Tag Archives: Word of God

Where Is Babylon?

God knows and teaches us that our best manner of life comes from him, and not from ourselves. He says that when we trust him with all our hearts and don’t lean on our own understanding, he takes care of keeping us straight, so that we always go the right direction.

This morning, I am watching a news program broadcast from the new One World Trade Center observation deck. The similarities between this place and a place in the Bible struck me immediately, especially when it was revealed that every visitor is greeted in their own language. There are several declarations that this building is a victory over evil. I understand the feeling, but I know it is dangerous and foolish. Man does not overcome evil with pride. Man overcomes evil with good. And we know that we know; only God is good all the time. Only God can provide lasting victory over evil, and he has done this by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to overcome death and overcome the world. Our faith must be in him.

Genesis 11:1-9
At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.
They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”
But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”
In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.

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Seeking Wisdom?

“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!” Psalm 111:10

“”Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7

‘If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.”  James 1:5-6

When we concede to God in all things, acknowledging him before any other consideration, he says, this is where wisdom comes from. We must trust God and only God in this matter. There are no alternatives.

Examine the world around you. What is taken for wisdom in the world will be proved to be foolishness instead. For example, you may know someone who stockpiles groceries and household items. They firmly believe they are saving money wisely by buying up all the “deals” in the stores and storing most of what is bought because it cannot all be used immediately. Think of what could happen to the stored items. Fire, flood, wind, theft, moth, rust, and corruption! Foods expire and paper products get damp and moldy. Fourteen bottles of shampoo are a waste of money, even if they were only 25 cents apiece, ($3.50)  if your hair falls out from sickness.  God has promised to provide everything we need for daily life. He will keep this promise faithfully; when we trust him to do it, then we are wise. If we look at someone’s stockpile and think, “I need one of those,” because we fear we will run out of these things, then we are not trusting the Lord.

Fear of the LORD, that is, trusting him completely in all things, is the foundation for wisdom. Jesus Christ is the Rock of our salvation, and we build upward from him. Read Luke 7:46-49. The storms of life cannot shake the Lord. The storms of life easily wipe out what is made by men.

Fools despise wisdom and discipline. It takes discipline to be able to trust God completely. He will bring you through each test to success, but you have to believe he is doing it! Wavering back and forth between what you know the Lord says and what the world around you is saying will just make it harder to get through. Double-mindedness causes more storm tossing.

To know what God is saying about a subject, search the scriptures. Be patient! Even if  your mind is in a turmoil today, listen as you read with your heart, and the Lord will lead you to the truth. Reminder – the scripture in James chapter one says to ASK our very, very, very generous God for wisdom, and he will give it to you. He wants to give it to you.

Thank you, Father God, for your generosity and gifts of wisdom. Thank you for teaching me right disciplines to operate in your wisdom and never be swept away by foolishness again. Bless all who read this now with a desire to trust you completely and seek you today, in Jesus’ Name.

 

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How to Handle Snakes

A small child found a snake in some tall grass. It was lying still, quiet in the sun. The child didn’t know anything about snakes, and he was very interested in seeing one so very close up. He decided to pick it up and look it over. Now, this particular snake was not poisonous, but when the child picked it up, it immediately bit him and then slithered out of his grasp and away across the grassy field. The child screamed. His daddy was close by and came to him. The child kept screaming and screaming and his daddy could not even hold him. “It bit me! It bit ME!” the child screamed, as he writhed and kicked and turned red from anger and hurt. “I HATE it!” His daddy could do nothing for him in that rebellious state. Finally, after several minutes, the child wore out from screaming and then his daddy took him in his arms and examined the bite mark, which had not even broken the skin, and then he quietly carried the child to their house. They sat down in a rocking chair on the porch, and the daddy rocked and rocked the child until he was calm. Then they just sat there together, the father holding the son, resting together.

The next day, the daddy took the child to a book store and they bought a book about all the creatures who live in grass and pond and ground. Each day they studied the book until the little boy understood the ways of small creatures, and how they protect themselves. He learned about being safe around wild things. He learned that it is always safest to ask his daddy first before picking up something he does not know about yet. And he learned many other things as well, for after they read together, the daddy would speak to him about many other things, teaching him his own wisdom.

No matter where we go in this world, we will find snakes in the grass. Some will be poisonous, and some harmless. Before we pick one up, we should know how to handle it so that it is not afraid and does not bite.

