16 July 2019

A Few Thoughts About Listening

Importance of listening

Listening
B1 Body language
C1 If standing, stance and posture may show we are open to listening or not. Do not authoritatively but compassionately.
C2 If sitting, then sit upright, leaning slightly forward, and not slouching, leaning away, or folding the arms.
C3 Nodding the head occasionally
C4 Not being distracted by the environment or technology (phones, etc.)
C5 Neutral facial to slightly friendly at times. Be genuine. Don’t frown or grimace as if looking bored.
B2 Face and eyes
C1 Show attentiveness. Look at them most of the time.
C2 Show respect
C3 Again, the link above has some pictures showing the difference.
B3 Re-enforcement
C1 Don’t interrupt except for
D1 Clarification
D2 Acknowledgement (stating, “OK, I see, I understand, wow, I’m sorry this happened,” etc.)
C2 Nodding your head once in a while
B4 Believe them
B5 Listening is not giving advice
B6 Some don’ts
C1 Don’t hurry them along
C2 Don’t be doing something else when they are talking
C3 Don’t be judgmental
C4 Don’t correct

Purpose
B1 Love (2nd summary of the Law)
C1 Luke 10:27 NLT The man answered, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.
C2 Romans 13:9-10 NLT For the commandments say, "You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet." Theseand other such commandmentsare summed up in this one commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God's law.
C3 Also see Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Galatians 5:14, and James 2:8.
C4 If we really are going to live according to God’s rules, we must show this kindnessto listen to someone.
B2 Respect for others
C1 Matthew 7:12 NRSV In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
C2 1 Peter 3:8 GNB To conclude: you must all have the same attitude and the same feelings; love one another, and be kind and humble with one another.
B3 Help and assistance for others
B4 There are those, however, you hog your time, talk incessantly, etc. There is a Scripture for that, too. These people are called “Compulsive Talkers.”
C1 Proverbs 17:27 NLT A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.
C2 Ecclesiastes 5:2 NLT Don't make rash promises, and don't be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.
C3 Proverbs 15:1-2 NLT A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.
C4 Politely point out, “Do you mind if I say something?” If they keep talking, we must just excuse yourself and leave.
C5 A couple of articles that might be helpful (secular source)

How does God listen?
B1 Attentively
B2 Purposefully
B3 His motive is love and respect
B4 He answers prayer in love and wisdom. (If it seems that He does not hear, then It might be the wrong time, the wrong situation, the wrong attitude, sin might be confessed, our spouse is not being treated in a godly manner, there might be selfish, lustful desires in offering the prayer, etc.).

Scriptures
B1 James 1:19 NLT Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
C1 Many take this passage to remind believers to listen quickly to God’s word and do it.
C2 But why “slow to get angry?” To be consistent, one would understand this to mean slow to get angry at God’s word. This cannot be correct. Especially when in context of James 1:20 NLT Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
C3 In addition, James 1:21 NLT So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
C4 One of the ways of getting rid of this filth is with God’s strength and help (grace), listen quickly, speak after listening carefully, and understand the situation and be controlled in anger.
B2 We want God to listen, shouldn’t we listen to our brothers and sisters?
C1 Psalm 66:18-20 NLT If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.
C2 Psalm 86:5-8 NLT O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I'm in trouble, and you will answer me. No pagan god is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do!

Application
B1 Listen
B2 We need each other
B3 A few testimonies on the importance of listening:
B4 We pray and God listens. He has taught us to listen to each other.
B5 Take time to listen.
B6 God will help us.


James 4:6 NIV But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."

09 July 2019

A Few Thoughts about Waiting on God

Psalms 27:14 NKJV  Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Wait on the Lord. This is one of the hardest things to understand. We pray and then wait.

Some examples:
B1 A short wait (they prayed and God answered quickly).
C1 Peter: Matthew 14:29-31 GNB  "Come!" answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus.  (30)  But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. "Save me, Lord!" he cried.  (31)  At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, "What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?"
C2 Jonah: Jonah 2:1, 10 NLT Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish. ... Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
B2 A long time (they prayed and God has answered—wait).
C1 Apostle John: Revelation 22:20 NLT He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon!" Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
C2 The Psalmist: Psalm 13:1 NLT For the choir director: A psalm of David. O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?

