Picture of eagle's head with text, "Bible studies"

Part 1
(Phil 4:8)

(Newest ones are last)
Your responsibility to your children
Your Responsibility to Your Children
The Bible is alive
The Bible is Alive
want to be lifted up?
Want to be Lifted Up?
Lively stones
Lively Stones
You're in charge
You're in Charge
You are the work of God's hand
You Are the Work of God's Hand
God will teach you
God Will Teach You
What do you think?
What Do You Think?
God deserves respect
God Deserves Respect
Hope for the unsaved
Hope for the Unsaved
Warning!  Warning!
Warning! Warning!
What causes division?
What Causes Division?
It isn't God who is far away
It Isn't God Who Is Far Away
Our covenants with God
Our Covenants with God
The missing link
The Missing Link
Remember Jesus
Remember Jesus
Destroy the boxes of understanding
Destroy the Boxes of Understanding
Who is your best friend?
Who Is Your Best Friend?
Are you too big for your britches?
Are You Too Big for Your Britches?
How imporant is forgiveness?
How Important is Forgiveness?
Everything is God's
Everything Is God's
He's right here!
He's Right Here!
Signs and wonders
Signs and Wonders
Money Makes the World Go Around
Money Makes the World Go Around
God's Word is Not Always Accepted
God's Word is Not Always Accepted
Rise to a Higher Level
Rise to a Higher Level
Spirit vs. Word
Spirit vs. Word
Part 2:  Bible Studies on Think on These Things
Part 2:  Bible Studies on Think on These Things


9/7/98 Your Responsibility to Your Children
"But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them."
Psalm 103:17-18
Most people feel they have to provide no explanation or excuse for their decision to not believe in or to not follow God. They feel the decision is entirely theirs and the only person who will be affected by that decision is them.

Your decision to follow God directly affects your children. There are many ways that children learn from their parents. Some learning is the opposite as in, "My parents do that so I won't." Much learning is by watching and listening. I've seen parents shocked when they find out their child is swearing a blue streak at school. Then they realize the child learned by overhearing them swear at home.

The Bible tells us that the grandchildren are affected by the righteousness, or lack of righteousness, of the grandparents. The decisions you make regarding your walk with the Lord WILL affect your children. You are robbing them of the chance to be able to draw on God's strength and wisdom while they are young. Your opinions about God are being forced upon your children.

Yes, you do have to accept the responsibility for what you are inflicting upon your children. It is the same as a parent who chooses not to fasten the seatbelt of a child too young to fasten his own seatbelt. If the car crashes and the child is killed or injured due to the lack of a seatbelt then the parent is responsible.

If your child chooses not to believe in Jesus because of the choices you have made and ends up spending an eternity in hell, then you are responsible. The choices and decisions you make can be multi-generational and affect even your children's grandchildren.

Be wise. You have some far-reaching responsibilities.
Link to 9/7/98 welcome message


9/28/98 The Bible is Alive
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
2Timothy 3:16-17
Have you ever heard someone say that certain portions of the scriptures, "are not for today?" The funny (or should I say sad?) thing is that these same people will tell you that the Bible is the pure Word of God and that there are no portions that are false.

One example that comes to mind is the portion of the Bible that speaks about the gifts of the Spirit. I have heard some people who are very knowledgeable about the scriptures say that the gifts went out when the New Testament was made available to man. They feel that there is no longer a need for the gifts. How do you reconcile that opinion with the scripture shown above?

Some people read the scripture that says you can move mountains with faith the size of a mustard seed. They read it, they acknowledge it, but they don't believe it. If they believed it then they would believe that God can repair cars, heal sickly bodies, provide protection from the plane they are flying in from crashing, and much more.

Everything in the Bible is alive. It is there for us to use. We cannot pick and choose what we want to believe. Don't let satan fool you. He can't get rid of the Bible. However, he has been able to change it into other versions which all contain variations in meaning. He also is able to convince people that what they are reading isn't necessarily completely true.

The verses above say ALL scripture is written in order for us to be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. If we leave portions out then we will be less than perfect and will be without some things that enable us to do all good works. Again, don't be fooled!
Link to 9/28/98 welcome message


10/12/98 Want to be Lifted Up?
"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
James 4:10
So many times I have caught myself thinking what a great person I was. I wanted other people to see how great I was so that they would admire me. I felt like my self worth was directly related to other people's opinions of me. I felt lifted up by their compliments and praise.

The down side to that was that I would feel utterly crushed when someone disapproved of me or disagreed with me. I felt less of a person. I felt like I needed to work harder to become a better person.

If we seek our joy and happiness from people we will be continually disappointed. All the while people are filling up our cup we are holding out they are poking holes in the bottom and allowing our joy and happiness to run out as fast as it is being poured in the top.

All the attributes and talents I thought made me so great were not of my own doing. They were all given to me by God. I had no business being proud of things I had no part in creating. Without the things God provides I am nothing. Once I admit that I am nothing without Him I become humble. I give Him all the glory and honor associated with my abilities.

I allow God to be the One who lifts me up. He is the One who fills my cup with joy and happiness at the same time He plugs the holes that were made by people. I can trust in Him as Hebrews 13:5 says, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Jude 1:24 says Jesus is, "able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy."

I want to be lifted up. Lord, help me be humble. Help me to remember that I am nothing without you. In Jesus' precious name, AMEN!
Link to 10/12/98 welcome message


3/15/99 Lively Stones
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
1Peter 2:5
I am a lively stone! Wow! That brings a funny picture into my mind! All the stones I've ever seen are just lying still (unless, of course, someone or something caused one to roll). When I think of a stone I think of something hard. I imagine a lively stone is continuously wiggling, moving, or making noise. Then this scripture says all these lively stones are built up into a house. Oh, my, my mind is having difficulty with that picture!

Let's see, some of the definitions of lively help me to understand what this means. "Briskly alert and energetic," "imparting spirit," and "full of life." So, the lively stones are all working together to create a structure. Each member of the structure is doing something or ready to do something and is full of life.

