’s womb and also enabled them to make their proclamations of blessings upon Mary and the Christ.
    3. Luke 4:1–     Following Christ’s baptism, we find Him described as being filled with the Spirit.  Perhaps this Spirit filling took place from His conception, or perhaps from His baptism.  In either case, we find Him filled before His encounter with Satan in the wilderness.
      1. Probably, Christ was filled with the Spirit to enable Him to perform all His wondrous acts during His earthly ministry.  However, in the context, we can see, for certain, that one reason for His filling was to empower Him during the temptation that was about to take place.
    4. Acts 2:4 –     The Holy Spirit sovereignty filled the believing church members of the church at Jerusalem.  This took place during the Day of Pentecost
      1. This filling enabled the church members to speak in known human languages that were unknown to the speakers (but known to the hearers).  This allowed the Christians to proclaim the wondrous works of the Lord to foreigners who did not speak the Greek language.
    5. Acts 4:8 –     Peter and John were filled with the Spirit during their examination at the hands of Jewish religious leaders.
      1. This filling allowed them to answer with boldness and clarity as they were being questioned.
    6. Acts 4:31–     The believers, assembled to hear John and Peter speak were filled with the Holy Ghost as they were listening to the account of John and Peter.
      1. The believers were enabled to speak the word of God with boldness in the face of threatened persecution.
    7. Acts 6:3-5–     Here we read the Godly men of Jerusalem, who were soon to become the first deacons of the church at Jerusalem, were filled with the Spirit
      1. This filling gave these Godly men the ability to fulfill the office of deacon.
    8. Acts 7:55–     Stephen was filled with the Spirit immediately before he was martyred for the cause of Christ.
      1. This filling gave Stephen the ability to continue to proclaim the truth of God even in the face of death by stoning. Also, the filling allowed him to look into heaven and see the Lord.
    9. Acts 9:17–     Saul (Paul) was filled with the Holy Ghost immediately following Ananias hands being laid upon Him. This marked the beginning of Paul’s earthly ministry
      1. This filling resulted in Paul receiving his sight, gaining strength and then beginning his public ministry for the Lord.
    10. Acts 11:22-26–     Here Barnabus is described as being “a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith”.
      1. This filling allowed Barnabus to preach Godly messages empowered by the Spirit resulting in many souls being saved.
    11. Acts 13:8-11–     Here Paul, as he faces Elymas the sorcerer, is said to be filled with the Spirit.
      1. This filling of the Spirit resulted in Paul’s being able to stand up against the demoniac sorcerer and strike him blind.
    12. Acts 13:52–     Paul and Barnabus, following being cast out of Antioch, is filled with the Sprit and joy before beginning to minster in Iconium.
      1. This filling allowed Paul and Barnabus ot remain encouraged in the Lord and to minister to those at Iconium resulting in “a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed”

Please notice, in all the above examples the filling of the Holy Spirit was given to fulfill a specific ministry or calling.  Although forgiven of our sins, we, as Christians, are still sinful, fallen human beings, constantly hindered from faithful service by our sinful flesh.  The filling of the Spirit is one way that God enables us to serve Him in extraordinary capacities.

Also notice that the speaking of tongues only took place in one instance out of seventeen instances of Spirit filling.  There is no reason to believe that the speaking of tongues automatically accompanies the filling of the Spirit…. it is clear that, normally, tongues not did accompany Spirit filling in Bible times.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Eph 5:1-20 (KJV)

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.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.Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

In this passage of Scripture, Paul gives us instructions on the necessity of living a Godly life in the midst of this sinful world.  Loving with a self-sacrificial love, separation from the sin and the sinful influences of this world, living a life of wisdom, understanding and fulfilling the will of God in our lives; these all are themes touched upon by Paul.

Then Paul makes the statement “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit”.

The need for the Spirit’s filling in every Christian’s life is clearly linked to living a life that rises above the sinful influences of this world.   As a part of fallen mankind, we all have a bent toward sin.  Without the Holy Spirit filling our life and controlling it we are destined for spiritual failure in our day to day walk with Him.

Also, please note that Paul, in a sense, relates “Spirit filling” with “being drunk with wine”.  Why?  Drunkenness controls every aspect of a person’s demeanor… It affects speech, movement, judgement… the list goes on and on.   This is very similar to the Spirit filling a person’s life.  It is then that the Spirit is in control of our entire being.  Our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions are all under submission to His will and ways.

What are some results of this Spirit filling? A joyous, contented., thankful heart set on glorifying the Lord … “ Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

How is a Christian filled with the Spirit?  By, willfully, turning over every aspect of our lives to the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.  That is when the indwelling Spirit will take control of our entire being and work in us bringing about success in our individual ministries the Lord has chosen for us.

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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

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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.”

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The Justification of Lebron James …

SIH STSTA ICONThis past week Lebron James made his nationally televised “decision” and left the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat of the NBA.  As a Christian, I am abhorred by his justification for leaving.   During James’ interview on ESPN, he repeatedly stated his reason for leaving the Cavs.  There was a two-fold motive behind his decision:

A. So he would be happy

B. So that he would win multiple NBA championships  (in doing so, he will supposedly be classed with the greatest players of all time like Jordan, Russell, Bryant etc.)

