(Newest ones are last)
|Part 1: Bible Studies on What is God's Will?|
|A Call to Holiness|
|Humility Leads to Holiness|
|O, the Depth!|
|A God of Details|
|We Can't Pick and Choose|
|Walk in the Fear of the Lord|
|A Day of Rest?|
|"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like
unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
|COMMENTS: Here we have it. Here is what we can do
to please God. He has everything else that He needs. There is nothing
else that He needs from us. The only thing we have to do to make Him
happy is to love. That's all. It's as simple as that.
This morning I met with my Internet prayer partner for some praise. As we were praising God we were asking Him what we could bring Him in the way of gifts. After all, He is the King. When we want to show kindness and reverence to someone we usually bring them a gift.
He laid it on the line for us. Part of what He said to us was, "It is hard for a 2 year old to learn to share. It should not be hard for a 21 year old. For a 35 year old it should not even be an issue. I expect my children to grow in love so that when they are mature they are willing to lay down their lives for others."
Yikes! I sure felt a huge stab of conviction! He went on to say, "I would be all you want, all you need, and all you desire." That's what His heart cries for!! Simple, simple, simple. It is so very simple for us to please Him. All we have to do is love Him. That is easy. He deserves our love. Then all we have to do is love other people. That is easy, too, unless we choose not to love them. It isn't that we CAN'T love them. We make the choice NOT to love them!
God equips us to do the things He asks us to do. He will enable us to love everyone. After all, He IS love! He is willing to help us to love people. We just have to make the choice of giving them the love. I keep shaking my head in amazement at how simple it really is.
It only seems complicated because we are working out of the flesh. We are withholding love from people who don't "deserve" our love. Just think what the world would be like if we all loved each other the way God intended us to love each other!
|"Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am
|COMMENTS: Peter is referring to the book of
Leviticus where God said, "For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out
of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I
am holy." (11:45) This past week God pointed something out to me
that was very shocking to me. Maybe you had better sit down because
this will affect you, too.
The closer of a relationship I get with God, the more I read my Bible and learn about Him, the more I strive to be pleasing to Him the better I get at choosing not to sin. There are things that God has shown me I shouldn't do and there are things I don't do that He has shown me I need to do. I try and I try. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes the success is temporary and other times it is permanent.
I know that when I fail God will forgive me and I will try again. Then, on the other hand, there have been areas where I haven't tried again because I didn't want to and/or I pretended that it wasn't that important to God. Generally, overall I am pretty much an obedient child of God. One example is how long I've been faithful to the Clarion Call. That has to count for something, right? So, I've been fairly satisfied that the times I sin it really wasn't so bad or that outside circumstances were to blame.
Well, God tossed something in my lap the other day. I don't remember exactly what scripture I was reading. It actually doesn't matter because there are many other scriptures that point to this same thing. We can aspire to be 100% in God's will all the time. That means it is possible for us to get to the place where we no longer sin! That's what God showed me. Then He threw in something that didn't sound right to me at the time, but He insisted. He told me it was EASY!
My mind immediately protested. After all, even Paul admitted struggling with wanting to do right in Romans Chapter seven. How could it be easy?? It hasn't been easy for me! All the time I find myself asking forgiveness for the things I did and said that weren't in God's will! The more I struggled the firmer God gripped me. The more I protested the more He calmly insisted that it was so.
When I finally relaxed and started pondering what the scriptures say I recalled things like our scripture for this week as well as: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."
"Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."
"She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
"Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you."
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."
"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
There are lots more. Do your own study if this speaks to you as it does to me. Look up "holy" and "perfect" and other similar words. Ponder this: does God require anything of us that He won't equip us to do? There are no excuses good enough. We are called to be holy. We are called to "go and sin no more!"
The past few days I've had a different mindset. As I examine the opportunities to sin that arise I find that I really do have a choice. I'm not saying I haven't sinned recently. What I am saying is that I could see where it would be easy to stop. I never finished the "dying-to-self" process. I ended it short of letting go of those last few things that were apparently special to me.
