Tuesday, February 28, 2017

WORD OF LIFE, PART 6: THE DIVINE HOOK

THE GREAT CHRISTIAN PLAYWRIGHT WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AND THE HEBREW LETTER "VAV"
The great Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare, was known for the greatest plays ever written in history. What is interesting about the timeless masterpieces he wrote is that all his major work were inspired by the Bible! It is a very little known fact.  Over 30 years, as Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar etc, we can grasp the biblical imagery of the timeless words and quotes which are still used today, even in regular conversation! Many of us can quote "Romeo, oh Romeo....." or "Friends, Romans, countrymen"....or "to Be or not to Be, that is the question". There are hundreds of those in books, on websites and more all over the world. 

But the one that intrigues the most is this quote, written by Shakepeare's hand in his last will and testament: "In the name of God, Amen. I, William Shakespeare..., in perfect health and memory, God be praised, do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following. That is to say, first, I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting, and my body to the earth whereof it is made." (Charles Knight, James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps Martin, Johnson, (1851). The Complete Works of Shakespeare, from the Original Text: Life of Shakespeare. p. LIII and Robert Nye (2013), The Late Mr. Shakespeare. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., Ch. 96).
William Shakespeare

This most definitely appears to be testimonial of a man who is assured of eternal life in heaven, through Christ the King. Raised in the church of England, the official state religion under Queen Elizabeth 1, Shakespeare eventually graduated to being a student of the Geneva Bible, the great Bible of the Protestant Reformation. He was also grounded in his church's Book of Common Prayer, a wonderful inspiring collection of worship prayers to our God. 

Shakespeare lived in a time where going to church was mandatory and while he was a bit of a rebel, his spiritual life shines through all his plays, none more so than "As You Like It" with its numerous Gospel references and themes between the lines. Just this one quote from As You Like it by "Orlando" comes out of three Bible passages! Shakespeare says ""He that doth the ravens feed, / Yea, providently caters for the sparrow, / Be comfort to my age."  The three passages are Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9; Matthew 10:29)

My favorite Shakespeare quote is from one of the plays we had to memorize in high school over forty years ago (from Julius Caesar). In it, Shakespeare writes "There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures".

There are so many Bible passages which can back fill this quote, but my favorite can be found in our continuing Psalm 119 study. Psalm 119:41-48, our next portion of this amazing psalm is under the 6th letter of the Hebrew Alphabet "VAV". The word "Vav" has meaning which cannot be fully grasped by mere mortals. It first appears as "and" (as in "heavens AND the earth") in Genesis 1:1 where this word, is written as only ONE letter, in the original paleo Hebrew. Basically, here we see the link or hook between Him and man. Vav means hook as in the hook, which God told Moses to use as pegs or hooks for the desert Tabernacle. He says so also in Exodus 27:9-10: “You shall make the court of the tabernacle. On the south side the court shall have hangings of fine twined linen a hundred cubits long for one side. Its twenty pillars and their twenty bases shall be of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver."

The verses which fall under this title - Vav or the 6th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, testify to that great connection or divine "hook" which we all have. This sixth element is the connection which glorifies the God of our salvation in Verse 41, to where He then gives us courage and boldness to stand on His Word, and then share. As Shakespeare says in the above quote, speaking of the opportunity to do something or have it "taken at the flood", we can produce much fruit (verse 42). 

If we seize the opportunity and never neglect to take every chance we get to love God,  to seek and pursue Him, we then get to know Him better, through the Power of His Word (verses 43-44). This way, we can not only walk in complete freedom but our hearts will be flooded with an abundance of joy and peace. As we go out into the deep seas of life successfully thriving and impacting lives, we will never be ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation (verses 45-47) and will therefore, sing His praises forever (verse 48). Is there another way to live? No. Then, in light of this, let us proceed to get out of the shallow water and swim into the deep waters, where great opportunity and spiritual prosperity reside. This is the divine connection, hook if you will, which the Lord offers us in His Word. Amen

Psalm 119:41-48
Vav.
41  May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O Lord, Your salvation according to Your word;
42  So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word.
43  And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I wait for Your ordinances.
44  So I will keep Your law continually, forever and ever.
45 And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts.
46 I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed.
47 I shall delight in Your commandments, which I love.
48 And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Your statutes.

