31 May 2019

A Few Thoughts On Heaven Part 3

Part 3
Some facts about heaven
B1 God lives and rules in heaven and from heaven.
C1 2 Chronicles 20:6 NET He prayed: "O LORD God of our ancestors, you are the God who lives in heaven and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess strength and power; no one can stand against you.
C2 Matthew 6:10 NLT May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
B2 Heaven is not in this universe.
C1 Acts 7:55-56 NET But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look!" he said. "I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"
C2 2 Corinthians 12:1-2 NET It is necessary to go on boasting. Though it is not profitable, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven.
C3 John 3:13 NET No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven - the Son of Man.
B3 Heaven and God
    • He lives there.
    • He rules there.
    • His throne is there.
    • He can see earth from there.
    • Jesus descended from heaven, then ascended into heaven.
    • Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
    • Jesus will come back from heaven.
B4 Heaven and activities
  • There God is worshiped.
  • There the holy angels and the believers live.
  • There God's will is done perfectly.
  • There we will serve Him.
  • There all is safe and secure.
  • There is an inheritance.
  • There will be rewards there for His people.
  • There we will have a new body.
B4 There is no more pain, suffering, abuse, night, persecution, worry, heartbrokenness, depression, sickness, tears of sorrow, death, temptation, war, false gods, blasphemy, dishonor, suspicion, murder, sexual sins, stealing, courteousness, rebellion, fear, anxiety, hunger, insomnia, etc.
B5 There will be joy, love, fellowship, comfort, rest, light, peace, grace, happiness, justice, guidance, wisdom, hope, life, etc.

30 May 2019

A Few Thoughts on Heaven Part 2

Part 2
A few verses and thoughts
B1 Questions
C1 After death
D1 Existence?
E1 We exist:
F1 The dead talk: Revelation 6:9-10 NIV When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"
F2 The dead see, feel, and communicate. Do the words of Jesus Christ have any meaning except the plain, normal sense? Luke 16:23-26 NIV In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
E2 We do not exist
D2 Conscious
E1 Yes as seen above
E2 No
D3 Some sort of body
E1 Yes as seen above
E2 No
D4 Sensation
E1 Yes as seen above
E2 No
C2 Resurrection
D1 Body
E1 Yes
F1 2 Corinthians 5:2-4 NIV Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
G1 The word clothed means (according to Vincent’s Word Studies) ependuo, G1902 a strengthened form of No. 2, used in the Middle Voice, "to cause to be put on over, to be clothed upon," is found in 2Co 5:2, 4, of the future spiritual body of the redeemed.
G2 To be clothed upon (ἐπενδύσασθαι)
Only here and 2 Corinthians 5:4. Compare ἐπενδύτης fisher's coat, John 21:7 (see note). Lit., to put on over. The metaphor changes from building to clothing, a natural transformation in the mind of Paul, to whom the hail-cloth woven for tents would suggest a vesture. [Source]
F2 Our present body is described as a body of death: Romans 7:24 NRSV Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
E2 No
D2 Eternal
E1 Heaven—Yes
E2 Hell
F1 Yes
G1 Daniel 12:2 NLT Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace.
G2 Matthew 25:41, 46 NLT "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. ... "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."
F2 Sorta yes which some groups believe. 7th Day Adventists believe this. A former 3rd generation Adventist writes: Of course I knew Jesus rose from death on that first day of the week, but I couldn’t see anything about that resurrection that was important for me now. It was the evidence that one day all of us would be resurrected—a dubious promise because none of us knew whether we would be raised to eternal life or to everlasting annihilation after a temporary burn. Nevertheless, Jesus’ resurrection was the event that confirmed we would all rise one day. [Source]
F3 Temporary
F4 No
B2 Interpretation
C1 Methods
D1 Some depend on the “Father”
D2 Some depend on the organized church
D3 Some depend on a Systematic Theology
D4 Some depend on aberrant interpretations as symbolic, allegorical, typical, moral, mystical, etc.
D5 Some depend on the plain, normal reading of the Scriptures.
C2 Thoughts
D1 If God is truly omniscient and omnisapient, then He knows how to communicate perfectly. Perfectly in the sense that people can understand it.
D2 If there are symbolic or communicative types, then it will be understood by the context or if prophecy, then by those living at that time.
E1 The Lord Jesus says: Luke 24:25-27 NIV He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
E2 The Jewish leaders did not understand the concept of a suffering Messiah.
E3 The Suffering Messiah as read in Isaiah 52:13-53:12
E4 The King Messiah as read in Zechariah 14
D3 Also consider Revelation 9 with descriptions of locusts from the pit. I do not know what these are, but I do know that God communicates perfectly, and John wrote perfectly, being under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, on what he saw. This is what he saw. I do know that this is a judgment affecting an unbelieving humanity.
D4 If God can communicate perfectly, then what He states in the Scriptures whether prophecy or not prophecy is also perfect. We do not need a early church father or saint or triple doctorate to inform us. We are priests (both brothers and sisters) to God. Both brothers and sisters have the same Holy Spirit.
C3 Examples
D1 Luke 23:40-43 NIV But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."
D2 Orthodox interpretation:
E1 The passage: The Son of Man will send His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father (Mt 13.41–43).
E2 Orthodox view: According to the saints, the “fire” that will consume sinners at the coming of the Kingdom of God is the same “fire” that will shine with splendor in the saints. It is the “fire” of God’s love; the “fire” of God Himself who is Love. “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12.29) who “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim 6.16). For those who love God and who love all creation in Him, the “consuming fire” of God will be radiant bliss and unspeakable delight. For those who do not love God, and who do not love at all, this same “consuming fire” will be the cause of their “weeping” and their “gnashing of teeth.”
E3 Plain, normal sense view (because God can communicate perfectly):
F1 Sin (breaking God’s law) will be punished. The punishment is torment in fire for eternity. Implication is this: repent and believe the Gospel.
F2 Those who believe and those who do NOT believe are separated from each other.
F3 Those who believe are in God’s light:
G1 Revelation 21:23-25 NIV The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
G2 John 8:12 NIV When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
F4 Those who refuse to believe have no light. Why should we be forced to believe anything but the obvious?
G1 2 Peter 2:17 WEL These [people] are like wells without water, clouds blown around with a storm, to which the darkest of darkness is reserved forever.
G2 Matthew 8:10-12 NIV When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