(In case you missed his ESPN interview please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIw7BakUoTU to see his justification for the move.)

When I was younger, I was always told that my decisions were to be made with the following in mind…

A.  Above all else, I was to put the Lord’s will first in all my decision making

B.  Next, my immediate family’s welfare was to dictate what my decision was to be.

C.  Thirdly, the good of other people around me was to take a third place in my decisions.

D.  My own desires were to take fourth place in my decisions.

I have always thought that this was a pretty good way of making decisions and it certainly appears to support Biblical teachings… (Luke 10:27-28, Eph 5:25, 5:28-29).   Then along comes Lebron James… what example does he set for all the young people who look up to him as a role model?   His entire justification for moving to Miami is basically turning the above list of priorities on it’s head.

He is telling his followers, by his words and example, that putting themselves first, and making their happiness the number one priority in life, they are making the most of their life on earth.  This reminds me of the King in Ecclesiates that wasted his life seeking happiness and power in all the world had to offer.  (Eccl  1:-12:)

His actions and his words clearly tell us that happiness and lasting fame are the ultimate priority in James’ decision making process.  It is enough to make any Christian weep.

My question is this…. “Since happiness and fame take priority in his decisions, does this mean they are his gods?”  It is really something to think about and something to warn our children about.

The Message of Ten Cent Beer Night

SIH STSTA ICON“Ten Cent Beer Night”… June 4, 1974, is a night that will live in infamy.  For all of us who are Cleveland Indians fans, just the mention of this horrendous night still sends chills of shame through our bones.  The food that was thrown onto the field, several fans that entered the field causing game delays and, of course, the ninth inning riot; were just a few of the highlights of this unforgettable evening.  This was the lowest point in the history of the Cleveland Indians and, many believe, the lowest point in all of professional sports.  The worst that Cleveland had to offer was clearly seen that night.

By the way, to finish off the evening, the Indians were forced to forfeit the game to the Texas Rangers.  (If you happened to be born after 1974 or you have never heard of this momentous night please feel free to learn more about it at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Cent_Beer_Night)

News of this game not only rocked the Cleveland area, but hit the national news as well.  Cleveland became the laughing stock of the nation, once again.

So what could the entire nation learn from this horrible night?  What lesson could the Lord have been trying to teach us by allowing this night to take place?    I’m sure many lessons could be learned, but the most obvious is this… the need for self-control.   Just think what a difference would have been made if everyone would have kept themselves under control.   The over-indulgences of beer and the resulting inhibitions of the evening would have never taken place.  And the shame of the public indecencies would have been avoided.   All would have been different if self-restraint had ruled the night.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

Here, in Galatians 5: the word translated “temperance” is a Greek word that means “self-control” or “the strength to overcome within ourselves”.   Temperance is the exercise of the strength necessary to control our passions and the lusts of our flesh.

In his writings, Paul made it plain that there is a war that is constantly at work within the lives of Christians.  (Rom 7:14-25)   On one side is our “old man”, desiring to find satisfaction in many sinful pursuits; on the other side, our “new man” desiring for our lives to be pleasing to God.  (Eph 4:17-32, Col 3:1-14)

It takes a tremendous amount of inward strength for the “new man” to overcome the ways of the “old man”.  By “inward strength” I’m not talking about natural, fleshly self-resolve.  I am talking about a divine strength given from our Lord through the Spirit working in our life.  This is why “temperance” is described as a “fruit of the Spirit”.

As a Christian grows in the knowledge of His Word, he should see a gradual, outward growth in his life.  This outward growth is characterized by the gradual, consistent, departure of habitual sin from the Christian’s life.   Much like an infant gradually grows to maturity, so too, a Christian “infant” as he feeds on God’s Word should grow into a mature spiritual man. This was Peter’s wish for all of those who were saved by His grace. (1 Pet 2:1-3, 2 Pet 3:18)   As we grow and mature in Christ, we too, should be seeing a greater control over the sinful desires of our flesh and mind.  This is true spiritual growth and this is of what bearing the fruit of “temperance” is speaking.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For the Christian, “temperance” should be a greatly desired commodity.  The more we possess self-control; the more we please our Lord and Savior, and the more we can glorify Him in our lives.   This is what the Christian life is all about.  In Ephesians 1:1-14, we find a listing of the Trinity’s role and motive in our salvation:

Eph 1:1-6 – God the Father’s role…. Please notice why does the Father do all of this for us?  “to the praise of the glory of His grace”…. In other words, He worked in our lives to save us so that we could be shining trophies of His grace to all the world!

Eph 1:7-12 – God the Son’s role …. What was the Son’s motive in saving us? “That we should be to the praise of His glory”…. So that we might praise Him with our lives!

Eph 1:13-14 – God the Spirit’s role… Why do He do this?  “unto the praise of His glory” … so He would be glorified by us!

In each case, all three persons of the Trinity worked to save us so that they might be honored, obeyed and praised by us!

For those who have never experienced the Lord’s saving grace in your life, your first step to living a life of self-control over your sinful desires is to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.  Please remember, true spiritual temperance is a gift of God’s grace, we cannot possess temperance without Him.  By believing in Jesus (His work and His message) you will not only receive forgiveness but also the indwelling Spirit who will enable you to lead a temperate life through God’s Word.  For more information about salvation please read my recent blog entry on “Forgiveness”.

