~Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

My Shepherd guides me and provides for me – not just my physical needs, but also my emotional and spiritual needs. I shall never lack anything as long as I stay close to my Shepherd. James 4:8

~Psalm 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

I find rest for my weary body, spirit and soul when I search His word – when I glean from it and apply it.  He provides water from His word which gives me everlasting life.  John 4:10

~Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

My soul could not be restored unless it was lost to begin with.  I was born a sinner (Romans 3:10) – we all are. However, at the moment of salvation, Christ restored me and placed His righteousness upon me.  Colossians 1:20 and Colossians 2:14

~Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy
staff they comfort me.

God removes the sting of death for me, therefore I have no need to fear evil because Christ conquered sin and death. I Corinthians 15:55  The Lord guides me and directs me.  When I fall into sin, He uses His rod to correct me. When I stray from the path I should be on, He guides me with His staff!

~Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

One day I will eat at His banquet table at the marriage supper of the Lamb and I will be in His presence forever! Luke 22:30  I am so overwhelmed at God’s goodness! Praise be to God in the highest!

~Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Because I am a child of the King, His mercy and His goodness are always with me.  I have a promise that I will dwell with Him forever!

Thank You, Lord!

~Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

I’ve seen study after study and devotion after devotion on this verse. But until you personally experience a series of trials in your own life, and experience this verse, you really can’t fully appreciate what others are trying to explain. So it was for me! Although I was greatly blessed by reading those studies, I have to admit that it wasn’t until I experienced some heavy-duty trials that I was able to have the compassion I needed to help others.

It is the first part of the verse that spoke to my heart, actually. The Lord knows the way that I take! This brings me much comfort knowing that my Shepherd knows my way. He has seen the future and knows the results of all that is going on in my life! My Creator, who has numbered the very hairs on my head (Luke 12:7), knows me intimately and cares for me. No matter how discouraged I may get, I can turn to the Word and the Lord gives me something that encourages my heart! (Psalm 61:2) From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Our Heavenly Father hears our pleas of despair and comes to our rescue! (Psalm 18:6) In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Thank You, Lord! I glorify Your Name on high!

Job’s reputation has followed him through the ages because he was able to claim this verse in the bible. Even to this day, we hear the phrase “He has the patience of Job.” The trials that this man suffered are unbelievable, aren’t they? Job was attacked on every side by ole slew foot! The devil attacked Job’s character, he attacked Job’s belongings (cattle, etc.), he attacked Job’s servants, he attacked Job’s family, and he attacked Job’s own body! He even used Job’s friends to attack him emotionally! There is no one that I know of personally who has been through each of these in his life time – let alone within just a few weeks! I have learned that the Lord never gives us more than we can bear! With each burden, he provides us encouragement along the way. It is up to us to search out that encouragement! The word of God should be our main source of encouragement! That source is: (Psa 121:1) [A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (Psa 121:2) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

I also noticed that Job did not get to the point where he cursed the day he was born until after his friends came to “comfort” him! The devil kept attacking him and saw that he could not succeed; so he sent along people he could “use” to accomplish his goal – discouragement. Where do you sit today, my friend? Are you one in need of encouragement or are you to be used of God to do the encouraging? Are you the type of friend that Job had? As I searched my heart, I realized that although I was experiencing trials of my own, there are many out there who are going through things that make mine look like child’s play! What kind of friend am I to those dear ones who are suffering?

If you are one who is experiencing trials today, do you surround yourself with whiners, complainers and nay sayers? It is these types of friends who will drag you down spiritually. Surround yourself with people who love the Lord, will pray for you and are there to lend an ear just in case you need one. Turn to your spiritual mentors who will not allow you to wallow in self-pity but will help you out of the pit of despair. You cannot expect someone who cannot swim to rescue you from drowning! Therefore, do not turn to those Christians who will nurture your discouragement instead of lifting you up in the Lord.

I don’t know why the Lord laid this on my heart today. Maybe I will need this down the road – or maybe you are going through a similar trial and need to be encouraged! With that said, won’t you say as Job did, (Job 23:10) But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

It has been man’s desire from the beginning to “get to Heaven” on his own terms. Yes, we have choices but the born-again believer does not have to make the wrong choices in life. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to successfully live separated lives. Again, it is choice! Today’s preaching from the pulpit rarely speaks of living a separated life. Instead, today’s preaching concentrates on God’s love and goodness (which is all true) but leaves out His judgment and chastisement. This type of preaching has been going on for quite some time and we are seeing the effects of this preaching in the lives of Christians.

~Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

I’m currently reading Sacred Betrayal by James R. Beller. It is an excellent book on Baptist history – and not only Baptist history but the decline of separated living. How sad to see where biblical doctrine has been watered down throughout the centuries. Is it any wonder that the believer is weak? Granted, we are responsible for our own spiritual growth. It is not up to the preacher to spoon feed us, Christian! Even a baby learns to feed himself, after all. As believers, we should be growing in the Lord at a steady pace. The preaching of God’s Word should be enforcing what we have already learned from the Word. The preaching should be the glue that binds all that we’ve learned together!

~2 Corinthians 2:11-15 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

So why then do we see so many misguided and weak Christians? If they are truly born again, they are failing in a few areas. You can read your Bible until the cows come home. But if you are merely reading for the sake of reading, you won’t glean a thing. The Holy Spirit may have brought out a couple of verses for you to glean from but you have ignored His prodding. The Apostle Paul exhorts us not to quench the Holy Spirit.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

Jesus called believers to a higher standard, don’t you see that? He didn’t give believers an open door to sin! This is what is being taught in churches today! How sad is that?  Baptists are looked upon with disdain because it is said of them that they claim salvation but live like the world!  Christ must be looking down from His Heaven and shedding tears at the perversions being taught in the Church today – all under the guise of “freedom” and “grace”!  Is it any wonder that some believers look to other “religions” that will help them to “feel” saved?  One will doubt their salvation if one is not in God’s Word being fed by the Master.  One will doubt their salvation if one isn’t led by the Holy Spirit.  How can you doubt your salvation when you are being obedient to God’s Word?  You are only as “spiritual” as the amount of time you work at listening to God and obeying His Words. The truth from God’s Word sets us free. We no longer live in doubt, shame, and bewilderment. We are secure in God’s love because of what Christ did. As a result of our salvation, we desire to follow after Him and do what pleases Him – not what pleases man!

~John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

In kind, one will look to other doctrines if one isn’t grounded in what he has been taught by God – not by man, but by God!  Why does a Christian stray and try to live by religious laws again?  For example, if a person is born again, why would he want to go back to the Catholic church and see his Saviour being sacrificed in the mass day after day?  Why would a person who is born again want to follow  Levitical laws that placed burdens from which Christ freed us?  Why would a person who is born again be side tracked into a religion that requires you to not have electricity or phones.  Is it just so they can say they are separated?  Is it because they need this “extra” doctrine to prove to themselves that if they keep it they are truly saved?  God knows the heart, Christian!  God wants obedience to His Word.  If we are truly living according to His Word, we won’t need the religious bondage to make us “feel” saved.  If we are truly living according to His Word, we won’t doubt our salvation.  Obedience brings peace and leaves no room for doubt.

~2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

Furthermore, following after false teaching brings burdens that cannot be carried.  Christ gave us freedom with our salvation.  It is a freedom from sin and an ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to say no to sin.  This is where Christians have dropped the ball.  They have become so complacent to sin and not living a separated life that they feel as though they can not conquer sin.

~Matthew 5:27-28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

We are held to a higher standard, not an open ticket to sin.  Do Christ’s words sound like an open ticket to sin?  Does this sound like an open door to enjoy the things of the world?  The Christian is called to live with higher standards than the Ten Commandments!  These higher standards cannot be done in the flesh. They cannot be upheld by unbelievers. Only a yielded Christian can live by these standards – yielded to the Holy Spirit of God. But it takes a committed believer! It takes a believer who seeks after God’s will and applies what he has learned.  The Jews could not keep the Law and that is why our Lord and Saviour came to save them from their bondage of sin!  But here in Matthew, Jesus is adding that not only should they NOT commit adultery but they in fact commit adultery just by looking on a woman with lust in their hearts!

Christ taught separation. When a believer says he loves the Lord, then let him live like he does. The more a Christian dabbles in the world, the harder it will be for him to stay away from sin.  Eventually, that Christian will smell and act like the world.  Is it any wonder Christians are weak today? They are being fed man’s garbage, not God’s Word!  Whatever happened to comparing God’s Word to what the preacher says?  Whatever happened to the Christian spending quality time in his Bible and learning at the feet of Christ?  There are too many Martha’s and not enough Mary’s!  The more we separate ourselves, the closer we get to our Saviour and the less we love the things of this world.