Friday, February 24, 2017

WORD OF LIFE, PART 5: FORTIFIED BY THE WORD

Maybe you have been in an extremely tempting situation, where one more step on your part will lead your life, your family, your career and more over cliff. Similarly, you may have been faced with what looked like a “can’t miss” opportunity. In fact, it looked so good, or he or she looked so good, that you incorrectly think “God wants me to have a good time” or “I can really score big here and not have to work so hard”! Each time, we ignore the very Spirit  of God, Who is sometimes shoved aside as we go our own merry way, thinking we have free will and reign to do as we please.

Each time, we are dead wrong and our conscience knows it. In the first example of temptation, if we turn around and flee at the crucial “moment of truth”, then our integrity remains intact….not to mention our testimony and peace of mind. Each time, for the Christian, it is the word of God which rescues us. We are told to “flee immorality”. James – who grew up in the same household as his half- brother – the Lord Jesus Christ – warns us to “resist the devil and he will flee from us”.  “One little word shall fell him (the devil) and that word is – JESUS!
In Psalm 119:33-40, we read:
Psalm 119:33-40
He (pronouced "Hay")
33  Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall observe it to the end.
34  Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
And keep it with all my heart.
35  Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36  Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to dishonest gain.
37  Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.
38  Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.
39  Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your ordinances are good.
40  Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness.

Something actually happens to us when we are put under the enemy's weapons of sin - we sometimes either panic spiritually or feel abandoned. If you are honest with yourself, you will know this is the truth. So what can the righteous do in this case? We actually need to double down and hunker down in our Mighty Fortress, Who is our God! We can protect our flanks like the ancient Roman soldiers, not just from sexual sin by literally running from it, but thinking globally. This is not global thinking in the sense of a secular global agenda, but a going outside of the immediate oppression from the enemy of sexual sin or lust and bringing to mind the other sins of greed, covetousness and other such arrows from the pit which have the potential to be fired at us. We gather all that can cause us to fall, in full knowledge of how destructive they are. Then we seek God in the most strategic way possible (verses 33-34).

This is what verse 35 tells us! The Word here calls for God to bring His truths and commands to full consciousness so we can bring all this spiritual attack under that umbrella and defeat it mightily, But note that this defeat is not only for the sake of defeat. God created a purpose for defeating sin, as Defeat becomes Delight!

Delight leads to our spiritual heart leaning to the right side of the ledger and we see bright clear daylight (verse 36). The clarity of the cleansing power of His Word averts our eyes from the morass of the mundane to the miracles of the Mighty one. He has turned our eyes from seeing death and darkness to a revival of the Spirit in anticipation of an exploding, over abundant joy which the heart cannot contain (verse 37)! 


The exuberance which cometh from being fortified by His Word, accompanied by the oil of joy, reminds us (if we are completely in sync with God) that He is not just worthy to be praised but deserving of our respect and reverence. He is God Eternal, wise and powerful (verse 38) and everything in us should require wonder and worship of He Who sits on the Throne.

In troubled times of spiritual oppression, we are able to defeat the enemy by His Spirit and the Word of God. This is our defense. We shall not be moved or hurt if we are armored up and protected on all sides by the Word and Wonder and Will of God - if we obey Him and do not fall short into reproach (verse 39). 

The letter under which this portion of Psalm 119 falls under is "HE" ...pronounced "Hay or Hey". In Biblical Hebrew, this signifies "breath" - i.e. the very Breath of God. It is used several times in the Creation account from Genesis chapters 1 and 2. It is also used for the words "light" as in Genesis 1:3-4 ("let there be light"). It is no accident that the Lord is giving us the weaponized response to spiritual attack by naming this portion of Psalm 119 by the word "Light" as in the original "He". Yahweh is the Light (the two "H's" in Yahweh are the same letter - "He"). In Him there is found NO darkness. He has breathed His Words and commands into the human authors of the Bible so that we can understand how He uses humans to do His Will. We can choose to remain under His protection, and allow His Spirit to guide us away from darkness back to the lighted path and we can long for this (verse 40)....if we are wise. Amen.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

WORD OF LIFE, PART 4: THE REST AND RESCUE OF GOD

We have all had these seasons in life, when nothing goes right - the bills are piling in. If there are young or teenage children, just keeping them focused on the important things in life and not the culture which demands their souls and attention can be overwhelming. If you are a single parent trying to deal with work, children, child care, food on the table, homework done and a car muffler going out, sometimes life is just too much. If you're a middle-aged dad, the college bills are coming in, and no job prospects for little junior lie ahead. If you're a senior, the end of life is on the horizon ahead, and somehow life feels unfulfilled, or even empty.

