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Archive for the ‘God’s Love’ Category

Isaiah 58:6-12 Showing God’s Love

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 5, 2014


Isaiah 58:6-12 Your Salvation Will Come Like the Dawn

Isaiah 58:6-12 NLTse “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. (7) Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. (8) “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. (9) Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! (10) Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. (11) The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (12) Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.

Luke 6:20-38 NLTse Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. (21) God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. (22) What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. (23) When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way. (24) “What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. (25) What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you. What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow. (26) What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets. (27) “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. (28) Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. (29) If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. (30) Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. (31) Do to others as you would like them to do to you. (32) “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! (33) And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! (34) And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. (35) “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. (36) You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. (37) “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. (38) Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Okay, I can see your all thinking – if this prophecy about helping the poor and depressed, which is a major part of our commission was fulfilled or taught by Jesus on His sermon on the mountain, than why not use Matthew? Well Matthew is spread out over three chapters and we need to follow the general rule of Bible Study — the introductions and summations have to agree. As we can see, Isaiah sets the tone for the prophecy and Jesus explained details. I would suggest you read Isaiah 58 and Matthew’s detailed account together. This will give God’s Spirit the time He needs with you to explain more details than found in this study. And of course, the goal is to get you to a point of learning to work on your own with God’s Spirit to understand His Word.

I have to admit, I had a bit of trouble locating parallel chapters to this prophecy. Looking at the key words. The first word I used to search was oppressed. That didn’t lead to any parallel chapters with matching introductions and summations. I went onto the next choice, hungry, which led to a number of interesting chapters. Luke 6 was the best match when comparing the introduction and summation.

Isaiah introduces a concept not exactly new to the Bible. Moses told Israel a set of concepts to live by known as the Law of Moses. Maybe that’s why that list of common sense guides showing how to live peacefully in this world has always been difficult to follow. Man has never been known for following laws viewed more like suggestions. Before God gave Moses that set of laws, Israel was of course freed from bondage in Egypt. Now do you see why this sequence of studies follows a particular pattern? One thing Israel’s release from bondage represented is found in their attitude towards the law. Living in an environment where every moment of their lives following rules and regulations left a bad taste in their mouths. The last thing any of those Israelites wanted was a new set of rules. Isaiah did nothing more than repeat those concepts of how to live together. Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Do any of those laws seem too difficult to live by?

Although those seem like simple guidelines to follow, this world has a difficult time living by them. Is it so hard to treat people with justice, lighten burdens of people who work for you, and share what you have with those in need? It must be a difficult thing to do because Moses laid down the law, Isaiah reminded them, and Jesus repeated it with details so plain no one had an excuse to ignore them. Jesus told us, God will bless those who follow His command and help others. Isaiah tells us a part of the blessing. “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.” Why does Isaiah link helping others, treating them with justice and dignity with salvation? Doesn’t most of the world claim all you have to do is claim Jesus’ sacrifice as your own to receive forgiveness for all your sins? If that’s true, than what about the learning process mentioned throughout the Bible? What about Jesus telling His disciples to take up their cross? Why did His disciples have to suffer and die for God’s Word if all they had to do was claim Jesus’ death to be saved? Let’s admit it, nothing but Jesus’ sacrifice can provide forgiveness for all the sins we committed. Without His sacrifice we would be lost. But as Paul tells us, “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6 NLTse). Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. (Hebrews 10:26-27 NLTse).

Maybe this is why the world has so much trouble listening to God’s voice. Isaiah tells us if we follow God’s simple instructions, “Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.” What is the connection? Does the Bible explain the answer or is the explanation basically common sense like those laws Moses recorded?

The main theme in Isaiah’s prophecy, although explained in detail by Jesus, seems to escape many Christians. I remember years ago in a study class with about 30 adults capable of repeating every interpretation to their coveted future prophecies could not answer a simple question that came up in the preprinted class study guide. The question was, “how do you share the love of Jesus?” The teacher read and skipped over the question. I raised my hand and asked, “how do you share Jesus’ love?” The teacher answered, “you share the love of Jesus by teaching about Jesus.” I asked, “what do we teach about Jesus?” The teacher answered, “the love of Jesus.” I asked, “what are we supposed to teach about Jesus’ love?” Not one person in that class had an answer. None of them had any type relationship with Jesus. They were like those Pharisees who thought they knew all the prophecies but didn’t know a thing. So they rejected any type of relationship with Jesus who stood in front of them. Since that time I’ve asked that same question in many churches when the opportunity came up. No one was able to answer the question. No one seems to have studied Isaiah 58 or any of the New Testament chapters adding more details on the subject of Jesus’ love or how we are supposed to act towards one another.

What kind of end time church are you in when they don’t know anything about Jesus’ love but claim to be the chosen church based on their doctrine? Pride tells them they are the only church able to accurately interpret future prophecy. To them, those interpretations and doctrines out weight common sense, the ability to love, and the ability to communicate with Jesus.

Isaiah was pretty vague. What does it mean to lighten burdens, let the oppressed go free, and remove chains binding people? My guess is people’s minds become confused because they drift back into Isaiah’s time then convince themselves we don’t have those problems any more. They relate Isaiah’s theme to slavery and since not many Christians today are involved in slavery consider this message obsolete. Well they’re wrong. Don’t you feel oppressed at work some times? Don’t you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again at work then suddenly one day you have an idea how to ease your burden at work? When you take your idea to management, what was the reply? If your a manager, do you allow pride to shoot down every idea from the people your in charge of? Did you think Satan stopped using oppression to distract people? What do you think Satan is trying to achieve with oppression? Are you hearing sermons with a shallow view on oppression, summing it up with a vague explanation? Let’s look at what Satan plans on accomplishing with oppression. For one the oppressor is drawn away from God by power, prestige, and wealth. What about the people who are oppressed? It forces them to take a new look at God. Some people may draw closer to God while other people will question Him and His existence.

What about big business? They oppress just about everyone with high energy prices and other cost like health care. Then there’s taxes. The Bible tells us about high taxes Solomon imposed that were increased by his son. Taxes continued as kings collected more money from everyone especially the poor. They collected taxes for all their projects. Solomon built houses for his wives, the women he was in bed with. Today we pay taxes to support businesses government officials are in bed with. They claimed high taxes were necessary for a proper military. But when invading armies posed a threat, everyone important person was called into the city and those gates locked out the majority of people paying those high taxes. Has anything changed?

