Tag Archives: Reading the Bible

Priority of the Heart

Do you have trouble prioritizing? Do you feel that you are going in circles without a door to get out and move forward? The book of Proverbs offers you direct instruction from God how to stay on the path that will get you somewhere.

Proverbs chapter 4, verse 23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.”

That is very clear, isn’t it? First things first: guard your heart. Everything else you do is going to be affected by what is in your heart.

How do you guard your heart? Obviously, we can do this, or God would not have told us to do it.  Here are some tips:

1. Give your heart to Jesus, God the Son, for safe keeping. He died for you, to pay the price for your sin and give you eternal life, and He rose from being dead to prove that death is defeated. He is with God the Father now, praying for you. Who is better to keep your heart safe?

2. Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and don’t try to figure everything out. See Proverbs 3:5  When you are constantly analyzing your thoughts and emotions, and other people’s thoughts and emotions looking for what they mean, you will only get snarled up and confused.  Apart from the Lord, emotions reflect only circumstances, and circumstances change constantly. God never changes. His ways are consistent with everything He says.

3. Let your heart be open to new input from the Word of God and learn to hear His voice this way. When you read scripture, listen with all your heart to what the Lord is saying. Our minds can be closed to new insights because we have been taught certain things, but God wants us to hear Him with our spirits. The way to do this is to keep an open heart. Then ask God to apply what you hear to your mind and your daily life.

4. To guard your heart from evil influence, regularly put on the whole armor of God. See Ephesians 6:10-18

Now, you are walking in the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23 and guarding your heart as best you know how. Now rest in the truth that your Lord and your God takes full responsibility for every step you take today  as you have placed yourself in His care. Your priorities are in order!

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Above All Powers

God is above all creation, visible and invisible.

He created us for Himself, and what He is willing to share with us is more than we can think, describe, or even imagine. 

Because we cannot obey or do what God wants by our own volition, which is the perfect way to live, God the Father sent God the Son to pay the penalty for our sin. The result is to be restored to knowing what God wants and receive His blessing and eternal life with Him. To receive this, we need only to confess our desire turn away from the sin we know controls us and accept what Christ, the Son of God, has done to save us.

We cannot know know all the ways and thoughts of God, but He has given us this one Way which opens up the gate to new life.  Everyone wants to know God. So He opened up the Way in Jesus Christ, His Son. Our new life in Him is spiritual, for we receive it by faith, not by sight. However, all of this new life is made known in us by the mighty power of God in us that manifests in our physical life and brings glory to Him.

While we live life in the physical, we may still sin against God, even though we know Him and love Him in our hearts. Our desire may be to obey Him, but until we accept that every minute detail of life must be placed on the altar before God, we will still be confused and do what is against Him. Very often, we accept the wickedness of man ahead of the righteousness of God and go with people instead of the Everlasting One who save us.

How do we do this wrong? Any time we defend what we know is a lie, or not God’s will, we participate in that lie.  An example is something we know that we know from reading God’s Word that God hates, such as pride. Yet there may be someone in this world, or even passed away from this world whom we defend as righteous when that person is not speaking truth and we know it. Then we are cut off from God. Isaiah 59 says He hears us, but there is nothing He can do for us until we repent and put Him above all. First. 

We can never assume that someone’s so-called right motives make it right to defend a certain position. Only God knows what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, He must judge, and not we ourselves. We must seek Him in every thought: what is your justice in this matter, Lord?

In the end, God will prevail. Let us seek Him first and obey Him and never look at another point of view. Let us embrace Him in peace.

In Jesus’ Name.

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Understanding God’s Word

The Bible, Word of God, Scripture – whatever you choose to call His book – is God speaking to you personally. He has a lot to say, so He gave His words to men to write down. Because God is God, His Word is like Him. It doesn’t change, and it never fails. It has power to accomplish everything for which He sends it forth. Everything He has said is as relevant today as when Moses began writing down the books of the law. God’s hand has guided the hands of countless scribes through the centuries, including present day translators and printers to keep His Word intact. 

We can partially understand God’s Word with our minds, but if you think about it, don’t you want to receive more from your reading than intellectual assumptions? Have you not learned that your mind often slips a gear when you are reading something, and you can totally miss the point? It’s like trying to understand math that the teacher hasn’t explained to you yet. 

Here is how to understand God’s Word: the Holy Spirit will explain it to you. He will help your mind accept the faith in your spirit has that the word you read is true. The Word itself is living; God’s expression of Himself to you, so that you can have all the information and understanding and power you need to live a godly life and do great things that need doing.