That's not all! I am also a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. What do I have that I can offer up? What do I have that is acceptable to God? In myself, I have nothing. Because Jesus made me acceptable in God's eyes I do have things I can offer to God.

PRAISE: Hebrews 13:15 says, "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."

MYSELF: Romans 12:1 says, " I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

PRAYER: Revelation 5:8 says, "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints."

DO GOOD: Hebrews 13:16 says, "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."

I want to point out one more thing. Notice that it says you ARE lively stones and a holy priesthood. It is a done deal. If you aren't acting like a lively stone or a holy priesthood the fault is your own! Think about it!
Link to 3/15/99 welcome message


5/22/00 You're in Charge
"For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."
Mark 13:34-37
Jesus gave a parable to help us to understand what we were to be doing between the time that He left and the time that He returns. He is the "man" taking a far journey.

Take note that He gave authority to his servants. We would be the servants. We have been given authority. We are in charge of the things He left behind. What did He leave behind? All the people on the earth. We are to be doing whatever He has given us that will edify, teach, strengthen, or show His love to people. It's all about people. People are the important things He left behind that we are to be tending.

Luke 9:1 says, "Then he [Jesus] called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases." Why did He do that? As a man, He couldn't be in all places at once. He sent them out in His own name and they had power and authority.

In 1Corinthians 10:8 Paul is saying, "For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed." God gave him and his followers authority for edifying the Body of Christ.

Paul is talking to Titus about his ministry in Titus 2:15, "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."

With authority comes power. In Luke 10:19 Jesus says, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

Regarding the Holy Spirit's coming Jesus tells His disciples in Luke 24:49, "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high," and in Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

We are also told to watch. Watch and be ready. He is going to return. Watch. Redeem the time. Be doing the specific job He has for you. If you don't know what that job is then ask Him. If you still don't know, then here is something He told me that might help you. One morning when I asked Him what I could do for Him, he told me that I could do EVERYTHING for Him.
Link to 5/22/00 welcome message


6/12/00 You Are the Work of God's Hand
"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand."
Isaiah 64:8
You are the work of God's hand. First He designed you. Then he chose when to create you and created you. As it says in Revelation 4:7, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." You were created for His pleasure!

He knew you before you were born. He looked forward to your birth. He loves you more than you can ever know.

You were created by Him on purpose! You were no mistake and you were no accident! You are no more or less important than anyone else. Look around. Is there anyone else just like you? He made you different than anyone else. He made you for His own pleasure.

If you don't know Him very well, then seek to know Him. After all, if He is for you what difference does it make who is against you?
Link to 6/12/00 welcome message


7/24/00 God Will Teach You
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
1Timothy 2:5
Jesus is the only one who occupies a position between God and man. Too many people allow a pastor, minister, teacher, or other person to be the one who teaches them everything about God. God is perfectly capable of teaching people about Himself.

"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
1Corinthians 2:13

"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."
1John 2:27

"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."
John 14:26

God does provide teachers to teach you. However, He expects you to compare what you are being taught with the Bible. You probably won't know false teaching when you hear it if you haven't read your Bible for yourself and learned about God's heart. For all you know, I'm making all this up right now! Hey, I might even be misquoting these scriptures!! Do you recognize them yourself?

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."
2Peter 2:1

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8

Ask God to teach you the things He wants to teach you. Ask Him what is true and what is not. Don't believe something just because a nice or seemingly knowledgeable person tells you it is true! You will be held responsible for your own life and your own beliefs. You will be held responsible for the things you teach others as well. The bottom line is, find out God's opinion before you lock something down as being truth!
Link to 7/24/00 welcome message


9/4/00 What Do You Think?
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8
We've covered this scripture before, but it bears repeating.

More often than not, the Bible is translated based on human understanding. A verse, or set of verses is read by someone and placed into human understanding. Then, that understanding is passed along as scriptural truth.

Each person that reads the Bible will, at one time or another, interpret what they read based on their own experiences, education, personality, and/or other things unique to that individual. Many times when someone reads the Bible they already have been given the meaning of scriptures by someone else. They, then, will probably allow what they have already been taught to define what they are reading, especially if they were taught by an ordained minister or someone else who seems to be more knowledgeable than they about the Bible. Just because someone went to Bible college does not mean they have a handle on the truth. What they probably have a good grip on is whatever they were taught in classes by their instructors. The question that needs to be asked is, "Did God teach that class?"

Philosophy would be human understanding. Vain deceit would be someone coming up with a translation that might be uniquely theirs. It also could be someone teaching the Bible with authority without seeking God's opinion. If you state something as fact without finding out if it is fact or not then perhaps you are just taking pride in your supposed knowledge.

Let's take an example from the Bible of something that cannot be taught based on human understanding. How about Ephesians 3:16-19.

"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."

How can anyone define the "riches of God's glory" in human terms? Is there a medical term for the "inner man?" How can Jesus live in someone's heart? Can the love of Christ be described in words? After all, it passes knowledge. What does it feel like to be "filled with all the fulness of God?" These verses cannot be sufficiently explained by any human teacher!!! You have to be taught these by the Holy Spirit!

God has given many people the gift of teaching. They have the ability to teach things in such a way that it becomes easier to understand. They have been given the ability to make the scriptures become personal to their students. However, even teachers can fall into the trap of teaching what they have been taught by men. It has become acceptable for people to learn about God from other people and leave God out entirely. Then there is the fact that the majority of people are content to be taught by men as it is easier than reading the Bible for yourself and asking God for meaning.

This is why God is raising up Moses' and Elijah's in these final days. He wants to shake the traditions and man-made teachings loose from the Body of Christ. He wants to restore things to the way He wanted it all along. People have drawn so far away from where God intended that when they see things that are actually of God they don't recognize Him in those things.

God is not bringing a new thing. He is restoring the old thing. When you hear something that is presented as something from God then test it. Don't throw it away until you test it. Test it against the Bible. (Oh, did I forget to mention that you need to be reading your Bible so you know what it says?)
Link to 9/4/00 welcome message


11/13/00 God Deserves Respect
"Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him."
Psalm 33:8
Have you ever watched a little girl playing tea party with her dolls? It is cute to watch. She pretends that the dolls are real people. She pretends she has actual tea to serve them. She even carries on pretend conversations.

