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Showing posts with label Lord. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lord. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sunday - Saul Meets Jesus - Acts 9:1-19 - Children's Sunday School Lesson - 5/27/18

Saul Becomes a Believer. The Conversion of Saul.

Why was Saul going to Damascus? Who did Saul meet? What did Jesus tell Saul to do?

Saul used to punish and destroy people because they were Christians. Jesus showed Saul He was real so Saul Saul could do a special job for God.

What special job did God have for Saul?

God called Saul to go tell people in other countries about Jesus. Someday, you might be called by God to do a special job for God.

Saul first needed to believe in Jesus before he could God's special job.

Saul continued to oppose the Lord's followers. He said they would be destroyed. He went to the high priest.

He asked the priest for letters to take to the synagogues in Damascus. He wanted to find men and women who belonged to the Way of Jesus. The letters would allow him to take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

On his journey, Saul approached Damascus. Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground. He heard a voice speak to him. "Saul Saul! Why are you opposing me?"

"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus," he replied. I am the one you are opposing.

Now get up and go into the city. There you will be told what you must do."

The men traveling with Saul stood there. They weren't able to speak. They had heard the sound. But they didn't see anyone.

Saul got up from the ground. He opened his eyes but he couldn't see. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.

For three days he was blind. He didn't eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a believer named Ananias. The Lord called out to him in a vision. "Ananias!" he said. "Yes Lord," he answered.

The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. Ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying.

In a vision Saul has seen a man come and place his hands on him. That man's name is Ananias. In the vision, Ananias placed his hands on Saul so he could see again."

"Lord," Ananias answered. "I've heard many reports about this man. They say he has done great harm to your holy people in Jerusalem.

Now he has come here to arrest all those who worship you. The chief priests have given him authority to do this."

But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! I have chosen this man to work for me. He will announce Jesus name to the Gentiles and to their kings. He will announce Jesus' name to the people of Israel.

Jesus will show him how much he must suffer for Him."

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. He placed his hands on Saul. "Brother Saul," he said, "you saw the Lord Jesus. He appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He has sent me so that you will be able to see again. You will be filled with the Holy Spirit."

Right away something like scales fell from Saul's eyes. And he could see again. He got up and was baptized.

After eating some food, he got his strength back.

Reference Scripture used from The NIrV May the Faith Be With You Holy Bible @ Zondervan 2017.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sunday - The Church Gets Busy - Children's Sunday School Lesson - Acts 2:42-47 - 5/13/18

The Believers Share Their Lives Together. The Fellowship of the Believers. Spiritual unity finds practical expression in readiness to share money and possession.

What things do people do at Church?

The believers studied what the apostles taught. They shared their lives together. They ate and prayed together.

Everyone was amazed at what God was doing. They were amazed when the apostles performed many wonders and signs.

All the believers were together. They shared everything they had.

They sold property and other things they owned. They gave to anyone who needed something.

Everyday they met together in the temple courtyard. They ate meals together in their homes. Their hearts were glad and sincere.

They praised God. They were respected by all the people. Every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

What things do people do at Church? When the Church first started the people were excited. They like spending time together. They wanted to learn more about Jesus. They wanted to praise God for doing such wonderful things for them.

Reference Scripture used from The NIrV May the Faith Be With You Holy Bible @ Zondervan 2017

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Jesus and Thomas - Children's Sunday School Lesson - John 20:19-29 - Sunday - 4/8/18

Thomas didn't believe that Jesus was alive. He wanted to see Jesus for himself before he would believe.

Instruct the children to find the missing letters in John 20:28 ... Thomas said to Him, "My _ _ _ _ and My _ _ _ !"

Instruct the children to place bandages on Jesus' sides and red markers to show where the wounds by the nails were in His wrists.

Thomas had to see Jesus before he could believe Jesus was alive. We can believe Jesus is alive even though we've never seen Him because the Bible tells us so.

We can believe Jesus came back to life even though we don't get to see Him like Thomas did.

Again Jesus said, "May peace be with you! The Father has sent me. So now I am sending you." He then breathed on them. He said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven.

Thomas was one of the 12 Disciples. He was also called Didymus. ?He was not with the other Disciples when Jesus came. So they told him, "We have seen the Lord!"

But he said to them, "First I must see the nail marks in His hands. I must put my finger into His side. Only then will I believe."

A week later, Jesus' Disciples were in the house again. Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came in and stood among them. He said, "May peace be with you!"

Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here. Reach out your hand and put it in to my side. Stop doubting and believe."

Thomas said to Him, "My Lord and My God!"

Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen me but still have believed.

NIrV May the Faith Be With You Holy Bible @ Zondervan 2017

Jesus Is Alive - Children's Sunday School Lesson - John 20:1-12 - Sunday - 4/1/18

The Tomb Is Empty. Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene. Jesus Appears To His Disciples.

Who went to Jesus grave? What did she find? Who spoke to her? What happened to Jesus?

Jesus was God's Son. The Bible says it was impossible for Jesus to stay dead.

Jesus really did die. But He had the power to come back to life because He was God's Son.

Jesus Is Alive.

Acts 2:24 ... But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.

Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. It was still dark. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. So she ran to Simon Peter and another disciple. She said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb! We don't know where they have put Him!"

So Peter and the other Disciple started out for the tomb. The other Disciple ran faster than Peter. He reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the stripes of linen lying there. But he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him. He also saw the funeral cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head. It was separate from the linen. The Disciples who had reached the tomb first also went inside. He saw and believed. They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

But Mary stood outside tomb crying. She saw two angels dressed in white. They were seated where Jesus' body had been. One of them was where Jesus' head had been laid. The other sat where His feet had been placed.

They asked her, Woman why are you crying? Who are you looking for?

Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward Him. Then she cried out in the Aramaic language, "Rabboni!" Rabboni means Teacher.

Jesus said, Do not hold on to me. I have not yet ascended to the Father. Instead go to those who believe in me. Tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'

Mary Magdalene went to the Disciples with the news. She said, "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that He had said these things to her.

On the evening of that first day of the week, the Disciples were together. They had locked the doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Jesus came in and stood among them. He said, "May peace be with you!" Then He showed them His hands and His side. The Disciples were very happy when they saw the Lord.

Scripture reference used from: NIrV May the Faith Be With You Holy Bible @ Zondervan 2017

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Pile of Masks: Exposing Christian Hypocrisy ... Book Review

Dustin Renz (the author), was recently introduced at a speaking engagement as - a graduate of Teen Challenge, Southeastern University and Pure Life Ministries. Both Teen Challenge and Pure Life Ministries are residential Christian programs that assist in setting people free from addictions and bondage. The seasons the author spent in those two programs serve as book - ends for nearly ten years of running from God, much like the biblical prophet, Jonah. But like Jonah, the author too realized the desperate situation he was in and cried out to God for mercy.