Sit at Christ’s feet and learn from Him.  After all, the Holy Spirit penned His words for us to be able to glean from its blessed pages!  We are to study for ourselves (2 Tim. 2:15), not be spoon fed by the preacher!  We are to learn from Jesus, not from man! Man can deceive us but God will not.

~Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

No where in the Bible does it encourage to be of the world. No where in the Bible does it say that it’s OK to act like the world. No where in the Bible does it say to live like everyone else does. We are suppose to be (Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9) different, not like the rest of the world.

This is what is preached in today’s church: “We have to go into the world to win them.”  True, we do. However, no where does the Word say to be like the world – quite the opposite – we are to be “peculiar.” Christians who are not living separated lives are going to doubt their salvation and seek to find that peace within from something. Christians who are not living separated lives are going to be looking for “more” out of their Christian walk because they are not at peace in their spirit. They’re not at peace because the Holy Spirit is trying to convict them and guide them but they are quenching Him.  Be at peace by being in the Word and obeying what the Holy Spirit points out to you.  He’ll clean you through and through and you will never have to seek confirmation of your salvation.

~Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Picture this in your mind’s eye as you read about the Psalmist’s description of his God. Mind you, David had just been delivered from the hands of Saul and he knew exactly Who had helped him!

1. God is his rock. David didn’t say that God was “a” rock but “his” rock. That’s personal – that says that David knew that his ground was solid – his ground was sure because of his personal relationship with God. God was David’s rock and his God was unshakable – solid – unwavering!  The Word says that Christ is our rock.

~1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Our Rock, Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, is unshakable, solid and unwavering as well.  Hallelujah!

2. God is his fortress. Again, David personalizes this statement. God wasn’t just any fortress, but “his” fortress. Have you ever seen pictures of biblical fortresses? A fortress sat upon a hill so the people could see whatever was coming their way from far off. What a beautiful depiction this is! We see that nothing takes God by surprise as He sees everything!  He is omniscient and omnipresent, therefore He knows what is coming in ten years from now and He will protect me!  I picture a mother hen in my head as she sees the enemy afar off and gathers her chicks under her wings to protect them. Just as the people would run to the fortress for protection!

~Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

Our God desires that we run to His fortress, Jesus Christ.  The prophets of old penned time after time warnings to the Jews but instead they killed their prophets.  In Christ, we can hide and He will protect us!  It is His salvation that has been given to us and it is safe in His care!

3. God is his deliverer. Once again, another personalized characteristic of God from David. Do you remember when Moses delivered the Jews out of Egypt? They called Moses their deliverer. Moses saved the people from slavery and bondage at the hand of Pharaoh! David’s God delivered him from the enemy as well. God, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, delivered us from eternity in Hell through His work on the cross!

~Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

This same Rock and Fortress is our Deliverer!

4. God is his strength. David recognized that his own strength was nothing. His enemies were many and they were indeed strong. He needed God to take charge here and provide him with exactly what he needed for that moment.  David knew his weaknesses and was well aware that he had no power over his enemies.  David believed this so much so, that he trusted in the Lord. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that his God would come to the rescue and strengthen him at the time he needed it most.  Just as God did for David, Christ does for us!

~Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

There is nothing we can’t do for the work of Christ that He won’t equip us with!

5. God is his buckler. Just what is a buckler, anyway? Noah Webster defines it as:

A kind of shield, or piece of defensive armor, anciently used in war. It was composed of wood, or wickers woven together, covered with skin or leather, fortified with plates of brass or other metal, and worn on the left arm. On the middle was an umbo, boss or prominence, very useful in causing stones and darts to glance off. The buckler often was four feet long, and covered the whole body.

I absolutely loved this! David compared his God as a buckler! His God was David’s defensive armor and shield in the time of war. We battle a spiritual warfare every day. But God is the one who protects us! Just as the mother hen noted above, He covers us under His wings just as the buckler covered the whole body. The devil does not have power over the believer because we are sealed by the Holy Spirit!

~Ephesians 6:12-13 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Who knows, maybe the day is coming where Christians may have to fight a physical battle against the enemy. We know the end times are here and our time on earth is short.  In the mean time, we can trust God to strengthen us in time of need and to be our Buckler!