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.

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.”

If I Only Had The Nerve

SIH STSTA ICONWe all remember “The Wizard of OZ” from our childhood.  When I was young, I used to watch it with my family, sitting on my mom’s lap… boy was I scared!    Even though the cowardly lion is the one who said he needed “nerve,”  I needed more nerve than he did, as I watched that movie.

There were so many weird things in it to scare a fella!  For example, it had lions, scarecrows and tin men that could talk; it had munchkins, witches and that crazy wizard; but most importantly, it had those flying monkeys…. I HATED those flying monkeys!   I used to dream about those monkeys… to this day, I don’t like those monkeys!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESI19h4wDo  I could have said, just like the lion, …“If I only had the nerve”.

Anyhow, back to my original point, In “the Wizard of Oz”, because of the lion’s lack of courage, he was pictured as weak and helpless.  It made him look downright pitiful   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98W7zg2ByKY  That helpless, pitiful condition that accompanies cowardice some people associate with not only cowardice but meekness as well.  Being meek, they say,   means they do not have the strength to stand up for themselves, but to allow others to manipulate or “walk all over” them.   The exact opposite is true.  It takes courage to lead meek life.

To be meek, as used in the Bible, is “the confidence that leads to obedience, through the release of self-pride”.  Being meek is an act of strength and courage, not an act of weakness and cowardice.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

Noah is the perfect example of a meek man.   Noah believed that His God knew what was best for his life.  Therefore, Noah submitted himself to God’s authority by building an ark in spite of his neighbors ridicule. (Gen 6:10-Gen 9:17)   It took a great amount of courage for Noah to build that ark.  It also took a humble spirit as he withstood his neighbor’s jeers.   Noah was a bold, courageous, meek man.

The Bible mentions others who led meek (humble) lives as they served their God…

Nums 12:3 – Moses

2 Chron 34:1, 27 – Josiah

Matt 11:29, 21:5 – Our Lord Jesus Christ

Remember, Christ was God Himself, yet he was willing to humble Himself so that we might have access to salvation from our sins… Phils 2:5-11 gives us a variety of ways that Christ showed His meekness to us:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “

We have so much to thank Him for!  God becoming man, and then dying unjustly on a cross to pay the price for our sins… this is, truly, the ultimate example of meekness for all of us to follow.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

If you are like me, the pursuit of humility is an extremely difficult one.  As a matter of fact, to bear the fruit of meekness is, perhaps, the most difficult of all the fruits.  Our gracious Lord understands this and promises great benefits for living a meek life for His glory:

Psa 10:17  The Lord will hear the prayers of the meek and bless them with Godly desires for their life.

Psa 25:9 The Lord will guide and teach the humble

Psa 34:2  The Lord will bless the humble with joy as they see others serving Him.

Psa 37:11 The Lord will cause the meek to inherit the earth and live a life of inward peace

Psa 149:4  The Lord will give the meek deliverance

Prov 29:23  The Lord gives those who are humble an honorable reputation.

Isa 11:4  The Lord defends the meek

Isa 29:19  The Lord multiplies the joy of the meek

Zeph 2:3 The Lord hides the humble from His anger

Matt 18:4  The Lord gives the meek a high position in the His kingdom

James 4:6 The Lord blesses the humility with grace

Although extremely difficult, living a meek life is one of the most blessed lives that a person can live.  When we are willing to serve the Lord, by faith, putting Him first above all else, we are placing ourselves in a position of great blessings for now and eternity.  This is what leading a meek life is about.  What better way can we thank Him for all the times He humbled Himself for us!

“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”  (Luk 17:7-10)

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.

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.”

A Place that has to be Believed to be Seen

SIH STSTA ICONHow many times have we heard the saying…. “seeing is believing”?  In other words, experience leads to belief.  It is only when we experience something that we can then place our faith in it. This is a generally accepted attitude that has existed throughout the generations, to say otherwise is just being foolish.  Or is it?

In their song  “Walk On” the group U2 sings the following lyrics… “Walk on, walk on;   What you got, they can’t steal it;   No they can’t even feel it;   Walk on, walk on;   Stay safe tonight… You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been;   A place that has to be believed to be seen”  (http://www.macphisto.net/u2lyrics/Walk_On.html)  In the context, they point out that heaven must be believed in BEFORE it can be experienced.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wfjPmDlCB0

The need to have belief before someone can enter into heaven aligns itself with Bible teachings … “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” … “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” (Heb 11:1, 13-14) The need for faith to precede experience is not a principle limited to our experience of heaven, the Word of God makes it clear that faith is an absolute necessity in many areas of our Christian life…

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

Faith is a basic Biblical principle, going far beyond the subject of heaven.  It applies to many different aspects of Christian living… when it comes to spiritual living, belief must precede experience.   Faith is necessary for the forgiveness of sin, for the receipt of the promises of God, as well as the experience of God’s glory after our death. (Roms 5:1, Roms 4:13, Roms 5:2)   Truly the life of a Christian is a life centered on faith, which then leads to experience.

