“When a Christian Freaks Out!” Romans 6:11-14

Romans 6:11-14

“In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore do no let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

Have you seen Christians who freak out (v. lose or cause to lose emotional control from extreme excitement, shock, fear, joy, despair, etc.) regularly?  I mean someone who is prone to lose all self-control.  If you stood next to a professing non-believer when they’re in the middle of their tirade; you’d be unable to distinguish who was the unbeliever.

Have you talked to a Christian friend who was able to openly admit to “freaking out” due to a major unexpected life-event? It may have been losing a job, a home foreclosure, adult children issues, older-parent issues, or maybe even the unexpected death of a loved-one.

What can we do when a Christian is “freaking-out?”  That’s the time to encourage them to fervently pray to God. (Psalm 32:5-6) Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.”

I had an occasion just last week when I was “freaking-out”.  It was just a little thing.  My work schedule changed, unexpectedly and I allowed it to cause a domino-effect, because there were things I needed to get done before leaving home for work. My well-ordered morning schedule of the past weeks was in disarray, and I needed to either move faster, slow the clock down, or just leave some things undone.  Instead of choosing, I “freaked out” , the old sin-nature took over faster than you can imagine and it scared me to the point that I stopped, got a pen and completed a Behavioral Observation on myself.  I spoke to God, “Lord, you are too good to me, for me to act like this!”

When I finished the exercise, God had taken control of the situation, and put me back together again in an amazing way! God’s grace (Unmerited favor) is sufficient. I’m hoping that admitting to “freaking-out” though embarrasing, may help someone during a “crisis of belief” to trust God instead of “freaking-out.”

Prayer: “Lord, please help us to confidently put our trust in you to keep us and life’s situations under control before we over-react, during our crisis of belief. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Article Originally in Homewords News, July 2011

 

 

The Church at Philadelphia, They Got it Right!

Revelation 3:7-13

The church at Philadelphia, like the church at Smyrna was a church which received a passing grade from Jesus in His message to John.  The church passed simply because it kept God’s commands to endure hardships patiently (verse 10).  Here we may assume that keeping the faith, persevering, holding fast and staying in line for the love of God was not an easier task than it was in the other six churches.  However, this church continued to love the Lord and stay on task in spite of the problems inside and outside the church.

As I look at the church of Philadelphia, the lesson is simple.  This church did what God told them to do in spite of the surrounding influences.  They didn’t let false teachings creep in, they didn’t set their own rules, they didn’t let complacency be their guide, and they most certainly got back on track whenever they fell off. Did they fall off the track?  While the text doesn’t specifically say that they did, I believe that they did.  However, with practicing love and patient endurance, they understood that following God was the most important thing that they could do.

What can we gain from this lesson of the church of Philadelphia?  I encourage you to follow these conclusions:  First, follow God in all things.  No matter what the choices are, follow God’s choices and plan of action.  No matter what problems you are faced with, follow God’s guidelines.  No matter what others do, follow God’s orders.  So many times we get off track because we forget God’s directions and respond inaccurately to what someone else does or does not do.  Enduring hardship is especially difficult when it comes from another believer.  But, no matter what the hardship is we must follow God.  Others may not understand God’s instructions to you as you do.  This doesn’t mean we abandon the task, for it is only in wholly following God that we become what He wants us to be and achieve the perfections He has in store for you.  So always remember to follow God.

Secondly, in gaining lessons from the church of Philadelphia, we learn not to respond to the failure of other believers.  What God has in store for you and the hardships that you face have nothing to do with the faithfulness of other believers.  God’s instructions to you are your personal instructions from God.  He may not have given the one you feel should help you the same message, but, when it is a God-sent message, there is help for you.  Don’t get frustrated when the when the help doesn’t come in the expected manner.  So many times we makes our friends our earthly guides.  They can get in the way of what God is trying to accomplish through us.  We spend too much time complaining about what other in Christ don’t do.  We often make other believers the sacrificial lamb for our failures, not fully understanding that when God gives us a command, He is speaking to you and Satan will often confound the message to get you off-track.  Why shouldn’t we focus on others when they seem like stumbling blocks?  That’s simple,  they are not our stumbling block, but Satan is.  Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world, against the spiritual forces  in the heavenly reals (NIV).  When we are opposed to doing what God has commanded remember the enemy is Satan and not the other Christian brother or sister.

