Wednesday, November 27, 2013

He is Greater.

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 
John 3:20

I love this verse because I used to have a condemning heart. I felt guilt over every little thing I may have done wrong. Believe me, that is no way to live! God doesn't want us to go around feeling guilty and condemned. Now, I just say I'm sorry, know God forgives me and forget it.

God is greater than our hearts.

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Do you have bad thoughts? We all do. When I have negative thoughts I quote scripture out loud. God is greater than Satan, who is the author of evil thoughts. God's words drive Satan away.

God is greater than Satan.

But I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. Matthew 12:6

Has church disappointed you?

 God is greater than any church.

The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, someone greater than Jonah is here. Matthew 12:41

God is greater than any prophet.

Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, someone greater than Solomon is here.

God is greater than the wisest man on earth.

For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all godsIn his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.  Psalm 95

Sunday, November 24, 2013

God of Thunder.

John 12:20-33
 "Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship Jesus; these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."

Philip is a Greek name and so naturally the Greeks would come to Philip to ask about Jesus. It is probable he spoke the Greek language.

Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

As the Greeks were coming to see Jesus, he spoke of how his death was like a seed which would produce many other seeds. These Greeks were evidence of people other than the Jews who would come to him for salvation. 

Then he said,
"Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, 'Father, save me from this hour'? But this is the very reason I came! Father, glorify your name!' Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."

The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."  He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

I believe that the voice of God thundered while the Greeks were standing by because this would be sure evidence to them that Jesus was God, for their chief God was a God of thunder. 

Zeus is the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. 

I read once of a tribe in Africa who heard the gospel but didn't really believe until they heard the story of Jesus spitting on the dirt and healing a man's eyes. In their culture, spittle was considered a healing medicine. When they heard Jesus also used spitting, they believed.

What also moves me in this Bible passage are the words, "Now is my soul deeply troubled." I feel so sorry for Jesus, having to go through what he went through for us. He knew he would soon be arrested, tortured and nailed to a cross. Perhaps these Greeks saw him on the cross as the day turned dark with clouds.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What is Repentance?

What is repentance? 

The term shubh, is most generally employed to express the Scriptural idea of genuine repentance. It is used extensively by the prophets, and makes prominent the idea of a radical change in one's attitude toward sin and God. It implies a conscious, moral separation, and a personal decision to forsake sin and to enter into fellowship with God. It is employed extensively with reference to man's turning away from sin to righteousness.

"In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 3:1,2

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:5,6

"So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God." mark 6:12

As these verses show, repentance was the theme of John, Jesus and his disciples.

Jesus also said, "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:32
He didn't come to call those who thought they were good and doing alright. These people don't think they need to repent so how could they answer the call?  

"Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." Luke 13:5

If we never repent of our sins - we will not be saved. We will perish, Jesus says. Not that he wants us to, but we will not be safe to take to heaven for we will not be one with God and we will bring a love of sin to heaven with us.

"Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”Ezekiel 18:32

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

True & Better.

I first saw a link to this video on a blog called: Been Thinking, by Mart De Haan. I thought it was so wonderful I wanted to share it here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Joy in the Paths of God.

Valley in Europe

"How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion! Passing through the Valley of Weeping they make it a spring; The early rain also covers it with blessings. They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion."
Psalm 84:5

When I read the Psalms, I put myself in them. I will admit, I don't put myself in the parts about vengance or enemies. But the happy parts of the Psalms help me so much.

I do feel happy I can go to God for strength. I need his strength so badly. Life would just be too much for me without Him.

In my heart is a highway to Zion. I long for heaven - to me it feels like that is my real, true life. 

I have passed through the Valley of Weeping. God does make the rain into refreshing springs. I'm sure there will be more weeping before I die or Jesus returns, but I trust in the Lord to refresh me and dry my tears.

I do go from strength to strength. As long as I live for God, he will lead me higher and higher. My faith will get stronger as I know him more.

One day I will appear before God in Zion! What a wonderous and beautiful thought. Thank you God for the hope of glory you have offered to all people. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Rechabites.

"This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, 'Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?' declares the LORD. Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather's command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.

Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, "Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors." But you have not paid attention or listened to me.

The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.' Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.' Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.'"   Jeremiah 35:13

Rechabites are the descendants of Rechab through Jonadab or Jehonadab. They belonged to the Kenites who accompanied the children of Israel into the holy land, and dwelt among them. Moses married a Kenite wife, and Jael was the wife of "Heber the Kenite". Saul also showed kindness to the Kenites. The main body of the Kenites dwelt in cities, and adopted settled habits of life; but Jehonadab forbade his descendants to drink wine or to live in cities. They were commanded to lead always a nomad life. They adhered to the law laid down by Jonadab, and were noted for their fidelity to the old-established custom of their family in the days of Jeremiah; and this feature of their character is referred to by God for the purpose of giving point to his message to Judah.
In 1839 the Reverend Joseph Wolff, who later went to Bokhara to attempt to save Lieutenant Colonel Charles Stoddart and Captain Arthur Conolly, found inYemen, near Sana'a, a tribe claiming to be descendants of Jehonadab; and in the late nineteenth century a Bedouin tribe was found near the Dead Sea who also professed to be descendants of Jehonadab.     

