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

THINK ON THESE THINGS
Part 2
(Phil 4:8)

BIBLE STUDIES
(Newest ones are last)
Part 2:† Bible Studies on Think on These Things
Part 1:  Bible Studies on Think on These Things
Open Your Eyes, Churches!
Open Your Eyes, Churches!
Bible "Scholars"
Bible "Scholars"
Head Knowledge vs. Heart Knowledge
Head Knowledge vs. Heart Knowledge
What/Who Is God to You?
What/Who Is God to You?
The Spiritual Olympics
The Spiritual Olympics
Worshipping Golden Calves
Worshipping Golden Calves
I'm Sinless!
I'm Sinless!
Do Animals Go to Heaven?
Do Animals Go to Heaven?
Do People Hate You?
Do People Hate You?
Careful Study
Careful Study

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11/19/04  Open Your Eyes, Churches!

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:19

How is it that God could do a new thing and we wouldn't know it?  That doesn't seem possible!  Rivers in the desert!  Rivers of God in the dry places!  Yes, Lord, YES!  A way in the wilderness!  We can find our way right to the throne room and can sit at His feet!!  Wait... He makes them and WE DON'T KNOW?

Verse 20 goes on to say, "The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen."

The animals see it and are grateful, but the people don't see it.  How can that be?  Are we so insensitive to the things of God that we can't see what He is doing?

God made us for Himself (vs 21: This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. ) and He is desiring that we give Him the praise and worship that He deserves.  He created us out of love and looks for us to love Him in return.  Yet, we seem to have lost our way.  We have become weary of Him and are focusing on the things of this world and on pleasing ourselves.  (vs22: But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.)

God waits for us to bring Him gifts of gratitude.  He waits for us to ask His advice.  He even just waits for us to have thoughts of Him.  He really isn't asking for much.  (vs 23: Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense.)

How long does our Bible sit on the shelf and is not read?  How much effort do we put into seeking to know more about God?  How much effort to we put into placing Him in a place of importance in our lives?  Are we making assumptions that the little that we do is OK with Him?  (vs 24: Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.)

I can almost see Him shaking His head in wonderment saying, "I don't understand!  I love them so much that I sent my Son to suffer and die.  I am by their side every moment of every day.  I give them the sunrise and the sunset.  I want them to be with me for eternity so I made a way to remove their sins!"  (vs 25: I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.)

God is pleading with us to think of Him, to place Him in a place of importance in our lives.  (vs 26: Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. )

It is not good enough to assume that we know what God wants.  It is not good enough to believe everything we are taught by pastors and teachers.  If they aren't doing what God wants them to be doing then we may be just as guilty in sitting quietly and pretending everything is OK!  We must not sit blindly and quietly while God's will is not being done!  (vs 27-28: Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.  Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.)

I was listening to a tape I got through the Elijah List (www.elijahlist.com) this morning while I exercised. The speaker was talking about the spirit of the law (God's will) vs the letter of the law (what we think is God's will), the glory of Moses' time (fading) vs and the glory of this New Testament time (going from glory to glory). What he was saying kept verifying what I have been feeling in my spirit about today's churches.

I've been to over 20 different churches in the past six years. There was only one that spent week after week trying to be sensitive to what God desired. If God wanted us to praise Him the entire service, then we praised Him. If God wanted us to lay hands on one another and pray for each other, that's what we did. If God had a Word for us then everything stopped so we could hear what He was saying to us.

That lasted for a few months. It seemed that the pastor began to feel left out of things and he started taking back the control. We entered back into a church routine of singing for a particular length of time, giving announcements, taking the offering, having a sermon, and going home.

So, they went back to a "church as usual" type of routine. What is the routine in your church? Is there room for God to speak? Is there room for God to request more praise? Is there room for God to have and do what He wants?

Do you have a time set aside to worship Him? How is He worshipped? What are the words of the songs you sing? Are they "I" "I" "I" and "me" "me" "me" or are they "You" "You" "You"? Is the music "feel good" music or is it such that you can enter in to spiritual worship and get lost in God as you give Him the praise He so richly deserves?

Is there anyone there at your church that is being sensitive to what God desires to do? One time God told me that a church should have spiritually sensitive people in the four corners taking the spiritual temperature of the room. I don't know if He literally meant in the four corners, or if it just meant to cover the entire area.