One of the most amazing things about faith is that it is not a natural part of man, it is given to us as a gift from God. (Eph 2:8-9).  This emphasizes our need for Him in all areas of our life.   At our initial salvation experience, we could not trust in Him apart from His intervention in our lives. (John 6:44)  During our Christian life on earth, we are helpless to trust His promises and receive His blessings apart from His gift of faith. (Matt 13:58)  And finally, we would all be without hope for our future without His faith being granted to us. (1 Pet 1:18-21).  Yes, the Word is so true when it says that “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. (Joh 9:33)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In Gals 5:22-25, “faith” is described as a “fruit of the Spirit”.  In other words, like all the other fruits of the Spirit, our life should be a living testament of the faith that has been so graciously given to us.   As we live our life on earth, the choices we make exhibits our faith to others. Pastor Charles Stanley of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta Ga.; says that we should “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.”  This is a very simple way of stating the role of faith in the life of a Christian.  By choosing to obey the Lord, we are choosing to exercise faith in Him and His promises, instead of relying on our own abilities and devices.  This is the testimony we should be living in the sight of others…ALWAYS putting the Lord first and then, by faith, trusting Him to take care of the consequences of our actions.

For those who have never received the Lord’s faith into your life…. Your most important responsibility is to look to Him for salvation, realizing apart from Christ, you can do nothing for your own salvation.  He must intervene in your life and save you from your sins.  By totally trusting on Christ for your salvation, you are fulfilling your responsibility and can be assured that He has given you spiritual life and a wonderful eternity awaiting you…

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:5-10)

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.

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.”

Goodness’, Gracious’ sakes alive!

SIH STSTA ICONOne of most famous college basketball coaches of all time was John Wooden, coach of the UCLA Bruins. Coach Wooden, a devout, outspoken, Christian, set many NCAA records during his coaching career at UCLA.  He set records for number of undefeated seasons (4), number of conference championships (19) and number of NCAA championships (10).    To read more about the achievements of coach Wooden please go to http://www.sacredhoops.com/john-wooden/

Besides being known for his extraordinary spirituality, coaching skills and achievements, Coach Wooden was also known for NEVER using profanity.  Many times he would use the phrase “Goodness’, Gracious’ sakes alive!” as a replacement for profane language. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxMGcmp5t30

Unknown to many, this phrase carries with it a reference to Jehovah, the triune God who Coach Wooden served.

Both the terms Goodness and Gracious are attributes of Jehovah God of the Bible.  Exodus 34:6 makes this very clear  “… The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”   This is how the phrase “Goodness, Gracious” began, it was used as an alternate name(s) for our God.   Because He is a good God, He is given the title “Goodness”.  Because He is the God of grace, He is given the title “Gracious”.

This being the case, what does it mean when the Bible says God is a God of goodness?  Let’s continue our study centering on “goodness”, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

(more…)

Be Like Charmin not Sandpaper

SIH STSTA ICONMr. Whipple had it right.  Do you remember the old Charmin commercials?  Mr. Whipple had to be guarding the Charmin tissue because he recognized its outstanding softness would cause many shoppers to be attracted to it. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yG-y8poTLU)  And, once attracted, they would want to squeeze it.  Why?  When given a choice, anyone would elect to experience pampering and soothing over irritation and annoyance.

The same principle applies to our life experiences.  How often have we been put into a situation where we had to put up with someone who was just plain mean?  You know the type… it seems like everything they do is done with the intent of stirring up the most problems and hurting the most feelings.  Instead of being patient and kind to others, they choose to be harsh and aggravating.   In other words, they rub their associates like sandpaper instead of Charmin.

When given a choice, I would ALWAYS choose to spend time with the Charmins of this life.  I only spend time with the sandpapers when it is absolutely necessary.  The question we need to ask ourselves is “which type of a person do we want to be, a Charmin or a sandpaper type of person?”  The type of person that we desire to be tells us a lot about ourselves…

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

In our above verses, we find that one of the “fruits of the Spirit” is “gentleness”.  The word gentleness is speaking of a life that is kind, encouraging, and helpful; not harsh, nor harmful, nor bitter.   We all know someone with a gentle personality.  They are the ones that give us the much needed “boost” when we are discouraged.  We derive strength from them when we are weak.   It is this type of person that somehow brings out the best in all of us.  This is the type of God that we serve…

The Father showed us this “gentleness”,or “kindness”, when He sent His Son to die for us…  “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”  (Eph 2:7)

God the Son displays His “kindness” to us through the salvation He graciously gives to us… “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; “(Tit 3:4-5)

Remember, the basic principle found in Gals 5:22-25, a “fruit of the Spirit” is something that is displayed in a Christian’s life through the enabling of the indwelling Spirit.   This is a vital key to living a gentle, kind life.

As fallen, sinful mankind, we all struggle to be kind to others.  It is much easier to be impatient and mean to others than to be patient and kind.   If we are left to ourselves we all would be short tempered to others.  But, if we look to the Spirit’s intervention in our life, He will enable us to be patient and kind when it is so very difficult to do.   Like all others areas of the Christian life, reliance on the Lord’s strength is the key to successful living.