God compares the actions of the Rechabites to the Jews. They obeyed their earthly father but Israel would not obey their God. God then recognizes and rewards the Rechabites and tells them they will always have descendants to worship him. God appreciates the attitude of these people and praises them before all Israel. May we all be like them in obedience to God.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hard Hearts.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26

One day Jesus was in the synagogue when a man walked in who had a diseased hand. Jesus asked the man to stand up and he then asked the asked the leaders of the church, "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?" But they didn't answer him.

Jesus looked on them with "...anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts." He then healed the man and the Pharisees took counsel with the Herodians on how they might kill Jesus. Mark 3:1-6

",,,this is a heart hardened by sin, and confirmed in it; destitute of spiritual life and motion; senseless and stupid, stubborn and inflexible; on which no impressions are made; and which remains hard and impenitent: now this is in "the flesh", in corrupt nature; and this hardness of heart is natural to men; and all who have it are after the flesh, or are carnal; and it requires omnipotence to remove it; it cannot be taken out by men of themselves: nor by ministers of the word; nor by the bare mercies and judgments of God; but by the powerful and efficacious grace of God; giving repentance unto life; working faith in the soul, to look to a crucified Christ; and shedding abroad the love of God in the heart, which softens and melts it; all which is done by the Spirit, and frequently by means of the word."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Jesus was grieved (heartache, sorrow, sad) and angry (offended, indignant) at the response of the Pharisees. I like the way the Pulpit Commentary explains Jesus' anger.

He looked round about on them with anger. He was indignant at their blindness of heart, and their unbelief, which led them to attack the miracles of mercy wrought by him on the Sabbath day as though they were a violation of the law of the Sabbath. We see here how plainly there were in Christ the passions and affections common to the human nature, only restrained and subordinated to reason. Hero is the difference between the anger of fallen man and the anger of the sinless One. With fallen man, auger is the desire of retaliating, of punishing those by whom you consider yourself unjustly treated. Hence, in other men, anger springs from self-love; in Christ it sprang from the love of God. He loved God above all things; hence he was distressed and irritated on account of the wrongs done to God by sins and sinners. So that his anger was a righteous zeal for the honour of God; and hence it was mingled with grief, because, in their blindness and obstinacy, they would not acknowledge him to be the Messiah, but misrepresented his kindnesses wrought on the sick on the sabbath day, and found fault with them as evil. Thus our Lord, by showing grief and sorrow, makes it plain that his anger did not spring from the desire of revenge. He was indeed angry at the sin, while he grieved over and with the sinners, as those whom he loved, and for whose sake he came into the world that he might redeem and save them. 
Pulpit Commentary

I remember when I was a young woman and first read Ezekiel 36:26. I started praying God would take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. This verse still comes to me and I still pray for a soft heart. I know I need a new heart from God every day or my soft heart will harden.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pure Religion.

"A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27

Orphans and widows were the neediest people in ancient times. They had no man to provide for them and if their families did not help then they would be in real trouble. 

"With minimal, if any, inheritance rights, she was often in a "no-man's land." She had left her family, and with her husband's death the bond between her and his family was tenuous. ...Nonetheless, the loss of a husband in ancient Israel was normally a social and economic tragedy. In a generally patriarchal culture, the death of a husband usually meant a type of cultural death as well. Although the denotation of widow referred to a woman whose husband had died, because of the social context the word quickly acquired the connotation of a person living a marginal existence in extreme poverty.

Our belief in God should move us to help the suffering and needy wherever we see them. There are many agencies where we can donate money to help the poor. visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction; and not only to see them, and speak a word of comfort to them, but to communicate to them, and supply their wants, as they may require, and according to the ability God has given: where there is true religion in the heart, there is love to God; and where there is love to God, there is love to the saints; and this will show itself to them, in times of affliction and distress; and where this is wanting, religion itself is not pure and undefiled.

...and to keep himself unspotted from the world: from the men of the world, who defile by their evil communications; and "from the vices of the world", as the Arabic version renders it, which are of a defiling nature; and, where religion is in its power and purity, and the Gospel of the grace of God comes with efficacy, it teaches to separate from the rest of the world, and to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly.