Finally, that we must understand that the maturity levels in the faith are not the same.  Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:12-13 that we must work with all our fellow believers to  give them a chance to develop in the faith.  We must try to bring the most out of the believers in our surroundings so they will grow into mature Christians.  This is why it is important to understand the Spiritual Gifts of the believers around us.  If we don’t understand what those around us are sent from God to accomplish, we will never understand how they fit into the task God has individually given us.  Given the scriptual fact that the maturity level of all Christians is not the same (Ephesians 4:14), and knowing that the Spirit has given all believers a “manifestation for the common good” (I Corinthians 12:7),  we must remember that all the answers and ways of carrying out the efforts of the common good are not always going to be expressed and carried out in the same manner. Many will be opposite to the was we all feel the should be.  But there is a standard, and that is to follow God’s commands.

What do we do to be sure we follow God’s commands?  Test everything through God.  Test everything through Scripture, prayer and patience. Always be insistent to do God’s will and follow his path.  Be firm to follow. Resolute to do what is required. Vacate vacillation and withdraw from wavering.  Always remember the Church of Philadelphia got it right.

Anna – 10 Points for Bible Study 12/06/2014

From our lesson of  Anna, Luke 2:22-38, Here are some important points. The points do not directly answer the questions on pages 162-165 of the text, but may help you in our discussion of the Saturday Bible Study 12/06/2014.

1.  Her name means “Favor” or “Grace”.  (3, pg. 162)

2.  She was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  (Luke 2:36)

3.  She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.   She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. (Luke 2: 37-38).

4.  Though she could not echo the prayer of Jewish men, who praised God for creating them neither Gentiles nor women, she could be  grateful for the privilege of ascending beyond the Court of the Gentiles to the Women’s Court, where she would be that much closer to the Most Holy Place.  Having done so, she bowed her head, rocking back and forth to the rhythm of her prayers (Psalm 84:1-3). (2, pg. 302).

How lovely is your dwelling place,

O Lord Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,

for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out

for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,

and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may have her young–

a place near your altar,

O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

5.  Suddenly a voice interrupted her recitation of the familiar psalm.  Old Simeon she saw, was holding a baby to his breast, pronouncing words that thrilled her soul: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”(Luke 2:29-32) ( 2, pg. 302)

6.  Like her, Simeon had lived for nothing but Israel’s consolation.  Though he had not seen, yet he had believed.  Anna watched as the child’s parents hung on the old man’s words.  Then he handed the infant back to his mother, this time speaking more softly: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34-35) (2, pg. 302)

7. The old woman Anna had probably spent upwards of sixty years in the temple.  In fact, she never left it, ” but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying” (Luke 2:37).  The evidence of her devotion is not just in the fact that  she spent all those years in prayer, but that she recognized the Christ.  (He was, after all, only six weeks old.)  Yet even though Anna had relinquished a normal lifestyle, spent hours of every day in prayer, and gone without food as a sign of devotion, she was still not allowed  access to the actual temple.  Despite being relegated to the outer court for women, however, she never let that restriction squeeze her heart or strangle her love for God.(2, pg. 304)

8. Now she too felt like a sparrow soaring freely in the house of God.  It no longer mattered that she was forbidden entry into the innermost courts of the temple.  God himself was breaking down the dividing walls between Jew and Gentile, male and female, revealing himself to all who hungered for his presence. That day a child had transformed the Women’s Court into the holiest place of all. (2, pg. 303)

9.  Scripture doesn’t tell us whether Anna ever actually wished she were allowed to enter the innermost courts of the temple in Jerusalem.  But her longing for God is obvious.  Clearly, she was a woman with great spiritual appetite, who abandoned her life to God and was rewarded by meeting Jesus and his parents just forty days after his birth, during the presentation in the temple. (2, pg. 303)

10.  The customs of her time may have restricted the physical location of Anna’s worship, but no earthly regulation could bind her actual worship or devotion.  Be an Anna! Don’t let anything limit your devotion to God!  No earthly rules or restrictions.  No past mistakes or sins.  No life situations that you can’t overcome.  Let nothing get in the way of worshiping your God and recognizing your Savior. (2, pg. 304)

1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All Scriptures)

2. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.

3. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.