So what do we do when feeling crushed, under the gun and there is no end in sight. You hear the preacher in church tell you on Sunday morning, if you can even make it to church, that "you must give it to God".....or "let God have it".....or "make Jesus the Lord of your life".... or "read the Word of God, it has the answers". As a Christian, you may know all of this is true, or could be true and you consider Jesus as Savior. You even prayed "the prayer" and accepted Christ into your life. But with all you're going through, none of it seems real. There is a disconnect. In fact, there seems to be a huge gap of reality.

Here is where the preacher is right! The Word of God DOES have all the answers. In fact the words themselves contain answers, therein. But there is a caveat and it requires something not human within us to bring deliverance and breakthrough. Do not get this wrong. It has nothing to do with "sowing a seed" or chanting a verse as you see on those TV shows on prosperity, word faith or contemplative prayer programs. These are outside the realm of the Spirit. What we are talking about here is letting loose the Spirit of Christ within us, to remove the human element of wanting to control outcomes and answers, and then allowing Him to guide us into the areas of all Truth.

This is basically what surrendering or committing your life and mine to Christ really means. The examples cited above (bills, teenage rebellion, stress, car problems, work etc.) can, do and will continue to overwhelm us. These are what daily living is all about. But it can also be about REST. This is the Rest emanating from the penumbras of the not-so-hidden Oracles of God, which is the Bible.

This Rest is saying as verse 25 below says "My soul clings to the dust"....Lord I can't take this anymore. Help me!!!" But then, we acknowledge in verse 26 that we have been doing it our way for so long, that it "ain't workin, hoss"! But Verse 26 also has something else...and it is that caveat we mentioned earlier. We realize that our way is not working and the cry for "RESCUE" is being heard!  This is surrendering to Jesus as Lord! It simply means - our ways are useless, He is Lord so now, "Jesus, God, You are MY LORD - please RESCUE ME!"

Psalm 119:25-32
Daleth
25 My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
26 I have declared my ways, and You answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
28 My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

29 Remove from me the way of lying,
And grant me Your law graciously.
30 I have chosen the way of truth;
Your judgments I have laid before me.
31 I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!
32 I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart.

And He does - every time! The problems never go away, but now, they seem bearable if we keep our Focus on Him. They are manageable if we read a portion of Psalms every day or the Gospels or 1 John. They are His because we rest in His Word and His promises. That is what Psalm 119 is all about - the Word As Life, the Word to Life and the Word OF Life, the Life of the Believer!

Resting on the Word, when we are in sackcloth and ashes like Job, in the dung heap of life, brings meditation (verse 27) and thinking about that Scripture and the Goodness of Yahweh, as you drive the long commute to work, or to drop your teenage kid to the soccer game or swim meet....or as widow going to the senior home to volunteer to help with social activities.

Resting on the Word means that even your heart is melting with sadness, sorrow and loneliness (verse 28), He will send you back to the Bible and you will find that ONE word, phrase or passage which He wrote just for you, and you realize, "God, You really do have my back!"

Resting on the Word means no more cutting corners to shade that truth to avoid embarrassment or this corner to "save time or a buck" but now, you see and FEEL His Grace lighting up the next half mile ahead for you to travel (Verses 29- 30). Because you have chosen to accept this Rest, you are now committed to this road, and thus, MORE Grace lies around the bend.

Resting on the Word means rejecting yourself as the author of your own breakthrough and answers and accepting His guidance now. Why shouldn't you? He knows the end from the beginning. He has laid out the road map to peace, joy and contentment - even in times of trouble, so let us saturate our minds DAILY with His Truth. Then watch the oil of joy flow to bring rescue and healing, so much so, that the Testimonies of your growing love and heart for God just want to burst out of our chest! These testimonies are so rich, they will lead others to this Rest and Knowledge - if we just tell them!