It’s one thing to identify oppression, quite another to learn how to alleviate it. How well would you score? Do you talk to people in line at the store and comfort them when God’s Spirit puts you in position to bless others? When the cashier just faced the customer from hell do you pray to find a way to cheer her up and remind her the whole world is not like the customer no one can never please? What about the parking lot? Do you help the old woman load her bags into the car? Do you let rude drivers pass you so they can pester the next driver, or recognize your act as a blessing? How does helping one another work at home? Do you assign tasks then help? Do you plan little surprises for your spouse? Do you email or text them little messages during the day to let them know you care. When you hear someone request prayer, do you stop everything and pray for them so they can see love and concern in action? Most people only promise to pray. It’s been said so many times, the words, “I’ll pray for you,” have become only a cliché. How many chances do you have to change the world around you? How many of those chances do you let slip by? In a way neglecting those opportunities puts a burden upon you. Those missed opportunities are either soften your heart or hardened it. You know there is a reason people share bad news with you. Admit it, there is a reason you share your burdens with people. Now that you know these secrets, learn how to treat people the way you want to be treated.

There’s a reason Jesus reworded Isaiah the way He did. Jesus wanted to make it personal. God blesses those who are poor, hungry, and weep. How do you think God blesses them? Did you ever hear of God making money, food, or a tender word suddenly appear out of thin air to help people? Come on you know the answer. God uses His people to reach out and help those people. That’s the way the world is supposed to work. But too often people calling themselves Christians are too scared to leave their fox holes. They want to remain as secluded as they can. They are afraid to reach out to help people with the gifts and blessings God gave them to share. For a great reward awaits you in heaven.

Most Christians heard this line, but how many actually know what it means? “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” Why do most sermons stop at the first sentence but don’t dwell on the rest of what Jesus said? Is it because He provided the answer and preachers like to impress you with their stories? Is it because they don’t understand the answer? Or is it because they think those people listening to them aren’t ready to understand or accept the simple answer? “Do good to them.” Ask that question about how to love Jesus and see what answer you receive if any. People aren’t sure how to do good. Why not? There are two types of love. One is from Heaven while the other is an earthly fabrication. You guessed it. Love from this world is a compromise. Loving like the world teaches is not showing your a child of Heaven.

Every once in a while I see people breaking up in what they call a love affair posting updates on Facebook. They post all those worldly concepts about love, something like, “deceptions are easy but truth is hard to find. Trust is easily broken. Lies are soon revealed. You never know what you had until its gone.” You can see the pattern. People speak from emotions inherited from the world. None of those sayings will ever accomplish anything. Wisdom from this world will never show you what true love is. All it will do is provide a moment of comfort followed be a deeper need to seek real love. But few will ever find true love. They search with their eyes but they are blind. They listen with their ears but they’re deaf. “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Let’s face it, people get involved in relationships based on what they can get out of them. Relationships seeded in greed can only sprout thistles and thorns that will eventually sting. I’ve seen the effects. I think we’ve all seen the effects of those thorns. So where do we learn about the love that only comes from Heaven? The key word is learn. Did you miss it? Did it slip by? Here it is again. Now pay attention. “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.” “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.”

Now do you get it? Love doesn’t drop out of the sky when the right person comes along. Love has to be learned before it can be experienced. You have to learn to add, subtract, multiply, and divide before you can do algebra or calculus which reveals the wonders of mathematics. You have to work on love like working out. Body building takes time. No one walks into a gym, does a few bench presses and walks out built like an athlete. Why would love be any different? You have to build up everything else in this world – your vocabulary, the ability to write, a knowledge of science, geography, stamina, muscles, everything. Why should love be any different? Our problem is we want to fall in love when everything else in the world has to be built up and conditioned. So we convince ourselves all we need to do is wait for the right person who we think will make us whole and for a while everything seems so much better. That’s the concept of love in this world. Like the toxic weeds Satan developed, that kind of love is like a drug. It’ll give you a great high for a while but coming down is a pain. Yep – love from this world is like a drug. It’ll cost you some money. It’s easy to take. Then it lets you down and leaves you looking for more of the same.

Now look at Jesus’ solution. He is saying your not ready until you’ve learned to love your enemies. Jesus doesn’t want to send you out into this cruel world until you’re ready. God is like a Father. He doesn’t want to see you hurt. His advise is to be ready. Work out your love until it is so muscle bound the world can’t help but take notice. Develop your intellect to a degree you are ready to solve any problem the world can throw at you. If that sounds impossible it is. You’ll never be prepared for every problem, but God is. Before your ready for love you have to first learn to love God who will show you how to love your enemies. Then you’ll be ready for the one love God has prepared for you. You don’t want God to send them a product half assembled? Think about it. Two lives with missing pieces will not make a whole. But that’s exactly what the world wants you to believe.

Sure there will be learning curves. Satan doesn’t want you learning how to leave this world behind. He feels safe when you rely on him. He feels threatened when he sees you going to God. Satan feels like he lost and he is a sore looser. But trials make us stronger. But watch out. Don’t dwell on set backs. As we’ve seen, oppression leads to distraction which leads to wasting time which leads to spending less time with God. If we dwell on set backs it delays our learning process. It’s the same with any relationship. If only one person dwells on negative aspects it will rob you of time together and what you can accomplish. When it comes to a relationship with God, He is never the one that dwells on problems. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Together these two chapters teach us about the love coming only from Heaven. Time to begin the lesson.

Isaiah 58:1-5 NLTse “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins! (2) Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. (3) ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. (4) What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. (5) You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?

Isaiah’s introduction reminds me why I had to leave the organized church. All I saw was people bragging about what they knew. Everything was centered about their interpretations on future prophecies and those doctrines and traditions they coveted and defended oo violently — as if their salvation depended on it. Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes– so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”

(Matthew 15:8-9, 13:15-17 NLTse). Isn’t it time to listen?

Preachers today have given up on love substituting man made knowledge for one of the greatest gifts from Heaven. Piety has taken the place of God’s voice. Obedience is given to a stone church and its leaders – while it is being withheld from God our Creator. They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me. Like the Pharisees, preachers today place knowledge of the law in front of knowing its Author. Generations separated Isaiah from Jesus but nothing separated that attitude from those religious leaders.