She is relaxed and stress-free because she doesn't have to think about what to say. She doesn't have to choose her words carefully so as not to offend her guests. She doesn't have to wonder if the bathroom is staying clean for her guests. She doesn't have to be getting up and down for more warm water for tea. She is having all the fun of a real tea party without any of the work!

When you approach God are you hosting a pretend tea party? Are you approaching Him as you would another person or as you would a doll?

Read on in Psalms. Verse 9 says, "For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast." Go back and look at verse 6, "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." Take a moment and ponder those verses.

God only has to SPEAK and things happen. The stars, planets, moons, and everything on them was created by only His Word! Our human brains cannot comprehend the power, the strength, the total AWESOMENESS of God.

He allows us to come straight to Him. Jesus removed the barrier that was between God and man. Now we can go right to God with our dreams, petitions, wishes, and love. However, it is important that we maintain a reverence for who He is. We need to remind ourselves that our flesh and our sins are not worthy to stand in His presence.

Look at Psalm 97:4-5, "His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth." Think about that for a second. His presence causes the hills to melt like wax. We are not having a tea party with a doll! We are not telling Santa Claus what we want for Christmas! We are dealing with the Alpha and Omega, the God of Creation!

Hebrews 4:16 says, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." However, Hebrews 12:28-29 says, "Therefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire." We must have respect for God. We must approach Him with reverence. He wants you to remember that He is GOD ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH!
Link to 11/13/00 welcome message


2/6/01 Hope for the Unsaved
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her."
Hosea 2:14
I have been under a great misconception about God. I have been taught that God is a gentleman and won't force Himself on anyone. I have taken that to also mean that God will wait until we seek Him before He will take action. While I would pray for loved ones I would pray that God surround them with Christians who would witness to them. I felt that, since God wouldn't force Himself on anyone that the person would somehow have to make a decision to seek God first.

I was overjoyed to read this verse! God says He will allure Israel to Himself. This means He will entice them. He will allow them to feel Him and to know Him. He will actually work on their hearts and minds Himself!

Read on in verse 16 and see that He says Israel will no longer call Him My Lord (Baali) but will call Him MY HUSBAND (Ishi)! He draws people to Himself! We can pray in confidence for our unsaved and backslidden friends and relatives knowing that God Himself said that He allures people. He entices them with things that would cause them to think of Him as their most loved one (husband).

He will draw them away from the things of this world that are attractive. It says He will draw them into the wilderness and speak comfortably to them. When you are in the wilderness with only one other person you will focus your entire attention on that person. That's what He will do!! Are you as excited as I am??
Link to 2/6/01 welcome message


2/19/01 Warning! Warning!
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
Acts 20:28-30
Paul was speaking to the elders in the Ephesian church. His warning still rings out to warn us today.

The church leaders are all people. People are all different. Each person is affected by different things. We are unable to put 100% trust in any one person. People will fail us. People will hurt us. It may not be on purpose, but it will happen.

There are church leaders who have the wrong motivations. There have been church leaders (I'm sure you can think of a few) who probably started out with the proper motivation of bringing people closer to the Lord, but ended up following a desire for power or money or something else.

Sometimes a church leader will take hold of a scripture that he feels is misinterpreted in other churches and make a new doctrine. He may try to convince people that his interpretation is the correct one and all others are wrong. He may then isolate himself from the others who have any other interpretations.

I believe this must be the way that different denominations were formed. This is how many cults form. People have a tendency to believe what they are taught by humans rather than to check what they hear against what the Bible says.

Heed Paul's warning. The "wolves" are people who seek to fulfill their own needs and don't care about the end results. It is important to many people to have people listen to them and believe them. It is sometimes so important that they don't care what it is that they say as long as people will listen.

Sheep will blindly follow their leader into disaster. That is why they need a shepherd. People have a tendency to blindly follow someone who fulfils their immediate needs. These people are sheep and they are following the wrong shepherd. Church leaders are "sub-shepherds." They are to be getting their directions from the Lord. The "sheep" are responsible for comparing what they hear with the Bible. God provides each person a way to find the truth. He provides each person a way to find out if a church leader is a wolf.

Church is not necessarily a safe haven. Church is not always a place to go to hear the truth about God. It is up to each one of us to compare what we hear with what God says. If we don't then we will not be able to blame it on someone else when we come face to face with the Lord. That will be an unacceptable excuse.

Heed Paul's warning!
Link to 2/19/01 welcome message


11/26/01 What Causes Division?
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
Romans 16:17
What are denominations if not divisions in the Body of Christ? What makes one denomination different from another? Differences in doctrine and opinions.

What effect do denominations have on the Body of Christ? One thing is people declare themselves to be of the denomination rather than of God. Another thing is the people generally don't end up fellowshipping with people from another denomination. As a matter of fact, most times the people in a church don't even fellowship with others in another church of the same denomination.

Why do people split up into different denominations? Usually someone will stay with a denomination that their parents attended. Or, someone who hadn't grown up in a church-going family might hop from church to church looking for a comfort zone. Most people want to find a church where they can "please God" without too much work on their part, especially brain-work. They don't want to have to do any digging into the scriptures to find the truth. It is easier to allow a pastor or teacher to do the digging and then allow yourself to be "spoon fed" the scriptures.

People also don't want to have to spend lots of time in prayer and perhaps fasting to try to get into God's perfect will. They don't want to face the things in their lives that are not pleasing to God and chance having to go through the painful process of dying-to-self.

Most churches seem to have fallen into a mode of people-pleasing. In order to get more people to attend they feel they need to entertain people and maintain a comfort-zone for them. How many different people in the Bible were kept in a personal comfort zone by God? I can't think of one. In order to break people of things that prevented them from a close relationship with Him they had to go through some uncomfortable things. Yet, when they allowed God to do what He felt was necessary and sought to obey everything He wanted them to do they came into a place of blessing.

