Sunday, August 6, 2017

How do I know if the Bible is true?

The Bible is God’s Word.  God reveals himself in many ways, but mainly He chose to reveal himself through his word.  It was written over 1500 years ago.  It was written by 40 different people, in 3 different languages and on 3 different continents.  It is 1 big story and 1 author, God.  There are 66 books in the Bible – 39 in Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament.  It has high standards of morality and is the best selling book in the world has ever known.  No book has ever been more analyzed or criticized.  Why is it attacked?  It’s the revelation of God whose message demands must be destroyed or obeyed.  Many times people have tried to destroy it.

The Bible is about:
How the universe and the human race started, how humans sinned and how the suffering started, and how the human rescue plan of God started - Gen 3:15 (the promise).
The Bible reveals:
God, his creation, his unlimited power and wisdom, his laws, a God of moral standards, history with God in control, Jesus as a God of compassion, God’s solution to sin, his special people in a special place, a special family, a special child:  John 3:16  (fulfillment of his promise)
It also reveals the future with a new heaven and a new earth without pain and cruelty.  Only the righteous will be there with the Lord.

75 % of the Bible is Old Testament.  Jesus came to fulfill the OT prophecy.  God tells how, why and when Jesus, the Messiah would come.  Proverbs 30:5-6 tells us His word is flawless.  Revelation 22:19 tells us not to add or take words away from it.  We should not sit around and argue about what it says.  It implies complete authority and we should not debate over it. 

Hebrews 4:12“For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”   So matter what your age, 10 – 110, it can speak to us.

When you read the word of God, do you believe it is God speaking to you or do you read it and then just go back to your regular life?  If God came in person and told you to stop stealing or cheating, or whatever, wouldn’t you say, “OK, I will”?  Why wouldn’t you do it if God’s word says to do the same thing - that is, if you believe it’s God’s word?

2 Timothy 3:16-17All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Peter 1:20-21 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit “.

The purpose of the Bible is essential for:
            Salvation – it reveals God, ourselves, our Savior
            Teaching – foundation of what we believe
            Conviction – it’s the test of our action
            Training – the rod of discipline

Why do we believe it’s true?
            The Prophets – spoke for God.
            Jesus – the spirit will guide you into all truth.
            Paul – we speak in words taught by the Spirit.
            Peter – not clearly invented myths, but an eyewitness.
John – we proclaim what we’ve seen.
It speaks with authority.
Many gave their lives for it.
By listening and weighing the evidence.

I’ve always believed that the Bible is God’s word, but never really read it like I believed it.  I don’t know about you, but I will never just read scripture the same way again.  It is God speaking to me!

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Psalm 1

The book of Psalms is a book of poems or songs of praise, worship, thankfulness and repentance.  It is used often as comfort, especially at funerals.  Many of the Psalms are written by David.  Some are written by Asaph, Moses and Solomon.  Some have no recorded author.  Today we will look at Psalms 1 which is about 2 groups of people – friends of God and enemies of God.  The key word in this Psalm is blessed.  It teaches that a happy man avoids evil and delights in the Word of God. 

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.”Psalm 1:1.  “Blessed” means happy.  There is joy and contentment in God who isn’t in these 3 places.  Wicked people try to convince themselves and us their way is better.  We need to seek God’s counsel.  To be blessed of God means that we are walking in the salvation Jesus bought for us on the cross with His blood.  “Man” indicates that it is an individual thing.  It must be a decision for each person.  “Sit in the seat of mockers” means you are hanging out with them and will be drawn into their same attitude.  He is telling us “don’t do it”.  We will be happier if we find better friends.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”Psalm 1:2 The Word of God is the “law of the Lord”.  We need to meditate on it.  When we read and study the Bible, the Holy Spirit teaches us what we need to know.  To meditate is to spend a lot of time focusing on a thought.  To “meditate day and night” means to take His Word and its principles wherever we go whether it is at home, church, work, or school.  If we really love God and want to please Him, we should make our decisions based on His Word. 

Are you in God’s Word daily or only when you are in crisis situations?
Do you consult God and His Word before making decisions?

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”Psalm 1:3.  A tree planted by water will be a very strong one.  The water will nourished it just like Scriptures nourish us.  God’s Word will make us strong and make us yield fruit.  To yield fruit means we model characteristics of God like “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” Eph. 5:9.  The fruit of the spirit is produced automatically when we yield to the Holy Spirit and walk in obedience to Him.  “Whose leaf does not wither” means it is an evergreen symbolizing everlasting life. 

How are you nourished by the Scriptures?
What kind of fruit are you producing?

“Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, not sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”Psalm 1:4-6.  Chaff is very dry like a dead leaf.  When crumpled up, it will break into many pieces and the wind will blow them away.  Chaff is husk of grains that are separated during harvest.  It is of no use and is discarded.  It will be the same on Judgment day.  The ungodly will be discarded and destroyed.  They will be sentenced to eternal punishment, but the righteous will have eternal life with Him in Heaven.  “The Lord watches over the way of the righteous” means He knows everything and will always be there to protect us for eternity.  He knows our hearts and is involved is our lives.  We are made righteous when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  It is very comforting to know that God watches over those who love Him.

To which group do you belong?

Jesus says in John 4:13-14, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal live.”  Eternal life is given when we put our faith in Jesus.  He is the only way we can become righteous.  Without Him we would remain wicked and dry like a crumpled leaf.  He alone can offer us eternal life.  We cannot be good enough by ourselves.  Without Jesus’ salvation we would remain like a desert, but with Him we are like a tree planted by streams of water.  We are healthy and living like a rainforest.

Psalms is a wonderful book to read and study.  It is full of lessons to live by.  Psalm 1 tells us how to be happy by what we do and what we should avoid.  I hope this has stirred your interest and you will read more of the book of Psalms.  See you next time.  Hope to see you here.


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Monday, July 3, 2017

Are You Blessed?

God wants to bless you, but maybe you feel you are not blessed.  Why do you think you are not blessed?  It is because you are too lazy to read His Word?  It is because you are disobedient to His ways?  Do you actually pray to God and then listen for His answers?  Are you afraid to submit to authority?  Do you feel self-sufficient, smug, and self-righteous?  Maybe you have no faith.  Maybe you think you know best showing you are too proud.  Maybe you never do the things you say you are going to do.  You don’t keep your promises.  You don’t have love and compassion for the less fortunate.  You have no joy and sometimes life is just a burden.  You seem to always be depressed.  Things never seem to go your way and you’re always in a bad mood.  Is life all about self and your own feelings?

Do you want to be blessed?  God wants everybody to be blessed no matter their race, color, nationality.  It doesn’t matter your gender, how money you have or how much education you have.  It is not God’s will that you not be blessed.  Being blessed is a choice.  God gave us a blueprint for a blessed life.  God gives us steps to enjoy the blessings of life in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.

Be humble.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”Matt. 5:3.  To be poor in spirit is not find pleasure in yourself and your life.   It is to be humble.  You don’t ignore God.  You realize that you have nothing that can contribute to receiving the kingdom of heaven.  There is no arrogance in you.  You admit your limitations and let Him manage your life.  When you are humble you can begin seeing the blessings in your life.

Be sorry for your bad actions and be willing to change.  “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matt. 5:4.  Regret your past sins.  Forgive others as God has forgiven you.  Live a guilt free life and know that God is real and keeps His promises.

Endure problems with patience.  “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matt. 5:5.  Being meek doesn’t mean to be weak, but to be strong yet gentle.  It’s being able to handle conflicts and insults.  Don’t be aggressive.  Yield control to God.

Seek what is right.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”Matt. 5:6.  You need to make right choices, which will make life easier.  Righteousness is the food and drink of your spiritual health.  It’s a life free from guilt and shame and sin.  It is to have a passion or desire to know God, what He wants, and to live up to His will.

Show mercy.  “Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy.”Matt. 5:7.  The more mercy you give to others, the more you will receive.  You show kindness to others and show mercy to them above your own rights.

Be pure through faith.  “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God.” Matt. 5:8.  Cleanse your mind and clean up your act.  Free yourself from impure thinking.  Seek God and He will help you remove desires of impure thoughts and actions.  From a pure heart comes only good things like acts of love, mercy, righteousness, justice and decisions that please God.

Be a peacemaker.  “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called the sons of God.”Matt. 5:9.  God is the God of peace.  His whole plan of redemption is to provide peace for those who are alienated from Him.  He wants us to promote peace.  Love unconditionally turning the other cheek and forgiving each other.  Be kind to your enemies.  Stop any revenge and hostility.  Making peace brings God’s peace and harmony to your life.

Accept persecution.  “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”Matt. 5:10.  Jesus tells us if we are His followers to expect persecution.  Your belief in Christ threatens those who don’t believe or understand.  Don’t worry if you are persecuted, because you will be blessed with the benefits of the kingdom of heaven.

Accept persecution meant for Him.  “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”Matt. 5:11.  We are to rejoice and be glad, because your reward is waiting for you in heaven.  Rejoice in and through your troubles and weaknesses.  He will make you strong.

Living up to these Beatitudes is not always easy and we will never achieve them to perfection.  But we are to strive for these standards, if we want to be truly be blessed in this life.