Luke 6:1-12 NLTse One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain. (2) But some Pharisees said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?” (3) Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? (4) He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions.” (5) And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.” (6) On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. (7) The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. (8) But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. (9) Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” (10) He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! (11) At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him. (12) One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.

Jesus pointed those religious leaders back to David and of course scripture. We’ve already looked at this text in a number of studies. But general Bible Study rules tell us to look at texts and the chapter to see a far deeper lesson Jesus is pointing to.

1 Samuel 21:1-6 NLTse David went to the town of Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he saw him. “Why are you alone?” he asked. “Why is no one with you?” (2) “The king has sent me on a private matter,” David said. “He told me not to tell anyone why I am here. I have told my men where to meet me later. (3) Now, what is there to eat? Give me five loaves of bread or anything else you have.” (4) “We don’t have any regular bread,” the priest replied. “But there is the holy bread, which you can have if your young men have not slept with any women recently.” (5) “Don’t worry,” David replied. “I never allow my men to be with women when they are on a campaign. And since they stay clean even on ordinary trips, how much more on this one!” (6) Since there was no other food available, the priest gave him the holy bread–the Bread of the Presence that was placed before the LORD in the Tabernacle. It had just been replaced that day with fresh bread.

Because the texts Jesus is pointing to is located in the introduction of a chapter, we also have to look at the summary and look for the related theme.

1 Samuel 21:10-15 NLTse (10) So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath. (11) But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing, ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” (12) David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. (13) So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard. (14) Finally, King Achish said to his men, “Must you bring me a madman? (15) We already have enough of them around here! Why should I let someone like this be my guest?”

Notice the theme? David lied to a priest than a king. See the spiritual lesson hidden in the texts? Why did David lie? David was running away from Saul who wanted to kill him. What’s your first reaction to a problem? You try to solve it yourself. In David’s case he resorted to lies in an instant. Jesus sent us back to scripture to gather more knowledge, so let’s take a look back to see how the author led into the story. At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the LORD’s name. The LORD is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town. (1 Samuel 20:42 NLTse). Notice the important point, “the LORD is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Now we look ahead to see what those events led to. So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming–men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented–until David was the captain of about 400 men. (1 Samuel 22:1-2 NLTse). See the connection and progression? David’s responsibility is growing. As a boy he only had to worry about his father’s flocks and a giant. Working for Saul, David was in command of a company of soldiers. God was teaching David lessons about leadership. Remember how lessons about love have to be learned? Here is an example containing lessons related to love and leadership. Jesus’ disciples had a problem with both those subjects. They wanted leadership roles before they learned how to love like Jesus was teaching them. They didn’t see how love and leadership had to intertwine and grow together.

When we look ahead we see those events led to another serious point to consider. A point we would miss if we weren’t looking at the progression of the story and of course praying. One day the prophet Gad told David, “Leave the stronghold and return to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth. (1 Samuel 22:5 NLTse). See what happened? David was relying on himself so God sent a prophet. Why? David forgot to pray. Don’t you think David prayed before he ran off after a that lion or that bear? Don’t you think David prayed before he went after that giant? What about those battles he fought for Saul? When we look at David’s progression we see two things. His increased reliance on God and increased knowledge. The two are connected. David’s responsibilities increased parallel to his communication with God. That’s what people saw in David and trusted in. People trusted more in David’s relationship with God than they trusted in David the man. They believed David was God’s anointed king because they could see David’s relationship with God. Think about how that relates to the lesson on love.

David’s life teaches us positive aspects of following God, but like all of us, David had a history of drawing close to God then drifting away. When times look good we all have the tendency of making decisions on our own. Like children who only call their parents when they need help, we only pray from the heart when we’re in trouble. When David become comfortable, things changed. One time he sent his army out to fight without him. While the people he was supposed to be serving, protecting, and teaching were off fighting a war, David stayed behind to run the country. One night he looked across the street and saw a woman. David already had more wives than any of us care to count, but to David, this one was different. While his men were off fighting a battle, David pursued a conquest of his own. David knew the woman was married. Having drawn away from God and making his own decisions it didn’t seem to matter to David. He invited her over for a fling. After all, who would know? Once wasn’t enough for the king. After a while the woman gets pregnant so David does what he got used to doing. David comes up with a new sure fire plan. After all, when he lied to a priest and king God still protected him? David’s momentary lack of communication with God destroyed his common sense. David had that woman’s husband killed and married her. David made her the queen of Israel. God had enough. David refused to listen so God sent the prophet in. So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. (2 Samuel 12:1-10 NLTse).

You might ask why after so many sins, God still loved David and called him a man after His own heart. It’s because David repented after seeing his sins. David repented of his sins as well as his lack of communication with God. As soon as David saw how far he drifted away from God, he prayed to restore that connection. David fell to the ground and prayed for the child as well as the mother and himself. David restored his connection with God that was so deep his advisers could not understand it. That’s another point David missed. He neglected to explain that connection to people, not even his closest friends. After the child died, David got up to eat. After talking with God and listening… David knew he had a son waiting for him in Heaven. David knew when we get there he would receive the little child and raise him in the perfect environment of Heaven. David also knew God was concerned about him and wanted him to take care of himself. So David got up to eat. There is one detail we have to learn from David’s prayers. David remained focused on the subject at hand. David’s Psalms are an example of prayer. Notice how he always concentrated on one subject?

Psalms 11:1-7 NLTse

(1) I trust in the LORD for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety!

(2) The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right.

(3) The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?”

(4) But the LORD is in his holy Temple; the LORD still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.

(5) The LORD examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence.

(6) He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds.

(7) For the righteous LORD loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.

