30 March 2019

Addictions An Evangelistic Message

Problems of addiction


Overwhelmed, isolated, out of control, anxiety (themselves and others), prone to other problems, fetal alcohol syndrome (as well as various drug damaged baby brains), cancer, impaired judgment, pain, injuries, won't deal with problems except more addiction, being taken advantage of, prison, loss of everything including job, family, self esteem, increased early death, loss of love, etc.


Interpersonal problems, jealousy, arguments, all types of abuse, pulling apart, conflict with children, fear, conflict over money, loss of employment, health costs, emotional trauma, yelling, falling down, insults, manipulating, violence, cheating, other addictions (porn, internet sex, prostitution), risky behavior in family members, acting out, children more likely to follow your addiction, emotional problems in children, loss of love, loss of commitment, homelessness, etc.


Health care, accidents, poor judgment, out of control character, stealing, etc (need for money), etc.

How many addictions are there?
B1 No one knows.
B2 Whatever is pleasurable, demanding, repetitive, a necessity.
B3 The 8 main ones are gambling, sex, internet, shopping, video games, plastic surgery, food, risky behavior.
B4 A quote from Everyday Health:
But alcohol, uppers, downers, and other commonly abused substances aren't the only things Americans abuse or think they're addicted to. In fact, just substitute the word "behavior" for "substance," and you open up the definition of addiction to all kinds of dependencies, some of which may surprise you. Whether it's sex, the Internet, or bungee jumping, the desire to experience a "high" becomes so strong that the so-called addict loses control and seeks the activity despite all negative consequences.

As serious, troubling, sorrowful, burdensome addiction is, there is one addiction that is the worst. It affects all of us.

That addiction is sin.

B1 Sin is pleasurable: Hebrews 11:24-25 GW When Moses grew up, faith led him to refuse to be known as a son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25 He chose to suffer with God's people rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a little while.
B2 It is the “natural” thing to do. It is what we want to do: Ephesians 2:3 GNB Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God's anger.
B3 Desires for pleasure: James 4:1-3 GNB Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires for pleasure, which are constantly fighting within you. 2 You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. 3 And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures.
B4 Our own desires. We cannot blame anyone but ourself: James 1:14-15 GNB But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. 15 Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

What is sin?

B1 Lawlessness is rebellion against known law or a standard. 1 John 3:4 WEL Everyone doing sin, also is doing lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
B2 God has summarized His law in 10 precepts:
C1 You must not have any other Gods except me.
C2 You must not have any idols. (a physical representation of a god made of wood, stone, metal, etc.).
C3 You must not blaspheme God’s name or character.
C4 You must keep the Sabbath holy. (This one is for Israel, for it is not repeated in the New Testament. Christians celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. So, 1 Corinthians 16:2 NIV On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made).
C5 You must honor your father and mother.
C6 You must not murder.
C7 You must not commit adultery. (This includes porn).
C8 You must not steal. (This includes stealing of time).
C9 You must not bear false witness against your neighbor. (This includes any lying).
C10 You must not covet.
B3 These 10 must be kept perfectly in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. Compare:
C1 Thoughts and desires: Matthew 5:28 NIV But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
C2 Words: Revelation 16:11 WEL And blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their intense pain and ulcers, but they did not repent of their deeds.
B4 The penalty for breaking God’s laws is death.
C1 The penalty is compared to a paycheck: I work and my payment is death. Romans 6:23 WEL For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
C2 The one who sins will die: Ezekiel 18:4 BSB Behold, every soul belongs to Me; both father and son are Mine. The soul who sins is the one who will die.
C3 The body dies and becomes compost: Genesis 3:19 NIV By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.
C4 The soul is punished for eternity: Matthew 25:46 NRSV And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

What is the solution?