Have you listened to your Heavenly Father today, learning his wisdom? Are you able to discern the manner of creature you see in the grass upon which you walk?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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Worshiping God Together

Nehemiah 8:10 “This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

May I recommend that you read the entire book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament of the Bible, and especially chew on chapter 8. The context of the verse quoted above is instructive! The people of Israel had been hearing the Law of God read aloud to them and a group of them called the Levites also explained what they were hearing. These people had been reunited in Jerusalem and the surrounding area after long years of captivity away and were only re-discovering God’s Word. They were astounded and awed. His Word resonated in their hearts and minds and later in the book you will read that they vowed to follow the law and be blessed by God.

Chapter 8 gives us a nice pattern for meeting together to meet with God and give Him our complete attention.  There are five specific steps included, whcih we can easily follow in our church meetings today. The guidelines are simple! God always makes things simple to understand, even how we can have unity and worship Him!

1. A time of praise. The people stood, with their hands lifted, offering praise to God. The book doesn’t say that they sang, but as singers were an integral segment of Temple staff, singing and music could certainly be included.

2. There was a time of worship. The people bowed low to the ground and offered their complete selves to God in worship. There was no lolling around in easy chairs presuming equality living room time with God for this kind of serious worship. Purposeful reverence required involvement of body, mind and spirit all reverently bowed before the Lord their God.  More than likely, the people were also dressed in their very best garments. God deserves our first and best of everything.

3. Next came a time of preaching. The Levites, God’s appointed priests to the people explained the Word of God.

4. Following the preaching came a time of repenting. The Word of God entered into the hearts of the people and revealed what they needed to do to be right with God and they did this immediately.

5. Finally, a time of celebration. The people were told to feast and share what they had with people who did not have anything prepared. This precedent deserves much meditation by all believers!  Today, as Christ commanded we remember Him,  we would most certainly include the Lord’s supper, or communion following the time of repentance. Many millions of people in the world come to communion unprepared. They do not understand any of the Lord’s commandments regarding the bread and the cup, and so they take it unworthily, thus sinning against the Lord.  All you who do know what the Lord has said and follow Him in truth have the right and the obligation to prepare others.  Recommended reading further on this:

I John 5:13-21, 2 John

Being prepared to celebrate Christ and being forgiven of sin means that you must know and receive the truth that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, that he came to earth to die for the sins of all, and that he rose from the dead.  Review the pattern given to us in Nehemiah, practice it for yourself, and you will find that the Lord will raise you up to bring others in!

God bless you with His mighty joy as you worship God today.

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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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The Voice of God

Psalm 29 describes what can happen when God’s voice sounds over creation.  His voice echoes thunderously over the sea. His voice splits trees and mountains skip out of the way, His voice strikes with lightning bolts and makes the desert shake and quake. His voice twists mighty trees and strips entire forests bare.

You can see that King David, as he wrote this Psalm, is comparing hearing the voice of God to the power in lightning, raging seas, earthquakes,  and tornadoes. The voice of God is filled with power and majesty and greater than all these events put together. Think of the power of a tsunami. Everything in its path is washed out in the moment of its arrival, and nothing escapes. God’s voice is even greater.

Because God can speak and everything he made by his word can also be unmade,  consider his awesome mercy to us. Jesus Christ the only begotten son of God  is the word of God come to live with us and save us from the wrath of God. Jesus paid for out sin that separated us from God with his own body, giving himself up to death in the ultimate sacrifice. Then he rose from the dead even defeating death itself and to all who believe he offers his eternal life with him.

He puts his own spirit in us so that we can hear God right inside us and there is as much power in his still, small voice as there is in the sound that makes mountains leap aside.

He chooses us and teaches us to hear his voice and speak what we hear to the dying world so that all might be saved.

Do you desire the power and majesty of almighty God in your life? Begin to seek him in his written word, trust him to teach you, and signs and wonders shall follow. Give him honor for his glory and strength.

God rules over the floodwaters, and he rules over you. He is king forever. He gives his people strength, and he blesses them with peace. (Ps. 29:10-11)

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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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Are You In Trouble?

Our greatest defense for a troubled mind or a troubled spirit is the peace of God.

Meditate upon the Word of God to facilitate His peace to come upon you . . .

Psalm 46:10 BE SILENT AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD! I WILL BE HONORED BY EVERY NATION. I WILL BE HONORED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

Philippians 4: 4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.


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By Your Fruit Shall You Be Known

Matthew 7: 15  “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  16  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  17  A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  18  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  19  So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.  20  Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

This short passage of scripture is words that Jesus Christ spoke to His disciples while teaching them. A great crowd was also there, listening. 

Now, a couple of thousand years later, we are still a great crowd, listening. Isn’t that awesome?