The author grew up in a middle - class home. He had parents who loved him and they lived a comfortable life. The greatest attacks came not from inside his home, but outside. They moved to Florida from New York when he was in the second grade. It was that year - at age seven - he was first exposed to pornography. All throughout his childhood, pornography continued to be readily available to him, which became a deeply - rooted stronghold in his life.

He became friends with another young boy and frequently spent time at his house. It was there where he was first exposed to satanic music, Ouija boards, horror movies, violent games, hypnotism and even sexual experimentation.

He went to church as a child. He claimed to be a Christian, but he had not been born again.

When he was eleven years old, his parents announced to his siblings and him that they had decided to get a divorce.

He had always been a deeply emotional person and most of his friends were female. He still attended church, but he despised Christians and hated God.

He discovered that he had the talent to rap and began rapping at parties and writing songs.

He spent all weekend partying and all week getting high or drunk before and after school.

He graduated high school, left home and began living with friends so that he could do as he pleased. It became necessary to live in his car to live in his car after having burned all bridges with family and friends.

His father allowed him to stay with him for a couple of weeks to try to help him get straightened out. After a near overdose, he realized he was out of control, and agreed to go to a program called Teen Challenge.

In July of 2002, he found himself in the intake office of Teen Challenge in Tarpon Springs, Florida. He had told his dad on the way to the program that he was not going to let them "brainwash him with all of that Jesus stuff." It soon became evident that God had a different plan!

He experienced what Scripture promises to those who surrender their lives to the Lord: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" He fell in love with Jesus. For the next year, he could not get enough of the Bible. He spent hours in prayer and worship. There was no doubt he had a real encounter was with Jesus Christ!

After graduating from Teen Challenge, he once again enjoyed freedom to do as he pleased - something he soon discovered he was not prepared for. Before he knew it, an addiction to pornography head once again taken control of his life. It was then that he met a girl named Brittany at the Christian college he was attending, and they fell in love. When he confessed to her about the pornography, she made it clear that unless he got victory over that area, there was no future for them.

They got married in May 2005. He justified his secret life. He cried out to God over and over again: repenting, apologizing and promising to do better. Clearly, he was only giving the Lord lip service and empty promises.

Over the coming months, he fell further from God. Soon, he was drinking liquor and abusing prescription pills whenever he had the chance.

He began to visualize becoming famous in the music industry and he was confident that his career would take off soon.

Brittany and he got involved in youth ministry, and he became the Assistant Pastor of their church. Lust grew in his heart, and whenever he was depressed, he would still go back to satanic music in his head for comfort.

When him and his wife was accepted to go overseas to assist missionaries for two years, everything escalated. They began the process of raising the necessary funds to go. He had definite fears about relocating to a foreign country, but instead of taking those concerns to God, he returned with great fervor to the old empty cisterns of this world.

He persuaded himself that when he got overseas, the struggle would end.

Their first daughter, Abigail, was born in May of 2010. This drastic change in their lives caused him to panic. He knew he was not ready to be a father, and the weight of that responsibility was more than he could take.

His wife began sensing that something was not right in his life. He told her that he had been lying and carrying on a secret life during the entire seven years of their relationship. She was devastated and immediately told their superiors. They were flown back to the U.S. and asked to resign.

You would think this would have been enough to bring him to repentance, but instead he grew bitter. His wife took control of their finances and watched his every moment.

When he arrived at Pure Life Ministries in April of 2011, one of the counselors said he looked like a dead man. He only agreed to enter the program in the hopes of saving his marriage, which at that point was almost certainly going to end in divorce.

There was no network television in any of their homes. They were not consumed with the latest technologies like smart phones and video games.

This was the turning point and the Lord began to restore him.

Dustin now have an abundant life in Christ and he has truly become an overcomer.

But the Lord has opened his eyes to the reality that there is freedom for the addict, purity for the lustful, and righteousness for the wicked.

Adam and Eve's oldest son provides for us the earliest example of hypocrisy.

A lifestyle of hypocrisy was at the root of Jehovah's chosen nation, Israel. This can be seen throughout the Old Testament, from the time Moses led Israel out of Egypt, to the time of the Babylonian and Assyrian captivities. It was the people's unwillingness to be fully devoted to the Lord that resulted in countless trial and judgments.

Hypocrisy is the reason that the Israelites were called to make a decision throughout the Old Testament. Perhaps the most popular Scripture where a line is drawn in the sand occurs in the book of Joshua. At this point in history, the Israelites were just setting foot into the Promised Land, but they had already shown their divided hearts on several occasions.

They had absolutely no faith to believe that the God who rescued them from Egypt could provide for their needs.

Jehovah had been good to them and provided for them the whole way.

The Israelites have the choice to either serve the Lord or to worship other gods. There is no middle ground.

Scripture says in 1 John 4:8 that God is love. Our relationship with Him is born out of a response to His love for us. Continually in Scripture, the relationship of God and man is compared to a marital relationship.

Song of Solomon paints a beautiful picture of the intimacy enjoyed between a husband and wife (and, allegorically, of God and man). We are called the Bride of Christ and Jesus the Bridegroom in several places in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit could have used any metaphor to describe our relationship with Him, but He chose to relate it to a marriage.

Listen to the sound of a heartbroken God calling out to His people through the prophet Micah:

My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery.

Jeremiah 2:19 sums up a truth he had found to be absolutely certain: "Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me ...

When it came to fighting against idolatry and syncretism in the Old Testament, there was one King who stood out above the rest. His name was King Josiah, and he took the throne of Judah when he was eight years old. He lived in a time when the land of Israel was divided into a northern and southern kingdom. The country was in a mess. Jehovah repeatedly sent prophets to the nation to try to get their attention and cause them to repent and turn back to Him. As we have discovered, Israel remained entrenched in idolatry and the worship of false gods.

Josiah became king a few years after Manasseh, who was one of the most wicked kings to ever rule in Israel.

During his reign, many people made idols for a living. There were full-time priests who served at the altars and temples of the false gods. Many in the land were enjoying the 'benefits' afforded to them by sacred prostitution. But Josiah did not fear men, he only feared the Lord and his actions proved it.

Josiah launches an all - out attack on idolatry.

Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did - with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

Pharisaic:
1. adjective. emphasizing or observing the letter but not the spirit of religious law; self-righteous; sanctimonious
2. pretending to be highly moral or virtuous without actually being so; hypocritical

By The Close Of The Lord The Old Testament period, the nation of Israel had returned to their homeland after being held in captivity. Jehovah had allowed northern Israel to be exiled by Assyria in 721 B.C. Eventually, Judah was taken into exile by the Babylonians for 70 years. The period between the Old and New Testaments is a duration of four hundred years of prophetic silence. There was no Word from God to His people during this time.

Then John the Baptist appears on the scene and breaks the silence. Israel was ruled by the Roman Empire at this time and Rome stayed in power throughout the life of Jesus.