Jesus said in John 16:33 "in this world, you will have tribulation (troubles, all kinds of bad things happen) but BEHOLD (be of good cheer, even in horrible times), I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!!" (My emphasis and explanations in brackets are not from scripture, but interpretation). 

Therefore, go rest high - on the mountain and Word of God. Amen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WORD OF LIFE, PART 3 - THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER'S WORD

A 22 PART 21st CENTURY LOOK @ #PSALM 119
Have you ever been desperate for a touch of the “Master’s Hand”?  Do you sometimes wonder where God is, even while seeking and hoping for more and more of His Presence, His Power and His Might in your life? Sometimes He may not respond right away and we feel isolated on a small island of spiritual anxiety, in the midst of an ocean of corruption and despair. This is nothing new. Every Christian feels that way, at least once or twice in their lives and it is absolutely normal. Every strong man or woman of faith had not so much doubt, as questions. Fortunately, as we have questions, He has answers.  He is the God Who said “come let usreason together as men…
Psalm 119: 17-24 
Gimel

17  Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.
18  Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.
19  I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.
20  My soul is crushed with longing
After Your ordinances at all times.

21  You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed,
Who wander from Your commandments.
22  Take away reproach and contempt from me,
For I observe Your testimonies.
23  Even though princes sit and talk against me,
Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
24  Your testimonies also are my delight;
They are my counselors.


This portion of Psalm 119 (verses 17-24) reflects the condition of such a follower of our Great God! Holy Spirit put in the heart of the psalmist to cry out in his spiritual alienation for more Word, more revelation, more knowledge of the Holy. But as you read again, for the fourth time, even more closely, you will notice that what we have here is also an emotional condition.  While it is not severe desperation, we see the human condition of just the weight of the world coming at us in this passage and the immediate reaction to look up and cry out “Be good to Your servant!

Oh, that we would be like this ideal here. This is where the Word (the Bible) provides the road-map to a destination of true peace and joy.  Here is a person who is NOT living “under the circumstances” but with his soul and spirit resting on God Above. So naturally, he prevails!

Therefore, if the Christian can transcend horizontal and even introspective thinking, God shows us how to respond to the people and things which oppress, overwhelm or just simply beat us down. In verse 21, we can acknowledge that God resists the Proud and gives Grace to the humble. In verse 22, we are taught that we must let God handle those who persecute and hurt us, His people, because their day is coming….even if we never see it.  He Who sits in the heavens…scoffs at them because they have already eternally judged themselves deficient and lacking in standing for Judgment Day. 

Our one role (verses 23b and 24-"Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors") is to stay firmly planted in Truth. We are not just to believe the Bible or even read it from time to time but to let the Word of God be embedded in our "spirit-man" to the point where we can find the perfect bible verse for the time when the convenience store is out of our favorite candy bar!(No kidding). The Word should so invade every atom in our anatomy, that we shine with the glow of Scripture. The embedded Truth of the Bible is now our eternal and ever-present Counselor leading us to pathways of victory, joy and overcoming. The embedded Truth of the Word, at one time we viewed the commands and decrees of God only as terrifying and oppressive. Now, we love ALL of it because we know, now, from our Counselor, His Word equals true joy....and His Word brings us into the flow of a permanent and eternal vertical relationship with Him. 
Glory To His Name!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

WORD OF LIFE, PART 2 - FIGHTING FIRE WITH THE SWORD

A 22 PART 21st CENTURY LOOK @ #PSALM 119
Anyone who tells you they have never been tempted, in the worse way, to sin and knowingly cross the line, is either lying or six feet under in the graveyard. In times where up is down, wrong is right and there seems to be no red line this corrupt group alive today will apparently not disrespect.  We see it everywhere. We see young beautiful female teachers, who spend years studying, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in college fees, throw it all away for illicit lust. We see godless filthy from Hollywood that is so horrible. What they do not comprehend is fifty shades of hell….is still hell. We see institutions of education and even churches misuse their God-given privileges – and they are given by God – to misinform and corrupt God’s children under their care. They do so, under the guise of being "relevant" to the culture and do "outreach"....whatever that means.