 

 

 

Mary, the Mother of Jesus – 10 Key Points for Bible Study

1.  Her name may mean “Bitterness.” (4, pg. 158)

2.  It is impossible to write a historical sketch of Mary’s life, so inadequate are the data in the gospels and so unreliable are the traditions of the church.  Such data as we have are contained in stories whose purpose is not historical narration but theological affirmation:  they declare that God has come to man in a child born of a virgin,  that he may redeem them from sin and death and lead them into his blessed kingdom.  Mary is depicted as the instrument of God’s gracious purpose (the ” handmaid of the Lord.” Luke 1:38.) (1, pg. 290)

3.  Family Background.  We know very little concerning Mary’s background.  She was a devout Jewess, apparently living in Nazareth at the time when she conceived.  Since both genealogies (Matt. 1:2-16; Luke 3:23-28) are Joseph’s, we do not know whether she belonged to the Davidic line, though the angel’s words in Luke 1:32 would at least imply that the early church believed that she was so descended. (1, pg. 290)

4. Virginal Conception.  At the time when she conceived, she was betrothed to Joseph,  who is said to have been “of the house of David” (Luke 1:27 and the genealogies ).  He is described in Matthew (1:18 -25) as a God-fearing, law-abiding man, of considerable nature.  Since betrothal in Judaism was tantamount to marriage, except for residence in the bridegroom’s home. (same pg. 290)  Mary’s pregnancy was at first a shock to Joseph.  How could this condition have occurred except by an adulterous act?  The stories in both Matthew and Luke explain the pregnancy as due to the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35),  the purpose of God being to raise up for His people a divine Savior (“Emanuel” Matthew 1:23); “the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32), who ” will reign over the house of Jacob for ever (Luke 1:33).  Joseph’s fears were allayed by the assurances of an angel, and he is said to have proceeded with his plans with respect to Mary.  (1, pg. 290)

5.  The Birth of Jesus Foretold:

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.  The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you are highly favored!  The Lord is with you.”Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. (Luke 1:26-30)

6.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33)

7.  And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me holy is his name. ( Luke 1: 46-49)

8. The Visit of the Magi

After they heard the king, and his disciples, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped 0ver the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with the gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Matthew 2:9-10)

9.  Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his  mother’s sister, Mary the wife of  Clopas and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw the mother there and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”  From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:25-27)

10.  By the time Mary opened her eyes opened her eyes, the setting sun had turned the city into a golden land.  She smiled, wiping the tears from her wrinkled face.  How true the angel’s words had been.  No woman from Eve onward had ever been blessed as she, the mother of the Messiah had been.  Yes, the past was alive inside her, but it was the future that filled her with joy.  Soon she would see her son again and this time it would be his hands that would wipe away the last of her tears. (3, page 295)

1. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Volume Three K-Q, In Four Volumes, Abingdon Press, New York 1962.

2. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All Scriptures)

3. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.

4. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.

The Shulammite Woman – 10 Key Points for Bible Study 11/08/2014

The Song of Songs/The Song of Solomon

1. “Theme: The wisdom writer celebrates the sexual union between a man and a woman as a joyful part of marital  life in God’s good creation.” (3, pg. 1374- Song of Songs Introduction)

2. “It’s unlike anything in the Bible.  For that reason, it should be read differently than any other book in the Bible.  Don’t take it literally.  Don’t search for hidden codes or submerged messages.  Love letters are to be appreciated, not analyzed.” (1, pg. 793)

3.  “You are opening someone else’s shoebox of  letters and reading the correspondence between two people madly in love.” (1, pg. 793)

4.  “Solomon’s Song describes a relationship between a bride and groom.  Solomon and the Shulammite were about to be married in the king’s palace.  The woman was a peasant worker from Shunem, a farming town sixty miles north of Jerusalem.” (1, pg. 794)

5.  “It is the only book in the Bible to have all its contents put into the mouth of speakers, but it is monologue with practically no dialogue.  The speakers are not identified nor are their speeches introduced. The book has certain dramatic characteristics, but it is not drama.” (2, pg.92)

6.  “In its present form it is purely secular in character,  with no apparent theological, religious, or moral attributes.  God never once appears in it.” (2, pg. 92)

7.  The Shulammite Woman: Her character:

“Hers is the only female voice that speaks directly to us in Scripture.  Ruth’s and Esther’s voices, for instance, are mediated by narrators.  The Shulammite woman boldly declares her longing and desire to be united to her lover in marriage.” (5, pg. 150)

8.  “The story of the Shulammite, mysterious as it is, touches our longing to love and be loved.” (4, pg. 269).