David learned to pray in order. Many of his prayers share the same structure. David praised God, told God his problem, then let God know he had confidence God knew the right answer. The only thing we don’t see in David’s prayers is how God answered them. David’s prayers should be studied. David recorded some of his conversations with God when Saul was chasing after him. But let’s stick to the details at hand. David prayed on one subject at a time. You never see David praying like we see people pray today which consists of a list of items to drop in God’s lap like we expect God to solve all those problems without any further participation on our part. When God sent a prophet to David there was a major lesson to learn. Today we see little if any listening when we pray. We may as well write out a prayer list and E-mail or text it to God. “Here God this is what we want you to do today. Let me know when you finish.” Does the pot tell the potter what to do? Then why do we give God orders then hang up the phone? Praying has become much like ordering a pizza and waiting for it to be delivered. When David laid on that stone floor for hours, he listened to God. When David prayed to God while on the run from Saul, David listened to God. The first time God answered through a prophet. As David honed his listening skills, God personally spoke to David.

My favorite Psalms are those where David praised God, presented his petition, then praised God at the end of his prayer by telling God he knew God would do the right thing. The main point is, David stuck to one point in his prayer and didn’t jump around from subject to subject like we do today. I’ve read a number of books on prayer. Not one of them teaches people how to listen. I’ve talked to many people about how they listen to God and they all have the same answer. When they try to listen to God their minds are filled with a hundred details and they can’t concentrate. We’ve been conditioned by the world to write a prayer list then run through the whole thing in one sitting. Is there one verse of Biblical proof showing that’s the proper way to pray? None that I can find. All the examples in Psalms show us to concentrate on one subject at a time. A prayer list is okay, but shooting it up to God like a shotgun blast doesn’t hit the target. How are we supposed to listen when we pass on a long list to God and sever the prayer connection? Prayer was never meant to be a one sided connection. Study those Psalms and look for a prayer pattern you like and use it. Try a couple of different styles. But remember to stick to one subject at a time and spend time listening to God’s reply which is infinitely more important than your list. By the way, God already knew what was on your prayer list long before you wrote it. That is one detail you may want to praise Him for when you begin praying. “LORD I thank you for knowing what is on my prayer list and I come to you today to discuss one matter. I really want to know what you want to do about this subject. Jesus cleanse me with your blood, remove all my sins, make me pure, and especially purge me of all those worldly thoughts and preconceived ideas about you and what you are capable of. Jesus place me at the foot of your Father’s throne and let me learn from His infinite wisdom.” Then sit quietly and listen to God’s answer on that one subject of prayer.

So what do prayer skills have to do with the introductions to Isaiah 58 and Luke 6? Everything! Look at the introduction to Isaiah 58. “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!” How are you supposed to know what to shout if the message doesn’t come from God? Prayer is everything. It is communication with God. Read between the lines. “Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.” Those people didn’t listen to God so they drifted away. The only way to stay close to God is listen to Him. The trend continued past those religious leaders who questioned Jesus when His disciples ate grain on the Sabbath. “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.” And who would complain about healing a suffering man on the Sabbath? If they knew how to pray and listen to God, those religious leaders never would have questioned Jesus. Notice they watched Jesus, but we can see they didn’t listen to what He taught.

We all have trouble listening to God. David had his problems. One time the king of Tyre came to David. He wanted to learn about the God David served. But David didn’t think a Pagan king would have any interest in God. And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies was with him. Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built David a palace. And David realized that the LORD had confirmed him as king over Israel and had blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. (2 Samuel 5:10-12 NLTse). We can see how David let the distractions of this world stop him from performing his duty to God. After moving from Hebron to Jerusalem, David married more concubines and wives, and they had more sons and daughters. (2 Samuel 5:13 NLTse). David fell victim to one of Satan’s greatest deceptions – success and power. Doesn’t that happen to all of us? Things are going well and we forget God or put our relationship with Him on the back shelf? No wonder Peter told us to welcome trials. Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:12-14 NLTse).

What could have happened if David or Solomon witnessed to Hiram? He was the king of Tyre, the world trade center at the time. Hiram believed in staying out of religion to the extent of allowing every religion to freely practice within his kingdom. To Hiram it was the only way to increase trade through Tyre’s port, keep peace, and reduce the chance of an invasion. During his reign no one would dare attack Tyre because of its relationship with other kingdoms, both economical and religious. Having contact with all the worldly religions peaked Hiram’s search for the one true God. It’s strange to think the man anointed king and given the gifts, ability, and responsibility to tell the world about God missed the opportunity of a life time. If David had shared God with Hiram and told Hiram how God’s Spirit communicates with us, it would have opened streets and avenues within the world trade center no one could have imagined. Hiram could have reached people from all over the world from every religion. God doesn’t need more people hiding in fox holes. God needs people able to step out to face those giants, no matter what form they come in.

Keeping the gospel away from people goes way beyond David. When Jesus wanted to heal the man with that deformed hand in the synagogue those religious leaders used the Sabbath as an excuse to withhold on of God’s blessings. Don’t you think that giant David slew made an impression on the whole nation of Israel? Those religious leaders didn’t stop to think about how healing one man could have impressed all those people in the synagogue and beyond. Those religious leaders didn’t think of how one gift would glorify God. They were only thinking about themselves. “At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.” What was Jesus’ reaction? “One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.” Jesus didn’t rely on what He learned in the past or felt at the moment. Jesus went back to DAD to discuss the situation. Jesus didn’t know how to explain the Sabbath to those religious leaders who thought they knew everything. Jesus knew He had to be patient and wait for God’s Spirit to set up the right set of circumstances to reach those people. It’s amazing to see a part of that answer is in this chapter of Isaiah.

Isaiah 58:13-14 NLTse “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. (14) Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Those religious leaders were concerned only about their own interests. They followed their own desires and idle talk. Now you can see how Jesus answered more than their initial question. When Jesus referred to Isaiah 58, He included scripture around that lesson about helping the poor and depressed. We see the same result when we study other texts Jesus quoted. Now we can see why Jesus prayed. Answers He received were for questions before anyone asked them. Imagine the impact this had on Jesus’ faith. It could have had the same effect on other people if they spent time to look back into God’s Word. Jesus also taught lessons using parables like He did in the summation for Luke 6.

Luke 6:43-49 NLTse “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. (44) A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs never grow on thornbushes, nor grapes on bramble bushes. (45) A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. (46) “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? (47) I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. (48) It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. (49) But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

Jesus presents a choice. Good and evil are the only choices. There is no middle ground. Those priests made a carrier out of middle ground. Their religion was based on sitting in the middle trying to work their way up to God’s grace. Anyone who didn’t agree with them was deemed to far away to be saved. Unless of course you got back in line with their doctrines which of course takes your eyes off God placing your faith in man made doctrines. We have the same circumstances today. Of course every religion claims they got it right this time. But what about their fruit. When they produce members condemning the rest of the world are they producing good fruit or brambles? If they preach isolation are they spreading good seeds or weeds? When they make salvation a one step process, are they showing their good fruit or is their tree bear?