6. God is his horn. Have you ever seen a Texas Long Horn? Oh my word! A full grown bull is as tall as I am when he stands erect! The horns can have a seven-foot spread from tip to tip! You wouldn’t want to mess with those horns, that’s for sure! The horn is a sign of strength and David used that comparison in this verse. There’s nothing that would be able to defeat his God. Christ is our horn of salvation! The devil cannot defeat the born-again believer! Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost as the time he made the statement that Jesus would be the horn of salvation for His people.

~Luk 1:69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

How wonderful!! David knew that his God was his own “personal” horn of salvation. I immediately thought of my upbringing where I was taught that salvation came from the “church.” Salvation can only come from God and then we are added to His church. Salvation is of the Lord (~Psalm 37:39), not of man or of a “church.”

7. God is his high tower. I picture a high tower to be an extremely inaccessible place – one protected from the enemies of life. David personalized this characteristic of God as well. Again, his God was so high and so mighty that nothing could reach Him and pull Him down or defeat Him. When I think of this high tower, I think of Christ being in Heaven awaiting His return in the clouds to rapture His children to be with Him!

~Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

These seven characteristics of God, our Saviour, are so potent to me! They comfort me because I know that my salvation is not dependent upon me – it is all about God through Jesus Christ! My salvation cannot be taken away from me because He purchased it and keeps it safe. He guards my salvation – He is my buckler. He is my fortress and protects my salvation! He is my strength and my high tower and one day I will meet Him face-to-face and sit with Him in that Heavenly place!! Praise the Lord!

~Psalm 100:1 A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100 is filled with instruction for the believer! I absolutely love how we are instructed on how to conduct ourselves and our spiritual life.

  1. Praise your Lord:  The words from our mouths should be a joyful noise, not sounds that grate on people’s last nerve.  I’m sure you’ve been around Christians who appear as though they have been sucking on lemons!  Nothing is ever right for them.  They are in a constant state of complaining.  This is not becoming of a Christian.  Why would the unsaved world want what the complainer has?  I think of Matthew 5:13 when the Lord Jesus said we are the salt of the earth.  Salt causes one to be thirsty and our testimony should cause the unsaved to thirst after what we have, which is salvation.  Do you really think your complaining will cause the unsaved to thirst after what you have?  What kind of testimony is a complaining spirit to your Saviour?  Who would want Him after listening to you?  Let’s rejoice!  Let’s praise the Lord who saved us from burning for eternity in the Lake of Fire!  Praise the Lord!  Sing to Him hymns of praise and rejoice!  Rejoice, Rejoice oh Christian, lift up your voice and sing!  Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ, the King!!
  2. Serve your Lord:  Everything we do should be a joy because we are His!  Jesus told His disciples that if they gave a drink of water to someone who thirsted, it was as if they had given it to Him.  If we did each of our tasks in our daily lives as though we were doing it for our Lord, wouldn’t our attitude be different?
  3. Acknowledge your Lord:  We must remember who God is and it is He that created us!  We can’t rule the Master – the sheep can’t lead the Shepherd!  We must acknowledge that He is our Maker and He is our leader and we must follow.  When we acknowledge this daily in our prayer life, it is easier to follow.  It is when we try to do things on our own without His direction or His help that we find ourselves in trouble!
  4. Thank your Lord:  Everywhere we go we should be ready to share what God has done for us!  A grateful heart leaves no room for bitterness or discontent.  A grateful heart is ever ready to praise the Lord for all that He has done.  Some have to dig deep before they can find one tiny morsel of thankfulness!  How sad is that?  When the heart is thankful, the Lord is glorified!
  5. Embrace your Lord:  As you meditate on the Lord’s attributes, you realize just how small you are and just how big He is.  Our sinful nature is in need of His goodness and mercy!  Praise the Lord that His truths endure to all generations!  Praise the Lord that He loved us so much that He was willing to pay the price for our sins!  Oh what great love!  I know I can speak for many who say that once I enter Heaven’s gates, it will be His neck that I hug first thing so I can thank Him and praise Him for what He has done for me!  For without His mercy, I would lost for eternity!

He Lives!

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.

