Wednesday, July 17, 2019
5 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. Jude 1:15,16
10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 1 Co 10:10,11
Grumbling is a sin I want to avoid as God hates grumblers.
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Php 4:12,13
The secret of being content is to trust Christ in whatever trial I am experiencing. If Christ has allowed these circumstances to come into my life, then there is a beneficial reason for them, and if I am not able to comprehend their purpose, I know that God will work them out for my good Ro 8:28. To get rid of all anxiety, I am exhorted to pray with thanksgiving Php 4:6, which means not to grumble in my prayers, state the facts and share my petitions, but, then thank God for His wonderful grace in my life.
The biggest loss that I have experienced was losing my wife Julia, as she was promoted to heaven. I miss her daily and was confused on the messages, I thought I had received from God about her sickness. I believed that God had spoken to me through His Scriptures, assuring me that He would heal Julia, but I misinterpreted His message. After going through the grieving process, I regrouped and focused on serving God whole heartily for the rest of my days. However, I was still experiencing loneliness and complaining nightly to the Lord of my unhappiness. After studying on the subject of contentment, (Colin Smith- https://www.oneplace.com/ministries/unlocking-the-bible/listen/the-hellish-sin-of-discontent-part-1-573214.html) I repented of my grumbling and embraced a grateful heart. I realized that God had been extraordinarily gracious with me. In regards to Julia’s leaving, God could have sent me to Hell for an eternal separation from Julia, but because of Jesus’ loving sacrifice, I have been granted heaven, where I’ll be with Julia soon, forever. Would I want to trade fifteen more years of this life and forfeit eternity? No, God has been super wonderful towards me. Yes, I still experience loneliness but would I want trade it in for a full-time job and give up my retirement. I retired because I could not get up at six o’clock in the morning, five days a week, and deal with all the stress that comes from teaching in a high school. So, God has been very kind to me and I am ashamed of my childish reactions to my temporal circumstances. No more grumbling for me!
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
2. SERVING THE LORD:
I was getting depressed over the lack of success that I was having in the projects which I have been doing to promote the kingdom of heaven. But the parable of the “Bags of Gold,” helped me to change my mind in this area.
15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Mt 25:15-18
God has given me two bags and I have been disappointed, striving to gain five bags, which is unreasonable because of my smaller resources (intelligence, skills, etc.), but now I realize to do my best Col 3:23 and that will be sufficient, regardless of the size gained. Jeremiah never had any success in his ministry but was faithful in carrying it out, and I am confident that he will be graciously rewarded for his service to the Lord.
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Mt 25:22,23
This man got the same commendation as the first. The man with the one bag was rebuked because he hid his bag, not serving the Lord at all.
I need to remember that teaching a Bible study group of three or four young believers requires me to do the same diligent study that someone like John McArthur does for his huge ministry. God will reward both of us for our efforts, not our results.
Friday, July 26, 2019
3. GIVING vs RECEIVING (in regards to God’s will)
(from Colin Smith- https://www.oneplace.com/ministries/unlocking-the-bible/listen/when-god-closes-the-door-part-1-721237.html)
(Wanting to do for God, but not in His will for me to do)
David wanted to build the temple but God told him Solomon would build it, and David accepted the closed door and completed what God wanted him to do (to defeat all of Israel’s enemies, resulting in peace in Solomon’s days, so Solomon could focus on building the temple, rather than fighting wars).
My joy should be on what God has done for me, not what I have done for Him.
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to usin your name…20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoicethat your names are written in heaven.” Lk 10:17,20
1. How well do I love God Lk 10:27a
If I don’t get to give something to the Lord and someone else gets to give it, does my love for the Lord remain the same?
2. How well do I love others Lk 10:27b
Do I rejoice when others are rewarded as much as if I was rewarded?
Growing in grace means that I move closer to this goal. Grace is what God has done for me.
My greatest danger is that I live on activity. The ultimate test is what I would feel like, if I was not able to create. Is my joy in what I do, or what God has done for me?
UPDATE: Sunday, August,11, 2019. Today, my daughter Rachael commented on this paradigm shift and had more insight.
David’s greatest accomplishment would not have been the building of the Temple, even if God had allowed him to build it, as it was destroyed in 70 AD (Mk 13:1,2). His greatest achievement were the songs that he wrote in the book of Psalms, which will endure throughout eternity (Isa 40:8). God has used 30,147 Hebrew words in the book of Psalms, third most of the 66 books in the Bible. So praise is very important to God.
So, I need to recognize that a project I am doing now, which I may not think is praiseworthy in God’s sight, might become my greatest fulfillment Col 3:23.
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
4. THE WORD AND PRAYER
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Eph 6:17,18 MSG
Rhema not logos is used in Eph 6:17 and Jn 6:63.
…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph 6:17
The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Jn 6:63
The word rhema is the spoken will or prophetic word as opposed to logos, which is God’s written revealed will.
When I am unsure of what decision to make, I must combine God’s Word with prayer. The Holy Spirit will guide me to the correct passages that God will use to communicate to me.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Jn 14:26
The Holy Spirit will guide me to specific passages of scripture to bring light to my dilemma. Having stored up scripture in my heart is essential for this method to be successful.
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress themon your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Dt 6:6-9
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Ps 119:11
If I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the answer to me in Scripture, He will.