I've saved up some Words and studies that other people have received and done lately that also confirm that God is calling us to holiness. I am putting them together into a longer study. If you are on the mailing list I will notify you when it is done. I have a feeling you are probably thinking, "NO WAY!" Take it to God and see what He says. Maybe He will excuse you from hanging on to those repeating sins.
|"Brethren, I count not myself to have
apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are
behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press
toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
|COMMENTS: Reaching forth!! Think about it!! Let's
not just keep plodding along. Let's not just keep hammering away,
trying to learn more about spiritual things. Let's reach forth! Let's
get ahead of ourselves and reach out.
There are so many many things about God that we don't know. We need to reach forth and get hold of those things. Let's get excited about moving ahead in our spiritual walk. Hey, let's not even call it a spiritual walk. How about a spiritual leap? God is calling us to a higher level. It's going to take guts. We have to let go of the comfortable things. We have to choose to trust God.
The spiritual journey He wants to take us on is above and beyond our comfort zone. If we are seeking His will then we can't expect things to stay the same. We can't expect to be able to do and say the same things every single time. We can't be lulled into thinking that the things we've always done are good enough. Moment by moment we must press toward the mark of pleasing God.
A long time ago I went with my family and friends to a water area that we called the "jumping hole." There was a platform that we climbed up and we jumped off of a ledge. I'm not fond of jumping from up high and it was easier to hold someone's hand and count to three. Jumping with someone else gave me courage. Shall we go for a spiritual leap together? Let's leave our comfort zones behind and jump out. I have a feeling that God's arms are waiting to catch us.
|"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the
elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with
humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may
exalt you in due time."
|Hmmm... is this telling us to be humble in front of
people as well as being humble in front of God? Now why would He say
that? Gosh, you think it is related to Matthew 22:37-39?
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." God puts great emphasis on our relationships with other people. It is only second to our relationship with Him!
He not only wants us to love people, He wants us to be humble in
front of them. God expects us to be clothed with humility.
What does it mean to be clothed? It means covered so that what is
underneath does not show. What is underneath? Our SELF!
Our prideful self!
A few quotes:
|Uh Oh! I didn't save this
study. I'm sorry.
|"Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me
from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall
be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my
strength, and my redeemer."
|Do you understand all the things you do wrong? Are
you always aware of when you are doing wrong? If we aren't in constant
communion with God and aren't listening for His small voice for
guidance, then the chances are pretty good that we are either doing or
saying things that we shouldn't.
When you ask God for forgiveness, do you name the specific things you did wrong? Do you ever ask forgiveness for the things that you did wrong that you don't remember or that you didn't know were wrong?
1John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
We must confess our sins. We must confess the ones that we knew were sins and we need to do like David did and ask forgiveness from those "secret faults". Notice how David also asked God to not let sins have dominion over him. David wanted to be holy. He wanted all the words he spoke, the thoughts he thought, and the things he did to be acceptable to God. He was striving to be holy, to be sinless.
Right after I had my "Big Wow" experience (where I discovered that God and I could actually carry on a conversation) I went to my Bible and began to read the Psalms. I knew that David had a special relationship with God and I wanted to learn more from his experiences. Even when things were going horribly wrong David knew that God was his strength, his comfort, his peace, his deliverer, and the Rock on which he stood.
We can learn a lot from David's experiences. We can have an even more intimate relationship with God by stepping off from what we have learned and being ahead of where we would be if we began with no knowledge at all. David knew it was possible to achieve holiness and desired it. Holiness begins with a desire to not sin any more and is followed by getting cleansed from all prior sins. We need to go to God with our cry for help. He can unearth all those secret and presumptuous things that hinder our being able to be walking in His will.
|"And the anger of the LORD was kindled against
Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the
ark of God."
|You've heard of King David... beloved of God and
all. Well, David wanted to return the ark of God to it's rightful
place... the city of Jerusalem. David's heart was totally right. He
wanted the presence of God (then dwelling between the cherubims on top
of the ark) to be in Jerusalem which was now the capitol city of Israel.
So, the ark was loaded up on a cart and two priests drove the cart. The oxen shook the cart and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark. So, what was wrong with that? As was said, David's heart was right. He was doing this for all the right reasons. Uzzah's heart was right. He didn't want the ark to fall. Yet, God had laid out the rules for carrying the ark and it was supposed to be carried by men using the staves (poles) that ran through the rings along its side and not placed on a cart!