The Jewish community that Jesus was born into was not the same Israel He would have encountered had He been born one thousand years earlier. A person could cease visiting temple prostitutes and still be completely driven by lust inside. Remember, hypocrisy is always a heart issue.

The Pharisees were a very influential Jew party during Jesus' time on the Earth.

Historically, the people of Israel had broken even the most basic commandments by serving idols and foreign gods. It is important to understand that the sect of the Pharisees had good intentions. It is not fair to assume that every Pharisee was wicked, despite the descriptions given in the New Testament.

We also need to realize that there were some Pharisees who were on the right track. Some did love the Lord and honored Jesus, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.

Hypocrite:
1. noun. a person who pretends to be what he or she is not; one who pretends to be what he or she is not; one who pretends to be better than they really are so; or to be pious, virtuous, etc. without really being so.

We Have Looked In-Depth At Hypocrisy in the lives of the Israelites in the Old Testament, and we have also encountered the double-minded Pharisees of Jesus' time. Neither the Israelites nor the Pharisees were born again believers, or even had a full knowledge of the New Covenant.

John Calvin was a follower of Christ with a great understanding of Scripture. He understood what the Bible teaches about looking for spiritual fruit. What he actually taught was that if you are genuinely converted, there has to be evidence of it in your life. He taught that true conversion was an irreversible decision on the Lord's part. He taught that the moment you are converted, your salvation is eternally secure. There would be no way for a true Christian to ever go back into habitual sin and fall away. That is not an option in Calvin's teaching.

Joseph Arminius was also a godly man who studied the Word of God. He agreed with Calvin that if you were truly saved, your life would have spiritual fruit as evidence. The major point they differed on - in regards to the permanence of salvation - is that Arminius believed that a person could fall so far away from God that they could 'lose' or 'reject' their salvation. He believed that humans had more free will in cooperating with God in salvation than Calvin did.

According to Calvin's interpretation of Scripture, the lack of fruit is in itself proof that the person was never truly converted. The Arminians would say to the same person that the lack of fruit is evidence that they either were never saved in the first place, or they are backslidden and in danger of losing (or rejecting) their salvation. Either that person needs to repent (and either return to Christ or be saved) or they are in danger of Hell.

The kind of fruit that we should be looking for is in our character and walk with the Lord.

Hypocrites need to examine whether or not their beliefs actually line up with the whole teaching of the Bible.

In the Kingdom, we humble ourselves and the Lord gives promotion to us. When Jesus gave the parable of the feast in Luke 14, He said:

But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, "Friend, move up to a better place." Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Dustin Renz is a minister with a passion to see the Body of Christ become all that God has created it to be. He is the founder of Make Way Ministries, which exists to see the Body of Christ awaken, mature and arise to its responsibility in these last days.





Saturday, October 7, 2017

Extolling the majesty of the Lord - Psalm 89:1-15

Congregation of the saints or holy generally refers to angels. In the courts of heaven, a myriad of angels praise the Lord. This scene is one of majesty and grandeur to show that God is beyond compare. His power and purity place him high above nature and angels.

Justice and judgment (righteousness) mercy and truth surround God on his throne, they are fundamental aspects of the way God rules. As God's ambassadors, we should deal with people similarly. Make sure your actions flow out of justice, righteousness, and truth because any unfair, unloving, or dishonest action cannot come from God.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Friday, September 22, 2017

Noah Found Favor With the Lord - Genesis 6:1-8

AND it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them.

Genesis 1:28 ... And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth (creepeth) upon the earth.


That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Deuteronomy 7:3,4 .... Neither shall thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD, be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.


And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man,

1 Peter 3:19,20 ... By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.

Which sometime were disobedience, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

Psalm 78:39 ... For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.


There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.


And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination (whole imagination) of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (everyday).


And it repented the LORD that he had made men on earth,

Numbers 23:19 ... God is not a man, that he should not lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hate he said, and shall he do not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

and it grieved him at his heart.

Isaiah 63:10 ... But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, he fought against them.

Reference summary used from The SouthWestern Co., Publishers & Booksellers, Nashville, TN

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Master's Mind - Book Review

The Master's Mind: The Art of Reshaping Your Thoughts

In fact, the Master has a whole different list of attributes in mind for us: hope, strength, beauty, joy, love, creativity, freedom, power, peace, patience, goodness, laughter, organization, effectiveness, and purpose.

Between the flesh, the world, and the Devil, we don't know what to think, and, therefore, our lives are filled with hurt, pain, and regret.

Jesus died to save us from our sins and set us free. He made a way for our souls to be rescued from our enemies.

It's time to return to the Master's Mind.

In approximately AD 31, Jesus Christ of Nazareth was asked the seemingly impossible question: "What is the greatest commandment of God?" Jesus simply replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength."

If we can master our minds and bring our thoughts into alignment with the Lord's will and perspective, the rest of our lives will follow suit.

Praise the Lord that He has told us who He is, who we are in the light of Him, and what we have been placed on this earth to do.

God does the rescuing and the saving. Our job is to steward what He has given us.

What we think determines our action. Martin Luther King Jr. determined that he would not rest until all people were viewed as God intended - equal. Mother Teresa determined that the poor would not be forgotten. Our Lord Jesus Christ walked His entire life on earth with a focus on completely obeying His heavenly Father, including the determination to end up on the cross to save us from our sins, as we see in this passage from Luke: "When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51).

The Bible tells us of an ancient high-ranking official who made a personal choice that would dictate the rest of his life and effectiveness. His name was Naaman, and he was a Syrian army commander who had leprosy, a terrible skin disease. Knowing that he was desperate for healing, his little servant girl told him of a prophet in Israel who could heal him by God's power. Figuring that it was worth a shot, Naaman went to see the prophet Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger to tell Naaman that he would be healed if he washed seven times in the Jordan River.

Naaman was furious. He believed that the prophet was simply going to "call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure" him (2 Kings 5:11). When things didn't go the way he thought they should, he stormed off in a rage.

His attendant hurried after him and convinced him to reconsider. Sure, washing seven times was unorthodox, but what if it could heal him?

He relented - and came out healed from leprosy.

Naaman's false assumptions, ignorant thoughts, and prideful heart almost cost him his healing. What are we believing today that is keeping us from God's best?

It's true of God: Isaiah 14:24 tells us, "The LORD of hosts has sworn: As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand."

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place. (Acts 17:26)

Before the New York firefighters and police officers ran into the collapsing Twin Towers on the fateful day of 9/11, they thought about it. Their heroic choice to risk their lives to protect others from a burning building was the result of truly stunning thoughts: Their job is to rescue others and put them before themselves. They would not let fear dictate their response.

"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasures produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45)

Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was explaining that our characters and beliefs determine the lives we live. Doing one thing on the outside doesn't make up for thinking another on the inside.

