Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Expectations

Rejoicing in hope.

The hope which is laid up for you in heaven. — If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. — We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. — Whosoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. — No man should be moved by these afflictions, for you know that we are appointed to them.

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. — May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. — Whom having not seen, you love; in whom though now you see him not, yet believing. you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. — By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Christians can always have good expectations. That is the wonderful thing.  If we have a "hope laid up for us in heaven" (and we do), then death is life--in the very place where God dwells. If the entry is difficult, it is still certain, and even if there are many trials to experience before our release from this life, we accept those because it is certain that they will end, and we will be ushered into "the better land," where age has no claim, sickness has no power, trials no longer exist, and life is full of unmixed joy and happiness.  Martin Luther once said that you cannot kill a Christian--you are only sending him to heaven, where he will live forever.  

ROM. 12:12. Col. 1:5. ‑I Cor. 15:19. ‑Acts. 14:22. ‑Luke 14:27. ‑I Thes. 3:3. Phi. 4:4. ‑Rom. 15:13. ‑I Pet. 1:3. ‑I Pet. 1:8. ‑Rom. 5:2.





Friday, September 6, 2013

He listens...

Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.
       
Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high, who humbles himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! — Unto you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. — I stretch forth my hands to you: my soul thirsts after you, as a thirsty land. Hide not your  face from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear your lovingkindness in the morning; for I trust in you: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto you.

Because your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you. Thus will I bless you while I live: I will lift up my hands in your name. — Rejoice the soul of your servant: for unto you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and full of mercy to all who call upon you.

Whatever you ask in my name, that I will do.

 It is a great comfort to know that God listens.  Prayers, praises, cries of pain, laughter, and everything else. He listens to it all. It's a command of Jesus, and He says many times, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." God the Father originated that idea, and He listens to all, but especially to you.  Listening is a wonderful quality, and one of the greatest sorrows in life is to not be heard, and to have nobody listen to you.  It is a great gift if you can find one or two people in your life who will really listen to you, and open themselves to what you have to say.  But even if you don't, God listens. Always.  Whether you pray, praise, or complain, He's interested in you, your situation, your problems, your prayers, your praises.  He deems nobody too "small," and everyone has value to Him--especially you.  It doesn't matter if you are wealthy or poor, if you live in a wonderful house, or you're homeless. He doesn't care about your "social status"--He cares about YOU, and he always listens, because He loves you. He is big enough to encompass the big things in your life, and He cares for you enough to pay attention to the littlest. 

LAM. 3:41.  Psa. 113:5,6. -Psa. 25:1. -Psa. 143:6-8. Psa. 63:3,4. Psa. 86:4,5. John 14:13.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Together in Him...



As the body is one, and hath many members, ... so also is Christ.
       
He is the head of the body, the church.  — The head over things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. — We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

A body hast thou prepared me. — Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in contin-uance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Thine they were, and thou gavest them me. — He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. — Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth ... maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We have been ordained to be one in HIm. that's why there is always a common good and a common goal in the church, and why we always feel a kinship with other true Christians we meet.  We belong together to the Lord Jesus, together, united both with Him and with other believers. That is the doctrinal part. Practicing the doctrine is a bit different, as reality often tells us; while we are all "one," still we often treat other believers as worthless, just because they are of a different "tribe" than we are (Baptists vs. Pentecostals vs. Catholics vs...); individually, we allow ourselves to bring ordinary human society into the oneness we have in Christ, so that we criticize, hate, reject, cheat, become arrogant, all against those whom Jesus said, "Love one another." The final set of verses above shows a different way--"grow up into Him in all things"--in other words, strive to become like our Lord Jesus in all ways.  This actually promotes the unity and closeness of the entire church, and fills it with love.



I COR. 12:12.  Col. 1:18. -Eph. 1:22,23. Eph. 5:30. Heb. 10:5. Psa. 139:16. John 17:6. -Eph. 1:4. -Rom. 8:29. Eph. 4:15,16.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wait...Listen...Trust

Sit still, my daughter.

Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted. — Be still, and know that I am God. — Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? — The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
Mary ... sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. — Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. — In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. — Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established.
He that believeth shall not make haste.