Farther ahead in Chapter 7 verses 2-3 we find another example of someone's heart being right. David consulted Nathan, a prophet, about building a temple to house the ark. Nathan responded that David should do what he felt since David was chosen by God and was doing what God wanted him to do already. Yet, that night, God told Nathan that he gave David the wrong answer. God didn't want David to build the temple.
God has particular ideas on how He wants things to be. We can't assume that we know what God wants and how He wants it. There is way too much assumption taking place in the church and in the Body of Christ. We do things for God without consulting Him and expect Him to be happy about it. After all, we are doing it for Him, right? So, why wouldn't He like it? God is into details. Take a look at all the instructions he gave on making the tabernacle, the ark, and all the things that went into the tabernacle. He was very specific.
God didn't send Paul out to spread the gospel anywhere Paul wanted to
go. In Romans 1:10-13 it shows where Paul was asking God if he
could go to Rome and God hadn't let him. Everything we do must be
cleared through God. He doesn't want us to find out "what works"
and continue doing it. Here's an example using David again.
When the enemy was causing trouble David went to God and checked with
God told him to go ahead.
God, again, told him to go ahead.
God, again, told him to go ahead.
God, again, told him to go ahead.
How many times have you been given the OK by God to do something and then automatically assume it is OK the second time? Here we see where at least four times David had been told to go ahead by God. Yet, the next time David asks the answer is different. It was still an assurance that he would win the battle, but the way of doing it was different, very different.
God was going to go out ahead of David, as evidenced by the rustling
in the treetops (verse 24). Now why? Why did God want to do
it differently? I don't know, but the fact remains... HE DID!
"And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but
fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the
Over and over in the Bible we see where God doesn't do the same thing every time. He wants us to seek His will in every situation. Even though we can't see the why's of the particular way He wants us to do something that doesn't matter. He knows the why. He can see the short- and long-term effects.
There are a lot of other Bible studies here giving examples of why we shouldn't assume things about God. You can find them by going to the Clarion Call search engine and typing in the word assume.
People: don't think you already know what God wants you to do just because He had you do it once before.
Churches: don't think that God wants you to follow the same routine every week just because you've always done it that way, because other churches do it that way, or because God once told you it was OK. God is a God of details.
Let's find out the details of every single thing, every single minute of every single day... FROM HIM!
|"And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a
prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him? And the king
of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son
of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he
doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said,
Let not the king say so."
|The king of Israel, Ahab, did not like the true
prophets of God because they spoke the truth. He preferred to hear what
sounded good to him. The reason the truth sounded so bad was because he
was not doing what God wanted him to do. God was not going to bless him
due to that fact.
Funny, isn't it? He wanted to know what God had to say, but also wanted God to tell him what he wanted to hear!
It doesn't work that way! We can't pick and choose from the things of God. We can't just take the things we prefer to believe and discard the rest!
Yet, that exact thing happens in most churches! Most churches do what they do either because they have always done it that way, other churches do it that way, it is easier, it is cheaper, or for some other reason that is not a spiritual reason.
We need to approach God with an open mind and a willing heart on a daily basis. Actually, it is more like a minute-to-minute basis. We mustn't approach him as we would a catalog: I'll take one of these, I don't want that, I'll take two of those... We need to approach Him with the intention of saying, "Yes, Lord," no matter what He wants!
He may not want the same thing today as He did yesterday. We can't automatically do something just because He wanted us to do it before unless He told us to do it every time!
Often God has us doing something that is not fun and that we would prefer not to do. He has His reasons! We must make a decision. Are we going to be obedient or are we going to choose to refuse what God wants?
Why should I do something I don't want to do? Let's see.... one really big reason is because Jesus did something HUGE for me and He would have preferred to not do it. My discomfort is a tiny speck compared to His! What's it going to be? Are you going to turn away from God and refuse to do as He directs or are you going to say, "Yes, Lord"?
|"So Naaman came with his horses and with his
chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent
a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and
thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman
was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely
come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and
strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper."
|Naaman had leprosy. He found out that there was a
prophet who would probably be able to get him healed. Elisha was that
Naaman already had a pre-conceived idea of how that healing should take place. When he heard that Elisha wanted him to go dip seven times in the Jordan River he was upset. He already "knew" that wasn't the way it was supposed to go. So, based on his own ideas about God, about prophets, and about healing Naaman almost didn't receive his healing.