We cannot be walking in our own opinions and please God at the same time. We have to allow Him to have His way in our lives, in our churches, in our communities, and in our nations. What is His way? What does He want? Do we want to know, or is it just easier to keep on doing things the way we've always done them and just not think about what He wants?
Link to 11/26/01 welcome message


12/3/01 It Isn't God Who Is Far Away
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?"
Psalm 22:1
There are a number of instances in the Psalms where David cries out to God and asks Him not to be far from him. That tells me that even David had times when he went through a spiritual desert and felt disconnected from God. That is encouraging to me when I am going through my own spiritual desert.

In this particular instance David proceeds to tell God about how he needed help. He then humbled himself and called himself a worm. He told God that he was unable to help himself and sorely needed God's intervention.

David didn't just leave it at that. He began to exalt God. He confirmed that God was God before David was born. He confirmed that God was his strength. David then declared that he would speak about God to the people. He then began to praise God and praise God and praise God some more.

David knew that the spiritual desert wouldn't last forever. He never lost sight of the fact that God was sovereign. He never lost sight of the fact that God was his source of comfort and strength. He did what he knew God would like. He praised Him. He announced that God inhabits praise.

We should not get discouraged when we feel distanced from God. We must stay focused on the things that we know. We know that God is always with us, whether we can feel Him or not. We know that God does not change, it is us that changes. We know that God will never withdraw the Holy Spirit that is within us. God is always right here. He is always the same. We have to hang on to those things while we are having difficulty feeling close to Him.

We must choose to praise Him in spite of everything. We must choose to stay in the Word in spite of everything. We must take action to restore our relationship with God. It is our end of the relationship that had the breakdown, not His.
Link to 12/3/01 welcome message


1/3/02 Our Covenants with God
"And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it."
Nehemiah 9:38
The Jews had been in captivity because they had pulled so far away from God that He allowed their enemies to conquer them. Nehemiah was allowed to go to Jerusalem and begin rebuilding the walls around the city. The people were turning their hearts and minds back towards God.

They actually wrote an agreement and a pledge to God and the leaders signed it. They were committing themselves to following God's laws and to place Him back in first place, where He belonged. Sometimes it helps us to have something tangible to remind us of what to do. Having a written agreement might have helped them to follow through on their commitment to God more than just a verbal agreement.

The pilgrims that first came to America made some agreements with God. A portion of the Mayflower Compact reads, "Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick..."

Before setting sail for New England the Puritan colonists drew up the Agreement of the Massachusetts Bay Company in England. They stated their purpose for coming to America as, "Upon due consideration of the state of the plantation now in hand for New England, wherein we (whose names are hereunto subscribed) have engaged ourselves: and having weighed the greatness of the work in regard of the consequences, God's glory and the church's good...fully and faithfully agreed amongst us, and every one of us doth hereby freely and sincerely promise and bind himself in the word of a Christian and in the presence of God who is the searcher of all hearts, that we will so really endeavor the prosecution of his work, as by God's assistance we shall be ready...."

I am sure there are more such promises that were made. It seems that most nations may find they have covenanted themselves with God in their early origins. Isn't it time we honor those covenants? Lets do as the Jews did in Nehemiah 9:2, "And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers." We need to make things right with God and begin afresh!
Link to 1/3/02 welcome message


8/6/02 The Missing Link

"O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches."
Psalm 104:24

I have been becoming more and more aware of the things that God has created just for us. There are so many many types of plants and animals. Even the insects have a function and are fascinating.

Then there is the earth itself. Even the rocks have beauty in them! Some things we have to look at closely to see the beauty. God placed His fingerprints in everything He made.

He created the earth and everything in it for us. Not only is it functional, it is beautiful.

It is so easy to go through life taking everything around us for granted. I am making a point of spending the rest of my life looking for God's fingerprints everywhere I go.

These things are proof that God exists. Scientists still look for proof of some occurrence that formed the earth and are looking for the "missing link." I've found the missing link! It's God, Himself!
Link to 8/6/02 welcome message


10/22/02 Remember Jesus

"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
Hebrews 10:10

I had a shocking realization the other day. I've been ignoring Jesus. Hmmmm... this is harder to explain than I thought it would be. What I've been doing is not being continuously aware of why it is that I can go directly to God and commune with Him. I guess I haven't actually been ignoring Him.

Jesus sacrificed His entire life in order to open the door that allows us to go directly to God. Jesus not only laid His life down, He allowed Himself to suffer in the worst way imaginable. He didn't suffer physically, He suffered mentally. He took all the sins of the world upon Himself. Just the thought of it made Him sweat blood.

I must not ever take for granted the special privilege I have to go directly to God.

This may sound silly in its simplicity, but it is real enough. It seems that it is possible to not give enough attention and praise to God as well as possible to not give enough attention and praise to Jesus. Sometimes one, sometimes another, and sometimes both! Then, does that mean it is possible to not give enough attention and praise to the Holy Spirit? I believe so. A good friend of mine was praising and thanking God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit spoke up and said, "What about me?"

As in all other areas, it is important that we keep an open mind toward God and be careful to listen to what He says about this.
Link to 10/22/02 welcome message


1/21/03 Destroying the Boxes of Understanding

"Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me."
Isaiah 45:11

What??? Command God? Ask Him about things to come?
Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (Jn 14:12)

What???? PEOPLE, flesh and blood people, can do GREATER works than JESUS did?????

Jesus also said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."  (Matt 17:20)

What what what???? Moving VERY solid objects??? NOTHING shall be impossible???? NOTHING?????????

Why does the Bible say such ridiculously bizarre things? Unless, unless... do you think they might be true?

Why is is so hard to comprehend these scriptures and other scriptures similar to these? In order to believe them, in order to DO them we have to think outside the box. Which box? The box that has sides labeled:

The bottom of the box is labeled: GOD WILL ONLY DO THINGS I UNDERSTAND!