And when it comes to matters of faith, we spend the majority of our energy on sin management, completely avoiding the core issues. We'll never experience transformation until we address the thoughts at the root of our problems.

Bad thinking is dangerous. Wrong thinking can keeps us ineffective, wasting time on things that aren't important instead of living the lives God has for us.

Paul wrote in Romans about the distorted thinking common to humans and the consequences it brings. Since our sin nature is rooted in how we think our thoughts continue to be the primary block between us and God.

Jesus spoke about lust being equated with adultery.

Adam and Eve were the best of us: unadulterated humanity, good, pure, and perfect. But the day they ate the fruit that God told them not to eat, all of that changed. With their rebellion, sin entered the world and chaos was unleashed.

If you do not know the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love He demonstrated on the cross by dying for your sins, now is the time to engage with that truth.

God knows our plight. He knows we are hopelessly lost. When Adam and Eve threw away our birth right, He launched a redemption plan. The plan came to fruition approximately two thousand years ago, when God entered humanity and joined us where we were, in all our messiness. Doing all that we could not do, the God-man, Jesus Christ, offered up His perfect life - not only to satisfy our debt sin, but also to trade with us, the lost, so that we might be found and set free. We acknowledge that He is the King and His way is right. We offer open rights in which He can dwell by the power of His Holy Spirit so that we are never alone - not now, not ever.

"The most important thing about us is not what we do, but who and whose we are in Christ."

All He asks is that we stop fighting and let Him do what He does best - be our Savior and King. Paul the apostle wrote, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God" ((Romans 5:1-2).

By definition, grace is "undeserved favor." Grace isn't earned; rather, it's given out of the goodness of someone else's heart.

Grace even cuts at the heart of the oldest and greatest of sin: pride. The same sin that caused the fall of Lucifer stirs in our souls. Once grace takes hold again, we experience peace.

God is working in us, and we can have faith in that process. But we also need to be aware of the biggest enemy of them all: the Devil.

The Devil is real, and he's a bad guy. He introduced the sin that brought down our world, he's a bully who picks on us every day, and he doesn't fight fair.

Listen to the apostle Peter: "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith" (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Sin takes us from where we should be to where we should not be. Sin ruins our thoughts and poisons our hearts.

Sin is godlessness.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Therefore, God will never lead someone to sin; doing so goes against His very nature. He will test believers by putting them through difficult training that will strengthen them and reveal their current conditions (like a refiner's fire).

Satan seeks to harm.

God's intention is always for believers to emerge from a trial better than when they started, either in strength or in knowledge. He promises that every situation will have a way out - an escape hatch that can be utilized through obedience.

As we've seen, the Bible says that Jesus was tempted, yet was without sin. It also says, "In your anger do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26 NIV).

Acting on sin is temptation.

Praise the Lord that He is with us and that the Holy Spirit is helping us navigate all of this!

Nebuchadnezzar made a name for himself as a warrior king. He won the famous battle of Carchemish against the Egyptians the year he was called to throne. He fused his alliance with the Medes by marriage and expanded his territory by military force until he controlled much of the Middle East and all the trade routes across Mesopotamia.

He was so impressive that Saddam Hussein sought to claim his reincarnated personality. Hussein named one of his guard divisions after the ancient king and began rebuilding ancient Babylon in his honor, inscribing on the bricks, "To king Nebuchadnezzar in the reign of Hussein."

This great and powerful king lost his mind.

God leveled Nebuchadnezzar for pride and arrogance, and once that was done, he lifted his hand immediately and miraculously. Nevertheless, his story reminds us that even the might fall sometimes, and no mind is invulnerable.

Everybody remembers Mister Rogers' Neighbor right? But did you know that it aired from 1968 to 2001, produced 895 episodes, and earned four Emmy awards?

There's a reason that a Presbyterian reverend from Pennsylvania received the coveted Peabody Award, the Ralph Lowell Award, more than forty honorary degrees, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He wanted to use children's imaginations as God intended them - to think through new perspectives.

You and I are precious - and so is every human on earth.

On the day Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they sold their souls to the Enemy.

Jesus Christ needed to come to set us free. We are free to become what He created us to be and not be forced into the mold of our enemies.

Our Master paid for us.

Even if we are free, we still need a Savior. We are still designed for relationship with God as our Father. We are still built for His glory. We are not our own.

We long to worship.

Christianity needs to be a thriving relationship with God filled with the Holy Spirit and all the incredible blessings He has given us. We need to be so filled up that the Holy Spirit forces out evil.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit gives us "living water."

Paul says that we have been raised with Christ, which means we are a new creation, born again with all the sin of our lives dead and gone.

Transformation always begins in our thoughts.

When Jesus told His listeners to "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2), He did not simply mean "feel terrible for your wickedness now that I'm here." Repent doesn't only mean to turn away but to change one's mind and start agreeing with God.

Jesus Christ is the One who can set us free, not just when we get to heaven, but increasingly so right here on earth.

God will hold us accountable for how we manage our minds and handle our hearts.

One of the precious tools God has provided is supernatural protection for His children. The apostle Paul called it the armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-18.

Lance Hahn is the senior pastor of Bridgeway Christian Church in Rocklin, California. His first book, How to live in fear mastering the Art of Freaking Out, Chronicles his personal struggles with panic disorders and offers tools for thriving through fear. A popular speaker who enjoys writing, Lance is a husband to Suzi and father to two daughters.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday - Circumcision - Genesis 17:1-14 - 9/10/17

The Lord told Abram, I am the Almighty God, walk before me. He has the same message for us today. We are to obey because he is God - that is reason enough. If you don't think the benefits are worth it, consider who God is - the only one with the power and ability to meet your every need.

Twice before God had mentioned his agreement (Genesis 12 & 15). God was bringing it into focus and preparing to carry it out. He revealed to Abram several specific parts of his covenant. (1) God would give Abram many descendants; (2) many nations would descend from him; (3) God would maintain his covenant with Abram's descendants; (4) God would give Abram's descendants the land of Canaan.

God changed Abram's name to Abraham ("the father of a great multitude") shortly before the promised son was conceived. From this point on the Bible always calls him Abraham.

God was making a covenant, or contract, between himself and Abraham. The terms were simple: Abraham would obey God and circumcise all the males in his household. God's part was to give Abraham heirs, property, power, and wealth. Most contracts are even trades: we give something and in turn receive something of equal value. But when we become part of God's covenant family, the blessings we receive far outweigh what we must give up.

God required circumcision (1) As a sign of obedience to him in all matters. (2) As a sign of belonging to his covenant people. Once circumcised, there was no turning back. The man would be identified as a Jew forever. (3) As a symbol of "cutting off" the old life of sin, purifying one's heart and dedicating oneself to God. (4) Possibly as a health measure.