While we wait:
B1 What we can do:
C1 We keep busy: Psalm 25:5 NLT Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
D1 Study Scripture (not every second, of course)
D2 Learn truth
D3 Seek truth
D4 Hope (that He will answer). All prayers are answered, but God does not say when they will be answered.
C2 We encouraged in trials and afflictions: James 5:7-8 WEL Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the Lord comes. Look how the farmer waits for the valuable yield from the land and waits for a long time for the early and later rains. 8 Likewise be patient and steady your hearts, for the Lord’s coming draws near.
D1 He promised to return, so we learn patience.
D2 Strengthen your hearts, that is, take courage. God strengthens us: Psalm 40:2 NLT He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
C3 Be steadfast and living the faith in words, desires, thoughts, and deeds. We need to do this with His grace until we die or He returns: Luke 12:35-40 NLT Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready. "Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
C4 Use our spiritual gifts for witnessing and/or for ministering to our brothers and sisters: 1 Corinthians 1:7-8 NLT Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
C5 God waits for people to repent:
D1 Revelation 2:21 NIV I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
D2 Proverbs 20:22 NLT Don't say, "I will get even for this wrong." Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.
D3 Example: The nation of Israel: Jeremiah 14:22 NLT Can any of the worthless foreign gods send us rain? Does it fall from the sky by itself? No, you are the one, O LORD our God! Only you can do such things. So we will wait for you to help us.
C6 We wait until a greater number are saved: Revelation 6:9-11 NRSV When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given;  (10)  they cried out with a loud voice, "Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?"  (11)  They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.
C7 We must fulfill our ministry: Luke 2:25-32 NLT At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, "Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!"
B2 The benefits of waiting:
C1 We grow in faith: In the parable of wheat and tares, both wheat (believers) and tares (unbelievers) grow. One grows in sin and the other grows in faith. We learn and practice God’s ways: Matthew 13:30 NKJV 'Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.
C2 God tells the Jews in Hosea’s time of prophecy: Hosea 12:6 NRSV But as for you, return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.
D1 We learn and can practice God’s love. We love what God loves.
D2 We learn and can practice God’s justice. We view and practice justice as God does.
D3 We learn and can practice patience.
C3 God will give us strength to endure and witness for Him: Isaiah 40:31 NIV But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
C4 Give us rewardthe fulfillment of God’s promises: Hebrews 6:12 WEL So that you will not be apathetic but followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
C5 It increases our prayer life: Psalm 40:1 NLT For the choir director: A psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
C6 We learn that God is good, and we learn discipline: Lamentations 3:24-27 NLT I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!" The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline.


Lamentations 3:26 NLT So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.

07 July 2019

Why We Should Study the Book of Revelation Today

Many people will not read and study Revelation anymore, because they claim it is divisive.

I once had a pastor who believed this. He thought those teachers who did teach were only after money, and it was divisive.

But

The Lord Jesus gives a special blessing to those who do:
B1 Revelation 1:3 WEL Blessed is the one who reads, who hears the words of this prophecy, and who obeys those things which are written in it, because the time is near.
B2 Revelation 22:7 WEL “Look, I come quickly. How blessed is the person who obeys the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Some quotes from others:
B1 Moffatt as found in Robertson’s Word Pictures: The content of the Apocalypse is not merely prediction; moral counsel and religious instruction are the primary burdens of its pages” (Moffatt).
B2 W. A. Criswell: God has said that there is an attendant blessing in this study, and in this preparation, and in this preaching, that is not attendant upon any other part of the Word of God. The only book in the Bible that has in it an especial blessing for those who read, and study, and ponder, and meditate, and treasure is this Apocalypse of Jesus Christ [Revelation 1:3]. And lest we miss the blessing, the word is repeated again in the last chapter and the [seventh] verse: “Blessed is he, blessed is he that guards, that treasures, that ponders the sayings of the prophecy of this book” [Revelation 22:7]. (Source)

Some notes:
B1 Some prophesy is sealed; Revelation is unsealed:
C1 Daniel 12:4 NLT But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase."
C2 Revelation 22:10 NLT Then he instructed me, "Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near.
B2 The churches are warned to repent: Revelation 3:3 NLT Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don't wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.
B3 The Gospel is preached. All of humanity is warned to repent.
C1 Revelation 9:20-21 NLT But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood--idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk! And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
C2 Revelation 16:11 NLT and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their evil deeds and turn to God.
C3 Revelation 14:6-7 NASB And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.
B4 Knowledge of the end times, especially to those who will live at the time of fulfillment.
B5 It is so important that God sent his angel to bring the message to the Apostle John and to us: Revelation 22:6 WEL Then he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true, and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show his servants the things which must happen shortly.”