 The top of the box is labeled: IF I AM NOT COMFORTABLE WITH IT GOD WON'T DO IT!

Does that sound familiar? It is the box in which we try to contain God. The box is our mind. I learned how to build my box by seeing the boxes of my pastors and teachers. The funny thing is the outside of the boxes are wallpapered with scriptures like the ones above.

Of course, God cannot be contained in our box. When I decided to closely examine my box I was surprised to find that God was not in my box. What was so carefully placed in the box was ME!

Oh, the world is scary outside that comfortable box! I had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that my life would never be the same if I got rid of the box. I would have to step outside of my comfort zone. I would have to risk the possibility of "losing control" of things by turning them over to God.

So, what is the big deal? Why couldn't I just stay in the box? If I want to be used by God I must be open to everything He wants to do through me! I must be able to demonstrate His power if need be. I must provide Him with a willing, useable vessel for the furtherance of His kingdom in the world.

Why are greater works than Jesus did not commonplace in the world? Why are we not able to command God's hand? Why are we not unhesitatingly walking in the promises that the Bible tells us? We are not allowing Him to destroy our boxes of understanding. We are not willing to step out on a limb for Him. We are allowing churches to continually show us how to create our boxes and then we are climbing into them and closing the lids.

NO MORE!!! Come.... come with me and we will destroy our boxes of understanding! We will no longer sit quietly in the comfort zone. Let's lay our all at the throne of God and tell Him, "Use me Lord, in ANY way You see fit! Fill me with Your heart and mind! Teach me all You would have me know! USE ME!!!"

Link to 1/21/03 welcome message


1/29/03 Who Is Your Best Friend?

"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
John 15:15

What is a friend? The word friend comes from "to love." A friend loves you, supports you, is interested in what you think and do, and so much more.

Let me tell you about my best friend. He is always there for me. He loves me more than I love myself. He goes where I go. He is there for me day in and day out.

My best friend knows I have a busy life. He wants to be included in my plans. His plans include me. He helps me prioritize my time, organize my life, remember things I've forgotten, and more. My best friend is God.

I am not a very good friend. I often take off and do things without Him. Well, He never leaves me but it seems like I am without Him since I am not purposely including Him. He still loves me and He forgives me when I realize what I have done.

God doesn't want us to be His servant, blindly and emotionlessly obeying Him. He wants us to obey Him out of love, out of friendship. The longer I am friends with someone the more I learn about them. That is His desire. He wants us to know more and more about Him. He wants us to get to know Him intimately because He is our best friend!!

The next verse says that we haven't chosen Him, He has chosen us. It is easy to choose someone for a friend that is powerful, knows everything, loves unconditionally, and can do anything. Choosing someone like that guarantees that we benefit from all that friend can do. Yet, to choose someone like me for a friend.... that I don't understand. There are a lot better, nicer, prettier, friendlier, more loving, more generous, etc. people in the world. Those are the things that people might consider when choosing a friend, but not God. God chooses us because He created us. He created us to be His friend!

He created everyone to be His friend, but how many people choose to make Him their friend? Have you chosen Him to be your best friend?
Link to 1/29/03 welcome message


3/4/03  Are You Too Big for Your Britches?

"Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches."
Jeremiah 9:23

It doesn't matter what we think. It only matters what God thinks. Mankind, for the most part, has gotten too big for his britches. How often do we exclude God? I'd say 99.9999999999999999999% of the time!

Let's read on. Verse 24, "But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD." Look at what God enjoys... loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness! That's wonderful!!!

Let's read on. Verse 25, "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised." WHAT? If He is big on loving kindness, what the heck is this talk about punishment???

Let's read on. Verse 26, "Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart." Are we included in this? Do we live in any of the utmost corners of the earth? Yes! Why are we to be punished? We are uncircumcised in the heart.

Let's find out what that means since circumcision wasn't designed for the heart but for another body part. (I'm not going into detail about the physical aspects of circumcision. You go look that up yourself.) To God, circumcision designates obedience and being set apart for Him. It is symbolic of cutting away things that He doesn't like. The "uncircumcised" people were those who weren't Jewish. Yet, God refers to the house of Israel (the Jews) as uncircumcised in their hearts. They turned away from Him. They chose to not obey Him and to not listen to Him.

How many people today choose to not obey and not listen to God? In verse 24 God wanted us to understand and know Him. He wants us to learn about Him and develop a personal relationship with Him. How can we do this? The Bible is full of information about God including things He has done, things He will do, things He thinks, and much much more. Prayer, conversation with God, is the extension of reading our Bibles. It takes what we learned in the Bible and makes it personal. God speaks to us and teaches us more and more and more.

There are an awful lot of people who think they know God and are obeying Him who would be surprised to hear that they are uncircumcised in their hearts. They are relying on their own wisdom and their own strengths instead of on God. I'm not just talking about Christians, I'm talking about churches as well. How many churches rely on their own wisdom? How are decisions made in churches? How are sermons picked in churches? How are teachers picked in churches? How are pastors picked in churches?

We must never rely on our own wisdom. Our wisdom will never allow us to see what the consequences of our actions will be. Only God knows what we need to be doing. Only God knows which decision is the right one. Let's not think too highly of ourselves. We are not as great as God and just can't make do without Him. Here are some scriptures to ponder:

Zeph 2:3 "Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger."

 2Chron 31:21 "And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered."

Ps 14:2 "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God."

Eccl 8:17 "Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it." (This was written by Solomon who was wiser than all men.)
Link to 3/4/03 welcome message


4/23/03  How Important is Forgiveness?

"But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Matthew 6:15

This sounds a little harsh, doesn't it? This scripture follows right on the heels of the Lord's Prayer where Jesus gave an example of how to pray.

I've talked to "knowledgeable" people (like pastors) who think this doesn't really mean what it says. Maybe God has some sub-rules that go along with this one that pertain to specifically what degree of forgiveness we need to have or the degree of how bad a trespass is for it to need forgiveness, but I doubt it. This is pretty specific.

