17 March 2019

Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 WEL But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

Ephesians 5:9 WEL For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.

The Spirit
B1 This is the Holy Spirit. There is one God who is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. One God, not three. One in essence. Three in persons. The essence is the stuff of God, for God is spirit, not flesh.
B2 Some ministries of the Holy Spirit
C1 Convicts people of sin: John 16:8-9 NLT And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world's sin is that it refuses to believe in me.
C2 He is an advocate, helper, one who stands by us to assist and encourage: John 14:16 GNB I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever.
C3 He gives us a new heart when we trust in Jesus: John 3:5 NIV Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.
C4 Lives in believers. He is the presence of God with us. John 14:17 NIV the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
C5 He helps our weakness and He assists us in our prayer: Romans 8:26 NIV In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
C6 He frees us from sin and hopelessness. He gives us hope. The devil works hard to take our hope away, but even if our discouragement is overwhelming, the Holy Spirit is still with us: Romans 8:15 NIV The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
C7 Adopted into God’s family. Those who believe are now sons and daughters. Galatians 4:6-7 NIV Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
C8 He plants a garden in our new life, the new heart, the new creation. There is one fruit of the Holy Spirit, and as one commentator wrote that there is one fruit with 9 flavors. The law refers to Mosaic Law. Galatians 5:22-23 WEL But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
D1 Love is a choice and is seen in its actions public and private. How are we reaching out to those around us? We can listen; we can pray. The motivation for this is a spiritual fruit given by God to show those who are not Christian, what God’s love is like. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 WEL Love is very patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn't brag about itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn't behave improperly, is not self-seeking; love isn't easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, 6 Doesn't rejoice in injustice, but rejoices in the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
D2 Joy is a deep seated happiness and gladness. Somehow in our darkest situations, the Holy Spirit helps us and doesn’t leave. This joy comes from the love God has shown us, and then we show to others. Joy for the Christian is marked by celebration and expectation of God’s ultimate victory over the powers of sin and darkness [Source]. From the same source, it is written: In contrast, in secular works, joy is defined as the emotion evoked by well-being, success and/or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. The world's definition of joy is virtually synonymous with the definition of “happiness”, for both of these "emotions" are dependent on what "happens." And again: C. S. Lewis got a bit closer to the Biblical meaning when he called joy an “unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.” That statement is a bit obtuse but Lewis then goes on to add that joy "must be sharply distinguished both from happiness and from pleasure". Ultimately Lewis' experienced joy when he discovered that Jesus was the wellspring of all joy.
D3 Peace is a calmness. Even if we are restless and distraught, He can help us find a calm that no one can explain. God wants us to have peace, because He knows the lack of peace is not good for spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical health. No one on earth can be sinless. We still have storms and unrest, but a Christian faces these differently than a non-Christian. The opposite is anxiety. Anxiety is NOT a sin, and all of us have it from time to time some more than others. But, again, a Christian faces anxiety producing situations differently.
D4 Longsuffering is putting up with sorrow from many reasons. It is patience. This is a patience to make it through many sorrows, difficulties, and sufferings. God helps us through it, and hopefully from it. From the same source as above, William Barclay writes: "... as the Greeks used it, usually meant patience with people. It is the ability not to lose patience when people are foolish, not to grow irritable when they seem unteachable. It is the ability to accept the folly, the perversity, the blindness, the ingratitude of men and still to remain gracious, and still to toil on…”
D5 Gentleness is a tenderness opposite of someone who is rough and hurting. From the source listed above, it is written: Barnes writes that chrestotes "is opposed to a harsh, crabbed, crooked temper. It is a disposition to be pleased; it is mildness of temper, calmness of spirit, an unruffled disposition, and a disposition to treat all with urbanity and politeness.
D6 Goodness. Even in suffering, as the Lord Jesus did, He could find goodness in God, who does deliver. It is a special kindness given to others, when you or I are suffering ourselves.
D7 Faith is believing God. It is reasonable, not blind faith. There are reasons and facts that help us. Faithfulness here is the keeping of one’s word, devotion, finishes one’s obligations, being reliable, and trustworthiness.
D8 Meekness is a humble attitude in opposite someone who is an arrogant bastard. It is not weakness. It is not self promotion.
D9 Self-control is a calmness in a panic situation. I’ve not always experienced this, but I know after a situation is over God helped me through it. Aristotle reportedly said, “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is the victory over self.” It is not done in our own ability or strength, but in the ability and strength God gives. So we pray, “God help me.” It is written: By temperance is meant self-control in the broadest and fullest sense of the term. We need to go into training for CHRIST and to keep ourselves spiritually fit at all times, for we never know when a critical test may come or a golden opportunity arise that will call upon our spiritual reserves. To this end we should be prepared to give up whatever mars our witness and hinders usefulness in the Master’s service. Attaining to the best may necessitate abstaining from the rest. The lesser must sometimes be sacrificed to the higher good [Source]
D10 There are no laws against these gifts. The law would be Mosaic Law.
B3 This fruit that we mentioned is completely good, righteous, and true. Ephesians 5:9 WEL For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.