29 May 2019

A Few Thoughts on Heaven

Part 1
Some views of heaven
B1 Paradise, a distinct place.
B2 A planet that is in outer space that will be brought to earth for the saints to live on.
B3 The new creation.
B4 The Garden of Eden restored.
B5 A place beyond this universe where time and a spiritual realities as bodies and recognizing each other Do exist.
B6 A place beyond this universe where time and spiritual realities as bodies and recognizing each other do NOT exist.
B7 A floating of our spirit somewhere out there.
B8 Soul sleep until the resurrection.
B9 The Roman Catholics state:
    • CCC# 1023: Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they "see him as he is," face to face:...
    • CCC# 1024: This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity, this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed is called "heaven." Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.
    • CCC# 1025: To live in heaven is "to be with Christ." The elect live "in Christ," but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name. "For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.
    • CCC# 1027: This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."
    • CCC# 1028: Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory "the beautific vision": [..].
    • CCC# 1029: In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God's will in relation to other men and to all creation. Already they reign with Christ; with him "they shall reign for ever and ever."
B10 The Orthodox
      • "Contrary to Augustine's ideas about Paradise and Hell, according to the other Fathers of the Church in both East and West, Hell and Paradise are the same thing. There is no difference at all. When someone sees God's glory with unselfish love, he sees God as paradise, and this is paradise…"
      • "The uncreated glory, which Christ has by nature from the Father, is paradise for those who self-centered and selfish love has been cured and transformed into unselfish love. However, the same glory is uncreated eternal fire and hell for those who have chosen to remain uncured in their selfishness."
      • For those who love the Lord, His Presence will be infinite joy, paradise and eternal life. For those who hate the Lord, the same Presence will be infinite torture, hell and eternal death. The reality for both the saved and the damned will be exactly the same when Christ “comes in glory, and all angels with Him,” so that “God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15–28). Those who have God as their “all” within this life will finally have divine fulfillment and life. For those whose “all” is themselves and this world, the “all” of God will be their torture, their punishment and their death. And theirs will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 8.21, et al.).
      • According to the saints, the “fire” that will consume sinners at the coming of the Kingdom of God is the same “fire” that will shine with splendor in the saints. It is the “fire” of God’s love; the “fire” of God Himself who is Love. “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12.29) who “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim 6.16). For those who love God and who love all creation in Him, the “consuming fire” of God will be radiant bliss and unspeakable delight. For those who do not love God, and who do not love at all, this same “consuming fire” will be the cause of their “weeping” and their “gnashing of teeth.”
      • Thus it is the Church’s spiritual teaching that God does not punish man by some material fire or physical torment. God simply reveals Himself in the risen Lord Jesus in such a glorious way that no man can fail to behold His glory. It is the presence of God’s splendid glory and love that is the scourge of those who reject its radiant power and light.
      • . . . those who find themselves in hell will be chastised by the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo no greater suffering than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart, which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God . . . But love acts in two ways, as suffering of the reproved, and as joy in the blessed! (Saint Isaac of Syria, Mystic Treatises).
C3 Third Quote: Many people think that heaven and hell are the places God sends us to either reward or punish us. But Orthodox Christians don't believe in this "two story" model of the universe. We believe that God is "present in all places and filling all things," and that what we interpret as salvation or damnation is actually our response to, and experience of, God's unconditional love.