In Chapter 18 of Matthew, Peter asks Jesus, "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" Jesus replied, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." Right after that Jesus told a parable about forgiveness ending in, "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."

It seems pretty clear that we must identify unforgiveness in ourselves and get those things forgiven. Keep in mind that God doesn't give us things to do that we are unable to do. He provides the tools that are necessary, but we often have to allow Him to show us how to use those tools.

I've been deeply wounded by people over the years. Some of those wounds were deliberate and the people who delivered those wounds are still totally unrepentant about them. How am I expected to forgive them? After all, in Luke 17:3 it says, "Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him." It makes more sense if I apply this scripture to the ones in Matthew and Mark. To forgive someone who repents is much easier.

In order to forgive people that were unrepentant I had to make a decision that I needed to forgive them. Then I had to go to God and ask Him to help me. Once I let go of the thoughts of those people not deserving my forgiveness God was able to work what I felt was a miracle in me and I was able to forgive them. It really wasn't a miracle, it was God helping me to overcome the fleshly thought of all crimes deserve some sort of punishment. In other words, the people who hurt me still needed to be punished for what they did. I had to release those thoughts to God. After all, if they did deserve to be punished, who better to administer that punishment than God?

It was important that I let go of the hurts and the pain. The first step was deciding that I must do it. The second step was allowing God to have it. Then I had to walk away once it was done and not look back. I couldn't go back and pick up what I had put down or I would be back in the same boat of unforgiveness.

Actually, forgiving people is a constant thing. What about the people in the grocery store who aren't concerned that they are blocking your way? What about the people on the road who cut you off? What about the people who fill up your mailbox with spam? What about your spouse who is inconsiderate? What about your neighbor who lets their cat pee on your doors and windows? What about the teacher who is unfair to your child? The list goes on and on.

Don't sweep this admonition under the rug. Face it squarely and understand how important it must be to forgive people if God says He won't forgive us if we don't forgive them!
Link to 4/23/03 welcome message


5/21/03  Everything Is God's

"The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
Psalm 24:1

The fullness of the earth would be everything in it. Man didn't import any products from anywhere outside of the earth (for this study we won't mention meteorites and such.) There is nothing here that isn't a result of God creating man and the earth.

So, we own nothing that wasn't given to us by God. We should be thanking and praising Him for everything... every day!

Look at how so many people take pride in something they accomplish... something they accomplish using the talents and materials God has provided. Look at how many people are selfish with their material things and money... the material things and money that God provided through the talents and materials that He gave them.

The world, overall, contains self-centered people who are marking out their territory, their place in the world, thinking they deserve it because they earned it.

We owe all that we are, all that we have, and all that we are able to do to God. He has formed and chosen each of us individually and lovingly. We should never take anything for granted. Every breath we take is a gift from God. In reality, we own nothing. We can lay claim to nothing.

Let's examine everything in that light. Let's just spend a few days looking around and pondering this fact. If we didn't have a good grasp on it before then we should notice a change in our attitude and in our gratefulness to God.
Link to 5/21/03 welcome message


6/10/03  Everything Is God's

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
John 14:16-17

[Jesus said,] "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."  Matt 28:20 [Jesus said,] "...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Heb 13:5 This morning during my devotional time I had the scripture, "And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not," (Mark 13:21) pop into my head and it wouldn't leave.

 I had been thinking about how some churches and conferences are experiencing the "move of the Spirit" and interesting manifestations from heaven. I've listened to tapes of conferences where the audience reacts to "fireballs" or lights zooming around the room. I've heard of church services where you can physically feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Have you heard of Toronto? Brownsville?

God used the scripture from Mark to point something out to me. He let me know that we don't have to go anywhere special for those things. The Holy Spirit is not only in one place and not present in another. The Holy Spirit is in us, doesn't leave us, and goes everywhere with us! Plus, God doesn't pick and choose where He is and isn't. It isn't necessary for us to get in our cars and drive to wherever God is "appearing." He isn't like a person who can only be in one place at a time.

 Why, then, are most church services devoid of any feeling of God's presence? IT IS OUR OWN FAULT! If we were headed to a place like Toronto, what would we be expecting? When we go to our own church, what are we expecting? If you get enough people expecting nothing, then nothing you will probably get!

 If the leader of a church doesn't seek God's agenda then perhaps God isn't invited to attend that church. If people go to church out of some sort of sense of obligation then they probably aren't interested in anything out of the ordinary, or out of this world happening.  Most people want to control their surroundings and don't want God to do anything that is out of their control. They might even be scared of what God might do.

 What can we do? We can start at square one. What is square one? WE ARE! I must begin with me. I must be continuously expecting God to do things where I am. I must be open minded to Him. I must be ready and willing to do and say whatever He wants. Unfortunately, we may be surrounded by non-God-seekers.

It may be that God holds back because people don't want Him. Unfortunately, we may never experience the exciting things that He is willing to do in a church because of the minds of the leaders of that church and the members of the congregation. (Hmmph... members of a church.... church membership.... membership classes.... official members.... where in the Bible do we see anything resembling that? Sorry, that's another study, another time.)

However, let us begin today in our quest to see miraculous happenings in our churches. Let's not fit in with the comfortable crowd... let's not be man pleasers... let's LET GO and LET GOD! Perhaps our example of being open to God will be contagious. You think?

Oh, by the way, I almost used "And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not" as the main scripture, but if you read before and after it you will see that it is in the context of the end times with the abomination of desolation, wrath of God, etc. I've always tried never to take a scripture out of context to try to make a point. However, God is the one that brought that scripture to my attention and applied it to our situation now. So, if God wants to use a scripture out of context, who am I to argue???

I wasn't going to use it as the main one, however, to keep anyone from getting agitated about the context.

Link to 6/10/03 welcome message


8/26/03  Signs and Wonders

"And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke."
Acts 2:19

COMMENTS:    Well, do you think that seeing Mars shining so big in the night sky is a wonder in the heaven above?  Scientists would say, "No," because they say it is just physics.... the planets' orbits were "scheduled" to come close every 60,000 years.  It is just happenstance. That makes sense.  However, WHO hung the planets in their orbits and caused the orbits to be such that this would happen in the year 2003?