None of us can live a Godly life without His intervention and strength…”I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. “(Joh 15:5)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

After setting the example for us, and then, enabling us to live a gentle life, what more could we ask from Him?  All he asks from us is to live a life that displays Him to others.  By us being kind, we are showing others His kindness; by us showing mercy, we are showing others His mercy; by us forgiving others, we are showing others how He forgives sin.

Showing our Lord to others, through our lifestyle, is the greatest privilege possessed by a Christian…“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Col 3:12-13)

If anyone has not received Christ as their Lord and Savior, go back and review the verses about God’s kindness He has shown to man.   In both cases, the Father’s and the Son’s kindness is extended toward you.  He will not turn anyone away who comes to Him for salvation.    By coming to Him, in faith, trusting His words and His works, you will be saved.   Please read some or all of the following verses from God’s Word, they will help you to understand more about trusting in Christ and what God has done for us:

God the Father’s role in our salvation (Eph 1:1-6); God the Son’s role in our salvation (Eph 1:7-12); God the Spirit’s role in our salvation (Eph 1:13-14)

Our responsibility is to trust Christ’s words and His works for us (John 6:63-64; John 10:24-30; Acts 4:10-12; Acts 16:30-32; Roms 10:8-9)

If you have any questions, or would like more information please feel free to contact me at the email address at the end of this blog.  Or, if you would rather, contact any Bible believing church in your area.  I’m sure they will be glad to answer any questions you may have about the forgiveness of our sins or living a gentle life.

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.

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.”

It’s not just Doctors who need patience!

SIH STSTA ICONWe’ve all heard a joke that goes something like this….  “A pediatrician was finishing up a long, busy day in his office, dealing with obnoxious parents and their unruly children.  As he walked past the front desk, he muttered to his head nurse, “I need patience, more patience.”   His nurse, with a shocked expression on her face, said… “But doctor, our schedule is full through the end of next month, how can we fit them in?”

Every one of us have days similar to this doctor’s day. A day filled with frustration and anxiety is inevitable for us all.  How do we get through such a day?  We use something called “patience.”

Patience seems to be in short supply in today’s society.  Why do I say this?  Just stand in a checkout line at a store, or sit at a railroad crossing waiting for a long train to pass, listening to the comments of others, and you will see the shortage of patience in today’s society.

What is really sad is that even though many of us see the need for more patience, the development of that patience is far easier said than done.  So what are we to do?   God’s Word addresses the need, the source, and the acquisition of patience for our lives….

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

(Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

The term “longsuffering” in Galatians 5:22 is translated “patience” thirty-three times in the New Testament.  The word comes from a Greek word that means “to bear long under”.

Picture a pack mule carrying his owner’s possessions on his back.  As his master places item after item on his back, his burden becomes increasing heavy to bear.   Instead of kicking off the burden, the mule stands there bearing the load and allowing his master to place more weight on his back.  This is the perfect picture of this Greek word translated “longsuffering” or “patience”.

This mule is “bearing long under” his burdens.  He is patiently holding them up on his back, even when there is no sign of the burden decreasing.  This is exactly what we need today.  It is the ability to bear up under the difficulties in life, without flinching or fighting, simply accepting the difficulties and continuing on.

Where do we find such a gift of patience?  Our verses tell us that longsuffering (patience) comes from the working of the Holy Spirit of God in the lives of followers of Christ.

Think of Christ’s patience that He has exercised for us…

“(Christ) Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Pe 2:22-24)

Think of the patience it took for Christ to go through with His crucifixion.   Please remember, Christ WILLINGLY partook of death for us. (John 10:17-18)  He willingly allowed His body to be bruised and His life to be taken.  And with His last breath a message of love, and patience, was declared… “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.  What an amazing Lord, setting a perfect example of patience for all of us to follow.

But how do we develop patience in our lives?  If you are like me, you won’t like the answer, but here it is…

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (Jas 1:3-4)

For the Christian, the development of patience is brought about through the trying of our faith.

As we face trials in our life, we may ask God the question “Why me, dear Lord?”    Here, we find one answer (of many) to our “Why me?” question.    The Lord allows trials in our life to help us to develop patience in our lives.   The next time we face a trial, we should stop and think… this is an opportunity for me to develop patience and, eventually, be spiritually mature and lack nothing (see James 1:4).

For those who have never trusted in Christ… the first step towards living a patient life is looking in faith to the One who is so very patient with all of us.   Our Lord is so patient, He allows us to live a life of rebellion and sin, and yet does not turn His back on us.   He promises, no matter what we have done in our life, He will not “cast us out” if we come to Him through His Father’s grace.  (John 6:37).

Paul, who was self-described as the “chief of sinners”, was saved when He came to Christ for salvation.  Salvation is available to all who come to Him without any limitation to nationality, gender, or most importantly, past history of sin.  Peter knew this when he wrote…“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”   (2Pe 3:9)   Won’t you trust in Christ to save you before it is too late?

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.

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.”