While there is an eternal price to pay for these iniquities by the godless, there is a paradigm which stands like the Statue of Liberty before the Christian woman and man. This is one which if applied as directed, not just heals and protects us, but results in delight! Yes! Delight in your life, my life and delight in the Giver of Life – Yahweh.


The child of God already HAS the ability and is thoroughly capable of staying the course on the straight and narrow. Not just that, we can do so fearlessly and without guilt and with joy….and all this because we obeyed Malachi 2:15 (Guard our hearts).

Check this – the devil not just knows our weaknesses and deficiencies, he knows how to exploit them. If we are exposing ourselves to attack by sneaking a little sin here, and another little one there, pretty soon, he is going to set us up – big league. Even the mightiest preacher has to guard against pride, even if he does not do these things.  God tells us to hide His Word in our hearts. That means we have to not just read and comprehend but remember it!  The section of Psalm 119 which we now progress to, speaks directly to this issue, as we see here in verses 9-16:

PSALM 119:
Beth
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
10 With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.

13 With my lips I have told of
All the ordinances of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.
16 I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.

ACTIONS:
-    Note from verse 9, that righteous living can only come from living according to the BIBLE - the very living, breathing Word of God.
-    Seeking God is NOT a one time act (verse 10). The inspired writer "sought"...and kept on seeking. This is true meaning of the original language.
-    Seeking in the past as prologue, is NOT the only action the man or woman of God needs to have DONE in the past, but need to keep doing. In verse 11, we see we have had to TREASURED in the past and continue to treasure the Bible and its specific commands from Heaven, with every fiber of our being.
-    To have sought and continue to see...to have treasured and continue to regard as priceless and needfully so....bring immediate results...and will continue! In verse 14, we note that seeking and treasuring lead to REJOICING! Not just that, but it is an active joy that happened when we did the seeking and treasuring and then God guarantees that we will have joy. Not just that, but the word riches in this verse tells us the joy therein, is: oh so dear and divine!
-    Finally, because of the three actions we have just, we are in desperate need of making two significant promises and life-transforming Covenants with God. One, we promise to not just study in depth the Commands of the Commander in Chief of Heaven's Armies, but to "regard" or pay special personal attention to them (verse 15). Secondly, because we have studied and held God is such esteem, we cannot afford the sheer happiness, peace, joy and feeling of well-being we have! It is something we will never lose sight of, forget or walk away from (verse 16)!

This is how we fight the fire of temptation and evil in this world. We do so with the Bible. We do so with confidence. We do so fully backed by the verifiable true and powerful promise of God, the great Giver of Life and all things. Amen. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

WORD OF LIFE, PART 1 - THE MAN IN THE MIRROR

A 22 PART 21st CENTURY LOOK @ #PSALM 119
While the Psalms can be most definitely called the “Prayer Book of the Bible”, there is one huge Psalm (in content and size) which is so chockful of application, promises and basic Truth that should a person attempt to study or pray through it, it will require a minimum of two months. I speak from experience about Psalm 119. This amazing and longest chapter in the Bible, is not just  a “HOW-TO" but “WHAT-TO” do document on Life, Liberty in Christ and Sanctification.

Set in perfectly arranged portions, by the Holy Spirit, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is divided into twenty two parts of eight verses each. Each portion of Scripture is subtitled with each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is appropriate that this portion of such powerful psalm is under the title “ALEPH”. “Aleph” is our “A” in English. Jesus also is the “Aleph and the Tav”, or as is mentioned in Biblical Greek – The Alpha and Omega! Psalm 119 starts with eight verses under Alpha and ENDS with eight verses under Tav. Therefore following this Truth, that our Lord and Savior is the beginning and the end, let us begin this amazing journey through Psalm 119 with a complete spiritual physical, using the Word of God as our Physician, our X-Ray machine and more. 

With this in mind, we set forth on an amazing journey of Psalm 119. For the 21st century Christian, there are many ways we may approach this amazing volume of verifiable Truth. God has given us multi-faceted directions with a multi-purpose functions, to fulfill His purpose and will for our lives. However, what the Lord desires, for this current time and season, is for us to align our lives with the messages of this Psalm and then do some “home improvement”. Let us begin:
Psalm 119:1-8:
Gimel
How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the Lord.
2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.
3 They also do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.
4 You have ordained Your precepts,
That we should keep them diligently.