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.” There is a direct relationship between Isaiah 58 and Luke 6 when you compare the introduction of Isaiah with the summation in Luke 6. This may seem unusual but God has a way of teaching through repetition we have to be prepared to notice and contemplate. As long as we compare the same parallel chapters we know we are learning the same theme. I remember my dad would always say, “don’t complain unless you have a better idea.” I think that was the best advise a father could give a son. Jesus followed that advise. Jesus told us how to worship God. “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.”

Let’s face it, it’s never easy to turn a large ship around in a storm. If your waiting for your local or national church to turn around, you’ve got a long wait ahead of you. With God change has always been and will always be an individual effort. Jesus fed masses but healed individuals. Are we feeding people or healing them? The answer is both, but face the facts. When Jesus fed people they carelessly left baskets of bread lying on the ground. You have to expect that when you begin your ministry feeding people. But healing is another matter. Like Jesus we can heal. Like Jesus we have to place people in the capable hands of God’s Spirit to let them work it out together. We really can’t expect to accomplish more than Jesus did even though He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12 NLTse).

Time for you to experience some of those greater works. Matthew 27 in another chapter explaining how Isaiah 58 was fulfilled. Take your time, highlight those repeated words, give time for God’s Spirit to work with you. Look up the Old Testament scripture Jesus quoted. Look back and look ahead. Hone the skills you are learning – the most important being – draw closer to God and learn more about His Son Jesus.

Matthew 27:32-43 NLTse Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (33) And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). (34) The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. (35) After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. (36) Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. (37) A sign was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” (38) Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. (39) The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. (40) “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” (41) The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. (42) “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! (43) He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”

Matthew 27:1-10 NLTse Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. (2) Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. (3) When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. (4) “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” (5) Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. (6) The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” (7) After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. (8) That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. (9) This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver– the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, (10) and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.”

Matthew 27:61-66 NLTse Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. (62) The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. (63) They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ (64) So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” (65) Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” (66) So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
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1 Corinthians 13: Love and Prophecy

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 20, 2012


Why does Paul compare love to prophecy? He points out prophecy will become useless, but love will last forever!

1 Corinthians 13:7-10 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (8) Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! (9) Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! (10) But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I listen to modern day prophets I can hardly believe a word they say. They use techniques to try and establish themselves as experts in prophecy, which in fact takes glory away from God. I am not surprised to see most of what they claim cannot be proved by the Bible.

 

What Paul says makes perfect sense. “Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!” This is something we have to learn to accept. We will only know what God decides we need to know. Paul adds one more interesting statement. “But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.” When I look at this statement I can see Jesus standing on one side of the temple court teaching His followers. On the other side of the court all the religious leaders gather to plot His death. For generations these religious factions remained divided, but joined forces to plot Jesus death. Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, and those who supported Herod stood together against Jesus. Each had their own interpretations of the prophecies and they were all wrong. When Paul says, “when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.” Is he telling us all the prophecies today are wrong? Or is Paul telling us, when we finally understand God’s love, prophecy will be little or no concern? What does God say about this?

 

Deuteronomy 5:10 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

 

Interesting. God places His promise of love in His ten commandments. What is even more interesting is the commandment which follows.

 

Deuteronomy 5:11 “You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

 

Would misusing God’s name include falsely claiming the gift of prophecy? What did some of God’s prophets say about loving God?

 

Psalms 17:6-8 I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. (7) Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. (8) Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings.

Proverbs 8:17 “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.

Daniel 9:2-4 During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the LORD, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years. (3) So I turned to the LORD God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes. (4) I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands.

 

David knew God would always look over and protect him. He knew his safety depended on God. His son Solomon knew everyone searching for God would find what they needed. When Daniel was shown the meaning of Jeremiah’s seventy year prophecy, He prayed to God, thanking Him for His unfailing love. These prophets saw the connection between searching for and finding God’s love and prophecy.

 

It makes sense. Why would God reveal His most guarded secrets to self made prophets who have decided to skip the step of searching and finding God’s love? If they had, they would not be so obsessed with prophecy. There would be no doubt they were safe in God’s hands. They would also know that safety is available to everyone who comes to Jesus. They would know a personal relationship with Jesus is the answer to all prophecy, leading to eternal life.

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1 Corinthians 13: God’s Love

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 20, 2012


How do we understand what Paul is writing here?  We can look at Paul’s personality revealed through his style of writing to see if it gives any clues.  Paul has a tendency of building up to a conclusion.  Like a defense attorney pleading for the life of his innocent client, Paul adds detail after detail in a successive chain of evidence, building up until he reaches the climax of his defense, the one piece of evidence which is undeniable and perfectly credible.  In this case, love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-5  If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  (2)  If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.  (3)  If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.  (4)  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  (5)  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

This sends us right back to chapter 1, Paul’s introduction. In it Paul assures the early believers they have; “every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  If Jesus’ followers have every special gift, wouldn’t love be among them?

1 Corinthians 1:4-8  I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.  (5)  Through him, God has enriched your church in every way–with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge.  (6)  This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true.  (7)  Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (8)  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.

Paul also tells us that if we, “understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.”   Look at how the scriptures already explain this:

1 Corinthians 1:20-21  So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.  (21)  Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:27-31  Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.  (28)  God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.  (29)  As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.  (30)  God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.  (31)  Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”
1 Corinthians 2:8-10  But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.  (9)  That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”  (10)  But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.

We gain perfect understanding of God’s Word through His word.  We gain perfect love through His love.  The world looks at God’s love as foolish, just as they look at His Word.  They cannot see, perfect understanding comes only from God, just like perfect love can come only from God.

As we follow through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians we see him trying to get them to understand a message, how to reach others.  Paul knows there is a great temptation for them to act like the Jews, to want to be like them.  To set themselves apart from the world once they convince themselves they have some sort of special truth only revealed to them.  Paul tells them, “I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”  What is anything, everything, without an understanding, yet more, a desire to plead for God’s love?