13 March 2019

Storms and Hope


The Bible has many verses about storms.
I want to look at a few verses about the storms of life. The difficulties, hurts, fears, memories, pain, sufferings of the present and past.
Job was well acquainted with grief from the storms of life.
B1 This is how Job felt: Job 9:17 GNB He sends storms to batter and bruise me without any reason at all.
B2 Job 27:20-23 GNB Terror will strike like a sudden flood; a wind in the night will blow them away; 21 the east wind will sweep them from their homes; 22 it will blow down on them without pity while they try their best to escape. 23 The wind howls at them as they run, frightening them with destructive power.
B3 Job 30:20-22 GNB I call to you, O God, but you never answer; and when I pray, you pay no attention. 21 You are treating me cruelly; you persecute me with all your power. 22 You let the wind blow me away; you toss me about in a raging storm.
Why Lord?
Psalms 13:1-6 GNB How much longer will you forget me, LORD? Forever? How much longer will you hide yourself from me? 2 How long must I endure trouble? How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night? How long will my enemies triumph over me? 3 Look at me, O LORD my God, and answer me. Restore my strength; don't let me die. 4 Don't let my enemies say, "We have defeated him." Don't let them gloat over my downfall. 5 I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me. 6 I will sing to you, O LORD, because you have been good to me.
Comfort from the Psalms
Psalms 55:8 GNB I would hurry and find myself a shelter from the raging wind and the storm.

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say, Amen and it's still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, "I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls I raise my hands
And praise the God who gives and takes away
And I'll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry, You raised me up again
But my strength is almost gone
How can I carry on if I can't find You
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain, "I'm with you"
And as You mercy falls I raise my hands
And praise the God who gives and takes away
And I'll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
And I'll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried You hold in Your hand
You never left my side and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm


Difference between faith and hope
Faith is believing God. The words He has spoken and the words we read in the Bible are true.
A Story of Faith
Pete had become lost in the desert and had been chasing mirages He thought to himself, I'll follow this last one. It was a deserted town with a well in the very center His mouth parched from the intense heat, he ran to the well with his last ounce of energy.
He vigorously pumped the handle only to find that no water came forth Then, he looked up to a note nailed to the post It instructed its readers to "look behind the rock where a five-gallon container of water will be found" and warned against drinking or using it for anything besides priming the pump Every ounce was needed, and not even a drop could be spared, the note emphasized.
"After pouring the water down the pump, pump the handle vigorously and all the water you desire will come forth," the note said One last instruction was to please fill the water can and place it behind the rock for the next weary soul who might happen to come along.
How hard it is for people to give up a "sure thing" for something they cannot see at the time Pete had a sure thing in the bucket of water and yet was instructed to pour it "all" down the pump.
Hope is looking to a promise. We don’t know when it will be fulfilled, but it will be.
Faith, Hope, Love
One of the most memorable sermons was preached by the late Emil Brunner at the Fraumunster Kirche in Zurich, Switzerland. It was based on the phrase, "faith, hope, and love." The points were these: Every man has a past, a present, and a future. Every man has a problem in his past, a problem in his present, and a problem in his future. The problem in our past is sin, but God has an answer to that problem. The answer is faith-faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The problem in our future is death, but God has an answer to that problem also. The answer to that problem is hope-hope in Christ's return based on the fact of His historical resurrection and His promises. The problem in our present is hate, and God's answer to that problem is love. It is the love of Christ lived out in the lives of those who trust Him.
Bible words
B1 Hebrew
C1 מִקְוֶה miqveh. Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon has expectation, hope, and confidence. This would be the confidence that the answer, the deliverance, and the deliverer is just around the corner.
D1 Ezra 10:2 NIV Then Shekaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, "We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel.
D2 Jeremiah 14:8 NIV You who are the hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress, why are you like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who stays only a night?
C2 תִּקְוָה tiqvâh. Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon has a rope, expectation, and hope. This would be an attachment, a safety.
D1 Job 6:8 NIV Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for.
D2 Psalm 62:5 NIV Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
C3 יָחַל yâchal. Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon has expectation, waiting, and hope. This would be patience, for example waiting for a cab, bus, or a friend who is coming. Lamentations 3:21, 24 NIV Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: ... I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
B2 Greek (similar ideas as in Hebrew). ἐλπίζω elpízō. Strong’s (G1680) has (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence.
C1 Luke 23:8 NIV When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort.
C2 Romans 8:25 NIV But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
C3 2 John 1:12 NIV I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