Do you know what leprosy is? At webmd.com I found a description:
1. Tuberculoid leprosy is a mild form of the disease.
It causes mainly skin problems and a thickening of the nerves close to
So, leprosy is basically an incurable disease. The Bible mentions people being "white as snow" with leprosy. That's why God had the law that lepers had to stay away from people.
So, Naaman was walking away because he was so sure he knew that Elisha was not telling him the truth! He was sure that the way to get someone healed was to wave your hand over the person's body and call on God's name and invoke a healing. Then he changed his thinking a little and decided, in his own logical mind, that if dipping in a river was the way to get healed then it wouldn't be a dirty river like the Jordan, but a river with sparkling clean water! His servants were the ones who were open-minded about it and convinced him to do it.
How can we apply this to our lives today? What things do we "know" about the things of God and about God, Himself, that we deduced using our logical minds? What things do we "know" that somebody else determined with their logical mind and then taught those things to us? What things were determined hundreds of years ago using logic and then have been passed down from generation to generation and are now resting with us?
As I have in the past, I once again point out how many different denominations and sub-denominations there are. They all have Bibles and they all have the same God, yet look at the different things they teach about God. Where did they get their information? I, for one, sincerely hope I didn't miss something God wanted to do through me that I didn't allow Him to do because I was SURE I knew the right thing.
It is imperative that we remain open-minded about the things of God and allow Him to confirm whether they are what He wants us to believe or not. This goes for EVERYTHING about God.
Let me point out just a few things. Do you believe:
That list is just to help you get started. Everything that you believe God will and won't do, that you believe about what God wants and expects, and that has anything to do with what you think about God and the things of God should be considered.
Think about where and how you came up with your conclusions. Did you form an opinion based on what you were taught or did God reveal it to you? To put it simply, God has to verify that the things you believe are true.
Just because you know a scripture that confirms it isn't enough. Every single denomination that exists has scriptures that they use to back their beliefs, yet their beliefs are different. People have scriptures to back their belief that they cannot lose their salvation. On the other hand, there are people who have scriptures to back their belief that they can lose their salvation. All those confirmation scriptures come from the same Bible!
It is extremely important and necessary that all beliefs that you hold, no matter where you got them, be confirmed by God that they are what He wants you to believe. The thing that Naaman thought made a lot of sense. It was probably true that Elisha could have come out, waved his hand over the leprous areas, and asked God to heal them. Elisha listened to what God was wanting and did it the way God said.
God has a reason for everything that He does. We may not see the reason or the reason may not fit into what we feel is logical but that doesn't mean it isn't God's will! God doesn't always do things the same way. Even when God directs us to do something a particular way one time that doesn't necessarily mean He wants us to do it that way all the time.
Over and over and over I have urged people to keep an open mind about the things of God. It is imperative that we do if we are to be fully used by Him. We must not hang on to the traditions of men, the opinions of men, or the teachings of men. We can only use those things as guidelines or as suggestions. The real teaching comes from God via the Holy Spirit.
"But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you,
and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing
teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it
hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will
send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to
your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
That teaching goes on minute by minute. We cannot even take something God did in our lives and say that would be the way He would always do it. He might do it differently for other people or He might do it differently again in your life. We cannot say, "God always...." unless God tells us, "I always...."! If you think that you are not hanging on to any beliefs that aren't in God's will then there is one way to find out if you are right. That's right... ask God about it. Oh, and don't forget to be listening for the answer!
|"Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea
and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of
the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."
|The phrase "fear of the Lord" is not mentioned much
these days. It isn't demonstrated much either. Instead of the fear of
the Lord churches teach about the love of the Lord. They teach about
the forgiveness of the Lord, the mercy of the Lord, the grace of the
Lord, and all the other wonderful and comforting things about Him.
Is it a bad thing to teach about those other things? No, of course not. They are true things and we need to know about them. However, there is still the fear of the Lord.
This verse in Acts is the only place in the New Testament where the complete phrase "fear of the Lord" is used. In my Strong's concordance the word fear means, "be afraid".