However, there needs to be someone who can tell when God desires a different song than the one being sung and can signal the praise leader to stop the music and begin again. There needs to be someone who will know when God has a Word to give the group and can hush whatever is taking place so all can hear.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of church leaders that are not willing to give the control over to God. Have you ever heard of any pastor who prayed and prayed for sermon ideas and, coming up with nothing, came into the church with no sermon knowing that God would fill their mouth with what He wanted to say?  That goes way beyond the comfort zone for the majority of pastors.

There are a lot of church leaders that will not allow other people to have any type of authority to interrupt or change what they have planned.  They often have a time schedule that must be followed so that nobody gets uncomfortable or mad. 

Have you been in a church that tip toes around people's feelings?  Did Jesus worry about hurting the feelings of the moneychangers in the temple when he tipped over their tables?  How about when He called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites and whited sepulchres?

Are there any expectations of God doing a new thing or are the expectations only of a routine service? Look around at the faces of the people in your church. What do you see? Do you see them shining with the glory of having an intimate time with God? Is the glory washing over the entire congregation?  Or do you see indifferent faces?  What do you see?

Has the pastor ever said anything like, "I had a particular sermon prepared and God wants you to hear this instead"? Has your church ever stopped everything and just waited on God?  That's what I'm talking about!  What does God want?  There isn't supposed to be any such thing as "church as usual"!  We must allow God to have all control!

God has made streams in the desert and a way in the wilderness!  We must open our eyes and see them!  What is God saying to you?  Is He patting you on the back and saying, "Well done my good and faithful servant, you may go to your rest now" or is He calling you higher?

How many people think that going to a church (any church) and sitting in a pew for the length of the weekly service is all that God requires of them?  How many pastors are allowing the people to maintain that thinking?

How many churches are stepping outside of the box of tradition and of control?  How many are submitting all that they are and do to the will of God?  How many are seeking His will prior to AS WELL AS during the services?

OK, here's where the rubber hits the road.  What is God saying to you as an individual?  What does He want you to be doing and saying?  If enough people are seeking God's face then there won't be "church as usual".   In most churches the current majority consists of people who are not seeking God's will for their individual lives. 

You and I can make a difference.  We can hang on to that flame of passion that God gave us.  We can fan that flame as we seek to abide in Him.  We can share that flame with others as they see what God is doing in our lives.  We can demonstrate holiness, what it is to wait upon God, how to separate ourselves from the world, and all the other things that God expects of us.

Yes, we are just one person, but we are a member of the Body of Christ.  Christ is our Head!  He is perfectly capable of bringing together the various Body parts that are actually doing their jobs.  He is able to take our small portion and water it and cause it to grow.  Perhaps we are to share a Word from Him. 

He might even desire that you stand up on the pew and shout to gain the quiet you need to share what He has to say.  He may be calling you to separate yourself spiritually from the rest and to pray or praise in His will during the service.  There are no limits we can place on what God might be desiring us to say or do.  We just need to be a willing vessel.

Be constantly aware of His presence!  Be continually listening for what He wants you to say and do!  Stand in that river that is in the desert and others will see you refreshed and will join you!  You've heard of the Pied Piper, haven't you?  Pipe the will of God and others will follow!!

Link to 11/19/04 welcome message

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11/28/04  Bible "Scholars"

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

This morning, in my devotional book, Smith Wigglesworth (a wonderful faith teacher who died in the 1940's) made some statements about how to tell if a voice you hear is God or not.  One of the things he said was that if God mentioned taking care of the financial portion of something then that was not God. 

He indicated that all we needed to do was seek God and the financial end of it would be handled without us even thinking about it or without God mentioning it.  It was not of God if we had to think about the money.  He was so sure of it that he said we would never hear of God mentioning the finances.

That's interesting to me since God had told me that He didn't want me getting another job since He wanted me to work for Him.  He then said He would take care of our family's finances, which He has.

I read a book about George MuŽller who built orphanages a long time ago under God's direction.  Whenever bills needed to be paid or supplies needed to be purchased and there was no money George would go into his prayer closet, sometimes for long periods of time, and the exact amount of money that was needed would end up coming to them.  George's witness about finances is the exact opposite of Smith's.

Then, as I read the scripture reference for that devotional (I'm sure it was picked by the publisher of the Wigglesworth devotional since the original format was not a daily devotional) I found more opinions in my Bible.  The verses were Judges 6:36-7:22 and were about Gideon picking soldiers to go up against the Midianites.  As you may recall the final selection was based on whether the men drank water on their knees or out of their hands.