I do feel "spotted" or defiled by evil communications, as Gill wrote. I got a biography from the library but the author used Jesus name as a swear word and I felt bad so quit reading it. If I watched a TV show and the jokes were about sex, I felt defiled. People hopping in and out of bed is so common on TV now and that left me feeling defiled. Also, if there was a bad guy in a show then I was hoping someone would shoot him! Yep, I'm giving up on TV.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


I recently read an article about Barnabas which made me appreciate him.

 We first meet Barnabas in Acts 4:36 - "Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means "son of encouragement")."

As Jesus renamed Simon to Peter, the apostles changed Joseph's name to Barnabas. He must have been a great encouragement to all since that is the meaning of his new name.

His first action we read about is that he sold a field which he owned and brought the money and laid it at the apostle's feet.

When Saul was converted, he went to Jerusalem to meet the believers, "When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple." 

But one person did believe Saul: Barnabas. "But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus." Acts 9:27 And what was the result? "So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord."

Barnabas was an encouragement to Saul and helped him be accepted into the church he once persecuted. Without him, Saul would have been turned away.

Some Christians had gone to Antioch and preached Jesus. Many believed, and the church sent Barnabas to investigate. "When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord." Acts 11.

"Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch."

He went with Paul to Jerusalem, taking with them gifts of money to help the poor and hungry there. Acts 11:30 He became a missionary with Paul by God's command: One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them." Acts 13:2

Along with Paul, Barnabas did not make his living from the church. They earned their own money making tents. "Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working?" 1Corinthians 9:6

On another missionary trip, Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them but:
"Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord." Acts 15:38-40

Barnabas wanted to give Mark another chance to work for the Lord. Just as he couldn't turn Saul away, he couldn't turn his back on Mark. Paul disagreed, so Barnabas, a "son of encouragement" left Paul and  went with Mark. And this Mark is the one who later wrote one of the gospels in the New Testament. 

From the article and Bible study, I learned how important Barnabas was to the new church. I love his character, his vitality, his willingness to help Paul and Mark. He was called by God "a good man, full of the Holy Spirit." Wow. What a wonderful thing for God to say about you!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The More You Hear - The More You Grow.

Jesus said, "Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given--and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them."  Mark 4:24-25

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Take heed what you hear: diligently attend to it, seek to understand it, and lay it up in your minds and memories, that it may be of use to you in time to come, and you may be useful in communicating it to others. 
"With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you"; a common proverb among the Jews, used on various occasions, and to different purposes; See Gill on Matthew 7:2. Here it seems to intimate, that if the disciples carefully hearkened to what they heard from Christ, and studiously labored to understand it, and faithfully dispensed it to others, in return, a larger measure, and greater degree of spiritual knowledge, would be bestowed upon them: for it follows, and 
"...unto you that hear, shall more be given"; that is, that hear so as to understand, keep, and make a good use of what they hear, more shall be communicated to them; they shall have an increase of knowledge in the doctrines of grace, and mysteries of the Gospel. 

What do we hear? What do we listen to? Compare the hours you spend watching TV to spending with God in study and prayer. Who wins? 

For me it was the TV. But I heard a sermon by Jeff Miller . He said the disciples gave up everything to follow Jesus. Everything. Then Jim asked, "What does God want you to give up? He asks everyone to give up something." I thought and prayed about it and felt that television was something i should not watch unless it was a nature show or documentary etc. I've been watching shows that have violence and sex in them. I figured it was wrong, but I didn't think it was a big deal until last night. I was convicted these shows were bad for me. My family watches these shows together - so I'll be on the outside - but that's okay.

My sister says she will play a few games with me each evening and that will be great. She understands why I'm giving up on fiction shows. I have been spending more time with God lately and this will give me even more time. Naturally, I have some favorite shows to turn away from, but I know God will fill the void with great and good things.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wake Up, Johah!

The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are."

But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish.

Sermons on Biblical Characters
by Clovis G. Chappell

"So Jonah turned his back on his duty and turned his back on God. He took a ship bound for Tarshish and went to sleep. Surely his situation is critical indeed. But though he as forgotten God, God, in his mercy, has not forgotten him. God still loves Jonah, still longs for him and still hopes for him. And so in mercy God sends a storm after him. That was dangerous cargo the ship had on board. Better to have been gasoline or TNT than a rebellious prophet.

"Let us thank God for the storms that rouse us, that wake us up, that keep us from sleeping our way into the pit. May the Lord send us any kind of storm rather than allow us to fling ourselves eternally away from his presence. I am so glad God will never allow a man to go comfortably and peacefully to eternal death. He never allows any man to be lost until he has done his best to save him."

It is hard to be thankful for the storms in our lives - but it is these storms that either bring us to God or keep us close to God. So, I'm thankful for the storms.