5 Oh that my ways may be established
To keep Your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be ashamed
When I look upon all Your commandments.
7 I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.
8 I shall keep Your statutes;
Do not forsake me utterly!

Applying this first portion of Psalm 119 is primary in getting past Verses 1 and 2.  Personal matters of the soul and character MUST be addressed and therefore, in reading Psalm 119:1-8, please look into the remotest corner of  your soul and spirit and take inventory:
- Am I walking in Integrity? If there is a short-coming (confess it and repent and get it away from you) (Psalm 119:1)
- Am I really doing what God instinctively tells me to do through Holy Spirit and His Word? (Psalm 119:2)
- Am I seeking after Him daily in prayer, Bible reading and, when possible, fellowship with the saints, in small groups or the like ?(Psalm 119:3)
- Am I allowing the world to not so much gradually change my thinking, but to take the edge of my core beliefs, so that it comes across more and more like a compromise, when we stand firm and being immovable? (Psalm 119:4)
- Am I careful about not just trying to compartmentalize sin and conduct which God really disapproves of, but we think it’s okay because we have the wrong notion of Grace? (Psalm 119:5)
- Am I the man or woman I say that I am in testimony, in my circles or on the job but a different person when I look into the mirror of my soul, according to the plumb line of Truth? (Psalm 119:6)
- Am I living and leaning on the Truth, the Promise and the Grace, Love, Mercy and compassion of God by following Him with body, mind and soul in the Power of His Word? (Psalm 119:7)
- If all of the above is in the alignment, then we are within perfect parameters to present ourselves to Him and say to Abba Father, “Lord, here I am send me!” In that way, we know that He will never give up on  us (Psalm 119:8)

These are important matters of the soul which must be addressed before proceeding prayerfully through Psalm 119. Apply this, starting today, and we are off - hitting the ground running, traveling through the most amazing 176 verses of the Bible.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

ARE YOU A BEREAN? (NOT THE ONE IN KENTUCKY)

Are you a man or woman of the Spirit? Are you a man or woman of the Truth? Are you a follower of Jesus Christ, the Creator and Savior of the World? We are not speaking of the current age run by those who are worldly, with their untested theories and notions? We speak of that which each individual, who is saved and born again with the indwelling Spirit alive inside,  knows as Truth.

The "world" we speak of, the "cosmos" is the entire package. We know that God Himself said in His revealed Word of Truth - the Bible, just WHO He is, WHO we are, WHAT we did and HOW we come back to a right relationship with Him. The Bereans were a different breed of Christian believers. They didn't have powerpoints, never-used smartphone bible apps and dusty multiple bibles on the shelf at home. They probably had one scroll which their two or three teachers could read, rolled up in receptacle as found in any Judean synagogue, and the Rabbi or newly converted Christian leader would read for them.


What distinguished them from everyone else was their Passion for the Truth, the Word of God. Their passion for rightly dividing the Word caused them to double-check every teacher with what God says to see if they were actually telling the Truth. Oh, that we would have such Christians in the West today. Oh that people would be so passionate about accuracy and the Word of God, in context, and would then seek Him out even more through prayer and supplication.


Scripture tells us thus, about these amazing small band of believers. Contrary to some of the Hebrews under persecution (in the Book of Hebrews) who were about to bolt, the Bereans studied and were encouraged. We read here in Acts 17:10-11: The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

As we embark on an expository overview of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, let us look at the attributes of a Berean, then let us look at ourselves to see if we come close to matching up to these, because these are the characteristics of a bold and knowledgeable child of God. These are the characteristics which the Lord loves to see in His children.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A BEREAN (verse 11, Acts 17):
- The Bereans were Noble-minded. This literally means, in the original language, one who has a spiritual heart and mind which was lovingly taught to think beyond the natural, and look into the higher calling and meaning of something or somebody. A high view of God equals a proper view of His Teachings and His Word. A low view of God, except of mouthing words at politically correct times, makes you and I like the lost world around us.