In the midst of the storms of life, why should we hope in God.
B1 He is faithful. He keeps His word. His promises will happen. He does not always tell us when or why, but we know from experience that He is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 NIV Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
B2 He is safe and secure. Psalm 25:3 NIV No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
B3 God cannot lie. Titus 1:1-2 CSB Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.
B4 God is good. It is a character trait. Psalm 27:13-14 CSB I am certain that I will see the LORD's goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the LORD.
B5 He is a deliverer. Psalm 69:13-14 NLT But I keep praying to you, LORD, hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mud; don't let me sink any deeper! Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters.

We can be secure in our hope in God.

09 March 2019

Who Is Our Lord?

There are only 2 lords. Some may think they are their own master and lord, but this is foolishness. People hurt them, steal from them, tax them, and eventually they die. They have no authority. There are only 2 lords. We can either serve God or the devil.

It is written:
B1 John 8:44 WEL You are of [your] father, the devil, and you want to do the lusts of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he tells [it] from himself, because he is a liar and the father of it.
B2 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 WEL So then come out from among them. Be separate," says the Lord, "and do not touch [what is] unclean, then I will accept you, 18 And I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty.
B3 John summarizes: 1 John 3:10 WEL God's children and the Devil's children are plainly recognized by this: whoever does not do what is right is not of God, nor he who doesn't love his brother.

We are born as sinners: Ecclesiastes 7:20 NIV Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.

We have evil thoughts and actions all the time: Genesis 6:5 NIV The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Our heart is the source of our evil. The heart is speaking of our soul: Matthew 15:18-20 WEL But those things which come out of the mouth come from the heart; they defile a person. 19 "For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. 20 "These are what defile a person but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.

We are…
B1 Servants of sin. This servant is one who gives himself up wholly to another's will (Thayer’s). John 8:34 WEL Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I say to you that all committing sin are servants of sin.
B2 Sin is addictive. We are all addicts before salvation. Ephesians 2:3 WEL Among whom we also lived our life in the past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, by nature we were children of wrath even as others.
B3 We resist God by hardening out hearts. Hardening is the word for resisting.
C1 Psalm 95:8 NIV Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness.
C2 Hebrews 12:25 NIV See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?

These 2 lords have different styles of leadership. They are totally opposite of each other. It is either God’s method or the devil’s method. One is controlling and the other is with a measure of libertarian freedom.

Here is a good example of 2 styles of leadership.
B1 Controlling: Exodus 5:1-2, 5-6, 10, 15, 17 NIV Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.' " Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go." ... Then Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working." That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: ... Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, "This is what Pharaoh says: 'I will not give you any more straw. ... Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: "Why have you treated your servants this way? ... Pharaoh said, "Lazy, that's what you are--lazy! That is why you keep saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.'
C1 A heavy yoke
C2 Rigorous service
C3 Pain
C4 Decisions made from one person
C5 Not mercy, care, compassion, or love.
B2 Godly: Matthew 11:28-30 WEL "Come to me, all who are exhausted and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take my yoke on you and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 "For my yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light."
C1 A light yoke
C2 Delegation
C3 Care
C4 Merciful
C5 Loves his servants

Godly leadership style can be applied in many different situations: marriage, pastoral, employer, family, etc. Controlling is not Christian, and Christian is not controlling.