My Bible is a "key" Bible and that means that some scriptures are marked with a little symbol that looks like a key and there is some kind of notation at the bottom of the page.  It might refer to customs of that time, other scriptures that carry the same theme, or whatever the editor felt would enhance the study of the scriptures.  In this case it was a notation about the "two well-known views" of the reason for God's choice of Gideon's men.  It told what those two views were.

Scholars?  My dictionary has a few definitions for that word.  1. one who attends a school or studies under a teacher: pupil   2a. one who has done advanced study in a special field   2b. a learned person   3. a holder of a scholarship

The only scholar who would have any valuable thing to say would be a "pupil" whose teacher is God and who was given an explanation from God, Himself! 

The Bible did not give a specific explanation for God's reasoning behind watching how men drank water.  Most people can't stand to not have a good reason for something happening!  I'm like that.  For example, I don't go watch "magic" shows.  I don't enjoy seeing something that I don't understand.  I would watch one that revealed how the trick was done, but I don't want to go away wondering how it was done.  However, that is just for worldly things.  It is different for me with the things of God.  I used to try to explain the things of God, but no longer.

If I don't know God's reason for doing something I am not going to invent the most logical reason and use it for teaching purposes.  I might suggest a reason or a few reasons to someone, but I would never want anyone to get stuck on a particular reason unless God chooses to verify that reason!

The thing that needs to be done is we need to take our questions straight to God!  If God doesn't want us to dwell on a reason for something then we must be obedient and move on!  I can picture a room full of people arguing over whether God just randomly chose the water-drinking method knowing that it would narrow the field down to 300 men or whether God wanted to show which men were smart enough not to expose their back sides to the enemy!

Think about how long "scholars" spend discussing and arguing over the reasons that God did things.  Oh my, oh my.  What does God want them to be doing with their time?  Isn't God perfectly capable of telling us why He does things? 

God does not expect us to have a logical explanation for the things He does!  God does not deal in logic any more than He deals in the laws of physics or the laws of nature!  His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

If we don't understand something in the Bible then we ask God about it and wait for the answer.  In the meantime we need to be continuing to read our Bibles.  Many times other scriptures answer our questions.  Some times we don't ever get answers.  Like our scripture says, God's ways are higher than our ways.  It isn't always necessary for us to understand.

This is where faith comes in.  Our relationship and understanding of God must move into a different realm other than human understanding.  We must accept God's ways in faith, knowing that He is doing the right thing.  We must LET GO and LET GOD BE GOD!

There are a lot of "scholars" who are going around trying to convince people that their explanation for why God does things is correct.  Some of these "scholars" are the ones who have caused new denominations to form over different interpretations of scripture.  The new denominations have broken up the Body of Christ into different groups of beliefs based on somebody's logical thinking.

So, what can we do as individuals?  We must focus on being pupils in the school of God rather than pupils in the school as taught by human scholars!  We must re-examine everything that we believe and find out where we got those beliefs.

If you have never read the Bible from one end to the other then your beliefs are from the human school.  You have allowed yourself to be taught by people who may have been taught by other people who never got God's opinion on what was the right thing to believe.  If you have never read your Bible more than once then you are still probably full of human opinions about the things of God.

We must open up to allow ourselves to be in the position of not understanding things.  Oh no!  That is not comfortable!  I feel like I am walking on water without a boat under my feet!  Exactly!  We are humans!  Our thoughts are human thoughts, limited by our experiences and obtained knowledge.

There is a song out that has the line in it:  "God is God and I am not".  Think about that.  If we try to humanize the things of God then we are going to miss the things that God is trying to do.  We won't be able to do the spiritual things.  We will be as if our feet are stuck in cement blocks.

If we explain everything in human terms how can we:

Abide in Christ and let Him abide in us? (Jn 15:4)

Enter into the Kingdom of God? (Mt 19:24)

Be born again? (1Pet 1:23)

Bring our thoughts into captivity?  (2Cor 10:5)

Be one body with other believers? (1Cor 12:13)

Do I need to go on?  Let's step out of our own minds and start walking in God's, allowing Him to teach us what He desires.  Let's not try to look for explanations for everything that is of God.  Let's not believe everything we hear from scholarly people until we get verification from God!

Oh, yes, one last thing.  Don't believe a word I am telling you!  Well, don't believe it until God confirms it, that is.