All Aboard the Peace Train (Boarding at the Pearly Gates)

SIH STSTA ICONGoogle the phrase “World Peace” and you will be bombarded with website after website declaring the desire for a worldwide peace.  It is the desire of most Miss America’s, seemingly the entire 60’s generation, and probably, over 90% of the world’s population.  In my younger days, one of the more popular songs was a song entitled “Peace Train”, recorded in 1971.  This song voiced the hope for peace and was in the top ten for an extended time.  For those of you who don’t remember it please take a look here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G52Z84vF4fk&feature=related)

Certainly, world peace has been and continues to be one of the greatest wants of mankind.  It is very easy to understand why there is such a longing for peace.  Just think of the number of human lives lost in all the past wars here on earth.  I’m sure the total is staggering.  Just in my lifetime, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan has cost the lives of more than 63,000 Americans, not to mention over 380,000 Americans wounded.  These numbers do not count the civilian casualties, much less the casualties from the other countries participating in these wars.

It would seem that, with world peace being such a popular idea, and the price of war being so terribly high, we could have a permanent peace.  But we don’t.  As much as we want it, no matter how hard we try to attain it…we have no peace.

However, when it comes to world peace, all hope is not lost.  The Bible teaches us that the existence of wars and the threats of coming wars doesn’t surprise our Lord.  The Lord knew these “perilous” times would come upon the world, and He proved it by giving us advance warning (Lk 21:8-11.) He made it quite plain that in spite of all these horrible wars brought about by man, He remains in complete and absolute control (Dan 4:35).  The Lord guarantees us that, someday, He will restore a perfect peace to this earth (Isa 11:4-10).

Besides this outward, worldly peace, there is another more important inward peace that comes only from our Lord.  This is the peace of Galatians 5:22-25 …

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

The peace of Gals 5:22 is one of the “fruits of the Spirit”.  It is given to us through the Spirit of God that indwells us at salvation.  It is the assurance that both our life here on earth, and in the hereafter, are in the hands of our Lord.  It is the peace we receive when we know HE WILL CARE FOR US, PROTECT US, and ACCOMPANY US from here through eternity.  It is a peace that “passes all understanding” (Phil 4:6-7).   It is the peace that only God can give (John 14:27).

Can you imagine a peace that brings us joy in the midst of any trial we face in life?  Can you imagine being able to think about death with an assurance that we have an eternity with God awaiting us?  Have you put down the burden of your sin knowing all of your acts of disobedience have been forgiven by God?   This is what this peace is all about.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

But it doesn’t end there.  God does not give us this peace to hide within ourselves. He gives it to us that we might display it in our lives.  That is why it is called a “fruit” … it is to be given off by us, like an apple tree gives off an apple for another’s benefit.

For a Christian, peace is given to us, contained within us, and then revealed to others by us. As we exhibit this peace in our lives, others see it and are shown what they are missing.   As an act of thankfulness to God, we display our peace, glorifying Him in the eyes of a lost mankind.  This is being a fruit-bearing Christian.

For those who are not saved by God’s grace, please be honest and sense the burden you are living under.  God’s Word makes it clear that we all have sinned.  Because of this sin we are separated from our God.  (Romans 3:23 & 5:12)   Separation from God has two aspects to it: first, it includes no communion with Him and secondly, facing His eternal judgment in the lake of fire.   (Isaiah 59:2 & Rev 20:15)  If we come to the Lord, trusting Him and His work on the cross, we can be saved.  This trust involves our willingness to submit our entire lives to His leadership and rely on His work on the cross to pay the sin debt that we all owe to God.  (2 Peter 1:10-11 & Galatians 3:11-14)

It is only through this faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that salvation from our sins can be received.  It is only through this faith that we can share in the peace that all God’s people possess.

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.

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.”

Happiness is Something We Should Be Joyful About!

SIH STSTA ICONWhen I was at home, as a youngster, I wanted to grow up and be out on my own.  You know how it was …. the folks were sticks in the mud, kill-joys, and grinches all combined.   It seemed like anything I really wanted to do they were against… like lighting the cats tail on fire, playing basketball inside the house, and of course, staying up until 3:00 AM watching my favorite horror movie.  These were the important things in life… these are the things that would give a guy real satisfaction… and all they could say was “NO”.   That’s why, at times, I wanted to be away from my folks… then I could do what I want when I want.

Well, my folks thought otherwise, they would tell me, “Rob, appreciate your life at home.  You have very few responsibilities and people who love you and look out for you.”   Believe me, I didn’t see what they meant, but I sure do now!  They were right, my time at home, growing up with a loving family, was one of the best times of my life.  I was blessed and I didn’t’ realize it, I took the blessing of a loving family for granted and only later in life (when I was out on my own) did I really begin to understand how blessed I had been.

This brings to my mind, the songs I would hear my Mom or Dad sing at home…“Count Your Many Blessings”  (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIYl6lK1c50 )    There are many songs we sing that have a practical application to them, but throughout my life, I have found that this song is one of the most needed songs for my life.   One of the most amazing things takes place in my life, when I am discouraged, and then I think of this song, I begin to apply it’s message and joy replaces my discouragement as I think of all my God has done for me.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

In our Galatians verses, we find that “joy” is among the list of fruits that the Spirit gives to us when we are saved.  For us to understand the fruit of joy, we need to know it’s relation to happiness in the Bible. “Joy” and “happiness” are associated with one another in God’s Word, but they are not the same.   When we are “happy” … “joy” should follow.