The Book of Revelation must be interpreted in the plain, normal sense as all Scripture must.

Revelation 1:3 WEL Blessed is the one who reads, who hears the words of this prophecy, and who obeys those things which are written in it, because the time is near.
B1 Blessed
C1 Today the first definition is to make holy by religious ritual; sanctify. (Source)
C2 The definition in the Greek is more enjoying spiritual happiness and the favor of God (Webster’s Dictionary 1828).
C3 Some uses:
D1 Matthew 16:17 NLT Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.
D2 Romans 4:8 NIV Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.
D3 Revelation 19:9 NIV Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" And he added, "These are the true words of God.
B2 We want and strongly desire to read this message from the Lord Jesus. Three blessings; three classes blessed:
C1 The one who reads
C2 The one who hears
C3 The one who obeys (believes and lives God’s way)
B3 Joy is different than happiness.
C1 Happiness is defined as: Research in the field of positive psychology and happiness often define a happy person as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and anger (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). (Source)
C2 Joy is define as: Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross (S. D. Gordon). (Source)
C3 Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is not a result of circumstances.
C4 Reading and studying Revelation is a blessed joy.

Psalm 16:11 NLT You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Some resources:
B1 Studies in Revelation by J. Hampton Keathley III
B2 A Testimony of Jesus Christ by Tony Garland
B3 Commentary on the Revelation by William Newell
B4 Revelation Commentaries an extensive list on Precept Austin

01 July 2019

A Few Thoughts About Worldviews

A worldview is defined as A worldview is the set of beliefs about fundamental aspects of Reality that ground and influence all one's perceiving, thinking, knowing, and doing. (Source).

A list of worldview includes: Buddhistic, Islamic, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science, Narcissistic, Feminism, Postmodernism, Social justice, Atheism, Agnosticism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Spirit, Simulation, satanic, Secularism, Marxism, New Spirituality, and many others.

According to the Bible there are only two: flesh and spirit.

Flesh
B1 The foundation this worldview is the self. It is evil. Jeremiah 17:9 NLT The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
B2 It is out of our hearts that evil comes. Matthew 15:19 NLT For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.
B3 Original sin is NOT that we are punished for Adams’ sin. That is error!
C1 Ezekiel 18:19-20 NLT "'What?' you ask. 'Doesn't the child pay for the parent's sins?' No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent's sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child's sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness.
C2 Deuteronomy 24:16 NLT Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.
B4 Original sin is Me First. It is my desires, thoughts, words, and deeds. Me, Me, Me. James 4:3 NLT And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
B5 God is not pleased with the flesh worldview: Ephesians 2:3 NLT All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else.
B6 Flesh and Spirit contrasted: Romans 8:5-8 NRSV For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (6) To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (7) For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law—indeed it cannot, (8) and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
B7 This is a worldview enslaved and addicted to sin:
C1 Galatians 3:22 NLT But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God's promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
C2 Titus 3:3 NLT Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
C3 1 Peter 4:3 NLT You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy--their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.
B8 What this worldview leads to (Some do more evil than others): Galatians 5:19-21 NLT When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
B9 This worldview has the desires of power, money, and sex.
B10 The 10 Commandments list the broad classifications of sins with many subsets of sins under each. (See Exodus 20).

Spirit
B1 Christians have been cleansed from, redeemed from, saved from:
C1 Ephesians 2:3 NLT All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else.
C2 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people--none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
B2 We are warned to abandon the flesh worldview: Galatians 5:16-18 NLT So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
B3 The actions and fruits of the life with the worldview of the Spirit. These words have to be defined as God defines them in Scripture, not popular culture: Galatians 5:22-24 NLT But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
B4 There are ~1,000 rules in the New Testament for Christians to follow. Some examples:
C3 James 4.

We have a choice to make. We can live by God’s worldview or the flesh. God’s grace is sufficient.

James 4:4-6 NLT You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, "God opposes the proud but favors the humble.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.