9.  “The Jews believed the book was not primarily about individual lovers but about God’s love for his people Israel.  Christians initially read it as a parable of Christ’s love for the church and later as a parable of his love for the individual soul.  Modern commentators tend to view it more literally, as an expression of love between a man and a woman.  They praise its inclusion in the Bible because it celebrates marital love and the sexual expression of that love.  Anyone inclined to believe the Bible teaches a negative view of sex should read this book of Scripture before drawing such a conclusion.” (4, pg. 268)

10.  “Throughout history, intimate love relationships have been shamefully distorted and profaned.  Song of Songs gives God’s picture of the beauty of the relationship.” (5, pg. 153).

1. The Inspirational Study Bible, The Holy Bible, New king James Version, Max Lucado, General Editor, Word Publishing, 1995.

2. The Interpreter’s Bible, In Twelve Volumes, Volume 5, Abingdon Press, 1956

3. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All Scriptures)

4. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.

5. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.

Jesus Prays for All Believers – John 17:20-26

 

 John’s gospel gives us an account of Jesus taking the time prior to His arrest, to pray for all Believers. He prayed for Himself (John 17:1-5), His disciples (John 17:6-19), and for all believers (John 17:20-26). Just think about that for a moment, Jesus, our Lord and Savior praying for us. The New International Version of the Bible in the footnote to John 17:20 states: “Jesus had just spoken of the mission and the sanctification of His followers (vv18-19). He was confident that they would spread the gospel, and He prayed for those who would believe as a result. All future believers were included in this prayer.”

Let’s continue to follow Jesus’ example by praying daily for all believers. Let’s especially ask God to lead us “not into temptation.” That we learn to recognize the triggers that can cause us to commit sin in thought, words, or deeds.

Let’s also pray that we understand that God does love us and that we put on that love each day and share it with all people by treating them to a “heaping helping” of God’s love.

Prayer: Jesus, we thank you for praying for us. We ask that you give us the courage to pray for others. In your name, Amen.

All Scripture from The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995.

 

(Reprint from Homewords Small Group Bible Study Ministry, Facebook, Sepetember 2010)

The Shunammite Woman – 17 Key Points for Bible Study 10/25/2014

From our lesson of  The Shunammite Woman, 2 Kings 4:8-37; 2 Kings 8:1-6, here are some important points. The points do not directly answer the questions on pages 127-129 of the text, but may help you in our discussion of the Saturday Bible Study 10/25/2014

1.  No name was found for the Shunammite Woman during this research.  She was described as a well-to-do Woman.  (2 Kings 4:8).

2.  She was generous and hospitable, she was a wealthy and capable woman who showed great kindness to one of God’s prophets. (3, pg. 127)

3.  She said to her husband, ” I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.  Let’s make a small room on the roof and put a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him.  Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.  (2Kings 4:9-10 and NIV footnote)

4.  Moved by her kindness, Elisha inquired, through his servant, Gehazi, whether he could use his influence with Israel’s King on her behalf.  But the woman wasn’t looking for favors at court, so Elisha pressed his servant, saying, “What, then, can be done for her?”  (2, pg. 227)

She replied, “I have a home among my own people.” (2 Kings 13 and NIV footnote)

5.  Gehazi merely pointed out the obvious: the woman and her aging husband were childless, without an heir to carry on the family name.  So Elisha summoned the woman and made an incredible promise: “About this time next year you will hold a son in your arms.” (2, pg. 228)

6.  The Shunammite Woman’s response: “No, my lord, she objected.  Don’t mislead your servant, O man of God!” (2, pg. 228)

7.  But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha told her.  (2 Kings 4:17)

Unlike so many of her female forebears—Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Tamar, Hannah— the Shunammite Woman seemed content without children.  Elisha’s promise, however, was an arrow homing straight to its target, fulfilling the unspoken desire of her heart.  (2, pg. 228)

8.  The child became ill and died, the Shunammite Woman and a servant travelled, with her husband’s knowledge,  to Mt. Carmel to find Elisha.  (2 Kings 4:22-23)

She rushed to him,  exclaiming, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?  Didn’t I tell you, “Don’t raise my hopes?” (2, pg. 228)

9.  Elisha instructed his servant to go ahead to Shunem,  and how to restore the boy to life in his absence.  The servant followed Elisha’s instructions, but was unable to restore the boy to life.  (2 Kings 4:31)

10.  Elisha arrived at the house of the Shunammite Woman, He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord.  He was able to restore the boy to life.  The Shunammite Woman was told, ” Take your son,” She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out. (2 Kings 4:32-37)

11.  She was warned by Elisha to “go away with your family and stay for awhile wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years”. (2 Kings 8:1)

12.  She followed Elisha’s instructions, by staying in the land of the Philistines for seven years. (2 Kings 8:2)

13.  She returned to Shunem, and went to the king to beg for her house and land. (2 Kings 8:3 and NIV footnote)

14.  At the same time the king was talking to Gehazi, Elisha’s servant. (2 Kings 8:4)

15.  Gehazi told the king how Elisha restored the dead to life. (2 Kings 8:5)

16.  Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son who Elisha restored to life.” (2 Kings 8:5)

17.  “Give her everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.” (2 Kings 8:6)

1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All Scriptures)

2. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.

3. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.

 

 

“Thank You God, for The Times You’ve Said “No”

When we ask God (through prayer) to meet our needs, we expect Him to answer “yes,” every time. We’ve already had the time to assess and examine our situation; therefore, we know that we do need God’s help. The help we want from Him (as our Father) is His endorsement, His permission, and His granting of our wish. God’s love for us and His moral attributes will not allow Him to give us His endorsement, His permission, or His wish fulfillment to all that his beloved children request of Him.

“God is just and righteous because He reacts to law—His Law. His love has a self-imparting quality that leads God to seek the highest good for His Creation (us) and to seek complete possession of us”. Psalm 145:9, 15-20a: – “The Lord is good to all he has made. You give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him.” Romans 2:2-4 “You, therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience not realizing that God’s kindness leads toward repentance?” (Cook pg. 6) Thank you God, for the times you’ve said “no.”

“God’s love seeks to reclaim those who wander from Him”. Jeremiah 50:6 – “My people have been lost; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountains and hill and forgot their own resting place. Whoever found them devoured them; their enemies said, “We are not guilty, for they sinned against the Lord, their true pasture, the Lord, the hope of their fathers.” (Cook pg. 7) Thank you God, for the times you’ve said, “No” to us economically. You’ve changed our financial structure, financial contracts, resources, job security, positions, titles, and our tenure. This has caused a domino effect in the whole world’s finance system.

“He desires to seek and to save those who are lost because of His Love.”

2 Peter 3:3-9 – “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is the coming he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water by water. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (Cook Pg 6) Thank you God, for the times you’ve said “no” to our hanging out with the wrong crowd.

“God is all powerful. He can do any/all things consistent with His nature and purpose. He is able to do all that He wills to do. God does what is right.” Romans 1:16-17a – “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith.” (Cook pg 5) Thank you God, for the times you’ve said “no” by preventing us from moving forward, without your direction. We were packed up and ready to go to what we perceived as the next logical step, you, God were able to bring everything to a screeching halt.

We often respond negatively to God’s refusals to us, His answers of “no.” Some of us truly grieve at the loss of God’s endorsement, His permission, and His granting of our wishes. Others may resort to pouting, complaining, passive-aggressive behavior, or by shutting down to a life-long pity party. Still others may decide to try another god who is permissive, and caters to all of their whims until it’s time for the natural and logical consequences to occur. James 1:2-8 reminds us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If anyone likes wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

When we are faced with any situation, know that all things begin and end with God for the Believer. When answers are needed, be humble and courageous enough to go to the source (God) for all answers, for the Believer.

Prayer: Thank you God, for restraining us by saying, “No.” We humbly receive your corrections with gratitude to you, in the matchless name of Jesus, Amen.

Rev. Glenda Brunson

1.All scriptures from the NIV Study Bible, The Zondervan Corporation, 1995

2.Cook, James L., Introduction to Theology, A Summery Outline, St. Petersburg Theological Seminary

(Reprint from August 2010 Facebook)

Jezebel Bible Study – 10 Key Points for Bible Study 10/11/2014

From our lesson of Jebezel, 1 Kings 16:29-33, 18:1-19:2, 21:1-25, 2 Kings 9, here are some important points. The points do not directly answer the questions on pages 119-122 of the text, but may help you in our discussion of the Saturday Bible Study 10/11/2014

1. Her name means: “Where is the Prince (Baal)?”or “The Prince (Baal) Exists” (3, pg. 119).

2.  Her character: A religious woman, she spread  idolatry throughout Israel.  Powerful, cunning, and arrogant, she actively opposed God, even in the face of indisputable proofs of His sovereignty.  (3, pg. 119)

3.  She promoted Baal Worship: .  . .  Jezebel’s ardent worship was directed not to the God of Israel but to the pagan  god Baal, thought to control the rain and hence the harvest. (2, pg. 213).