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 Jn 5:14,15
To accurately discern God’s answer, I must be abiding in Christ.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Jn 15:7
I need to pray the Word back to God in my prayers. When interceding for a lost soul, I can pray for God to give him a new heart and spirit, and exchange his heart of stone for a heart of flesh. Eze 36:26
Saturday, August 10, 2019
5. SYMBOLS ARE A LANGUAGE.
John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne. Rev 1:4
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Rev 3:1. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Rev 4:5
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Rev 5:6
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD–Isa 11:2
The number seven represents spiritual completeness (God rested on the seventh day because His work was done). Gen 2:2
There is not seven Spirits in number. God is speaking in symbolic language meaning the Holy Spirit is perfectly complete in His being.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019.
6. TO BE NOTICED OR MISSED
We all have a need to be known, but many try to fulfill this need by being noticed. We work at being the center of attention, believing this will satisfy our need. The more “likes” or “followers” we garnish in the social media will surely demonstrate, how well we are loved and respected. However, is this the best way to meet this need? All of us love the company of people, who are active listeners that enjoy hearing, what we have to say, and remember these conversations. Such people have learned the secret of conquering the need to be known. Rather than be noticed, they are missed.
A great analogy is the bass player in a rock band. The patrons come to be entertained by the singer’s words and latest dance moves, or the masterful riffs of the guitarist, while the bass player is completely lost to the audience’s focus, until his guitar jack stops working and he cannot be heard. Suddenly, the bottom of the music vanishes, along with the strong beat which drives the music. Interest in the singer and the guitarist now wane, as the whole experience is lacking, because of the missing bass player’s contribution.
We can learn how to be a better active listener from Jesus’ example. He used informative questions to find out what was important and then allowed these people to express their feelings from their level of understanding. When Jesus met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He asked them what they were discussing, then what things had happened. He engaged them, showed His sincerity and interest in their thoughts (Lk 24:17-20). When the woman at the well expressed her beliefs about the prideful superiority of the Jews, since they did not associate with Samaritans, Jesus overlooked her negative emotions and pursued a conversation with her, helping her to discover her true need of eternal fulfillment (Jn 4:7-42). His questions always pointed people to the real issues in their lives, as he told the rich young ruler to go and sell all he had. The bottom line for him was that he placed Money before God (Mt 19:16-22).
People take delight, when we ask them questions, because it offers them an opportunity to share their opinions, and it solidifies in their mind that we are interested in getting to “know” them, in a relational rather than a superficial way. So, if you want to fulfill your need to be known, be missed rather than noticed.
Friday, September 6, 2019
7. OUR FOUR BASIC ETERNAL NEEDS
Eternal Purpose-comes from walking in the works that God has prepared for me.
Result: I experience fulfillment.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do Eph 2:10.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph 2:10 NLT
When I think of the word “masterpiece,” I think of a great artist that has used his creativity to inspire his audience with a blessed experience. My life should culminate in a masterpiece, prepared by God to reveal to others, His wonderful nature. Bearing positive results along the way, makes it easier to feel fulfilled, because I am seeing the impact that my life is having on others. If God has not allowed these favourable outcomes to manifest, then I must continue to press on by faith, which is much more difficult, but extremely more rewarding in the end. Purpose is displayed through actions, seen on the outside, with tangible feedback: good, bad or indifferent.
Eternal Worth- comes from belonging, being loved and accepted.
Result: I feel valuable.
The ultimate worth comes when I choose to receive Jesus, as my Lord and Savior, making me a child of God, belonging to the family of God. Worth is experienced on the inside, but should manifest positive outside outcomes.
Eternal Love– comes from someone placing my welfare above their own interests.
Result: I experience love.
The ultimate love was demonstrated by Christ’s sacrifice for me. He also promises never to stop loving me.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro 8:38,39
Since, I am loved by God my response should be to love others. 1 Jn 4:19
Eternal Life– comes from believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins and allowing Him to take control of my behaviour.
Result: I will live forever with God.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with themand be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:3,4
This wonderful gift should make me desire to share its truth with everyone that I meet. It should make me joyful knowing the wonderful times that are ahead, thus helping me to endure my present tribulations.
Friday, September 13, 2019
8. What was it that I loved so much about Julia?
It was the Christ in Julia that I loved so much. In her flesh, she would have been considered a very kind and good person by the world, but by God’s standard, an unrighteous sinner. So, having received Christ, Julia truly allowed His love to shower me and many others. I was so attracted to that kind of love because she allowed Jesus’ influence on her actions to be unaltered by her flesh. It was unconditional love, an impossibility for sinners without the spirit of God and quite rare, even in saints, as our flesh is an enemy that still fights against the Spirit of God Ro 8:5-8. Julia truly mortified her flesh to allow the Spirit to have His way in her life.
I was ashamed to tell God the truth that I was more excited to see Julia again than Him, but now I realize, the only reason I wanted to see her was because of Christ’s love that flowed out of her (rivers of living water Jn 7:38). So, really it is Jesus that attracted me to Julia and He ultimately is One behind Julia’s beauty. Song of Songs 5:16 says it best: His mouth is sweetness itself; He is altogether lovely. I see Jesus only as a reflection as in a mirror, but one day I will see Him face to face 1 Co 13:12.
Monday, September 16, 2019
13. How to demonstrate my love for Jesus.
Following the reading of the story of Mary anointing Jesus with expensive perfume Jn 12:3, to show her gratitude and love for Jesus, after He had raised up her brother Lazarus, I felt jealous that I could not have that same opportunity as Mary, to personally show Jesus my love for him. Then a verse came to my mind,
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Mt 25:40
It thrilled me, as I could now regularly display to Jesus, my gratefulness and affection for Him, by being kind and compassionate to those that Jesus sent my way. By going the extra mile for someone, I will be pouring out my love for Jesus.