These three are triplets, and they take place at the same time--waiting, listening, trusting.  These are all difficult, and the real need for them typically occurs in times of crisis, and when we have no sure knowledge of the immediate future. It's hardest to wait and trust when we don't understand; listening can help with that, but sometimes no word seems to come. Nevertheless, God is always faithful, always responds, and always answers, in some way.  Difficult times come, and God either brings us through them, or brings us out of them by His mighty power. Think of Job and his sufferings. He never thought they would end, but God brought him through them, ended them, and blessed him; or of David, chased by Saul for no reason other than that God had anointed him King over Israel, and God fulfilled His promise. Or think of the widow of Nain, walking by her son's bier, mourning his death--and Jesus steps up, tells her not to cry, and touches the bier--and her son is immediately alive. All these people and many more had great problems, and God walked with them through their difficulties, and brought them out..  Wait...listen...trust.  He will help you, in His own time and way.


RUTH 3:18.  Isa. 7:8. -Psa. 46:10. -John 11:40. -Isa. 2:17. Luke 10:39. -Luke 10:42. -Isa. 30:15. -Psa. 4:4. Psa. 37:7. Psa. 112:7,8. Isa. 28:16.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Leaven...

Neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. — Abhor that which is evil. — Abstain from all appearance of evil. — Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. — Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. — Such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. — In him is no sin.

Leaven is a peculiar thing.  It makes bread rise.  It keeps cakes from becoming brownies. In the Bible, though, leaven has another meaning--it's what spreads throughout bread or cake, and just a little bit changes the character of whatever it's in.  The Israelites were forbidden the use of leaven during certain times of the year, because it is a symbol of what a very small thing can do if it remains where it is.  For this reason, leaven is often considered a symbol of evil--little things that change us, make us different; little sins that operate in our lives and personalities, and affect our entire being.  
Thus God commands us to remove the "leaven," the things that affect our lives in little ways.  What those are, only you know, so listen to the Spirit and let Him guide you, and let the Scriptures be a light on your path to guide you.



EXO. 13:7. Prov. 8:13. ‑Rom. 12:9. ‑I Thes. 5:22. ‑Heb. 12:15. Psa. 66:18. I Cor. 5:6‑8. -I Cor. 11:28. II Tim. 2:19. ‑Heb. 7:26. ‑I John 3:5.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Waiting...



Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.
                     
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. — Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. — Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

The trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. — Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Waiting is the hardest thing we do.  Think of the emotions waiting sometimes brings: "surgical waiting room," or "waiting for the bride (groom) to arrive," for example.  However, waiting on God, and for Him, is a wonderful blessing, because we  KNOW He's going to respond. It's a matter of timing and patience. When we have to wait for Him, it's anticipatory, and we have great hope.  We know that all things work together for good to those who love Him [God], to those who are called...and waiting is what we do while He works for us. He is a God who "works for him who waits..." So don't be afraid to wait.  "I waited on the Lord, and he heard my cry." Many times, it's the failure to wait that brings terrible results.  Think of the many people who sold everything because they expected the Lord's return on a certain day--and He did not come.  They waited vainly, because He had made no promise to return on that day.  They needed to keep watching, and waiting with patience for the fulfillment of His return, as He Himself had commanded.  

Read the opening verses of Psalm 40 to see the benefits of waiting on Him:
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3 And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
       
PSA. 27:14.  Isa. 40:28,29. -Isa. 41:10. -Isa. 25:4. Jas. 1:3,4. -Heb. 10:35,36.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Meekness and Gentleness

The fruit of the Spirit is meekness.

The meek ... shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. — Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. — The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, ...is in the sight of God of great price. — Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.

Follow after meekness. — Take my yoke upon you and learn O me, for I am meek and lowly in heart. — He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he openeth not his mouth. — Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled reviled not again, ... but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.

The closest word we have to fit what's here translated "meekness" is "gentleness;" that doesn't really convey the entire meaning, though, because there is simplicity, gentleness, acceptance, love, and submission conveyed by the term; so if you say, "Blessed are the meek," you are saying that such a person is not only gentle and unassuming, but that he is not full of resistive pride, and that he is simple, in the sense he doesn't need to be evasive or deceptive. This is an integral part of the Christian's inner self, if he is allowing the Spirit full and free reign within him. How to be like this? first, LISTEN to the Spirit as He ministers to your heart. He will guide you in the way of gentleness; second, MEDITATE on the verses above.  They will give you a better understanding of the way of gentleness. Third, STUDY: you can google the words meekness in KJV for the locations, or use a KJV concordance, but remember, other translations handle the underlying Greek word differently. It's easier, of course, to just read what you see above, and put it into practice than to do all that study; and perhaps just as effective.

GAL. 5:22. Isa. 29:19. ‑Matt. 8:3,4. ‑I Cor. 3:4. -I Cor. 13:4. I Tim. 6:11. ‑Matt. 11:29. ‑Isa. 53:7. -I Pet. 2:21‑23.