20 May 2019

A Few Thoughts on Knowing God's Will

When I was a young man, there were situations where I wanted guidance from those more experience than I. I asked, “What would you do?” Many times the person I asked would respond, “I am not going to tell you what you should do?” I was not asking them to make my decision; I was asking them for some counsel. As a result of this happening a number of times, I stopping asking anybody. I made many errors that could have been prevented, if I would have had some counsel.

Yesterday, I heard of a preacher who was asked by someone (not me), “What would you do?” The response from that pastor was, “I am not going to tell you what you should do.” This grieved me deeply. I so wished I could have listened to that person, and if I had some experience in that area would have given some counsel.

That incident is why I’m writing today’s thoughts.

Some thoughts on knowing God’s will.

I’ve written on this before, but I will just write of this one topic.

God’s will, views, thoughts, knowledge, and wisdom are beyond our understanding: Isaiah 55:9 NRSV For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We might ask fellow Christians and pastors for advice. They may or may not give advice and wisdom, but God always gives wisdom. He doesn’t say when, but He will. He promises it. He will not get upset at us for asking. James 1:5 WEL If any of you lack wisdom, then ask the God, who gives to all profusely and doesn't rebuke, and it will be given to him.

We must be willing, praying, and applying ourselves to be living God’s ways in our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. Romans 12:1-2 WEL I implore you, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present yourselves as a holy, living sacrifice [which is] acceptable to God [and] your rational service [to Him]. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what [is] the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.

We must seek diligently seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness: Matthew 6:33 NASB But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

All we do, think, and say publicly and privately must be to God’s glory: 1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

We must realize that we are influenced by our fleshly desires all too often, so we must implore God to reveal these things to us. There can be no healing unless we acknowledge truth. Psalms 139:23-24 GNB Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts.  24  Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way.

Our decisions must be tested by Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 GNB Put all things to the test: keep what is good  22  and avoid every kind of evil.

We must know that there are things that we must do. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 22 NLT Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. ... Stay away from every kind of evil.

We must know that there are things that we must NOT do. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 NLT Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.

We must know principles that God honors. A few examples:
1. Avoiding the many ways of sexual sins: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NLT God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor-- not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.
2. Seeking and admitting the truth: Proverbs 12:17, 22 NLT An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies. ... The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
3. Faith, that is, believing God. This is believing, reading and studying Bible in its plain, normal sense: Hebrews 11:6 NLT And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

We must know principles that God hates. A couple of examples:
1. Turning from turn to falsehoods. This especially applies to beliefs, philosophies, substitutes, etc., so things that are not true. 1 Timothy 4:3-4 WEL For the time will come when they will not put up with sound doctrine but according to their own sinful desires—[and] having tickling ears—will multiply for themselves teachers, 4 And they will turn away their ears from the truth, turning instead to fantasies.
2. Loving other things, for example, riches: 1 Timothy 6:10 NRSV For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

We can learn from successful actions (God approved):
1. The repentance of the people of Nineveh: Jonah 3:4-5, 10 NLT On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: "Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!" The people of Nineveh believed God's message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. ... When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
2. Being thankful and glorifying God for what He has done: Luke 17:12-19 NLT As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" He looked at them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, "Praise God!" He fell to the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Didn't I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" And Jesus said to the man, "Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you."

We can learn from unsuccessful actions (God disapproves):
1. Betraying God, lying about Him, turning against Him, deliberately make Him angry:
a) Luke 22:3-5 NIV Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money.
b) Luke 22:47-48 NIV While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
2. Forsaking God, abandoning Him, turning away from to love and seek something other: 2 Timothy 4:10 NIV for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
3. Pride: 2 Chronicles 26:16 NLT But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the LORD his God by entering the sanctuary of the LORD's Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar.