Link to 11/28/04 welcome message

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12/20/04  Head Knowledge vs. Heart Knowledge

"And when he [Herod] had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born."
Matthew 2:4

Do you know what a chief priest was in those days?  A Levite who was in charge of being the go-between between men and God.  He was the one who made the sacrifices, who entered the holy of holies.  He was their spiritual advisor.  He was the one who knew the scriptures the best.

A scribe was someone who wrote things and handled accounts.  They would write an accounting of what took place and of the stories that were handed down verbally (Prov 25:1).  They handled the scriptures and became known as students and interpreters of the law (Neh 8:1-13; Jer 36:26).  In Jesus' time they were given places of importance (Matt 23).

When the wise men came to ask Herod where Jesus, the child, had been born Herod turned to the ones who knew the scriptures the best, the chief priests and the scribes.  They knew the prophecies in the Old Testament about the Messiah coming better than anyone.  They even knew He would be born in Bethlehem!

The wise men also knew of the Messiah.  They knew the star would lead them to Him.  Why were three kings coming from far away lands to see the Messiah and the chief priests and scribes in Jerusalem were doing nothing?  The Messiah had been born right under their noses and they didn't care!  When Herod approached them they still didn't care!

In Matthew 16:21 Jesus told His disciples that it would be the chief priests and scribes that would put Him to death!!  They were the ones who should have been the first to know of His birth and to recognize Him as the Messiah!

Oh how horribly sad!

Are we guilty of being that closed-minded to the things of God?  Are we so stuck in a way of interpreting what God will and won't do that we are missing Him?  Are we busy passing judgment on people that are "way out there" in their worship and in their relationship with God saying they are crazy or they are wrong?

The chief priests and the scribes knew the scriptures very well.  At least, they knew of them.  They had read them over and over yet God, in the flesh, walked right past them and they didn't sense His presence.  They were full of head knowledge and didn't let God lead their hearts.

I know people who read the scriptures that describe the gifts of the Spirit and say, "Those are not for today."  They allowed someone to fill their head with head knowledge and they won't allow God to lead their hearts.  There are a lot of people that say, "This scripture means this" and "that scripture means that."  Yet God, Himself, may be trying to teach them otherwise.

It is very easy to get locked into a way of thinking about God and what He will and won't do.  It is especially easy if we are taught by and hang around with people who believe the same.

Oh, God, please help us to keep our minds open to hear what You want us to believe!  Help us to identify anything in us that hinders us from seeing You and seeing what You want us to do!

Link to 12/20/04 welcome message

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1/18/05  What/Who Is God to You?

"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10

Let's examine our thoughts about God.  I'm going to ask some rather strange questions, but take the time to apply them to your thoughts about God and see if there is any truth in them.

Do you think of God as a pet that will give you loving when you need it and only requires minimal attention?

Do you think of God as an emergency button to only be pressed in case of emergency?

Is God  your personal Santa Claus who exists solely to provide what you want or need?

Is God a task-master who requires unfair things from you?

Is God your parents' invention and you continue to go to church only because it is a habit?

When do you think about God?  What do you think about Him?  What are you thinking when you are praising Him in church?  Do you praise Him outside of church?

When you are in an emergency situation is He the first one that comes to your mind?  When you are answering the telephone is He the first one that comes to your mind?  When you tie your shoes is He the first one who comes to your mind?

When you learn about Him by reading your Bible or in church are you having the same mindset as if you were learning about a dead person from a history book?

When you walk into church what are you thinking?
I get to see my friends.
I'm going to praise God in one accord with other believers.
I am fulfilling my duties to God for this week.
I'm only here because my [wife, mother, husband, etc.] wanted me to be here.
I'm only here because I feel guilty if I don't go.

So, what I am trying to do is to get you to analyze how you categorize God.  Do you treat Him like He is God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth or do you treat Him like He is just someone you contact now and then?

He doesn't become smaller or less important just because we make Him so in our minds.  He is still God.  When we do things on our own without involving Him it doesn't make Him less powerful.

Just think about Who He really is!  We need to give Him the honor and the respect that He so richly deserves.  He said He will be exalted in the earth.  We must be participants in that exaltation.  We must reflect His nature in all that we do and say.  We must never try to "turn Him off" or ignore Him.  We must make Him a constant part of our lives.