Chorus
He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives,
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

~1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

The religion of my youth was filled with “try too’s” and failures. As much as I tried to be good and not to sin, I failed daily. The guilt was unbearable! Granted, I found myself in the confessional trying to appease my guilt but I always turned around afterwards and repeatedly sinned. Obedience to my “faith” and its teachings was impossible! Why? Because I had not received my new nature. My inner man was not sincerely interested in walking with God or living for Him. I was not willing to repent. I merely wanted to have religion but did not want to practice it with sincerity nor did I desire true repentance. This was no different than the sacrifices offered in Samuel’s day for sin. I was no better than those that the Word is referring to in today’s text! I did my religious duties but was not obedient to the point of salvation nor was I willing to let go of my sinful ways.

This soul is no different than Cain of old whose sacrifice was of his own creation. He chose to disobey God – and the Word tells us that he never repented, even after God confronted him with his sin. God gave him the opportunity to repent, but Cain chose not to do so! Choice – do I obey God or not? Do I repent or not? It’s left up to the individual as God does not force His will on us! So how do you know whether you are practicing religion or not? The Word says that you must repent and believe:

~Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Simply believing does not do it. The devil’s believe but that does not make them Christians!

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Repentance is the key! Repenting means a turning away from the former sinful life and living for God! This is true conversion! Without repentance one will be no better than Cain with his own idea of religion and no obedience! That is why the devils will never enter Heaven! Rebellion thrives when there is no obedience!

Once we desire to repent from our wicked ways and are truly born again of the Spirit of God, our desire will be to obey God and His Word. We will not always be successful and we will be filled with remorse when we do sin. But we will not stay in that sin and will be quick to get back on the path. This daily renewal of the mind, this obedience to God’s Word, is what God wants from us.

~2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

~Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

~Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

God does not want sacrifice – He wants obedience! Putting obedience to practice daily will change that inner man. He will grow from a tiny mustard seed to a strong tree in his faith! Let your obedience speak for your actions and not the sacrifice of Cain. It is this obedience to repent and believe the Gospel that converts the soul and renews the spirit!

~Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

One cannot put this verse into practice without true conversion. Without obedience, there is no repentance. Without obedience, there is no salvation. Without obedience, one is offering the sacrifices of Cain.

~1 Timothy 6:20-21 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen. The first to Timothy was written from Laodicea, which is the chiefest city of Phrygia Pacatiana.

Science is no different today than in Paul’s day. Paul exhorted Timothy to avoid the profane and vain babblings of science which exclude the Word of God. God’s Word has taught us about creation, the universe, the shape of the earth, life, etc. Anything preached which is more or less than that which is referred to in His word is error in the faith!

Just today, I heard a man question the Pastor because the Pastor did not believe in the earth being billions of years old. A Christian must place his faith on God’s Word and not that of man. No matter how many theories there are on a certain issue, if they are contrary to God’s Word, the believer must choose who he will believe! How can a Christian say he believes in evolution and in the same breath say he believes the Bible? The two do not go together! Evolution began being taught as “the theory of evolution,” but now the word “theory” has been removed and it is believed as fact! Christians who believe in evolution ought to be ashamed of themselves!  The longer one delves into science and ignores the Truth of God’s Word, the blinder he will become.

~2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

God has not left us helpless and without information! So open the Book, read and learn for yourself! God has promised wisdom to those who seek it!  It takes more faith to believe in a big bang and the whole evolution theory than it does to believe that God created all things.

~Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

~Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

I came across this picture and chuckled to myself! What a funny looking tree, huh? I truly believe that there is a lesson from God in every piece of His creation. When I was in grade school Science class, we did an experiment on this very topic. We planted a bean in a cup filled with soil. We watered it, put it in the sun and watched how much it grew from day-to-day. We all know that all plant life grows toward the sun. When you shade a plant, it stunts its growth and slows the process. If the plant finds the smallest speck of sunlight, it will grow toward that sunlight. The tree in today’s picture doesn’t seem to have had a shade problem and I’m not certain why it’s so crooked, however, I think you see my point.

I wondered at how much our own spiritual lives are reflected in this picture! What circumstances would cause a new Christian to grow up crooked? Today’s text indicates that that the new believer is easily tossed about with wrong doctrine. He is easily deceived and sucked into false doctrine. Paul exhorts the Ephesians not to be like children! The only way to spot false doctrine is by knowing the true doctrine … by studying one’s Bible! Don’t study to be a man pleaser but study to show yourself approved unto God! God will reveal Himself and His doctrine to you if you are studious!