 Over and over I hear "logical" explanations for things that happen.  There are the "laws of nature" and the "laws of physics" that apply to things.  I ask a another question, "Who created those particular 'laws' to do what they do?"  Scientists are always looking for logical explanations for phenomena.  They usually come up with some "logical" reason.

 If we are closed-minded about things then how is God going to work through us?  How is He going to use us?  There is often a need for "signs and wonders."  Jesus said in John 4:48, "Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."  Today it is no different.  There are people that need to see miraculous things to cause them to believe in God. 

 If I firmly believe that every time I let go of something that it will drop directly to the ground because of the "law of gravity" how can God use me to move a rock from one location to another without touching it? God created the earth.  He gave us the "laws of nature" so there wouldn't be pandemonium and uncertainty.

  This all goes a lot deeper than what I've given you so far.  You have to take the general concept of what I've presented and come to grips with it yourself. We need to be open-minded to God and what He wants to do.  We have to discard the things we have learned and re-learn them.  The things that we have accepted as "always this way" and "it will never...." we need to allow to become "always this way unless God wants it differently." 

We need to view the things of the earth differently.  Mountains are NOT immoveable!  God wants to use us to bring people to Him.  God wants to use us to prove His existence.  God wants to use us to usher in the things He has planned for the people of earth.  Are you part of the "signs and wonders" team?  What is your assignment?  What portion of the Body of Christ are you? Not everything is as it seems.

Link to 8/26/03 welcome message


3/3/04  Money Makes the World Go Around

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24

COMMENTS:   What motivates people to do what they do?  What is important?

Here's a quiz:
1.  What would you do and say if someone handed you $100,000?
2.  What would you do and say if God said, "I want you to give it all away so My will can be accomplished in a certain area?"

How many times do we make compromises in what we know to be the right thing to do because of money?

I had a couple of things happen this week that made this topic jump into my head.  The first was when, as I mentioned in the welcome message, the lawyer representing the people that are suing us is only doing it for the money.  It really isn't anything personal, like he said. 

He has seen all the evidence that shows my son wasn't doing anything wrong, yet he continues to pursue the lawsuits.  He is still hoping that a jury will feel sorry for the widow and award her some money.  He knows he is hurting our family and trying to get money that isn't deserved.

Then, I did something myself last night.  My husband and I were discussing the bond measures on the ballet before we went to vote.  Two were related to balancing the California state budget and trying to keep it balanced.  I didn't feel that creating more debt in the form of bonds was a good idea to help get the state out of debt. 

My husband was going to vote for it because there was a chance that the schools wouldn't receive much money if the bonds didn't pass because of the money crisis in the state.  He is a teacher.  His comment was that he wanted a raise.  So, just to support my husband, I voted for it when my heart said to vote against it.

Today I regret my decision.  Even if I had voted against they would have passed as they had a wide margin in favor of them.  However, since my husband was concerned about the money I got concerned about the money.  At the time I did it I was thinking I was supporting my husband.  Now, looking back, I don't think I should have done it.

We have to be careful.  Money is a strong factor in this day and age.  Most of us don't grow our own food or make our own clothes.  We have to have money to purchase those things.  We get into a mindset that more money is better.  Sometimes we even think that we will be happier if we had more money.

There are times when we have decisions to make regarding money.  What would you do if you discovered that a store clerk gave you too much change?  What would you do if a waiter forgot to include your dessert on your dinner total?  What would you do if you found a gold necklace on the floor in a crowded room?

Compromise.  It is easy to do and it is very very wrong.

We need to remember that God knows all our needs as well as all our wants.  He is capable of taking care of our needs.  He wants us to place more focus on Him than on money.  He wants us to listen to that still, small voice that tells us what to do on everything.

Link to 3/3/04 welcome message


4/20/04  God's Word is Not Always Accepted

"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
John 6:66

COMMENTS:  Every once in a while we need to remind ourselves of this scripture.  There will be times when people do not want to hear what God lays on our hearts to share with them.  We need to be aware that it is not our responsibility to make sure that people understand what we are saying or accept what we are saying.  It is only our responsibility to say and do what God tells us to do.

Some of Jesus' own disciples walked away from Him because they refused to accept what He was saying.  God is in charge of the results after we do our part.  There is even a possibility we can mess things up if we continue to pursue someone after we have delivered what God wanted us to deliver.  It may be God has other people lined up to finish up with that person.

I have heard people tell me that they had people witness to them about Jesus in such a way that they didn't want to listen any more.  A friend of mine had a pastor of a local church stand in her front yard and yell at her that she was going to hell.  A beautician told me that she was getting closer to the Lord just because of listening to me witness about how God was blessing me.  She thanked me for not trying to "sell" her on God.  She had withdrawn from God because she felt people were trying to force Him on her.

It is important that we learn how to discern God's voice so we know what exactly to do and say.  We won't be able to tell by people's reactions whether we succeeded in saying and doing the right things.

If you walk in God's will there is a good chance that you will become alienated from friends and/or family members.  God will give you things to do and say that won't be accepted by some people.  They may become uncomfortable around you and try to stay away from you.  You may even find that you are no longer welcome in your own church.

Many churches and many people choose not to take something they disagree with or don't like to God and ask Him what He thinks about it.  If God gives you something to share with someone and they get mad at you about it, then that probably means they didn't pray about it or ask God about it.  Unfortunately, that may mean you lose a friend.

Remember, Jesus lost some disciples because they chose not to verify what He was saying.  They had walked with Him and seen the miracles He performed.  They weren't comfortable with what He was saying.  Instead of staying and trying to see if those things were true, they walked away.  There are a lot of people who don't like to face things that are hard for them to understand.  It is easier to reject those things than to prove them. 

There are also a lot of people who don't like to face things that they don't like.  They may choose to think that it is you that is bringing it to them instead of God.  If it is only you then they can reject it without feeling guilty.  It's a lot easier to reject a person than it is to reject God.