Hopefully, these basics will help you and me make better decisions. If no one will listen to your issues, then we must pray. But, I pray you can find someone who will at least listen.

God does not say when He will answer, but He will.

Let us seek God.

Psalm 10:4 NLT The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.
Proverbs 3:6 NLT Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

God bless.

19 May 2019

A Few Thoughts on Discouragement

We get discouraged. We face spiritual, physical, financial, emotional disappoints and discouragement. Hope seems to fade. We face family issues, church issues, issues at work, with friends, etc. You know what I mean. There are wars, terrorism, societal ills, evil Christian pastors, good pastors who become discouraged, etc. On and on it goes.

What do we do?

Jeremiah, the prophet, faced this very thing, too.

Background: The Septuagint has this introduction to Lamentations: And it came to pass, after Israel was taken captive, and Jerusalem made desolate, that Jeremias sat weeping, and lamented with this lamentation over Jerusalem, and said,

Jeremiah is so discouraged, along with all Jerusalem: Lamentations 1:1-7 GNB How lonely lies Jerusalem, once so full of people! Once honored by the world, she is now like a widow; The noblest of cities has fallen into slavery. 2 All night long she cries; tears run down her cheeks. Of all her former friends, not one is left to comfort her. Her allies have betrayed her and are all against her now. 3 Judah's people are helpless slaves, forced away from home. They live in other lands, with no place to call their own—Surrounded by enemies, with no way to escape. 4 No one comes to the Temple now to worship on the holy days. The young women who sang there suffer, and the priests can only groan. The city gates stand empty, and Zion is in agony. 5 Her enemies succeeded; they hold her in their power. The LORD has made her suffer for all her many sins; Her children have been captured and taken away. 6 The splendor of Jerusalem is a thing of the past. Her leaders are like deer that are weak from hunger, Whose strength is almost gone as they flee from the hunters. 7 A lonely ruin now, Jerusalem recalls her ancient splendor. When she fell to the enemy, there was no one to help her; Her conquerors laughed at her downfall.

Jeremiah later states this: Lamentations 1:20-21 GNB Look, O LORD, at my agony, at the anguish of my soul! My heart is broken in sorrow for my sins. There is murder in the streets; even indoors there is death. 21 "Listen to my groans; there is no one to comfort me. My enemies are glad that you brought disaster on me. Bring the day you promised; make my enemies suffer as I do.

The suffering is horrible: Lamentations 2:11-12 GNB My eyes are worn out with weeping; my soul is in anguish. I am exhausted with grief at the destruction of my people. Children and babies are fainting in the streets of the city. 12 Hungry and thirsty, they cry to their mothers; They fall in the streets as though they were wounded, And slowly die in their mothers' arms.

Jeremiah cries to God: Lamentations 3:1-8 GNB I am one who knows what it is to be punished by God. 2 He drove me deeper and deeper into darkness 3 And beat me again and again with merciless blows. 4 He has left my flesh open and raw, and has broken my bones. 5 He has shut me in a prison of misery and anguish. 6 He has forced me to live in the stagnant darkness of death. 7 He has bound me in chains; I am a prisoner with no hope of escape. 8 I cry aloud for help, but God refuses to listen;

He was being tortured: Lamentations 3:52-57 GNB I was trapped like a bird by enemies who had no cause to hate me. 53 They threw me alive into a pit and closed the opening with a stone. 54 Water began to close over me, and I thought death was near. 55 "From the bottom of the pit, O LORD, I cried out to you, 56 And when I begged you to listen to my cry, you heard. 57 You answered me and told me not to be afraid.

He complains about his enemies: Lamentations 3:60-66 GNB You know how my enemies hate me and how they plot against me. 61 "You have heard them insult me, O LORD; you know all their plots. 62 All day long they talk about me and make their plans. 63 From morning till night they make fun of me. 64 "Punish them for what they have done, O LORD; 65 Curse them and fill them with despair! 66 Hunt them down and wipe them off the earth!"

Society suffers: Lamentations 5:9-12 GNB Murderers roam through the countryside; we risk our lives when we look for food. 10 Hunger has made us burn with fever until our skin is as hot as an oven. 11 Our wives have been raped on Mount Zion itself; in every Judean village our daughters have been forced to submit. 12 Our leaders have been taken and hanged; our elders are shown no respect.

His heart speaks to the pain he feels. He shouts to God: Lamentations 5:21-22 GNB Bring us back to you, LORD! Bring us back! Restore our ancient glory. 22 Or have you rejected us forever? Is there no limit to your anger?