Here's a little confirmation that we need to sit up and take notice of this study.  Part of one of my daily devotionals for January 19th said:
"Often we use times of quietness and prayer to try to convince God to want what we want.  We see him in our perspective rather than seeing ourselves in His perspective."  Harold Rogers

Link to 1/18/05 welcome message

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2/9/05  The Spiritual Olympics

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."
1Corinthians 9:24-25

This scripture popped up three times in one day.  It was in my morning devotional.  Then it was mentioned at our Bible study at church.  Then it was mentioned by our pastor in church.  Three times totally unrelated to each other.  I knew that there was something God wanted to show me.  As I pondered it I began to be ashamed of myself.  So, being the nice person I am, I'm going to share with you.  You might find yourself ashamed as well.

Let's think about an Olympic athlete.  How did that athlete get to the Olympics?  They had to prove their abilities at other athletic events in order to get to the Olympics.  They also had to train and practice.

They have to have enough money to be able to attend athletic events and to travel to wherever the Olympics are being held.  Therefore, perhaps a great deal of their income from a job is devoted to athletics.  Maybe they are sponsored by other people who think they are doing something good.

What is involved in athletic training?  Have you ever thought about how much time and effort goes into it?  The athlete must stay on a particular diet.  Gaining too much weight can affect performance.  Certain foods are better than others for generating energy.  So, the athlete must focus on a diet that is best for the body and for performance every single day in order to reach peak performance levels.

Then there is the practice.  Hours and hours every single day, or almost every single day.  Social time is at a minimum.  Watching TV is at a minimum.  Most, if not all, the athlete's "spare" time is devoted to practice.

I'm being very brief in describing the life of an Olympic athlete.  There is much much more involved.  I just gave you some basics to get your imagination flowing.  So, our verses have to do with athletes striving to win and being temperate in all things.  Paul was being even more brief than I was.

OK, now, stop and think about the commitment that athletes make.  Think about the time, money, and effort they put into winning a prize, a "corruptible crown" as Paul called it.

Here's the million dollar question:
Why don't we put HALF that amount of effort into pleasing God and doing things for Him?

Link to 2/9/05 welcome message

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4/15/05 Worshipping Golden Calves

"Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."
1Kings 12:28

Of course we wouldn't be so foolish as to believe that two golden calves actually represented God, would we?  Just because our leader says they represent God doesn't mean we will believe him, right?  It is easy to say that the Israelites were foolish to listen when someone told them that golden calves brought them out of Egypt and to say that we wouldn't be so gullible.

What if our leader makes a less drastic change in the way we view God?  As an example, what if we picture God as a Santa Claus-type of God all the time?  We would sing praises to God about all the things He has done for us and will do for us.  We would go to church expecting to get something.  We would spend our prayer time asking him for things.

We could imagine our God  as being single-minded, solely interested in getting people saved.  His total focus would be harvesting more souls.  He wouldn't care what you do after you get saved.  He would just expect you and all the others who are saved to evangelize, evangelize, evangelize.

When we pick and choose parts of God or attributes of God and worship that part of Him we are creating a type of golden calf.  We are molding God into some kind of desirable god that fits our needs or that fits into our limited perception of who He really is.  We may be feeding our own self-interests by creating the God of our desires or finding ourselves a safe and comfortable zone from which we can view God.

When we do things for God without God telling us to do those things then we are trying to please our "golden calf" of a god.  When we do things just because we have seen other people do them in their worship, or in their prayers, or in their church service, or in their time of serving God without finding out if that is exactly what God wants us to do then we are forming a "golden calf" and are "performing" for that calf or on behalf of that calf.

It is easy to try to put God into the format of a "golden calf".  It is easy to believe that God will and won't do certain things.  It is also comfortable to "know" that God won't be throwing any surprises at us.  It is easier to believe that the things we do for God, that haven't been personally approved by Him, are accepted by Him than to have to submit everything for His approval.  It is also easier to believe that something that someone else did that was definitely sanctioned by God would also be approved by God if we did it than it would be to have to spend the time asking God about it.

It isn't fun to walk into a situation and leave it entirely up to God.  What if God decides to change a speech that you so carefully prepared to give a large crowd of people?  What if you are the worship leader and God decides the song you are singing next is not the one He wants?  It is easier to not listen for His voice than to have to step out in faith and allow Him to have control and to believe that He will provide the words, materials, or whatever is necessary at that moment.