The Greek word for happy is most times translated “blessed”.  In the New Testament, a man who is described as “happy” refers to a man who is blessed.   This is his condition in life.  In the Bible “happy” is a state of being, not an emotion.     In other words, when a man is said to be “happy”…. the New Testament is saying that this man is receiving blessings from the Lord.  This is clearly brought out in several verses, here is just one….”Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. “ Here, in James 5:11, the Bible says that when we see someone who is able to endure all this life throws at them, remaining faithful to their Lord… that is proof that they are being blessed by God.

“Joy” on the other hand, does not refer to a condition, but to an emotion.  “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; “ (2 Tim 1:4)   Paul was saying that when he could see Timothy face to face, he would be filled with the emotion of cheerfulness or “joy””.  So to summarize, the Bible describes anyone who is “blessed” as being “happy”, whether he realizes that he is blessed or not.    The Bible describes a man as “joyful” because he recognizes he is blessed and then outwardly displays his appreciation through joy.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: (Psa 103:2)

So to put these two ideas together, the idea is this…. we are to desire and recognize the blessings we are given every day.  Then out of appreciation for all He has done for us, have a joyful attitude about us.   We are not to forget what He has done for us, but we are to allow the blessings He’s given to us be an encouragement and strength to us.

In other words, we should be joyful that He has blessed us.

For those of us who are saved, it is an absolute necessity to recognize all His blessings He has given to us.  How sad it is for us to forget what He has done after He has done so very much for us.  He came to the earth, humbled Himself as a man and then died on the cross for our sins (Phil 2:5-11).   It is through this joy that we receive the encouragement and strength to serve Him in the midst of a fallen world.  (Neh 8:10)

For those who have never received Christ as their Savior…. trust in Christ and His work today… it is only through Him that you can have a true, permanent, fullness of joy (Psa 16:11).  This joy is given to us through His death on the cross, as He died to save His people from their sins.  (Matt 1:21)  By trusting in Christ as Lord and Savior, His grace, forgiveness and presence, bring forth joy and gladness in our hearts.  He has saved us from an eternity of punishment for our sins… He has saved us from the rule of sin in our lives. What a reason to be joyful!!!

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.

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.”

Love… Biblical Style

SIH STSTA ICONThe subject of “love” has dominated the attention of mankind throughout the years.   There have been literally thousands of songs, poems, stories, fables, even scientific studies, trying to help define love and explain it more fully.  The entertainment industry uses love as a central theme in most of it’s programming.

Do you remember a TV show called “Love, American Style”? It was a show featuring a different cast of characters every week.  They would show the affects of love on many, varied, fictional relationships.  For a quick walk down memory lane watch this…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrBe09SIENA&feature=related

After all these attempts, it seems as if there still exists much confusion about love and man’s pursuit of it.  For us to look to our society for a definition of love is a futile act.  Today’s definitions can range from an innocent emotion to an immoral act and everything in between.   The more man tries to define it, the more confused man becomes.

So what is love?  We will try to answer this question from God’s Word….

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

(Gal 5:22-25)

THE STUDY:

The Bible has ALOT to say about love… within the pages of the Bible we find at least 311 times when the word “love” is used (300 times in the Old Testament, 11 times in the New Testament).  Love is a central theme of the Bible…. Both God’s love for man and man’s love for God are emphasized.  But throughout the Word, there is also many references to mankind’s love for one another.   Anyone who is willing to take the time to examine every reference to love in the Bible will see a vast storehouse of information that helps us to see the true meaning and role of love in our lives.

At the risk of over-simplifying the Biblical teaching, let me center on just one of many observations about love found in the Bible….   a scriptural, God-pleasing love is one that produces self-sacrifice in our lives.  For one example of this principle please see John 15:3; here we find love for a friend resulting in laying down our life for them.

Our God set the ultimate example of a sacrificial love for us…

God the Father loved us so much He gave His Son to die for us on the cross. (John 3:16, Roms 5:8)

God the Son loved us so much He gave His life as an offering and sacrifice to God for us, paying the price of our sins. (Eph 5:2)

Christ, in the person of God the Spirit, then indwells our hearts through faith… giving us a continual testimony of His great love for us. (Eph 3:17-19)

Finally, we can never be separated from this great love He has bestowed upon us!  What a wonderful promise, once we are placed in His love, no one can take His love off of us… in other words, His love is without limit, He will never cast us aside nor will he ever desert us, we are kept by Him eternally. (Roms 8:35-39)

Now, after setting such great examples of true love for us, He then promises to implant within us this same love when we are forgiven of our sins.   In our scripture verse, love is classified as one of the “fruits of the Spirit”…   this means that love is given off in our lives, when the Holy Spirit inhabits our hearts, at the time our salvation.  Therefore, we can begin to love Him, and others, with the same type of love that He has loved us… an unrestricted, self-surrendering love.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What a wonderful gift we have been given…. a fruit of love that we can give off to others…. much like a tree gives off its fruit to those who need it.   We can love others sacrificially, with no thought of personal gain.  Have you ever heard of an “unconditional” love?  This is the same type of love we can give to others through the working of the Spirit in our lives.