Even though God is sovereign, for He can do whatever He wants, and no one can prevent it. God is sovereign and can degree. No one can resist. We read this in the Bible regarding things in...
B1 Creation
C1 Colossians 1:17 NLT He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
C2 God gave the order, and it was obeyed—perfectly. We read this in God’s command to the birds of the air in Revelation 19:17-21 NIV And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small." Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
B2 Humans. Here we read of an action performed that Jesus’s enemies did not want to do, but they did. They fell backwards: John 18:4-6 NLT Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. "Who are you looking for?" he asked. "Jesus the Nazarene," they replied. "I AM he," Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said "I AM he," they all drew back and fell to the ground!
B3 The miracles done by the Lord Jesus show His power over creation, sickness, demons, people, and situations. In Matthew 14, Jesus feeds 5,000, walks on water, calms a storm, and heals the sick.
B4 Most of His covenants with people and nations are unconditional, but some are conditional.
C1 Conditional—Edenic: Genesis 2:16-17 NLT But the LORD God warned him, "You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden-- except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die."
C2 Unconditional—Adamic: Genesis 3:15-17 NLT And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel." Then he said to the woman, "I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you." And to the man he said, "Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
C3 Unconditional—Noahic: Genesis 9
C4 Unconditional—Abrahamic: Genesis 12:1-4;13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8.
C5 Conditional—Mosasic: This is the Law given to Israel on Mt Sinai. If you obey, these blessings will happen. If you disobey, curses will happen.
C6 Unconditional—Land: Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20.
C7 Unconditional—Davidic: 2 Samuel 7:11b-16 and 1 Chronicles 17:10B-14.
C8 Unconditional—New: Jeremiah 31:31-40 and Hebrews 8:6-13.
C9 For further information on covenants see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

God decrees a measure of freedom
B1 We can choose:
C1 2 Samuel 24:12 NIV Go and tell David, 'This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.
C2 Proverbs 1:29 NIV since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD.
C3 Isaiah 56:4 NIV For this is what the LORD says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant.
C4 Matthew 7:13-14 WEL Enter in at the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the road is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in there. 14 "Because the gate is narrow and the road difficult that leads to life and there are few who find it.
B2 We can resist:
C1 Nehemiah 9:30 NIV For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples.
C2 Acts 7:51 NLT You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you!
B3 We can cause the Holy Spirit to grieve: Ephesians 4:30 WEL Don't grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by which you are sealed for the day of redemption.
B4 We can quench the Holy Spirit: 1 Thessalonians 5:19 WEL Don’t quench the Spirit.
B5 We can lie to God the Holy Spirit: Acts 5:3 WEL Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit to keep some of the money from [selling] the land?
B6 We can test God: Acts 5:9 WEL Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! See the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door and will carry you out."
B7 We can insult the Holy Spirit: Hebrews 10:29 WEL How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserving the one who has spurned the Son of God and has considered the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
B8 We can blaspheme the Holy Spirit: Matthew 12:31-32 WEL Therefore, I say to you, 'All kinds of people’s sin and blasphemy will be forgiven, but a person’s blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.' 32 "Whosoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, not in this age nor in the age to come.

Let us reverently serve God and enjoy His great leadership style. As we do, they us live by that same leadership style in all we do.

And remember, let us always choose life by choosing Yahweh and His ways. He will give us grace when we need it, if we ask. When it is time for judgment, there is no choice we can make. He is the judge who decides and who sentences.

06 March 2019

Some Lessons to Learn from Elijah and the Widow in Zarephath

1 Kings 17:8-24
Then the LORD said to Elijah, 9 “Now go to the town of Zarephath, near Sidon, and stay there. I have commanded a widow who lives there to feed you.” 10So Elijah went to Zarephath, and as he came to the town gate, he saw a widow gathering  firewood. “Please bring me a drink of water,” he said to her. 11 And as she was going to get it, he called out, “And please bring me some bread, too.”
12 She answered, “By the living LORD your God I swear that I don't have any bread. All I have is a handful of flour in a bowl and a bit of olive oil in a jar. I came here to gather some firewood to take back home and prepare what little I have for my son and me. That will be our last meal, and then we will starve to death.”
13 “Don't worry,” Elijah said to her. “Go on and prepare your meal. But first make a small loaf from what you have and bring it to me, and then prepare the rest for you and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The bowl will not run out of flour or the jar run out of oil before the day that I, the LORD, send rain.’”
15 The widow went and did as Elijah had told her, and all of them had enough food for many days. 16 As the LORD had promised through Elijah, the bowl did not run out of flour nor did the jar run out of oil.
17 Some time later the widow's son got sick; he got worse and worse, and finally he died. 18 She said to Elijah, “Man of God, why did you do this to me? Did you come here to remind God of my sins and so cause my son's death?”
19 “Give the boy to me,” Elijah said. He took the boy from her arms, carried him upstairs to the room where he was staying, and laid him on the bed. 20 Then he prayed aloud, “O LORD my God, why have you done such a terrible thing to this widow? She has been kind enough to take care of me, and now you kill her son!” 21 Then Elijah stretched himself out on the boy three times and prayed, “O LORD my God, restore this child to life!” 22 The LORD answered Elijah's prayer; the child started breathing again and revived.
23 Elijah took the boy back downstairs to his mother and said to her, “Look, your son is alive!”
24 She answered, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the LORD really speaks through you!”