In order to be worshipping God and not a "golden calf" we need to examine Who and What God really is.  Our human minds cannot comprehend nor take in all that God is, but let's try.

First and foremost, lets keep in mind that God created the entire universe.  Hebrews 11:3 says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."  God took NOTHING and made EVERYTHING!  We need to KNOW that God is capable of doing anything, from the biggest thing to the tiniest.

God is aware of and cares about everything we do and say.  Matthew 10:29-30 says, "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."  He cares about even the tiniest things that happen.  Yes, He has given us the choice to do whatever we want but that doesn't mean He isn't paying attention and doesn't care.

God placed us here for a purpose.  We aren't here by accident.  Isaiah 44:24 says, "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself."  Every word that comes out of our mouths and everything that we do should be first approved by God so his purposes can be completed.

By ignoring God or turning Him into a "golden calf" of our own design we are being disobedient.  We are not pleasing God.  That's the bottom line.  We may fool ourselves into thinking we are doing the right thing just because it seems right, but, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal 6:7)

Examine the things you are doing for God.  Examine your worship, your prayer, your everything that is done for God.  Examine it carefully.  Does it have "me me me" written all over it?  It should have "You You You" all over it.

Your homework is to go meditate on Ephesians 4.  Then read 1Corinthians 12.

We are each a part of a bigger plan.  We must keep our minds open to what God wants to do through us.  We must not get into the mindset that the only things that exist are the things we see with our eyes and feel with our hands.  We must not be lulled into thinking God doesn't care about things we do or that, just because we place a tag saying "Done for God" on the things we do, that He is pleased.

Like I said, God is so much more than we realize.  He is BIGGER BETTER GREATER SMARTER and way more AWESOME than our minds can comprehend.  Let's not tear off a chunk of Him and form it into a "golden calf" and be satisfied.

Are you with me?  Let's let go of those earthly things that bind us and hold us down.  Let's fly fly fly into the heavenlies and learn all that we can about our God.  Yippee!!

Link to 4/15/05 welcome message

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5/5/05 I'm Sinless!

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1John 1:9
I experienced another one of those clarity things where something that I knew already became even more clear in my mind.  Have you ever had that happen?

It happened Sunday in church.  It was communion Sunday and, as I always do before taking communion, I asked God for forgiveness for the things that I've said, things I've done, and things I've thought that weren't in His will. 

Then, as I ended my request "in Jesus' name" I stopped to ponder how Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so that I could be forgiven of those things I did that I chose to do.  It's amazing.  He chose to suffer because I choose to sin.  Awesome.  That, in itself, is worthy of a Bible study.

Then, the clarity part kicked in.  I had just received forgiveness and God no longer remembered my sins.  So, to God, I was sinless.  I was perfect.  I was obedient.  It was like I was a baby fresh out of the womb!

Until I thought, said, or did something that I shouldn't I was sinless!

It is so funny how that fact, all of a sudden, seemed to jump out at me.  The more I thought about it, the more special it seemed.  My sins were gone as far as God was concerned!

By focusing on that I found it was easier to choose not to sin.  Which sin was important enough to mess up my pure record?  Was speaking to my husband with an "attitude" in my voice going to be my first sin?  Was that important enough?  Which thing was important enough to be the first sin?

It sure makes a difference in what I do and say when I focus on how I am starting over without sin.  Like I said, I knew it all along, but it just became so much more clear.

Link to 5/5/05 welcome message

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6/21/06 Do Animals Go to Heaven?

"And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life."
Genesis 7:15
I had a short list of scriptures about animals. My prayer partner and I had once been discussing whether our pets would be in Heaven. I began collecting scriptures to see if the Bible would give me the answer.

As with all things there are two viewpoints. The viewpoint of the pets going to Heaven is often explained as emotional and born of wanting them to be there.
I figured it was appropriate to share the scriptures with you this week as one of my pets is taking up 50% of my focus on a daily basis.

Our scripture says the animals have the breath of life. Now we need to look at a gruesome scripture to see that humans, too, have the breath of life.

"And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die."
Gen 7:15

In Genesis 1:28 animals are called living things. Living things comes from the Hebrew word that says to live, exist. Genesis 3:20 uses the exact same word to refer to people, "And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living."

God blessed the fish and birds in Genesis 1:22, "And God blessed them...." God also blessed man in Genesis 1:28 using the same word, "And God blessed them...."