Circumcision more than any other practice separated God's people from their heathen neighbors. In Abraham's day, this was essential to develop the pure worship of the one true God.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Wheaton, IL

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday - Called to Be Inclusive - Acts 10:19-33 - 8/27/17

Inclusive - list is inclusive of all the items.

God prepares Cornelius and Peter.

Leviticus 11 - three times the vision came instructing Peter to break the Jewish food-laws.

Peter goeth to Cornelius.

Acts 10:19 ... While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

Acts 11:12 ... And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:


Acts 10:20 ... Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

Acts 15:7 ... That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.


Acts 10:21 ... Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?


Acts 10:22 ... And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and

Acts 10:1,2 ... (The vision of Cornelius) THERE was a certain man in Cesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band.

A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.

Acts 10:22 ... of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by a holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

Acts 22:12 ... And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,


Acts 10:23 ... Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Acts 10:45 ... And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.


Acts 10:24 ... And the morrow after they entered into Cesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.


Acts 10:25 ... And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.


Acts 10:26 ... But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

Acts 14:14,15 ... Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:


Acts 10:27 ... And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.


Acts 10:28 ... And he said unto them, ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;

Acts 11:3 (Peter accused of consorting with the Gentiles) Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

Acts 10:28 ... but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Acts 15:8,9 ... And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.


Acts 10:29 ... Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?


Acts 10:30 ... And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me

Acts 1:10 ... And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

Acts 10:30 ... in bright clothing

Luke 24:4 ... And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed there about, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:


Acts 10:31 ...And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard

Acts 10:4 ... And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Acts 10:31 ... and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

Hebrews 6:10 ... For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.


Acts 10:32 ... Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh shall speak unto thee.


Acts 10:33 ... Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

Reference summary used from The SouthWestern Co., Publishers & Booksellers; Nashville, TN

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday - Amos Call - Amos 7:10-17 -7/30/17

Amos was an herdman/shepherd and farmer before the Lord called him to be a prophet.

Amaziah was a chief priest that led the children of Israel into idolatry.

Amos was called by the Lord to do something that he was not trained to do. Once God calls you he qualifies you. Training is helpful, but the calling on your life from God is what keeps you going when others and everything is against you.

God protects his servants who will obey and work faithfully. The servant of God, must trust and obey, expecting God's next direction.

Amos' response to Amaziah was full of doom.

Amaziah thought Amos was a prophet for the money. Amaziah told Amos that he could earn a comfortable income in Judah. Amaziah told Amos to flee to Judah for his own safety.

Amaziah was not concerned about hearing God's message; he was only worried about his own position. Don't let anything come between you and obeying God.

Are you obeying God's word? Without any special preparation, education, or upbringing, Amos obeyed God's call to "go prophesy unto his people Israel."

Amaziah was the official priest of the royal sanctuary at Bethel.

Not only would the Israelities be taken into exile, but Amaziah's own wife would be a harlot and his sons and daughters would be destroyed.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha Expanded Edition RSV and The Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale Publishers INC., Wheaton, IL

Friday, July 21, 2017

6 of 6 ... The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life - Book Review

This fourth soil of the heart is what every Christian should strive for in their walk with God for this is the fertile ground that bears fruit for our Lord.

The other three soils were not allowed to dominate the heart. The heart did not allow any of the five thorns to take root, spread and dominate its soil to the point where it choked and suffocated the Word of God. To get the fourth point where it chocked and suffocated the Word of God.

We must hear the Word of God, gladly receive it into our hearts, understand its message of truth, then hold fast to it in order to bring forth fruit reaping a harvest thirty, sixty, a hundred times of what has been sown.

We must also receive this word into our hearts to enter into this blessed fourth soil. The Greek word for "receive" means to accept deliberately, willingly, favorably and readily and to embrace with favor and delight.

We are God's tilled field according to 1 Corinthians 3:9.

Simply being a Christian does not guarantee that the soil of the heart is in this fourth category. We have a responsibility before God to guard the soil of our heart and, as James says, "get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness."

The Word of God must also be understood if we are to abide in this fourth category of soil. All spiritual growth comes by the way of understanding the Word of God. Without understanding the seed cannot grow and produce fruit.

The next requirement of this fourth soil of the heart is that we keep and hold fast the Word of God in an honest and good heart.

The soil of our hearts is most fertile when it is living love by helping, caring for, rescuing and comforting others.

Secondly, the Word of God must be kept in a heart that is a beautiful representation of Jesus Christ so people can see our good deeds and glorify our Heavenly Father.

The last requirement of the fourth soil of the fourth soil of the heart is that it brings forth fruit with patience. The Greek word for "patience" means steadfastness, perseverance, and to remain or abide under.

Look at the patience of the farmer. He does not plant his seed and then rushes to his window the next day expecting to see a full harvest.

God's desire is that we bear much fruit, and this is His faithful promise.

Our heart needs steadfast patience and endurance to finish the race God has called us to and fully accomplish the will of God in our lives. Without this patient and endurance our heart's soil will fall into the second or third category of soil in the parable of the sower and the seed.

No one exercised more patience when he lived upon the earth than Jesus Christ.

Only when we look to Jesus can we run the appointed race with patience, steadfast endurance and not grow weary, faint, or lose heart. How many lives have been wasted by a lack of patience!

When all of the requirements of the fourth soil are met, Jesus makes an astounding promise that we shall reap a harvest thirty, sixty to hundred times what was sown. This is a yield of three thousand, six thousand and ten thousand percent.

Is this the return that we are having in the church?

Sadly, very few Christians have ever reached this forth soil. The world with all its philosophies, mantras, formulas, and education can never manufacture, replicate or create the fruit of the spirit in the human heart.

Idols have more influence on the condition of the heart than any other thing in the world! Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis and the introduction of sin into the human race, the heart has become an idol factory countless idols to love, worship and obey.

Isaiah 24:5 states that the entire earth has been polluted by idolatry and a curse has devoured the world.

The Bible is the life manual and instruction book on the ways of God and its urgent warnings against idolatry should not be ignored.

All humanity has been seduced into the snare of idolatry. Idolatry is based upon deception.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned us "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many enter therein" (Matthew 7:13).

Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."

God never lies about about who He is and what He will do.

Perfect order, peace and joy are restored when the Almighty is exalted, praised and worshipped.

The Bible teaches that the heart is the battleground of idolatry.

The heart was never meant to be a place for idols. Idolatry turns the dwelling place of God into a pagan temple.

The heart becomes what it worship.

So what exactly is an idol? An idol is anything that is more valued, loved, sought after, desired and honored than God.

What are you most devoted to?

Your eyes guide your heart as all idolatry begins with the gaze of the eye.

How could Aaron, that stood by Moses and witnessed firsthand some of the most amazing manifestations of the power of God, be so easily persuaded to fashion a false god for the children of Israel?

You can never serve two masters.