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

Jesus came to teach God’s Love.  Nothing changed Jesus.  He lived and died without sin.  Just as nothing in this world can ever change God’s love.  Without God’s love, a mother will separate from her children, a wife from her husband, Jesus’ followers from one another.  Paul wrote this letter to bring unity back to the Corinthians.  Now he tells them, the only way is through God’s eternal unchanging love.

May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
(Ephesians 6:24, 2 Timothy 1:7, James 2:5, 1 John 2:5, 1 John 4:8)

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Genesis 2:15-17: Eden

Posted by adventbiblestudy on May 12, 2012


Genesis 2:15-17 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (16) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: (17) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

After speaking everything into existence, God, Ruler of the universe worked the dust of the earth with His own hands to personally form man in His own image. When every detail was perfect, God breathed His breath of life into the nostrils He had formed. And man became a living soul.

 

Adam opened His eyes to a perfect world. God was not done giving. He planted a garden with the choicest plants, using the most beautiful colors and fragrances as a reminder of His love, a special gift for man. God took man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. God trusted man with every detail of His creation. It was a gift of love, with only one condition. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

 

Adam must have questioned what it was to die. All he had known was the total peace and joy of being with his Creator in the paradise made especially for him. Did Adam question what evil was, or was the warning enough to convince him it was something that would surely separate him from everything God provided?

 

When God put Adam in the garden and asked him to tend it, God confirmed the fact, He trusted Adam with everything He created. Man’s work was a bond of trust and reliance between the created being and the Creator for all eternity. When God spoke everything into existence, it showed God trusted him with His Word. The warning was given to Adam, along with the responsibility to follow God’s command. A trust and responsibility which was never meant to change.

 

As Adam gazed at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he did not think anything could ever come between him and God. Everything he needed was provided by God. All but one detail was prepared before God breathed His breath of life into him.

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Genesis 2:7-8: God formed man of the dust

Posted by adventbiblestudy on May 11, 2012


Genesis 2:7-8 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (8) And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

 

We have seen how God created this world in perfect peace and harmony, an example of how man was to rule, and love his wife. Man and woman were created in God’s image, which carries with it a responsibility difficult to understand, unless we take the time to study His entire Word.

 

After God explains man’s responsibilities as ruler of this world, He reminds man of His origin, dust combined with God’s breath of life. Every other living creature was formed by God’s spoken word.And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (Genesis 1:24)

 

God spoke everything into existence, light, the sun, moon, stars, grass, trees, fish, birds, and every living creature. Then He paused and said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” God still spoke words, but that was not enough. He got on His knees in the dust of His new creation, gathered it together with His own hands, shaping it into His own image, and brought life to the mass of dust by breathing into its nostrils. This showed the tender loving care God had for man, and the close personal relationship God wanted as life began its course in the newly formed, meticulously shaped image of dust.

 

As Adam opened his eyes, the first image he saw was His Creator kneeling over him. Behind God was the limitless blue sky. Adam could feel the warmth of the sun on his body, as well as the warmth from the hands of God, helping him to his feet for the first time. He looked around at the new world. There were so many creatures gathered around, watching God give life to the image He shaped with His own hands. Adam looked at the sun in the sky, then the green grass, and flowers of every size, shape, and color. Birds were seen flying through the air, landing in branches filled with an almost countless variety of fruit and nuts. Other birds landed near by on the ground for a closer look.

 

Everything looked perfect to Adam, but God was not yet satisfied. He once again began work with His own hands to plant a garden for His new creation, man.

 

It seems so strange for God to put so much time, effort and love into a collection of dust, but that was God’s plan. This was God’s will, to form man from the simplest, most abundant resource on the planet, dust.

 

What made man so special? Was it the time? The effort? The breath God breathed into him? In a way, everything was brought into creation through God’s breath as He spoke it into existence. Was it just God’s limitless love that made man, and all His creation so special?

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Genesis 1:26-27: Let us make man in our image

Posted by adventbiblestudy on May 10, 2012


Genesis 1:26-27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

 

God created Adam and gave him dominion over every living creature of the newly created world. This showed both the trust and wisdom God placed in Adam. It is a testimony revealing some of the details of what it means be created in God’s image. Notice both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image. What does it mean to be created in God’s image? Only a small portion of that question is answered in the first few chapters of Genesis. The complete answer God wanted to provided is scattered throughout His entire book, written over generations by His servants the prophets.

 

God created the earth in a six days. During these six days God provided everything the world needed. Before He created man, every need was met. God provided sunlight, warmth, food, and finally companionship. The earth was in perfect balance and harmony. Beauty surrounded every scene to captivate the eyes. The air was filled with fragrances and song. Water was clean and refreshing. Every detail of God’s creation was designed to attract attention, teach lessons, and provide a soothing reminder of God’s love.

 

The same is true for the relationship God created. Every entity of God’s wonderful creation was founded upon a relationship. Man and woman were special. They were the only creatures created in God’s image, physically, mentally, and spiritually. The most precious gift from God was reserved for Adam and his wife, the love God has for His creation from the greatest mammoth, to the smallest creature.

 

The words, “created man in his own image,” clearly indicate a leadership role based on the preceding verse in which God give Adam dominion over the fish, birds, cattle, and every creeping thing. Adam’s leadership role is based upon God’s image, and only God’s image. This is how and why man was created, to rule this world in God’s image. We are shown examples man’s original role in the gospels. He that is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Matthew 23:11)

 

It was not by mistake God summed up man’s role as leader by reminding us we owe everything to Him. In two small verses God placed a reminder of His creation, the responsibilities man has to the world, and his wife. Everything was do be done in the image of God.

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1 Timothy 2: God, Jesus, and us

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 13, 2011


(1 Timothy 2:5 GNB) For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Christ Jesus,

Jesus Coming

Jesus Coming

 

There is one God, Creator of all we see, eat, and breath. Jesus came to this world to become a man, just like us. Jesus, the Son of God, the son of man became a link between us and God, by living and showing us God’s character.

Jesus helped us to understand God better by coming and dying on the cross. We need to keep that special conection with God and remember to go to him with all our problems.