So, this isn't proof that animals go to Heaven, but it shows that there is something special about animals. When you look at how pets love people you need to remember that God is love. Any love begins with God. There is evidence that many animals love their mates and love other animals in their families or groups. Again, love comes from God.

The last scripture I present to you is just something that we can rest on and trust God. It doesn't answer the question of whether or not pets and/or animals will be in Heaven, but it provides food for thought.

"Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing."
Psalm 145:16

Living thing again is he same word as we found in Genesis 1:28 for animals and 3:20 for people. Is your pet desiring to be with you all the time? Do you desire to see them in Heaven?
Link to 6/21/06 welcome message

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11/12/09 Do People Hate You?

"Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you."
1John 3:13
It shocked me when my church family, the bulk of my friends, hated me when I left that church.  Horrible rumors began to spread about me.  I was accused of trying to get the pastor fired.  One woman, who had been one of my closest friends, said she was glad I was gone.

I began to think that I was a bad person since my church friends were saying I was.  I just couldn't figure out what I had done wrong.  My gifts were even ridiculed.  It was awful!

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.  And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.  And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."
1Jo 3:1-24

That's the whole chapter.  Let's give it a once over.  It starts out talking about not sinning.  I had a pastor who struggled with verse 9,"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."  He was of the opinion that everyone sins.  Well, yes, everyone has sinned.  (Rom 3:23 and 5:12)

This scripture lines up with the study I put together on holiness.  God let me know it is possible to not sin.  Simply put, every sin we commit is a choice.  If we are serious about finding out what God wants us to be doing then we eventually will get to the point of not sinning.

Too many Christians have a relationship with God that is shallow.  Some are only seeking what God will do for them.  Others only go as far as their comfort zone will allow.  Others think that, since God forgives sins, they can continue to sin as long as "it's not too bad of a sin".

Love has a lot to do with sinning.  If we love other people the way God wants us to love them then that will eliminate a lot of sources of sin.  Many of the things we say that we shouldn't say are because we are not loving the right way.

We can't skip past all the hard-to-do things and jump right into the "whatsoever we ask, we receive of him" part.  God isn't kidding around when He says we are to love.

I believe that there are Christians who only think they are Christians and who really don't know Jesus.  Don't you know "Christians" who never demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit?  (Gal 5:22)  How could people hate me so much?  It sure wasn't a God-thing.

Well, I've given you plenty of food for thought, haven't I?  This Bible study is not complete.  You can finish it yourself.  There are a lot of different things in these scriptures.  Some of them will mean different things to each of you. 

You ARE going to spend some time studying this on your own, aren't you??  You don't expect me to do all the work, do you?
Link to 11/12/09 welcome message

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12/15/09 Careful Study

"And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ."
Luke 2:26
I've been taught that the "comforter" that Jesus referred to in the 14th-16th chapters of John was the Holy Spirit.  I was expected to believe that the Holy Spirit was sent to us after Jesus said that.

There's more to the Holy Spirit than what I was taught.  Simeon, the man referred to in our verse in Luke,  was spoken to by the Holy Spirit.  Even though it was translated Holy "Ghost" it's the same word used for Holy "Spirit".  That means that the Holy Spirit was around before Jesus went back to Heaven.

"Comforter" is another word altogether.  It means one who is summoned, called to one's side, esp. called to one's aid.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not doing an in-depth study of the terms "Holy Spirit" and "Holy Ghost".  I'm just trying to point out that we all need to be open-minded about the things of God and the things in the Bible.  We must not believe something just because some respectable teacher told us it was so.

Mary was conceived "of the Holy Ghost" (Matt 1:18-20).  Mark 12:36 refers to King David speaking "by the Holy Ghost".  Again, the word for Holy "Ghost" is the same word used for Holy "Spirit".

I'm not feeling led to do a complete study on the Holy Spirit at this time.  I'm just saying that things are not always what we believe.

Before ending this study I want to throw one more bone in the pot.  John 7:38 quotes Jesus, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."  Verse 39 is (apparently) John giving an explanation, "(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

That's the one scripture that refers to the Holy Spirit not being received yet.  So, what does that mean?  I'm not positive.  Maybe it means the Holy Spirit would come differently than before.  I'm sure it means something, but I don't know exactly.  The actual meaning isn't crucial to our study.  Our study is only to warn us to examine everything in the light of how God wants us to believe.
Link to 12/15/09 welcome message


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