Some lessons to learn:

God does punish sin.
  • King Ahab was incredibly wicked, even more wicked than any of the kings before him.
  • He married a very wicked woman.
  • He killed Naboth in order to have his vineyard for his own.
  • He provoked God to anger by what he did and didn’t do.

God cares for widows and woman
  • She had lost much and was discouraged.
  • Elijah was sent to help her and as a result himself.
  • She told Elijah she had only enough food for one more meal for her and her son, then they would die. Such was the famine in Israel.
  • Elijah, in God’s authority, spoke that her flour and oil would not lessen in amount until the rains came.

She believed God.
  • God gives many promises in the Bible.
  • We need to believe these.
  • God gives these promises to encourage and help each believer.

Her faith was tested when her son became sick and died.
  • Even though she was discouraged, she still sought God’s help. She passed the test.
  • We will be tested in many ways to see if we will continue in the faith.
  • God will help us by giving us grace.
  • We may or may not have such a miracle as this mother had.

We can speak plainly to God.
  • Note how Elijah prays plainly to God. Elijah tells exactly how he feels, “Then he prayed aloud, “O LORD my God, why have you done such a terrible thing to this widow? She has been kind enough to take care of me, and now you kill her son!” (Verse 20).
  • God is a wonderful counselor.
  • One of the first steps in healing is to tell our story of pain.
  • The next is for the counselor to believe it.
  • We may have to tell our story over and over with tears and groans at the pain we have faced, but we can speak plainly.
  • Isaiah 9:6 A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, "Wonderful Counselor," "Mighty God," "Eternal Father," "Prince of Peace." 

We need to be persistent in our prayers.
  • Elijah prayed 3 times.
  • We may pray until we die.
  • Maybe God will answer our prayer the way we want it, or maybe not.
  • We must not quit.
  • The Persistent Widow, Luke 18:1-8 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray at all times and not lose heart: 2 “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept appealing to him, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God or respect men, 5 yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice. Then she will stop wearing me out with her perpetual requests.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to the words of the unjust judge. 7 Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He continue to defer their help? 8 I tell you, He will promptly carry out justice on their behalf. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

She humbly acknowledges her lack of faith.
  • Now I know you are a man of God.”
  • We should always acknowledge our faults and not cover them up.
  • God will forgive us our sins.
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God will not leave us in troubles: Hebrews 13:5 ...For God has said, "I will never leave you; I will never abandon you."

04 March 2019

Truth in Unrighteousness

Romans 1:18 WEL For God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

How do people suppress the truth?

In unrighteousness?

This is done by burying the truth. Covering up truth. Ignoring truth. Lying about the truth.

We see this being done in evil churches, evil pastors, evil people.

Instead of facing the truth, confessing the truth, dealing with the truth, it is buried.

Look carefully in the bowl of seeds. Do you see the red marble?

How about this one? Look carefully, very carefully. Do you see it?

It is buried in the seeds.

Suppressing truth in unrighteousness; buried marble in the seeds.

John 3:19-21 WEL "This is [the reason for] the judgment, because light is come into the world and people loved darkness rather than light, because their actions were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and doesn’t come to the light, so that his actions may be discovered and reproved [discovered and reproved is one word in Greek]. But the one who does the truth comes to the light, so that his actions may be plainly seen that they are done for God."

1 John 1:7-10 WEL But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we keep on confessing our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Let us confess our sins instead of burying them, covering them up, or lying.

Evil people hide their sins and when they are exposed, do anything to cover it up. This is why domestic abuse and sexual molestation is so evil, because pastors, churches, groups, politicians, and people do not want to admit the truth.

Whatever sin there is, God knows about it.

Let us do what is right and confess our sin.

All sin is against God, so we must confess sin and ask forgiveness from Him.

If we sin against one, we confess and ask forgiveness of God and that person.

If we sin against more or publicly, we confess and ask forgiveness from God and that group.

If we truly are sorry, we will not do it again.

King David raped Bathsheba and had her husband murdered. When confronted by Nathan, the prophet, he confessed and asked forgiveness, which was granted. He never did these things again. See 2 Samuel 12 and Psalm 51.