Today, we also have great need to discern good people from bad people, and right teaching from wrong teaching. We need to examine ourselves, also.  To do this, we need a foundation source of truth on which to base our determination.  That source is God’s Word, the Bible, the leading of the Holy Spirit, and our submission to God in prayer. First, before we can discern what kind of fruit a person or group of people bears, we need to know what to look for.  For example, read Galations 5:19-22 –

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

The old sinful nature produces bad fruit, and the new nature we receive from Christ produces good fruit; the fruit that grows in the Holy Spirit.

By carefully examining where someone’s thoughts and actions lead them, you can know whether or not that person is of God. It is important to remember that God never changes, which means He doesn’t have opinions that change, like we do. He is who He is, and Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  So if someone asks you to believe, for example, that God has changed his mind about what He said in Romans chapter one about some things people do that are wicked in His sight, then you can know that those teachers are false and anything they do will produce bad fruit. You might not see it immediately, but you will see it. You can even ask God to reveal it, so you know right away.

The only real prophets are fully surrendered to God in Christ Jesus and do not lean on any other understanding, including their own intellect.

Do you want to rightly understand God’s Word of truth? Do you want to always produce good fruit? Good fruit is your legacy to others who come after you. When all else is swept away, your spiritual fruit remains.

Here is wisdom from the Lord, then, to set you on the path to bearing good fruit:

Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
      do not depend on your own understanding.
 
6 Seek his will in all you do,
      and he will show you which path to take.

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A Life of Decisions

In the Body of Christ, every believer and follower of Christ has the right and privilege of knowing His perfect will in every circumstance and situation. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ living inside us, will guide us into ALL TRUTH. 

Have you ever wanted to know either the history or the outcome of a particular situation? God knows these things, and he is willing to share information. Often we make our choices based on pre-judging (prejudice) or assumption because of what we see. God wants us to make choices based on faith, or what we can’t see, which is believing He knows everything, and what He knows is perfect and best. 

Nearly all the time, special knowledge from God is not needed to make a right decision. We have His written Word, the Bible, where every life issue can be weighed with the principles and commands spelled out clearly for us. The Spirit of God will always use the Word of God to teach us and make God’s perfect will clear to us. 

Here is one example of how God leads and teaches us.  We begin with some scriptures.

Genesis 2:23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.

   “This one is bone from my bone,
      and flesh from my flesh!
   She will be called ‘woman,’
      because she was taken from ‘man.’”

 24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

Ephesians 5:31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”

These two passages reveal the heart of God how marriage is ordained to work. God does not give anyone a pass on this. If you will read all of Ephesians 5, you will learn that marriage is a representation of Christ’s relationship to His Body, which is all believers. In order for Christ to be properly and truthfully demonstrated in marriage, a man must leave his parents and become one with his wife. When we became Christians, we became mysteriously joined to Christ in a relationship that the world we leave behind for that cannot understand. So it is that only the husband and wife can understand their own relationship with each other. Parents are not to be initmately involved inthat relationship, because that is not God’s plan. The book of Ephesians is greatly descriptive of how the Holy Spirit creates intimacy with believers and reveals truth. Marriage is a Spirit-led union. Any influence apart from God is impurity. Missing the mark. Sin.

Only the Hoy Spirit can bring about complete intimacy between Christ and man; between Christ and the church while we remain on this earth. When we get to heaven, then we shall know even as we are already known by God. I Corinthians 13 11-12 says, When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Here are questions for you to ponder today: do you want to know God intimately or partially? Do you want to live in truth? 

There is a way you can begin to unravel how your life has gone so far, and set the order for a right future. Make three columns on paper. In the first column, wirte down every major decision you have every made in a list. Leave lots of room between. In the second column, next to each listed decision, write down how that decision turned out. Good, bad, indifferent, or maybe you have never figured it out totally.  In the third column, write what God says about your decision. At the right of this blog, there is a link to Bible Gateway where you can research many Bible translations, topics, and commentaries. This third column will take some time. You are encouraged to completely finish this task.

Decisions based on truth will shine like heavenly lights. Praise and thank God for those! 

Decisions based on personal prejudice or wrong teaching from your past require cleansing. Seek the Lord for forgiveness and surrender yourself to His leading for what to do about these things. He will lead you into real truth that you can believe wholeheartedly. He will lead you into a right future.

Sometimes we have based new decisions on old bad decisions. We think the new choices will fix the old ones, or make them better. This can make getting at the truth involved and tricky. However, if you will rely on God, surrendering to the teaching and power of the Holy Spirit, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32) Then you can finish up the good work God has begun in you! 

Philippians 1:6 (New Living Translation) ” And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Have a great day in the Lord!

 

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