(1 Timothy 2:6 GNB) who gave himself to redeem the whole human race. That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved,

Jesus gave His life to save the entire human race. There is not a single person He does not love, He does not want to save. God gave His only Son for us. God’s plan to save this planet was perfectly planned, timed, performed and executed.

Jesus died for us so we could be with our Heavenly Father forever. God gave his son for all of us and that shows how much he loves us.

(1 Timothy 2:7 GNB) and that is why I was sent as an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles, to proclaim the message of faith and truth. I am not lying; I am telling the truth!

Part of God’s plan of salvation was to use us to tell the story of how, and why Jesus died for our sins. To teach about Jesus, I need to be very close to Him. I have to pray, read, and understand His message. I have to give my life to Him so He can make me complete in Him. Only Jesus can equip me to tell the truth, the whole story of His life and example.

Jesus is our teacher, the Bible is our text book and like any other school, we need to study so when the trails of the last days come, we can stand strong and know that He is with us.

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Heaven: Revelation 7

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 12, 2011


(Revelation 7:15 MKJV) Therefore they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His temple. And He sitting

Throne of God

Throne of God

on the throne will dwell among them.

I pray I am among those redeemed, paid for by the blood of Jesus. Given His rode of righteousness, a crown, and a new name, spoken first by Jesus, like a new creation. Imagine the joy of praising God before His throne, seeing His face for the first time. Will I be able to hold the joy in, or will I shout for the victory finally seen and felt?

I stand before my loving God and worship him. It will be a wonderful day when we go to Heaven to worship and serve Him freely for all eternity.

(Revelation 7:16 MKJV)  They will not hunger any more, nor thirst any more, nor will the sun light on them, nor any heat.

I will feast on every word that comes from the mouth of God.  Will He have time to answer all the questions I have?  Of course He will.  We will have all eternity together.  Imagine a God, who only requires a bit of our time, quality time to spend with Him.  Will I ever be able to spend enough time with him? This is praising God.  His light will be my life for all eternity.

I will never be hungry or thirsty again.  Everything will be perfect in Heaven.

(Revelation 7:17 MKJV)  For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will feed them and will lead them to the fountains of living waters. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Jesus will be there, close to His Father.  He will govern His Kingdom through love.  He will serve us in Heaven like He served His disciples on earth.  I want to learn by His example.  I want to be like Jesus.  To touch the lives of others in the simplest ways which leave lasting impressions.  Jesus will feed me with His knowledge and refresh me with His life giving love.  There will be no more sorrow or pain, only love and understanding.  Will there be tears of joy in Heaven?

Jesus will take care of me when I am in Heaven with Him.  When I finally get to Heaven there will  never be a reason to cry again.

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Colossians 2: The great conflict I have for you.

Posted by adventbiblestudy on July 22, 2011


(Colossians 2:1) For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

The Lord has prepared this conflict for me. My past actions have taken me to a point in my life, I had turned so far away from God, trials and conflicts are the only way I can see the errors of my way. To learn the difference between right and wrong. To see and understand the ways of the world I have let into my life to distort my relationship with God. Dear Lord, let me see and understand the lessons you have for me. Let me pray to you from the heart that you change every aspect of my life that separate me from you. Take all my earthly desires away, and make me the disciple you need me to be.

 

(Colossians 2:2) That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

Lord, knit my heart with yours. Let me see and understand your ways. Open my heart to you. Give me your comfort, and let me experience it every moment of every day. Give me your love oh Lord. Let your love flow through me.

 

(Colossians 2:3) In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I have seen the treasures of your wisdom and knowledge. Every time I opened your word I have seen your glory, I have felt your Spirit. Through your word you have proved to me, you exist, you are real, you are in my life, and your knowledge surpasses all understanding.

 

(Colossians 2:4) And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

Lord keep every enticing word of man out if my life. Cast the influence of every negative thought far from me. Lord cast the devil and his spirits far away. Do not let them, or their agents near me. Protect me with your love. Let only your grace, and your Spirit lead me every moment of every day.

 

(Colossians 2:5) For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

Bring this joy into my life. The joy that only you can give. Lord let me know you are near. Bless my day with your presence. Let me know you are so near. Let me feel your love, and know your understanding, joy, and love.

 

(Colossians 2:6) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

Let me walk with you Jesus, and be the example I need to be. Let your love flow through me. Not my way Lord but yours.

 

(Colossians 2:7) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Thank you Lord for saving me. Thank you for your sacrifice for me. Thank you for eternal life, and thank you for always watching over me. Establish my life in your faith. Mine will never be enough. I want your faith, the faith of Jesus in my life.

 

(Colossians 2:8) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Lord, don’t let me fall. Keep my eyes on you and you only. Let no evil influence over take me for one moment. Never let me be deceived by the thoughts, desires, promises, and philosophy of the world. Not for one moment. I know how slowly I can fall. Let me learn from those mistakes. Thank you Jesus for showing me the way.

 

(Colossians 2:9) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Only through you Jesus can I learn to be complete. Only through you can I be the type of man you want me to be. Let me be an example, so others can see you through me.

 

(Colossians 2:10) And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.

Lord, let me be complete in you. Let all my life be an example of you. Not my way Lord, but yours. Lord I dedicate 100% of my life to you. Take my life, and change me. All of me.

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Ephesians 2: The story of a fall and grace.

Posted by adventbiblestudy on July 22, 2011


(Ephesians 2:1) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

I was dead to God, lost in my own world of work, striving for success, trying as hard as I could to provide for my family. Dead to God, lost in the darkness of pain, sorrow, and worries, while God still looked at me as His.

 

(Ephesians 2:2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

I suffered from the sin of neglect. I neglected the more important aspects of life. God, my wife, sons, and daughters. I walked a path Satan had prepared for me. One so shrouded in zeal, I could not tell where I was. I knew I was lost, but I could not find my way back. Satan had convinced me, one more day. Success was just around the corner. One more prayer for success was all you need. Pray harder, pray more for success, then you can go back to praying for others. But for now, all your attention must be focused on success. That is what your family needs. That will make them happy. That will make them love you. When you are successful, you will have something to share with them. Until you are successful, you are nothing.