We must keep in mind that if some people rejected what Jesus told them then we will probably also experience the same.  We are in good company!!

Link to 4/20/04 welcome message


7/15/04  Rise to a Higher Level

"The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry."
Ezekiel 37:1-2

COMMENTS:  This is what happens to us when we are separated from the Lord.  He doesn't separate Himself from us, we separate ourselves from Him.  This also applies to people who have never had a relationship with Him.  We can cause our children and our grandchildren to become as dry as old bones by not teaching them about God and not exposing them to the Word.  There are many people in this world that have nothing to do with God.  They have a void that nothing else can fill.  They are DRY!

Verses 5-8 say, "Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.   So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.   And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them."

This is what happens when people think they are good Christians.  They know about God, they know about Jesus, and they know about the stories in the Bible.  They probably go to church and they may even be active participants in their church.  However, they are not spiritually in touch with God.  They don't seek His will, they may not even read their Bibles.  They are spiritually dead and don't even know it.  The really sad thing is other people who are spiritually dead validate them.  They all think everything is fine.

It isn't that God isn't available for them to develop a personal relationship, they just don't.  Perhaps they don't know any better.  Perhaps they are modeling their religious attitudes on how their parents were.  Perhaps they felt a call from God and went into a church whose pastor is not spiritually alive.  A lot of people model their own spiritual walk after their pastor or Sunday school teacher.

Have I depressed you yet?  Here's the good part is in verses 13-14, "And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD."

God is speaking to each of us, including those who are dry bones and those who have no breath in them.  Each person can rise to a higher level in their spiritual walk with the Lord.  They all feel the pull from God because He desires a close relationship with them.  It is a choice each person has to make, to listen or to ignore it.

He is always calling us to a higher level, all of us.  There will be a day when each of us may have to answer the question, "Why didn't you answer My call?"  It may go even further than that.  Will we be asked why we didn't do the things He wanted us to do instead of do the things we just decided to do ourselves for Him?  How many things are we doing for Him that He didn't ask us to do?  Is there breath, given by Him, in the things we are doing for Him?

Maybe it is time to evaluate everything we do and hold them all up to Him.  After all, it will only be the things that He has chosen for us to do and say that will make any difference.  Everything else will just blow away.

Link to 7/15/04 welcome message


9/22/04  Spirit vs. Word

"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
2Corinthians 3:5-6

COMMENTS:  I've heard the last part of this scripture quoted over and over, all by itself.  "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."  How about you?  This week we are going to examine the entire verse as a whole.

The first part is ego-bashing.  We shouldn't think of ourselves as being anything special because we aren't.  Maybe we have some talents that cause us to appear to be better than other people.  Perhaps we are admired by other people.  This is telling us that we are not special except in God.

God gave us our talents and skills.  We didn't create them ourselves.  We didn't even create our own bodies.  God did.  We have no control over our talents and skills, either.  Think about your most special talent.  You have it in your mind?  What would it take to cause it to be gone?  An automobile accident?  Alzheimer's Disease? 

Why do we focus on our talents?  Have you ever bragged about yours?  Have you ever taken pride in yours?  Did you ever think about the fact that they are not YOURS but God's?  It is the world that wants to promote individuality and to lift you up over other people based on your abilities.  Then, if something should happen to our abilities then the world turns away from us and goes on to the next person.

Our sufficiency is of God.  We need to learn to not seek the approval of mankind, but of God.  God doesn't determine our value by our talents.  He doesn't love us any more or any less because of what we can or can't do.  It is He that we should strive to please.  It is His will for our lives and His intentions for our talents that we should seek.

God gifted us with our talents for a reason.  It wasn't to make us more special than anyone else.  It was so we could use them for Him.  The next part of our scripture says that God made us able ministers of the New Testament.  It is the things that are taught there that God wants us to be learning and doing.

Yet, it is the spirit, not the words, that is important.  If we allow the spirit of what God wants to lead us then we are turning off our intellect and reasoning and allowing God to direct us.

One of the results of following the letter of the law instead of the spirit is denominations.  The reason there are different denominations is that the scriptures are interpreted in different ways.  People get legalistic about what they THINK a scripture means.  How many denominations would disappear if everyone turned to God and handed Him all their ideas about what He wanted them to believe and refused to have any doctrines or ideas until God actually showed them what to believe?

Take a look at how many different ways Jesus healed people.  He healed blind people by touching the eyes, spitting on the eyes and touching them twice, and by not touching them at all.  Sometimes He said their faith made them whole and some times he forgave their sins.  Why?  Why didn't He always just touch or always just speak?

God is personal and knows all the tiniest details about everything.  He knows what words and what actions are needful in each and every instance.  He doesn't always do things the same.  He has different portions of understanding about things for each person because He meets us right where we are.  We each, when we are allowing ourselves to be taught by spiritual understanding rather than logical, will have somewhat different views than others who are learning in the same way.  Should we argue our point?  Should we work at making everyone else understand the things of God exactly as we do?  Not unless God directs us to do that.

So, what am I saying?  I am saying that God doesn't expect us all to have the same opinions about doctrinal and spiritual things.  Sometimes there are reasons for people to have different beliefs about some things.  There are times when our walk with Him would be hindered if we were locked in to a different understanding.

Everyone who reads the Bible has noticed that there are areas that are not easily understood.  There are scriptures that support different doctrines.  Look at the beliefs of different denominations that are based on scripture.   Have you ever examined the scriptures that have to do with losing salvation and the security of salvation?  Why do opposing views have solid scripture to back their viewpoints?  (I put together a bunch of scriptures about the security of salvation here if you want to study it.  There I also examine why Biblical things may be understood differently by different people.)

Don't read your Bible as if it were just a book.  Books are full of letters and of words.  The Bible appears to be full of letters and words but there is more.  God poured spirit into the Bible.  There is something alive there.  Don't read it with your intellect.  Allow God to speak through the verses.  Don't apply things you already know to what you are reading.  Get fresh revelation straight from God!

Link to 9/22/04 welcome message

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