King Manasseh was very wicked. God had the king of Assyria captains capture Manasseh, brought him to Babylon, and throw him in prison. He repented, was restored in Israel, and showed his repentance by worshiping only Yahweh. See 2 Kings 21 and 2 Chronicles 33.

Peter denied the Lord Jesus. After the Lord looked at him, Peter repented, did not hide his sin, and wept, but never did it again. See Mark 14 and Luke 22.

Let us learn and do.

God bless.

28 February 2019

God's Wisdom

From the 27 Feb 19 Evening Devotional of Daily Light on the Daily Path
God...gives...profusely and doesn't scold.
Our first verse deals with wisdom. Wisdom is God’s way of thinking and handling situations. If we seek counsel from an expert in finance, medicine, education, law, or whatever business or personal situation we face, it will cost much money. Frequently, the better the counselor, the higher the fee. Yet with God, the greatest expert imaginable, the fee is zero; it is absolutely free.

Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you? She said, "No one, sir." Jesus then said to her, "I don't condemn you either; go, and do not sin anymore."
Here is an example of the great wisdom of God.
This passage deals with a tricky (from a human perspective) situation for Messiah regarding God’s Law, and the evil men who are trying to trap the Lord Jesus in the corner. No matter what the Lord answers; He will be condemned. How will He handle this situation? How would you handle it?
A woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. She was brought before Jesus. Those who caught her said, "Master, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us that such to be stoned, so what do you say?" (John 8:4-5 WEL).
She is standing before THE Messiah. What is she thinking? What is the expression on her face? What is the expression on the face of Messiah?
In my mind, I wonder where the man was? If the woman was “caught in the very act of adultery,” then the man was committing adultery, too.
This seems like she was set up. She committed adultery, yes, but perhaps these men set it up. I don’t know for sure, but it does seem suspicious.
If Jesus lets her go, then He will be condemned for not upholding God’s law. If Jesus casts the first stone, then He does not show love and mercy, for God wants everyone to repent.
So Jesus bends down and starts to write. What did He write? I imagine, He was writing down the names of the men present and the date they had committed adultery either in their heart or both heart and flesh. The men left one by one, convicted. John 8:7-9 WEL And as they continued to ask him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let him who is sinless throw a stone at her." Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. After hearing this and being convicted by their conscience, they left one by one starting at the oldest down to the last. Jesus alone was left alone with the woman standing in the midst.

God's grace and the gift by grace (also by one man, Jesus Christ), is more than enough for many... the free gift resulted in acquittal for many sins.
All of us are sinners. Some are worse than others. The penalty for lying, stealing, blaspheming, etc. is death. But God wants people to repent and believe in Him, trusting in Him for forgiveness of sins.
God’s grace (receiving what we do not deserve) gives us salvation. This is only through Jesus Christ.
It is free. However, it was very costly for Jesus in that He suffered and died for our sins. Once the Holy Spirit opens our heart and mind to the extent we are evil, we can resist His offer or we can accept His offer of salvation. We cannot work, earn, it. It is free. It is a gift. His salvation forgives, pardons, our many sins.

God who is rich in mercy, for his great love in which he loved us, even when we were dead because of sins, he has made us alive with Christ, for you are saved by grace. He has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
This work and offer from the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, shows what great love He has for us. He did not have to do this; He wanted to, because He wants all to repent and believe the Gospel.
We have a hope and promise that after death, we will be in heaven with the other believers, holy angels, and God Himself.
We were created for fellowship with God and to serve Him forever. Serving such a wonderful King is pure joy.

He didn't spare his own Son but handed him over for all of us. How much more will he not also graciously give us all things?
If God the Father sent God the Son, and if God the Son freely and willingly came for us, will He not also give us all things? These things are spiritual treasures not necessarily earthly treasures. The very first treasure is wisdom:
Psalms 111:10 GW The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Good sense is shown by everyone who follows God's guiding principles. His praise continues forever.
Proverbs 2:6-8 NRSV For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;  7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly,  8 guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his faithful ones.
For those who resist God and refuse to repent, believe, and put their trust into the Lord Jesus for salvation, they also have a promise—eternal, conscious punishment in hell.
Please, do not resist.
Enjoy the beautiful, indescribable wisdom of God.

James 1:5: John 8:10-11; Romans 5:15-16: Ephesians 2:4-7; Romans 8:32

Bible verses are from the Welcome Bible Copyright © 2006-2019 by Len Gane. All Rights Reserved.