~2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

There are thousands of people on this planet who are preaching wrong doctrine. Just turn your TV set on and watch on any given Sunday. It is so sad that people are sucked into this spiritual vacuum and fall prey to these charlatans! They fall prey because they have not studied for themselves! It is easier for them to let someone else do the studying and they just follow! Letting someone else do your studying does not exempt you from studying for yourself! You will be accountable for your own actions. It may be easier for you to follow after someone else but you can be certain that you will be tossed about and carried away with every wind of doctrine, as Paul said.

Following after Christ is not easy. Christ never promised that being His disciple would be filled with good things and that you would prosper in wealth and in health. He did promise that you would prosper spiritually and that you would inherit eternal life, however! If wealth and health are in the future of every believer if they just believe, then Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is clearly a record of spiritually lacking people who have died and not prospered in their lives. It’s a sham to tell people this – it’s a money-making business! If people took it upon themselves to study for themselves, they would easily see the truth and the truth would set them free! Jesus said that the pathway to destruction is a wide path and many go through it. The Christian’s path is narrow but it is straight if he stays on it and reads, studies and applies what the Holy Spirit teaches him!

~Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Rejoice with me this morning! I was searching for a particular verse to share with someone that contained the words “thou art my.” To my delight, the Lord blessed me with these verses that describe my God!! I pray they bless you as much as they blessed me!!

~Psalms 16:2 O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

~Psalms 22:10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.

~Psalms 31:3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

~Psalms 31:4 Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.

~Psalms 32:7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

~Psalms 40:17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

~Psalms 44:4 Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

~Psalms 71:3 Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.

~Psalms 71:5 For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.

~Psalms 71:7 I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.

~Psalms 89:26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

~Psalms 119:57 CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words.

~Psalms 119:114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Now receive a blessing and put your name in place of the word “my.” Enjoy 🙂

~1 Timothy 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Today’s text says it all! Just what is sound doctrine, anyway? Let’s look to God’s Word to see! Today’s text categorizes what is contrary to sound doctrine:

(1) whoremongers: one who indulges in lust; fornication, or adultery.
(2) them who defile themselves with mankind: homosexuality
(3) menstealers: enslaving another – could be slavery, kidnapping, entrapping
(4) liars: self explanatory – anything spoken that is not the truth
(5) perjured persons: making false oaths to a court of justice

If sound doctrine is compromised in a church, it can only be replaced with its opposite. The doctrines being practiced in today’s churches fall exactly in line with what Paul was warning against:

~1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

We see a great falling away from the faith in today’s modern church. Paul did not mince words – he did not sugar coat them either. Paul says that today’s doctrine is the doctrine of devils. Any doctrine that cannot be supported by God’s Word must come straight from the devil! Although a church may seem religious, one should test its doctrine and compare it with the plumb line of God’s Word.

What do we see in today’s churches? We see people who claim they are Christians are yet are adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, liars, perjurers, etc. There is no new nature spoken of in John 3:3 and 2 Corinthians 5:17. They continue in their same old life style thinking that God will bless them in some way. No repentance is evident and yet they crowd the churches and fill it with sin and compromise. Now that these sins have been allowed to fill our pews, like a rotten apple in a barrel full of healthy apples, it’s not long before the rest of the church (barrel) is filled with rotten fruit!

I don’t believe that anyone even knows the definition anymore! Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines the word “sound” as:

SOUND, a. [L. sanus.]

1. Founded in truth; firm; strong; valid; solid; that cannot be overthrown or refuted; as sound reasoning; a sound argument; a sound objection; sound doctrine; sound principles.

2. Right; correct; well founded; free form error; orthodox. II Tim 1. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes. Psa 119.

Wow!! What a poignant adjective! Now when used with the noun “doctrine,” it begins to take on an eye opening definition! Mr. Webster defines “doctrine” as:

DOCTRINE, n. [L., to teach.]

1. In a general sense, whatever is taught. Hence, a principle or position in any science; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master. The doctrines of the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles. The doctrines of Plato are the principles which he taught. Hence a doctrine may be true or false; it may be a mere tenet or opinion.

2. The act of teaching.

He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in his doctrine. Mark 4.