B1 Truth. For any addiction, we must acknowledge that we are addicted. We must acknowledge the truth about us. We are addicted. Regarding sin, we have sinned.
B2 God sends light for us to understand that we have sinned. He shed this light, this understanding, over us by the Holy Spirit, who initiates salvation.
B3 We must confess, that is, agree with God’s opinion about us.
B4 Believe and trust into Jesus Christ.
B5 Live by His grace.

What Can We Learn?

B1 All of us have an addiction. This addiction is sin.
B2 Sin is breaking God’s law.
B3 Breaking God’s law requires punishment.
B4 Punishment is physical death, spiritual, and eternal death.
B5 Someone must be punished. It is either me for my sin, or a substitute.
B6 The only substitute is the Son of Man, Jesus Christ.
B7 He requires agreement that we are sinners, acknowledging He is the only savior, and trust in Him for forgiveness of sin.
B8 There is a Christian life to live.
B9 There is a hope for heaven after death and a sin free world coming in the future.
B10 Our only hope is Jesus Christ.

21 March 2019

A Few Thoughts on Psalm 23

Introduction: Probably no Psalm is quoted from more than Psalm 23. It has been quoted at times from birth through death, from joy to sorrow, from comfort to praise.

King David knew sheep well, for he was the family shepherd for many years. The intensity of devotion and reverence for Yahweh is clearly seen in his writing. We must remember that this is inspired by the Holy Spirit. King David was King but also prophet.
There are two types of leadership. The best is a shepherd leader. The only other is evil; it is the hunter type.

The Shepherd is 
  • Motivated by love 
  • Acts with compassion  
  • Alert to troubles 
  • Awake to dangers  
  • Guiding to safety and well-being
The Hunter is
  • Motivated by self
  • Acts to satisfy him/herself
  • Alert to rebellion
  • Awake to any movements for freedom
  • Guides into greater and greater control

The example of the Shepherd is the Lord Jesus 
The example of the Hunter is Nimrod, the hunter

The idea of a Shepherd is
  • Authority,
  • Guiding,
  • Safety,
  • Compassion.
  • He or she gives.
  • The principle is to build up, maintain, increase health and well-being.
  • Freedom within boundaries is encouraged and maintained.
The idea of the Controller is
  • Power,
  • Supremacy,
  • Mastery,
  • Make clear who is in Charge.
  • He or she takes.
  • The principle is to use them, and when done destroy.
  • There is a lack of freedom.
Unfortunately, we see many, if not most, leaders, parents, pastors, husbands, etc. as controlling. There is Christian leadership, pastorship, or marriage. The opposite is a controlling leadership, pastorship, or marriage.

God makes sure we do not lack what is needed. What is wanted is not always granted.
There are 4 verbs here describing God’s leadership:

  • To rest in green pastures
  • The word makes appears to be controlling but the Hebrew word is רָבַץ râbats. In the Hiphil, it does not have the idea of forcing or driving them it, rather, it is encouraging. One could almost translate it as have them rest.
    • Song of Songs 1:7 NKJV (To Her Beloved) Tell me, O you whom I love, Where you feed your flock, Where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself By the flocks of your companions?
    • Ezekiel 34:14 NIV I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
  • The Hebrew word is נָהַל nâhal. It means, according to Strong’s, to lead or guide to a watering place, bring to a place of rest, refresh.
  • Again, instead of driving them, the shepherd guides them to the best for well-being.
  • Psalm 31:3 NLT You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
  • Isaiah 40:11 NLT He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
  • The Hebrew word is שׁוּב shûwb. In the Piel, it means to bring, to restore.
  • The times might be hard, difficult, and tiring, but the shepherd wants the sheep to be restored.
  • Isaiah 58:12 GNB Your people will rebuild what has long been in ruins, building again on the old foundations. You will be known as the people who rebuilt the walls, who restored the ruined houses.
  • Psalms 60:1 NRSV To the leader: according to the Lily of the Covenant. A Miktam of David; for instruction; when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; now restore us!
  • The Hebrew word is נָחָה nâchâh. It means to guide and lead forth.
  • Genesis 24:27 NRSV and said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the way to the house of my master's kin.
  • Psalm 73:24 NIV You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
  • Isaiah 58:11 NIV The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. [All emphasis is mine].
The Shepherd leader makes sure the sheep’s needs are taken care of
  • Food (green pastures) Our food is Scripture. Since God is both omniscient and omnisapient, He can communicate perfectly. The plain, normal sense of interpretation is best. Principles of the Literal Bible Interpretation by Cooper Adams III is very good if you need some principles of Bible Interpretation. God provides, but we must do the reading and the studying. We have no excuses to not do so.
  • Water (quiet water)
    • Invitation: Revelation 22:17 NRSV The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let everyone who hears say, "Come." And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
    • Prophesied: Isaiah 55:1 CSB Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost!
    • The Lord Jesus in numerous places spoke of thirsty and God quenching water. John 4:10, 14 CSB Jesus answered, "If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would ask him, and he would give you living water." ... "But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.
  • Satisfied soul
    • The soul is our emotions and being. It is the real person in the body. Psalms 107:8-9 NKJV Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
    • Jeremiah 31:25 ESV For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.
  • Righteousness
    • He, the Savior, provides for salvation, not condemnation: Romans 5:17-19 ESV For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.
    • Philippians 3:8-9 WEL Yes indeed, I consider everything loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of everything, and I consider them just worthless filth, so that I may gain Christ 9 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is from The Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness, which is from God on [the basis of] faith.
A shepherd leader is one who will be with us in trials, temptations, sorrows, griefs, difficulties, sickness, death, hurt, etc.
  • The rod and staff are for guiding, not punishment.
  • Fear of the unknown and the uncomfortable are very real. Yet, when God is with us, we don’t have to be fear. He provides a comfort and strength to go through this valley.
  • He is here to comfort: Isaiah 61:2 NRSV To proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.
  • Even the hard things of life cannot stop His love: Romans 8:38-39 NRSV For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • He is ever present, even we do not know it. Psalms 46:1 GNB God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
  • We are set free from the fear of death. At the moment of death and earlier, He will comfort. Hebrews 2:14-15 GNB Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death, 15 and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death.
  • We have hope in our death. Proverbs 14:32 NKJV The wicked is banished in his wickedness, But the righteous has a refuge in his death.

The Lord Jesus IS the shepherd, our shepherd, and hopefully, He is yours, too.
John 10:11-14 NKJV I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.

Some final thoughts by Alexander MacLaren: So much for the earthly future. But higher than all that rises the confidence of the closing words, ‘I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’ This should be at once the crown of all our hopes for the future, and the one great lesson taught us by all the vicissitudes of life. The sorrows and the joys, the journeying and the rest, the temporary repose and the frequent struggles, all these should make us sure that there is an end which will interpret them all, to which they all point, for which they may all prepare. We get the table in the wilderness here. It is as when the son of some great king comes back from foreign soil to his father’s dominions, and is welcomed at every stage in his journey to the capital with pomp of festival, and messengers from the throne, until he enters at last his palace home, where the travel-stained robe is laid aside, and he sits down with his father at his table. God provides for us here in the presence of our enemies; it is wilderness food we get, manna from heaven, and water from the rock. We eat in haste, staff in hand, and standing round the meal. But yonder we sit down with the Shepherd, the Master of the house, at His table in His kingdom. We put off the pilgrim-dress, and put on the royal robe; we lay aside the sword, and clasp the palm. Far off, and lost to sight, are all the enemies. We fear no change. We ‘go no more out.’

The sheep are led by many a way, sometimes through sweet meadows, sometimes limping along sharp-flinted, dusty highways, sometimes high up over rough, rocky mountain-passes, sometimes down through deep gorges, with no sunshine in their gloom; but they are ever being led to one place, and when the hot day is over they are gathered into one fold, and the sinking sun sees them safe, where no wolf can come, nor any robber climb up any more, but all shall rest for ever under the Shepherd’s eye.

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."