As followers of our Lord, we can place this love upon Him, allowing us to serve Him without hesitation or reservation.   We can willingly give our all to Him, just as He gave His all for us. (1 John 4:19)

Then, we are able to love others as Christ loved us.  What a wonderful way to be a living testimony for Him.   By loving others sacrificially, with no thought of personal gain, we are displaying for all to see how our Lord has loved us and laid down His life for us on the cross. (John 15:12)

For those who have never received the love of God into their hearts…. look to the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  Trusting in Christ for his salvation, is all men’s responsibility.   Have you trusted in Christ?  Have your sins been forgiven?  Has the love of God been placed upon you?  Does His Spirit now enable you to love as He loves?  If you have answered “no” to these questions please read God’s word, it shows us the way of life and true, Godly love.   A great place to start reading is 1 John 3:23-24.

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.”

If you have any questions or subjects you would like discussed on this blog, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I will answer all emails via this blog, by email, or both.

Falling Apples

SIH STSTA ICONWe’ve all seen this time and time again, a child that looks almost identical to one of their parents.  When we see this, we jokingly say “The apple doesn’t fall far from the apple tree”.   In other words, a child will share in their parent’s appearance and/or behavior. For an explanation of the origin of this saying please see http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080525203745AAKrx82.

It only makes sense that a child would mimic their parent.  They share in the parent’s DNA (explaining the physical resemblances to the parent) and, as impressionable children, they live with the parent watching their every action (explaining the child’s behavioral similarities to their parent.)

This same principle applies to the relationship a child of God has with their heavenly Father. We should represent our Father on earth by resembling Him.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

(Gal 5:22-25 kjv)

THE STUDY:

The above verses give a listing of nine qualities that Christians should display in their daily walk of life.

A quick definition of each fruit follows:

“love” – to have the willingness to sacrifice self with no thought of gain;

“joy”- to possess calm delight displayed through actions;

“peace” – to be quietness, restful , harmonious, to be in unison with others

“longsuffering” – to bear under heavy burdens without giving into them

“gentleness” – to be kindness, merciful to others

“goodness” – to be virtuous, morally upright

“faith” – to rely upon, to place trust, to be assured of

“meekness” – to be humble

“temperance”- ability to control our power

The Lord lists the nine qualities that all men should possess in their lives adding to the quality of life around us.  Who among us would begin to say we do not desire to see these fruits in the lives of others?  Do we enjoy being around people that are hateful, always discouraged or wanting to fight all the time?  What about those that are impatient, unforgiving, or wicked?   Of course, none of us enjoy being with someone like this.  Our Lord has given us a simple listing of fruits that enhance our life of earth, as we live according to them and enjoy our life with others who live by them.

The Lord continues on by reminding us that, for the Christian, these fruits should be desired and naturally borne by those who are truly saved.   Please keep in mind, a part of the salvation experience is not only trusting in Christ and receiving forgiveness from our sins, but also an attitude of turning from our sins to serve Him as our Lord.  This turning from sin to God is called “repentance” in the Bible.  (please see Hebs 6:1, 2 Cor 7:10, 2 Tim 2:24-26)   This is what our Lord meant when He said we are to “crucify (put to death) the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

He goes further by telling us that if we have received the indwelling of His Spirit, then we should be willing to live by the leadership of that same Spirit.   The Spirit’s leadership will result in our fruit bearing as well.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In Galatians 5:22-25, we see a listing of attributes that should accompany the lives of all members of God’s family.   These attributes are given the title “fruits of the Spirit”.  This title presents two different ideas. Firstly, these fruits are given off as a natural result of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in our lives and secondly, by bearing these “fruits” we reveal Godly attributes to the world around us.

To give an example of bearing a fruit naturally, lets look at an animal giving birth to its offspring.  It is only natural that a bear would give birth to bear cubs.   It would be a freak of nature to see that a bear gave birth to a puppy.   As a matter of fact, nature so strictly adheres to this principle that we use it to make many assumptions in nature.  For example, if we see a tree with oranges hanging on it we immediately assume it is an orange tree.   We don’t give it a second thought.  Why? Because like begats like…. that’s the way it is… in the natural world there are no exceptions to this.

And that is the way it is with God’s family members.   It is only natural that we give forth the fruits of the Spirit… why?  Because we have the Holy Spirit of God within us, His fruits should be revealed in our lives.   If a Christian finds that he is not bearing God’s fruits then something is dreadfully wrong with his relationship to His Lord.  Either he isn’t in communion with His God due to unconfessed sin, or he is not actually saved.  There can be no other answer to this dilemma.

Now, let’s look at an example of a fruit revealing attributes about the one that bore it.    Again, let’s use the bear and its cub as an example.  The cub looks like a miniature version of the mother bear.  Both have the same facial features, the same bodily features, hunger for the same types of food, the list goes on and on.    So too, should we as Christians bear the appearance of our Heavenly Father.

We are told throughout God’s Word to be a good testimony to those around us.   The best possible testimony we can have is living a life that reflects God in all we do.  This is the fruit bearing that our Lord expects from all His family.  This is the role of the Christian in the world today…. Simply show others our Lord and Savior by living our lives pleasing to Him.

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.”(If you have any questions about this study, or if you would like to suggest a subject for my blog please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.   I will answer all emails either by email, or by blog, or both.)