- The Bereans were receptive. On Judgment Day, most people outside of communist or islamic or other countries, cannot say they never heard the Gospel of Christ. There is no excuse which says "we didn't know". The Gospel has been saturating most of this world for over 300 years now. It is a free gift of Salvation to ALL who believe and receive. The Bereans not only believed, they gladly grasped the lifeline and made it their own. They accepted, with an understanding heart, that which was offered and, as the original word means, warmly welcomed it daily.

- The Bereans were eager (prothumia). In modern terms, they were "on fire for Christ" like you and I.The Bereans were not just high-minded about Yahweh, the God of Heaven and Earth AND receptive to hearing what He said, (while checking it all out for themselves), but they were eager and gung-ho about it. What the original word used in the Bible means is a complete passionate longing for the Truth. 
This spanned the spectrum from first, being prepared in their spirit to learn about God. Secondly, they had the willingness to listen and verify, to promptly acting on the preaching/teaching of the Gospel. Third, they were then ready to proclaim it with eagerness once it was heard - in their own community AND on mission! All of this is what this ONE original word "prothumia" means!

If we were on a Gospel teaching missionary trip anywhere, it would be more advantageous to have a Berean-minded person alongside us in the team. Here is someone who is passionate, knowledgeable, eager, willing and able to share the Truth, from their OWN life experience and would be more effective than just another guy or lady from your Sunday school class, who happens to be the one with the finances to pay for the trip. This is what the Apostle Paul did intentionally when he was called and sent by the Holy Spirit to Macedonia (around Greece). He brought in a Berean to travel with him: (Acts 20: And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians). Sopater continued to assist but Paul and Timothy after this trip, as he did during it.

The Bereans are the premier example of a wonderful Truth-loving Christian and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. So therefore, let us resolve to be thought of, in the same way, as we journey along the highway of Life together.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

NEW LIFE: A MONTH OF VERSES: JANUARY 31, 2016

VERSE: Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, an unashamed workman who accurately handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15).

EQUATION: Hard Work + Devotion to the Word of God = Untold Blessings x The Fruits of Obedience.

ACTION: Knuckle down to the necessary diligence required not just for the work of the Kingdom, but to grow closer to the Father so that His heartbeat becomes yours and mine.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, many of us who are wholly committed to You, have no problem standing and dying on the Hill of the Truth of Your Word, because we are not ashamed of the Gospel, the power of Salvation, that it is. What we have a problem, not just now, but always, is keeping our nose to the grindstone and trying not to get distracted by the things of this world and just the difficult things of life. So help us to adopt Psalm 119 as our own for the rest of 2017 and the rest of our lives, so that we may be found even more worthy to be called Your workmen, and that the overflow of our efforts will not just accurately portray and proclaim You as You are, but that many may come to see You, as You truly are, to the Praise and Glory of Your Name, in all Your goodness, grace, glory and Power and Love, through the greatest Name above all the other names-  the Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom all honor is ascribed, amen and amen.

Monday, January 30, 2017

NEW LIFE: A MONTH OF VERSES: JANUARY 30, 2017

VERSE: “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7)

EQUATION: Determination + Scriptural Foundation = Sanctification

ACTION: Authentic, born-again Bible believing, Spirit-filled Christians MUST be intentional. Now more than ever, The Spirit of God is calling His Elect to firmly plant the banner of the Cross and stand right there holding it, way up high. The verse above is ALL present tense: SUBMIT meaning - do everything God commands (read Psalm 119). Then RESIST - don't follow Hollywood, the evil culture and the corrupt world systems or so-called Christianity which can be bought with filthy lucre. Determination and steadfastness should be our motto in 2017

PRAYER: Father, Most High and Merciful God in Heaven, we thank You that Your Words are clear, Your statutes are perfect and Your Law giveth life! Oh giver of life and all good things, which Thy servant James says, cometh from the Father of Lights, we ask for the power of the embedded Holy Spirit to be unleashed within us, as we walk in obedience, truth and submission to Thy Perfect Will. We ask and pray and submit therefore to all You command and demand, with the full knowledge that we are imperfect people who will slip up, stumble or even fall, but with the full knowledge that You have also given us the will and power to resist evil and temptation so we can be even more victorious as we grow in maturity and Faith day by day. Lord, encourage us daily as we surrender all to You and seek to walk in Thy incredible ways, today and always, in Jesus' Strong Name, we pray. Amen.