 

(Ephesians 2:3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We all go through this trial. Some fall, others do not. Satan presents the world to us, and we forget where we really need to be. Humble, and in love with Jesus. Satan puts these desires in our hearts which blind us. I was blinded by the lure of the world. Satan tricks us by getting us to think we are in control. Satan teaches us to think, our lives, and success depend upon our ability to always be right. I expressed this to God, my wife, sons, daughter, and everyone I came in contact with. I looked, acted, talked, listened (or lack thereof), and ministered like the world. Always right. My success in the world depended on it.

 

(Ephesians 2:4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

The further I drifted away, the more God reached out to me. He caught me and showed me His love at the moment I fell, and lost everything dear to me in my life. Broken relationships, no money, no hope, no more desire to live. Nothing to look forward to. God pulled me out of the deepest, darkest hole in my life.

 

(Ephesians 2:5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

I was dead and buried. I could never get out myself. There was no hope left for me any more. I had tried as hard as I could to succeed, to provide, to win the love of my wife and family through the works of the world. At the moment of my deepest depression, Jesus and I became one again.

 

(Ephesians 2:6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Jesus pulled me from the grave. I was lost and broken, no hope, no love in my life, no money, no security, nothing left in this world. When I could sink no lower, Jesus lifted me up. After a dozen studies about Heaven, I still could not see the glory and majesty of Heaven until I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart. Not only my heart, but to give 100% of my life to Jesus. What an exchange. When nothing was left, I offer it to Jesus. I gave Jesus what I had, nothing. In exchange, He gave me Heaven, and the mansion He had prepared for us.

 

(Ephesians 2:7) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

God took my worthless life, and gave to me the riches of His grace. He clothed me in His robe. He gave me His kindness, His love to share with others. Success is not receiving, it is giving what you have received from God. These are the riches of Heaven.

 

(Ephesians 2:8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Only God’s grace could save me. I had nothing in my life to save myself. No money, no love to give or receive, no life of my own. All my works had failed. I had nothing left, but a spark of faith, which still struggled for life in my heart. God’s gift fanned it into a flame.

 

(Ephesians 2:9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

I could never boast. All my works had failed. My business had failed. The love I had for my wife and family had failed. Can a man boast in utter failure?

 

(Ephesians 2:10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The only thing that saved me was God’s plan for me. God took the hardened, broken, worthless piece of clay I had become, and through His power and grace molded me into a new person. God recreated me, like He had created Adam in the beginning, and now He walks with me every moment of everyday.

 

(Ephesians 2:11) Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

I was in the flesh, of the flesh, and for the flesh, because my heart had not been open to Jesus. I was alone, beaten and defeated by my own hands.

 

(Ephesians 2:12) That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

I was without Christ in my life. I prayed, but little if any for others. Satan had convinced me that could wait. I forgot God’s promises. Even though I read pages and pages of the Bible, searching for meaning, and knowing God existed, I was missing His love, because I loved the world. I loved the world more than God, and I didn’t even know it.

 

(Ephesians 2:13) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

I was so far gone I had no hope of making it back on my own, although I tried, I really tried. I could not make it back because I had no idea I was lost. Jesus died for me. Not only to forgive my sins, but so He could rise from the grave, and seek after me. I love you Jesus.

 

(Ephesians 2:14) For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Jesus has made me one with Him. He pulled me out of the world and gave me the peace I had been trying to work for. He gave me the peace I could never find through my works, hopes and dreams. I pray Jesus can one day break down the walls I have built between my wife, family, and myself, and we can become one with Christ.

 

(Ephesians 2:15) Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Total peace can only be found by putting aside the world, including the laws of the world contrary to the commandments of God. Do not trust in the world and its ways for a change in your life. Put away all of the world, trust only in Jesus, who has defeated the world.

 

(Ephesians 2:16-17) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Chris died on the cross to show me what the world can do, if given the chance. My trials are nothing compared to what Jesus endured. Jesus’ example on the cross shows me the path of sacrifice, which draws me closer to God.

 

(Ephesians 2:18) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Before Jesus died, He prayed to the Father to send the Spirit to this planet. To guide and direct. Through Jesus, by praying in His name, I have access to the very Spirit of God.

 

(Ephesians 2:19) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Through God’s Spirit, and the love of Jesus, I no longer wonder in darkness alone. God has out in my path fellow saints to minister to, and those to minister to me. I have a new family in God.

 

(Ephesians 2:20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

This new family is a wall protecting me from the lure of the world. One spiritual stone supporting another. Each supported by Jesus.

 

(Ephesians 2:21) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Knowing the details of the Tabernacle is one thing, experiencing the closeness of Jesus’ spiritual stone, His followers, is an experience. A personal, lasting relationship based on Christ and His example.

 

(Ephesians 2:22) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Now that I am a part of this holy temple of Christ, fit together by Jesus’ own hands, I live with God, and He lives in me through His Spirit.

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When I give my life to the Lord

Posted by adventbiblestudy on July 20, 2011


When I give my life to the Lord every morning, His Spirit gives me lives to touch everyday, with a message only God provides. If I give only half my life to God, do I only receive half the message?  What half do I receive? What happens to the rest of the message?  If I only give half my life to God, do I only receive half of His blessings He has prepared for me? Which half would I choose if I knew all the blessings He has prepared for me for the day?  If I only give half my life to God, do I only receive half His power to fight temptation?  What half will over come me? If I only give half my life to God, do I only receive half the love to give to my wife, my family, my friends? Is only half the love enough?

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A portion of God’s Love

Posted by adventbiblestudy on July 18, 2011


I have been praying for the Lord to show me an illustration of His love I have never seen before. Here is His answer.

Matthew 12:39-41 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (40) For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (41) The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

The answer is found in verse 41. Nineveh repented. This brings us to the very end of the book of Jonah.

Jonah 4:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

This is the illustration of God’s love I had never seen before. There are two signs Jesus gave the priests. The first was His death, something they wanted, and understood. Jesus also included His resurrection, something they could not deny, but would not accept.

Jesus went on to explain, Nineveh repented. This was the second sign, which takes us from the middle of Jonah’s journey to the end of the lesson, which is God’s love. This is the same love Jesus lived. They asked for a sign while it was standing right in front of them, Jesus, His life, and love. The sign from God they should have understood.

This also teaches a second lesson very important to me. To find the answer I had to listen, and read the entire book, rather than jumping to conclusions, based on the beginning.

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