The Spirit of God dwells within all true followers of Jesus Christ. He, the Spirit,  interprets the Word to you. James 1:21-22 says to receive the word implanted and be doers of it, that is; doers of what it says to do. This includes believing God’s promises as well as the practical things like helping widows and orphans.

Right now, take five minutes to go to a private place and open God’s Word.( If you don’t have a Bible with you today, then print this post. Short passages from the Bible are included at the end, and you can use those.) Read a portion of scripture, keeping verses in their complete context or thought. Write down, without actually quoting the passage, what you think it is saying. Make a note to yourself about what you thinkit means after reading it alone. Now, your are going to read it again, but first, be quiet. Shut your mind off to every clamor! Ask the Holy Spirit to read the scripture through you and to you, and ask Him to open your spiritual ears and eyes for comprehension of the truth.  As He reads through your physical eyes, you speak the words aloud. Your mind will hear the words from what the Spirit of God is speaking through you. Now write down what you heard. Is there a difference from what you first wrote?

God’s Word is always fresh and new. You may read the same scriptures tomorrow in the power of the Holy Spirit instead of your intellect, and you will find more in them than today. 

Lord God, bless these readers with new life in Christ; more of You, as they exercise their spirits by your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ mighty Name, Amen!

Hebrews 4:12-16 The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.  There is nothing that can be hid from God; everything in all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes. And it is to him that we must all give an account of ourselves.  Let us, then, hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we have a great High Priest who has gone into the very presence of God—Jesus, the Son of God.  Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin.  Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it. 

Colossians 3:16-17  Christ’s message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts. Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.

I John 2:27  But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, you do not need anyone to teach you. For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit’s teaching, then, and remain in union with Christ. 

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Living In Christ

According to the scriptures, to live in Christ is the opposite of living “in the world.” Hmmm. Anyone confused by that? Since we are living on planet Earth, don’t we have to live in the world even if we are Christians? Aren’t we going to have to compromise somewhere, sometime? We know the world is full of wickedness. We know we are going to run into evil pretty much every day – or it will run into us.

Did Jesus live in the world without compromising? Yes, he did. He came as and remained as the sinless, spotless Lamb of God throughout his life, and on the cross. How else would he be able to bear the sin of the whole world when the Father placed it upon him, to be our sacrifice for our sin, for all time? He had to be perfect. The tiniest compromise would have made him imperfect, and unavailable for God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Only God himself could complete that plan, so he sent his Son.

When I listen to God’s plan to save us with my spirit, I get it, praise the Lord. If I listen with my mind only, it’s just a big boggle. Knowng this makes it clear why speaking the gospel to unbelievers must be baptized in prayer, asking God to reveal the truth to them. Well, that’s off the main point of this blog post; consider it a free point!

To live in Christ requires Christ living in us. Yes? You agree? When we are saved, the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ, literally moves in and takes up residence in our hearts. One way we recognize his presence is that now we can understand the Bible and it is definitely living and active in us. The Holy Spirit teaches us and comforts us and speaks to us whatever he hears the Father saying. We can ask for information and listen to the Spirit of God for an answer. He lives in us so we can live in Christ.

What about compromises; that is, living with one foot in the world? Suggestion: read the epistle of First John, toward the end of the New Testament. There is great wisdom in that book about not compromising, and the consequences if we do. It explains how to know which people are truly in Christ, and who is not in Christ.That is good help for forming relationships among people, because if you hang out with the wrong people, you will certainly compromise with evil to maintain those loyalties. Those people can be your own family members, and then you need to get more of Jesus living through you to handle being with them but not compromise with them. Some people go to jobs every day where there is enormous temptation to compromise Christ to fit in. It can get scary.

Christ is perfect. If we knowingly compromise on any little thing, we are shutting him out. If we sin unknowingly, he will lead us to repentance, because he does not want us to be alienated from himself in any way. God will provide new strength every time a temptation arises to act like antichrist to fit in to this world. We have the ability to discipline thoughts so that every one is filtered through the eyes of God. This discipline comes about by learning God’s Word, the Bible, and prayer. If you can make the effort to turn on the television, you can make the effort to turn it off and open your Bible instead.

We abide in Christ by the power of his own Holy Spirit living inside of us. The power of his Word opens our minds and hearts to know truth from lies; light from darkness. We can practice knowing God’s presence at all times. It does take practice, but why would anyone who has come to know the Lord not want to get as close with him as possible, despite our living conditions? We can live in God’s heavenly kingdom, right here on earth. He says so. Remember the Lords Prayer? “Your kingdom come; your will be done . . . on earth as it is in heaven. Right here and right now.

John 16:22: And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
23: And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
24: Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
25: These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.
26: At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
27: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
28: I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
29: His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.
30: Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
31: Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?
32: Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
33: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

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