Some other Scriptures on blessings: 
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”Luke 11:28
“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”Ps.32:1; Rom. 4:7.
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial.”James 1:12.

A blessing is anything God gives that makes us fully satisfied in Him.  It’s anything that draws us close to Him.  It’s anything that helps us hold on tightly to the eternal and not the temporary.  It is often found through struggles, trials, and disappointments.  God’s greatest blessing always rests in God Himself.

We all want blessings in life and it can only be found in God.  Being blessed is a choice.  We can’t find it in wealth, fame, or power.  Do you want to be blessed?  Then spend time reading the Word and ask God you give you insight into these Beatitudes.  Pray that God will give you a desire for Him.  Ask Him to show you how to be satisfied.

Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here again.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 – The Armor of God

Paul wrote the letter of Ephesians while he was imprisoned in Rome.  He sent it to the church in Ephesus and probably to all the churches near Ephesus.  He knew that Christians were constantly in warfare with evil forces as we are today.  The power of these forces is very strong so Paul tells how to prepare for and how to go into battle with the evils of this world. 

We are to put on the Armor of God so we can stand against the devil’s schemes.  He encourages us to wear it every day, because evil will come every day.  Our struggles in this world are not against men and government, but against the darkness of this world – the devil.  Put on your armor as a soldier does.  No soldier can win battles unless he is prepared.  He trains before going into battle and he carries with him what he will need to fight the enemy.  Paul tells us that we need to train and take with us the full Armor of God.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”Eph. 6:10-18.

What exactly is the Armor of God?

The Belt of Truth – Truth is everything God has told us about Himself and about Jesus.  This truth is in our hearts and minds.  It holds our armor in place.  It secures our armor, but allows us freedom.  Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32.  With it around our waist, we are prepared to defend against the devil’s lies.  We will be able to see through his lies and deceptions.  It helps us see that power, materialism, money, and pleasures are not important in life as the devil would have us believe.  We should commit ourselves daily to walk in the light of God’s truth.   

The Breastplate of Righteousness –Righteousness comes from God.  It is our justification making us right with God.  It covers our hearts and all vital organs and stops the enemy from hurting us.  We are to go into battle with confidence and not fall for the devil’s lies and accusations.  With this breastplate, his lies and reminders of our past sin will not penetrate our hearts.

The Shoes of Readiness and Peace – Shoes allow us to step freely without fear adding to our movement and defense, because we know the good news of Christ which gives us peace in Him.  We can move in obedience to Christ and flee any temptations as we walk doing whatever He has called us to do.

The Shield of Faith – This shields our bodies.  It extinguishes all the fiery darts of evil.  These darts could be doubt, fear, angry words, reminders of our past sins, or any evil thoughts the devil puts in our minds.  When the devil attacks us, our strong faith in Christ enables us to withstand all his attacks.  The Roman soldiers would fix their shields together to make a wall so it would cover more soldiers at the same time.  We Christians should join together, which makes us stronger and safer against the attacks of the enemy.

The Helmet of Salvation – Your mind is the devil’s target.  He wants you to doubt your salvation, but the helmet will protect your mind.  Jesus saved you by His love and gave you the gift of salvation.  This knowledge protects and assures us for our eternity.  Our minds are protected because of Jesus’ work on the cross. 

The Sword of the Spirit – This is the only weapon of offense in the armor.  It is the Bible, God’s Word.  There is power in the Word of God.  It is also the Holy Spirit.  When the enemy tries to use arguments and our thoughts against us, we are to trust in the truth of God’s Word and let ourselves be guided by His Spirit. 

Pray and Stay Alert – We are to pray constantly and for everything.  We are to pray for all Christians.  Prayer should become a habit.  It is essential in using the armor.  We draw strength from God and rely on Him.  It really activates the armor.  We are to be alert like a sentry on duty.  We must be alert and watch for any signs of infiltration by the enemy and then go immediately to prayer.

The Christian life is not about making yourself happy and comfortable.  It’s a daily battle with unseen forces of wickedness.  Satan isn’t concerned with unbelievers of this world.  He already has them and they are headed for destruction.  He hates those who are trying to live a holy life.  The Armor of God is our spiritual defense against his attacks.  The armor is invisible, but it is real and when used and worn daily, it provides solid protection again the enemy.  Jesus has already won our victory on the cross and Satan knows it so he is working extra hard to deceive us.  We need to put on God’ Armor to keep Satan out of our minds and hearts.  We need to stay alert because we never know when he will attack.

How are you putting on the Armor of God?
Are you in the Word daily?
How is prayer a big part of your daily life?

Thanks for stopping by my site.  Have a blessed day, stay in prayer, and stay alert.  See you next time.

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