We need to take into consideration all the things the Bible teaches us about God, don't we? It is more comfortable to pick and choose the things that we prefer, however.
The Old Testament has twenty-nine examples of the phrase. Let's take a look at thirteen of them out of Psalms and Proverbs:
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good
understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise
endureth for ever."
"The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and
the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."
Over and over in various churches I have seen where God was invited for the worship service and then dismissed so the offering could be taken or the sermon be given.
I have seen where churches don't sing praise songs to God but, instead, sing songs all about what He has done for them and what they want Him to do. They pretty much stand Him up in the front of the church and start reaching into His pockets to see what is there for them.
By not demonstrating or teaching about the fear of the Lord then that generally also removes any serious teaching about two other VERY IMPORTANT subjects. Fear of the Lord leads into repentance. Repentance is usually only mentioned in passing and is not the actual topic of discussion. The word repent in the New Testament comes from words that mean "to think differently or reconsider".
Repentance is often mixed up with apology when it comes to forgiveness of sins. Many times I've heard people told all they need to do is "ask Jesus into their heart" and ask Him to forgive them for their sins and they will "be saved". Jesus calls us to repentance (Matt 4:17). Repentance is life changing.
Repentance then leads to holiness. That topic, too, is usually avoided in favor of more comfortable subjects.
The fear of the Lord is something we must have. We must always remember that God is not a human. He is the Creator of the Universe. We need to approach Him with awe and hold Him in the high regard that He has earned. Don't be fooled into thinking He turns a blind eye to the "tiny" sins we commit. Don't imagine for a second that He doesn't really care if you are focusing more on your self than on Him.
Let's not minimize God and who He is by treating Him like "one of the gang". He holds the universe in His hand. Let's not forget that.
"And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not
man for the sabbath"
I received an email where a gentleman was looking for a Bible study regarding the
Sabbath. I'm pretty sure I haven't done a study on the Sabbath.
I used to wonder about it when I'd hear people discussing whether Saturday or
Sunday was supposed to be the "real Sabbath".
"Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee,
rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him."
I have wondered about the issue of forgiveness of two of my
brothers for the past two years. I know that there are multiple
scriptures that state we must forgive others. One example is
The one that keeps popping into my head is Matthew 18:21-22 where Jesus says we must forgive "seventy times seven". Then I read our scripture in Luke 17. It is followed with verse 4, "And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him."
Does that mean we must forgive only if the person comes to ask forgiveness? Possibly. This is another of those things where we must each go to God and find out. Perhaps each circumstance is different. Perhaps He wants one person to always forgive people no matter if they repent or not and another to forgive if the person repents. I can't tell you for sure.
I do know that God knows. I also know that, if we are able to forgive it often takes poison out of our heart that shouldn't be there, especially if we hate the person as well as don't forgive them.
I, for one, choose to ask God to help me to forgive when He chooses for me to forgive. Some people might want to jump right in at that point and say that God wants me to forgive immediately.
Take a look at 2Corinthians 2:7, "So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow." Interesting that the reason to forgive the person is not so their sins might be forgiven, but so the person wouldn't be overly sorrowful. What person is it that Paul says they should forgive?
Chapter 5 of 1Cornthians tells us that this person was the one in the church that was guilty of fornication. Paul told them to "deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" in verse five.
2Corinthians 2:6, the verse just before our verse, says that the fornicator's punishment of being put away from the church people was enough and now it was time for the people to forgive him.
It seems that it is possible God wants us to forgive people if it will make a difference in our life, or if it will make a difference in the life of the unforgiven person.
Once again I must caution everyone that it is important to take these scriptures, these scriptural concepts, and every single issue to God to find out what He thinks about them. I have seen examples where God wants different people to understand scriptures in different ways. He has made each of us different. Each of us has been brought up differently. Each of us learns differently and understands differently. It is the end result that God is interested in, not how we get there.
We must always keep an open mind on what scriptures mean. We must be careful to not "hit people over the head" with our Bibles. If we tell everyone, "You must ALWAYS forgive people immediately or God won't forgive you," then we better know for sure that God wants us to be saying that. As we saw in Corinthians, God wanted someone to remain unforgiven for a season.
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