The Psalmist, too, complains: 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.

In the middle of Jeremiah’s complaints, he remembers something: Lamentations 3:21-25 GNB Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: 22 The LORD's unfailing love and mercy still continue, 23 Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. 24 The LORD is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. 25 The LORD is good to everyone who trusts in him,

Habakkuk feels much the same: Habakkuk 3:17-19 GNB Even though the fig trees have no fruit and no grapes grow on the vines, even though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no grain, even though the sheep all die and the cattle stalls are empty, 18 I will still be joyful and glad, because the LORD God is my savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD gives me strength. He makes me sure-footed as a deer and keeps me safe on the mountains.

We can speak in this same way to our counselor: Isaiah 9:6 GNB 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." [Emphasis is mine]

The Psalmist praises God for hope: Psalms 16:1-11 GNB Protect me, O God; I trust in you for safety. 2 I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; all the good things I have come from you." 3 How excellent are the LORD's faithful people! My greatest pleasure is to be with them. 4 Those who rush to other gods bring many troubles on themselves. I will not take part in their sacrifices; I will not worship their gods. 5 You, LORD, are all I have, and you give me all I need; my future is in your hands. 6 How wonderful are your gifts to me; how good they are! 7 I praise the LORD, because he guides me, and in the night my conscience warns me. 8 I am always aware of the LORD's presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me. 9 And so I am thankful and glad, and I feel completely secure, 10 because you protect me from the power of death. I have served you faithfully, and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead. 11 You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever.

Of Messiah, it is prophesied: Psalms 22:1-2 GNB My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? I have cried desperately for help, but still it does not come. 2 During the day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer; I call at night, but get no rest.
In the midst His pain, Messiah remembers: Psalms 22:22-23 GNB I will tell my people what you have done; I will praise you in their assembly: 23 "Praise him, you servants of the LORD! Honor him, you descendants of Jacob! Worship him, you people of Israel!

If you are suffering discouragement, you are normal. God has not forsaken you.

He will listen.

He will deliver when the time is right.

So we must pray, “God deliver me.”

We must also pray, “Teach me something from this.”

Then we wait.

We can complain as often as we need to, because

He listens.

Don’t give up hope.

Our souls are safe.

Even if we think we cannot tolerate any more, remember:
He suffered and knows our suffering: 1 Thessalonians 3:3 LEB so that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are appointed for this,
We do not know when deliverance comes, but it will happen: Psalms 34:19 NRSV Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all.
We can help others: 2 Corinthians 1:4 NRSV who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.
God’s love for us is enduring: 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.
Finally, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 GNB For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. 17 And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. 18 For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.

God bless you.

We Christians are in this life together.