It is too dangerous to leave even one piece of any idol in the temple of our hearts. We should never utter the name of any other god, but Yahweh.

Every idol has a spirit from the kingdom of darkness behind it that drives a person to love and worship it.

Baal was believed to be the giver of life, and entire nations were devoted to Baal because they believed he was the one who would sustain their farms, flocks, and families.

The first usage of the word "believe" in the entire Bible concerns the faith of Abraham in the name of Yahweh (Genesis 15:6).

Do you have a heart for God or an idol?

Too often we have honored God with our lips, but our heart is far from Him.

We will not be able to hold our ground as Christians and stand fast in the Lord, if we allow His mighty works, powerful words and glorious presence to fade from our conscious thinking.

The Spirit of God is always teaching, leading, comforting, encouraging, helping, enlightening, reminding and instructing our hearts so we live for Christ, and do not forget God or His precious words of life.

The old nature brings to the mind, the lusts of the flesh, and the seductive trappings of this world. The new nature exercises its influence to bring us to a place where God is supreme in all our thoughts, motives, and emotions.

Doesn't God deserve to be your first love?

Lord help me to never, ever forget you!

The author, Tim Rowe has a doctorate and bachelor's degree in biblical studies, history, and classics. An attorney and author. President of Goodness of God's Ministries and lives in Indianapolis with his wife and son.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

4 of ... The Heart: The Key to Everything in the Christian Life - Book Review

The Second Soil of the Heart: Rocks, Scorching & Withering.

Let's examine the second soil of the heart & what happens when the seed of the Word of God is sown into it.

As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word & immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, & when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. (Matthew 13:20-21, ESV)

On the surface, this second soil of the heart looks like good, fertile ground for the Word of God. The seed has a sudden, brief growth spurt, but its young root can never develop & become strong. Once it hits the rock, the root soon withers away causing the tiny plant that has emerged from the soil to die. The second soil of the heart is the great enemy to the growth of the Word of God.

Never forget how important it is for the seed of the Word of God to take root deeply in our hearts so it can produce fruit. The seed of the Word of God contains everything that God is: His love, righteousness, grace, salvation, goodness, holiness, faithfulness, peace & joy just to name a few. Faith comes by hearing this magnificent seed of the Word of God & allowing it to grow & become engrafted into the very fiber of the heart.

Importance of a Strong Root System. For the seed of the Word of God to prosper & grow into a strong, healthy tree, it must have a deep root system. The root system allows the heart to be anchored to the character of God.

2 Kings 19:30 declares that we must take root downward, so that we can bear fruit upward! Proverbs 12:12 declares that the root of the righteous yields fruit, & shall not be moved, because it is anchored in the Word of God.

It is imperative as Christians that we cultivate a deep root system of the Word of God in our hearts. The truth in Psalm 1 is vital to maintain a healthy spiritual heart.

The word "blessed" describes the condition of our heart should be in daily & it is linked to what it is rooted in. The Hebrew word "blessed" conveys the idea of happiness that flows from a sense of well-being & righteous. Bad company will corrupt the heart & destroy its root system. Our delight, desire, & longing must be to know God & His Word as the great treasure of our heart.

Do we delight in the pure words of Scripture more than the words from television, radio, Internet & chatter of the trival that relentlessly bombards our lives daily?

When we delight in the Word of God & mediate upon it daily, the spiritual root system of our heart is strong in God.

Jesus Christ is the true vine & we are to abide in Him if we are to be branches that bear much spiritual fruit.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, & let your lives be built on him.

Let's examine tribulation & persecution in more depth & see how they have such a dramatic effect on the heart.

Tribulation: The Forceful Squeezing of the Heart. The Greek word for "tribulation" is thlipsis which means to press, squeeze, compress, & crush. It was used to describe the squeezing of olives in a press to extract oil & the squeezing of grapes to produce juice.

The Lesson of Joseph. Thlipsis is the word to describe what Joseph went through before He was made governor in Egypt.

The world specializes in thlipsis.

Jesus Christ: Our Example in Times of Thlipsis. Thlipsis is nothing to Jesus Christ. He endured the worst thlipsis ever known to mankind in the ordeal of the crucifixion. His sweat was like great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane in intense prayer to his Heavenly Father. He was about to go through forty hours of beatings, mocking, torture, physical disfigurement, & unbearable pain. He endured this brutal physical punishment to pay the price for our sin & crush the power of the kingdom of darkness, ushering us as citizens into his kingdom.

Only in Jesus Christ can we be victorious over thlipsis. Only in Jesus Christ can we endure & overcome the blistering heat of the kosmos, the entire system that the Devil has set up as the Prince of the Power of the Air.

Only in Jesus Christ can we withstand this pressure & emerge over every burden & weight thrown at our heart.

Thlipsis & the Birth of Extraordinary. God always births something extraordinary in the heart when we come through a season of thlipsis still firmly rooted in Christ & the Word of God.

God uses the word "thlipsis" to describe the anguish the female body endures in labor. The woman is pregnant with something extraordinary & amazing with a wonderful, beautiful baby forming in her womb.

Likewise our heart is pregnant with the extraordinary plans, purposes & works of God Almighty, but it is only when we come through the labor pains of thlipsis that the heart gives birth to something extraordinary. How tragic that we never give birth to God's amazing plans & purposes for our life because under the crushing pressure of thlipsis we have a miscarriage.

Jesus Christ endured the intense thlipsis of the crucifixion & bearing the sin of the human race, but now he is seated at the right hand of God having obtained eternal redemption for all those who believe.

Look what was birthed out of the heart of Joseph when he passed the thlipsis test. What an extraordinary thing God birthed in the heart of Joseph to go from a slave, condemned in prison, to a ruler of a mighty kingdom.

God birthed an extraordinary calling & work in the heart of David as he became the greatest king in the history of Israel & a man after God's own heart.

The Apostle Paul was deeply rooted in Christ & the Word of God & endured great thlipsis during his journeys to spread the gospel. He suffered beatings, stoning, false accusations, imprisonment, shipwreck, hunger, weariness, riots & persecution. His ministry turned the world upside down, & he shook the gates of hell with the truth of the gospel.

Jesus Christ: The Focal Point of all Persecution. Persecution arises out of the violent clashing between two spiritual kingdoms. The Word of God is the mighty weapon of one kingdom. The heart is at the center of this fierce battle. The Book of Revelation speaks of this. (Revelation 12:4b-5,7,9,12b,17)

Jesus Christ is the focal point of all persecution because He is God's plan for redemption. He is the Savior, the Great Shepherd, the second Adam, the Alpha & Omega, the light of the world, the bread of life, the way, the truth, the life, & the door to God's kingdom. He restored everything that Adam & Eve had lost in the Garden of Eden & conquered sin & death.

The Greek word for "hatred" in John & Luke means to pursue with hatred, to detest, to have extreme hostility towards, & to abhor.