4.  She was the Sidonian Wife of Ahab: . . . he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him.  (1 Kings 16:31)

5.  She killed Prophets of the Lord:  So determined was she to convert Israel to her own religion that she hunted down and killed all the prophets she could lay hands on, replacing them with 850 of her own. (2, pg. 213)

6.  She opposed Elijah:  Elijah Flees to Horeb:  Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he killed all the prophets with the sword.  So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ” May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tmorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”  (1 Kings 19:1-2 and ft. note)

7.  She had Naboth Killed:  Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden . . . (21:2).  But Nabath replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”(21:3).  1 Kings 21: 7-16 gives a detailed account of how Jezebel used her power to have Naboth killed so that she could satisfy her husband’s desire to have Naboth’s vineyard to use for his vegetable garden. (1 Kings 21:7-19.)

8.  Her death was prophesied:  “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’  (1 Kings 21:23)

9. She confronts Jehu: Tough as nails, Jezebel stood proudly at the window of her palace.  Never one to back away from a challenge,  Jezebel, seized the initiative, shouting at Jehu: ” Have you come in peace, Zimri (the name of a traitor),  you murderer of your master?”  But Jehu simply ignored her challenging those who stood near her.  “Who is on my side?  Throw her down!”  Quickly Jezebel’s servants shoved her through the window.  The palace walls were spattered a bloody red as horses trampled her body and the palace dogs finished the job. (2, pg. 215)

10.  She becomes a symbol of wickedness: Nevertheless, I have this against you.  You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.  By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.  I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.  (Revelation 2:20-21)

1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All Scriptures)
2. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.
3. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Queen of Sheba Bible Study – 10 Key Points for Bible Study 9/27/14

For our lesson of The Queen of Sheba  1 Kings 10:1-13; Matthew 12:42, here are some important points. The points do not directly answer the questions on pages 114-118/ of the text, but may help you in our discussion of the Saturday Bible Study 09/27/2014.

“Visit of the Queen of Sheba”

” This story is told to illustrate the surpassing wisdom of Solomon, so great that it spread throughout Arabia among those very tribes which were famous for their wisdom from ancient times.  Both Solomon and the Queen of Sheba are prominent in Eastern legends.  The Arabs called her Bilkis, but in Ethiopian legends her name is Makeda.  Sheba was the great trading community of southwestern Arabia, and at this period controlled the overland trade routes.” (1, pg. 96)

1. Sheba – In southwestern Arabia (roughly the area of Yemen).  A later queen of Sheba made a memorable visit to King Solomon in the tenth century B.C. (1 Kings 10:1-3) (Genesis 10:28)

2.  Sheba – It profited from the sea trade of India and East Africa by transporting luxury commodities north to Damascus and Gaza on caravan routes through the Arabian Desert.  It is possible that Solomon’s fleet of ships threatened Sheba’s continued dominance of this trade business. (1 Kings 10:1 and Footnote)

3.  Her character:  Though a pagan queen like Jezebel, she prized wisdom above power.  She appears to have been intellectually gifted, with a good head for business and diplomacy. (4 pg. 206)

4.  When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. (1 Kings 10:1)

5.  Solomon answered all her questions;  nothing was too hard for him to explain to her.  When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed. (2 Chronicles 9:2-4)

6. The visit of the queen of Sheba portrays the fulfillment of God’s promise to give Solomon wisdom and wealth. (2 Chronicles 1:10-12)

7.  Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel.  Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness. (I Kings 10:9 and Footnote)

8.  Though Jerusalem lay fifteen hundred miles to the north, the Queen was determined to see for herself whether Solomon measured up to even half the tales told of him.  Hoping to establish a trade agreement with Israel, she assembled a caravan of camels and loaded them with precious spices, gems, and four and a half tons of gold.  Her entrance into Jerusalem would have created an unforgettable spectacle, adding to Solomon’s growing fame. (4, pg. 207)

9.  Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones.  There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. (1 Kings 10:10)

10.  … Jesus himself referred to the Queen of Sheba when he replied to the Pharisees who had demaded from him a miraclous sign: “The Queen of the South will rise at the judgement with this  generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here”. (Matthew 12:42)

1. The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume Three, In Twelve Volumes, Abingdon Press, New York 1954.
2. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995.
3. Women of the Bible,  One Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture, Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan, 2007.
4. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E Syswerda, Zondervan, 1999.