16 May 2019

Song of Songs Part 2

Part 2

A brief review
B1 Written by Solomon
B2 Solomon is reminiscing about his marriage. I believe that chapter 1 is their wedding night after the wedding ceremony.
B3 The woman character is Naamah, Solomon’s first wife and mother to 3 children—Rehoboam, his son (1 Kings 11:43 and Matthew, Taphath (1 Kings 4:11), and Basmath (1 Kings 4:15). No other children were listed in Scriptures being fathered by Solomon.
B4 Personally, I feel that, in general, all of Solomon other wives were for political or business reasons. He didn’t become intimate with them.
B5 We learned
C1 Sexual pleasure in normal for both husband and wife. Admiring each other’s beauty is not sinful.
C2 The greatness of being with each other.
C3 Some pointers when you are together, namely
D1 It is a time for just the both of you
D2 Shut the phone off
D3 Shut the TV off
D4 Stop any distraction
D5 It is realistic that interruptions do happen as emergencies or younger children. But, otherwise, you are spending time with your spouse.
D6 Listen to her. Listen to him. Do not interrupt. Do not offer advice or counsel. Shut up and listen. Don’t be reading or doing something when she is talking.
B1 Chapter 5
C1 This is a continuation of chapter 4. Song of Solomon 4:16-5:1 GNB Wake up, North Wind. South Wind, blow on my garden; fill the air with fragrance. Let my lover come to his garden and eat the best of its fruits. 5:1 I have entered my garden, my sweetheart, my bride. I am gathering my spices and myrrh; I am eating my honey and honeycomb; I am drinking my wine and milk. Eat, lovers, and drink until you are drunk with love!
C2 Her husband returns home and knocks at the door. She does not get dressed quickly enough. Opening the door, she finds he has left.
C3 She was worried and longing for him, so she goes out at night only to be assaulted/molested by law enforcement. Song of Songs 5:7 NLT The night watchmen found me as they made their rounds. They beat and bruised me and stripped off my veil, those watchmen on the walls.
C4 The chorus, Daughters of Jerusalem, ask her what is so special about him?
C5 She responds describing his handsomeness.
C6 Note, she identifies him not only as lover but friend. Song of Songs 5:16 NLT His mouth is sweetness itself; he is desirable in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, is my lover, my friend.
B2 Chapter 6
C1 The chorus of young women, Daughters of Jerusalem, offer to help find him. “Where should we look?” they ask.
C2 She suggests the garden area. Song of Songs 6:2 NLT Young Woman My lover has gone down to his garden, to his spice beds, to browse in the gardens and gather the lilies.
C3 Solomon sees her and is overwhelmed by her beauty and describes, with joy, her beauty.
C5 She goes to a walnut grove to enjoy nature.
C6 The Daughters of Jerusalem ask her to return so they can observe her grace of movement.
B3 Chapter 7
C1 Her husband, seeing her beauty, is overwhelmed. He describes it honestly.
C2 After his description, telling her why she is so beautiful, she becomes overwhelmed, too. Song of Songs 7:10 NLT Young Woman I am my lover's, and he claims me as his own.
C3 They enjoy being intimate in their private garden.
B4 Chapter 8
C1 There is a time for intimacy and a time to refrain. Song of Songs 8:4 NLT Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right. Consider:
D1 A husband can request intimacy, and the wife can refuse (maybe she is sick or too exhausted from work, etc.).
D2 A wife can request intimacy, and the husband can refuse.
D3 Sometimes one hears teaching that a wife must always be available to meet her husband’s sexual needs. This is wrong and evil. It is practically raping your wife.
D4 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 GW But in order to avoid sexual sins, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. 3 Husbands and wives should satisfy each other's sexual needs. 4 A wife doesn't have authority over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband doesn't have authority over his own body, but his wife does. 5 Don't withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so for a set time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should get back together so that Satan doesn't use your lack of self-control to tempt you. [Emphasis is mine]
C2 The wife explains the strength of love. Let us note it carefully.
D1 Song of Songs 8:6-7 NLT Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned.
D2 If a woman is afraid of her husband, then the husband does NOT love his wife. If a man is afraid of his wife, then the wife does NOT love her husband. 1 John 4:18 GNB There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.
D3 If your marriage does not seem to have love, see below.
C3 Entering marriage as a virgin is God’s best. Some do not, so do not freak out about it. You ARE forgiven if you asked God to forgive you. Song of Songs 8:9 NLT If she is a virgin, like a wall, we will protect her with a silver tower. But if she is promiscuous, like a swinging door, we will block her door with a cedar bar.
C4 Naamah was a virgin when she married Solomon. Song of Songs 8:10 NLT Young Woman I was a virgin, like a wall; now my breasts are like towers. When my lover looks at me, he is delighted with what he sees.
C5 Solomon is identified as the husband.
D1 He has a vineyard that he leases to tenants.
D2 She has a vineyard, herself, that he can have free. She is the vineyard. Song of Songs 8:12 NLT But my vineyard is mine to give, and Solomon need not pay a thousand pieces of silver. But I will give two hundred pieces to those who care for its vines.
C6 Solomon wants so listen to his wife. He wants to hear her voice and opinions. Song of Songs 8:13 NLT Young Man O my darling, lingering in the gardens, your companions are fortunate to hear your voice. Let me hear it, too!
C7 The wife, Naamah, wants to be with him forever. Song of Songs 8:14 NLT Come away, my love! Be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.

We learn
B1 It is OK to tell your wife how beautiful she is from head to toe. Husbands enjoy your wife’s beauty.
B2 Sex is meant for husband and wife. Both are to enjoy it. Ask her what is pleasurable. Do not be in a rush.
B3 Togetherness is important. This doesn’t mean just living in the same house. This means to worship, eat, work, communicate, listen, pray, etc. together. You must have togetherness. It doesn’t mean having a date. It means enjoying each other’s company daily.
B3 Communication is important.
B4 The spouses need to know the language of love.
C1 A quiz husband and wife should take. The quiz is here.
C2 Take the quiz and discover each other’s language of love.
C3 There are more resources here.
B5 Love is a choice. You choose to love. It is not necessarily an emotion.
B6 The actions of love are found in 1 Corinthians 13. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a WEL 4 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,...