Surprising Source of Most Persecution. The Devil is very subtle as persecution often arises from our inner circle: our churches, fellow-christians, family, friends, co-workers, teachers, professors, neighbors, & community.

The devil loves religion because it has nothing to do with the true God & is an easy facade to hide his deceptions. Look at our Savior as the constant persecution to his ministry was from the Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests & scribes, who were the religious elite of his day. The great religious men & their corrupt system crucified their Messiah.

Persecution also comes from the inner circle of our family, friends, & close associates whom the Devil craftily influences to shake our faith in God & His Word.

When Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem near the time of his crucifixion, great multitudes of apparent followers & disciples cried out "Hosanna (save us please) to the son of David, blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord even the King of Israel! Hosanna in the highest!" This whole multitude rejoiced & praised God with a loud voice. Many of these people had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus out from the grave & had heard about this great miracle. The entire city of Jerusalem was moved & the multitude declared "This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee!"

The Greek word for "seize" means to take hold of forcibly, to take into custody & arrest, to continually hold back, to hinder & restrain, to prevail & rule over, & to take into one's possession.

Jesus Christ: The Prince of Peace. Without Jesus no person on earth can ever have true peace.

In Hebrew, the word for peace, shalom, means wholeness, completeness & soundness. It is an inward & outward tranquility, a quiet assurance, & a complete well-being where nothing is lacking or broken. Peace is the highest measure of contentment, joyfulness, happiness, & satisfaction in life.

God is the source of all peace, & we have peace because of our relationship with Him. His peace is our peace. Peace can not live in a heart of unbelief.

The author, Tim Rowe has a doctorate of jurisprudence & a bachelor's degree in biblical studies, history & classics. He is president of Goodness of God's Ministries & lives in Indianapolis with his wife & son.





Saturday, April 1, 2017

God as our Shepherd - Psalm/Tehillim 23 - April 2, 2017

An expression of confidence in God's protection (a song of trust). The LORD is compared to a shepherd. Soul means vitality, life. Path of righteousness, or "of rightness," that is, right paths which suits the context better. Shadow of death is the reading of the scribes, but "deep darkness" is the better rendering; where the same Hebrew expression occurs. The LORD is compared to a gracious host. Dwell in house of the LORD means to worship in the temple. For ever, Hebrew "for length of days," meaning as long as I live.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. At night, sheep were often gathered into a sheepfold to protect them from thieves, weather, or wild animals. The sheepfolds were caves, sheds, or open areas surrounded by walls made of stones or branches. The sheepfold often slept in the fold to protect the sheep. Just as a shepherd cares for his sheep, Jesus the Good Shepherd, cares for his flock (those who follow him). The prophet Ezekiel, in predicting the coming of the Messiah, called him a Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23).

The life that Jesus gives is abundantly richer & fuller. It is eternal, yet is begins immediately. Life in him is lived on a higher plain because of his overflowing forgiveness, love, & guidance.

A hired man tends the sheep for money, while the shepherd does it for love. The shepherd owns the sheep & is committed to them. Jesus is not merely doing a job, he is committed to love us & even lay down his life for us. False teachers & false prophets do not have this commitment.

The "other sheep" were non-Jews. Jesus came to save Gentiles as well as Jews. This is an insight into his worldwide mission-to die for the sins of the whole world.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with The Apocrypha Expanded Edition RSV & The Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thursday - Wholeness by Prayer & Action - James 5:13-20 - 2/23/17

James refers to someone who is incapacitated physically. Thus oil can represent both the medical & the spiritual spheres of life. Jesus Christ is Lord over both the body & the spirit.


The elders should be on call to respond to the illness of any members & the church should stay alert to pray for the needs of all its members.


"And the prayer of faith," does not refer to the faith of the sick person, but to the faith of the church. God heals, faith doesn't, & all prayers are subject to God's will. That is why God often waits for our prayers of faith before intervening to heal a person.


"Confess your faults" can be translated "Confess your sins." Christ has made it possible for us to go directly to God for forgiveness, but confessing our sins to one another still has an important place in the life of the church. In Christ's Kingdom, every believer is a priest to other believers. We must help others come to Christ & tell them of Christ's forgiveness.


The Christian's most powerful resource is communion with God through prayer. Since God's power is infinitely greater than our own, it only makes sense to rely on it - especially because he encourages us to do so.


For more about the great prophet Elijah (Elias), read his Profile in I Kings 18.


Clearly the person who has slipped away is a believer who has fallen into sin - one who is no longer living a life consistent with his belief. Christians disagree over whether or not it is possible for people to lose their salvation, but all agree that those who move away from their faith are in serious trouble & need to repent. James urges Christians to help backsliders return to God. By taking the initiative, praying for the person, & acting in love, we can meet the person where he is & bring him back to God.


The book of James emphasizes faith in action. Right living is the evidence of result of faith. The church must serve with compassion, speak lovingly & truthfully, live in obedient to God's commands, & love one another. The body of believers ought to be an example of heaven on earth, drawing people to Christ through love for God & one another. If we truly believe God's Word, we will live it day by day. God's Word is not merely something we read or think about, but something we do. Belief, faith & trust must have hands & feet - ours!

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Monday - Christ, the Wisdom of God - I Corinthians 1:18-25 - 2/13/17

God's way of thinking is not like the world's way (normal human wisdom), but God offers eternal life while the world cannot. We can spend a lifetime accumulating human wisdom & never learn how to have a personal relationship with God. We must come to Christ to learn this important truth.


Many Jews thought the Good News of Jesus Christ was foolish because they thought the Messiah would be a conquering King accompanied by signs & miracles. Jesus had not restored David's throne as they expected. Greeks, too, considered the Gospel foolish; they did not believe in a bodily resurrection, they did not see in Jesus the powerful characteristics of their mythological gods; & they thought no reputable person would be crucified.

The Good News of Jesus Christ still sounds foolish to many. Our society worships power, influence, & wealth. Jesus came as a humble poor servant, & he offers his Kingdom to those with faith, not works. This looks foolish to the world.


The message of Christ's death for sins sounds foolish to those who don't believe. Death seems to be the end of the road, the ultimate weakness. But Jesus did not stay dead. His resurrection shows his power even over death, & he will save us from eternal death, & give us everlasting life if we trust him as Saviour & Lord. This sounds so simple that many people won't accept it. They try other ways to obtain eternal life (being good, being wise, etc.), but their attempts will not work. The "foolish" people who simply accept Christ's offer are actually the wisest of all, because they alone will live eternally with God.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Wheaton, Illinois

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday - All Creation Praises God - Psalm/Tehillim 148 - 1/29/17

The psalmist exhorted the celestial, the terrestrial, & the rational creatures praise God.

Psalm 148:1 ... (Hallelujah.) PRAISE ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.


Psalm 148:2 ... (Reference scriptures: Psalm 103:20,21) Bless the LORD, ye his angels, (mighty in strength:) that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.


Psalm 148:3 ... Praise ye him, sun & moon: praise him, ye all stars of light.


Psalm 148:4 ... (Reference scriptures: II Corinthians 12:2 & Genesis 1:7) I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I can not tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven.

Genesis 1:7 ... And God made the firmament (between the light & between the darkness.), & divided the waters which were under the firmament from the midst of the waters of the waters which were above the firmament: & it was so.


Psalm 148:5 ... (References scriptures Genesis 1:1,6,7 ...In the creation of heaven & earth, & of the firmament. Genesis 1:7 above.) IN the beginning God created the heaven & the earth.

And God said, Let there be a (between the light & between the darkness.)firmament in the midst of the waters, & let it divide the waters from the waters.


Psalm 148:6 ... (Reference scriptures 119:90,91) ... Thy faithfulness is (to generation & generation,) unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, & it (standeth) abideth.

They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all thy servants.


Psalm 148:7 ... (Reference scripture: Isaiah 43:20 ... God's promises to his chosen people to deliver his people.) The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons & the (ostriches) (daughters of the owl) owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, & rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.


Psalm 148:8 ... (Reference scripture: Psalm 147:15-18 ... The psalmist exhorteth to praise God for his care of the church, his power, his goodness, his mercy;)


Psalm 148:9 ... (Reference scripture: Isaiah 44:23 ... An assurance to Israel of deliverance.)


Psalm 148:10 ... Beasts, & all cattle; creeping things, & (birds of wings) flying fowl:


Psalm 148:11 ... Kings of the earth, & all people; princes, & all judges of the earth:


Psalm 148:12 ... Both young men, & maidens; old men, & children:


Psalm 148:13 ... Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is (exalted) excellent: his glory is above the earth & heaven.


Psalm 148:14 ... (Reference scripture: Ephesians 2:17) And came & preached peace to you which were afar off, & to them that were nigh.

Reference scriptures used from The KJV Bible, SouthWestern Co., Nashville,TN

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturday - God's Gracious Ways - Psalm/Tehillim 145:13b-21 - 1/28/17

The psalmist praiseth God for the glory of his kingdom, & for his saving mercy. David's Psalm of praise.

Psalm 145:13 ... (Reference scripture: Psalm 146:10) ... The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zi'on unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.


Psalm 145:14 ... (Reference scripture: Psalm 146:8) ...The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth righteous:


Psalm 145:15 ... (Reference scriptures: Psalm 104:27 & Psalm 136:25) (The dependence of all creatures upon God)These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.

Psalm 136:25 ... Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.


Psalm 145:16 ... (Reference scripture: Psalm 147:9) To execute them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.


Psalm 145:17 ... The LORD is righteous in all his ways, & (merciful, or bountiful.) holy in all his ways.


Psalm 145:18 ... (Reference scriptures: Deuteronomy 4:7 & John 4:24) For what nation is there is so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

John 4:24 ... God is a Spirit: & they that worship him must worship him in spirit & in truth.


Psalm 145:19 ... He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, & save them.


Psalm 145:20 ... (Reference scripture: Psalm 97:10 ... An exhortation to hate evil & rejoice in the Lord.) Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.


Psalm 145:21 ... My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: & let all flesh bless his holy name for ever & ever.

Reference scriptures used from The KJV Bible, SouthWestern Co., Nashville, TN

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday - Praise the Lord! - Psalm/Tehillim 150 - 1/23/17

An exhortation to praise God with all kind of instruments.

Psalm 150:1 ... (Hallelujah.) PRAISE ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary. praise him in the firmament of his power.


Psalm 150:2 ... (Reference scriptures: Psalm 145:5,6 & Deuteronomy 3:24)

(The psalmist praiseth God for his greatness.) I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, & of thy wondrous (things or words) works.

And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: & I will (declare it.) declare thy greatness.

(Moses prayer to enter into the land.) O LORD God, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, & thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, & according to thy might?


Psalm 150:3 ... (Reference scripture: Psalm 81:2 An exhortation to praise God.) Take a psalm, & bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.


Psalm 150:4 ... (Reference scriptures: Exodus 15:20 & Psalm 33:2

(Moses song.) And Mir'i-am the prophetess, the sister of Aa'ron, took a timbrel in her hand; & all the women went out after her with timbrels & with dances.

(An exhortation to praise God for his goodness,) Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery & an instrument of ten strings.


Psalm 150:5 ... (Reference scripture: I Chronicles 16:5) (David appointed a choir to sing the praises of God.) A'saph the chief, & next to him Zech-a-ri'ah, Je-i'el, & She-mir'a-moth, & Je-hi'el, & Mat-ti-thi'-ah, & El-li'ab, & Be-na'iah, & O'bed-e'dom: & Je-i'el (with instruments of psalteries & harps.) with psalteries & with harps; but A'saph made a sound with cymbals;


Psalm 150:6 ... Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Reference scriptures used from The KJV Bible, SouthWestern Co., Nashville, TN

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday - God Gives Humanity Its Dignity - Psalm/Tehillim 8 - 1/20/2107

God's glory manifested in his works, & in his goodness to man. To the chief musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David. An exhortation to praise God.

Psalm 8:1 ... (Reference scriptures: Psalm 148:13 & Psalm 113:4.) Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is (exalted) excellent; his glory is above the earth & heaven.

(An exhortation to praise God for his excellency & his mercy.) The LORD is high above all nations, & his glory above the heavens.


Psalm 8:2 ...(Reference scriptures: I Corinthians 1:27 & Psalm 44:16) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; & God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

For the voice of him that reproacheth & blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy & avenger.


Psalm 8:3 ... (Reference scripture: Psalm 111:2 ... The psalmist exhortheth men to praise God for his wonderful works.) The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.


Psalm 8:4 ... (Reference scripture: Job 7:17) What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? & that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?


Psalm 8:5 ... For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, & hast crowned him with glory & honour.


Psalm 8:6 ... (Reference scriptures: Genesis 1:26,28 & Hebrews 2:8) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: & let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, & over the fowl of the air, & over the cattle, & over all the earth, & over every every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

And God blessed them, & God said unto them, Be fruitful, & multiply, & replenish the earth, & subdue it: & have dominion over the fish of the sea, & over the fowl of the air, & over every living thing that (creepeth) moveth upon the earth.

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.


Psalm 8:7 ... (Flocks & oxen all of them.) All sheep & oxen, yea & the beasts of the field;


Psalm 8:8 ... The fowl of the air, & the fish of the sea, & whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.


Psalm 8:9 ... (Reference scripture: Psalm 8:1) O LORD our LORD, how excellence is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

Reference scriptures used from The KJV Bible, SouthWestern Co., Nashville, TN