3. Learning; knowledge.

Whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Isa 28.

4. The truths of the gospel in general.

That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. Titus 2.

5. Instruction and confirmation in the truths of the gospel. 2 Tim 3.

When combined, these two words should explode to the Christian! Amen??  Is it any wonder that sound doctrine has been compromised in our churches?  What are we exposing ourselves to when we listen to Christian radio? How many Christians are side tracked when watching Oprah? Does Dr. Phil really have all the answers? Why is it that the Christian finds himself seeking counsel from people who do not seek counsel from God’s Word? This cannot and will not feed the believer with sound doctrine. Of this I am certain!  Can one truly say, “Oh, I can continue living with my girlfriend just as long as I am ‘born again’!  Or, “I can continue to be ‘gay’ because Christ did not speak directly about homosexuality.” “God won’t judge me because it’s all under the blood of Jesus!”  Oh foolish one! You have succumbed to the doctrines of devils just so you can continue in your sin and feed yourself with the devil’s lies. What a price you are paying just so you can pretend to be a Christian. Is it so worth it for now? It won’t be when you enter eternity and see truth!

One cannot be at peace with these thoughts if one is truly born again.  Our new born again nature causes us to grieve when we sin and to have deep remorse!  Anyone who thinks they can continue in their old sin does not display remorse – in fact, quite the opposite.  This has an air of audacity and indignation! Cain did the same thing when his offering was of his “own making” and not what God required. This attitude is equivalent to thumbing your nose at God!

Men’s hearts have grown so cold toward God’s Word that they will seek out doctrine and preaching that will agree with their sin and compromise.

~2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

We must warn those that God places in our path – we must exhort them to righteous living – we must guide them in the Word and show them that sound doctrine cannot be compromised! We won’t be popular for doing so, that’s for sure! But then neither were the Apostles. They were stoned, boiled in oil, beheaded, etc. for the sake of preserving sound doctrine.

~Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

~Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

~Exodus 20:1-6 And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

I came across this quote by J.C. Ryle in his sermon Fire, Fire! and was totally amazed as to how it fit into today’s “church”! Take a moment and read his words and meditate on them.

Beware of manufacturing a god of your own: a god who is all mercy but not just, a god who is all love but not holy, a god who has a heaven for everybody but a hell for none, a god who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a god is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible, there is no God at all.

Beware of making selections from your Bible to suit your taste. Dare not to say, ‘I believe this verse, for I like it. I refuse that, for I cannot reconcile it with my views’. Nay! But O man, who art thou that repliest against God? By what right do you talk in this way? Surely it were better to say over EVERY chapter in the word, “Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth”. Ah! If men would do this, they would never deny the unquenchable fire.

-J.C. Ryle {from ‘Fire, Fire!’}
1816-1900

Today’s Laodicean church is everything described in Mr. Ryle’s excerpt! Today’s manufactured god is all merciful, all love, only provides Heaven, and does not require eternal judgment for sin. This god has been designed by men whose hearts have strayed from God’s Holy Word and they have designed their god around their own religion. Paul warned us about these latter days.

~2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The truth of the matter is that when we stray from God’s Word, we begin to seek those who are in agreement with us. We find a church that preaches what we want to hear. We hang around people who do not challenge us to dig deeper into the Word to be convicted by its power. The God of the Bible is a merciful God because He gave His Son to take our punishment. However, John 3:16 also says that the soul who does not accept Christ will perish. This same merciful God also passes judgment. You cannot have one without the other. This same loving God is all love but is also Holy. His righteousness cannot allow sin into Heaven. As Christ hung on the cross dying, the Father had to turn (Matt. 27:46) His back on His own Son because of His Holiness. This same God resides in Heaven where sin is not allowed. He, therefore, had to create a place to hold the devil, his angels and those who would not accept His Son (Matt. 25:41). And lastly, because of man’s fall in the Garden of Eden, we are all born with a sin nature. It is this sin nature that allows the bad to reside with any good that comes into our lives. The path to Heaven is narrow and there are few that want to walk it (Matt. 7:13-14). However, the road to destruction and Hell is broad and it is a much easier road to follow.

Mr. Ryle said it right, “But O man, who art thou that repliest against God? By what right do you talk in this way?” Man will be judged on what he has done with God’s Word. We of all generations are blessed. Many of us have at least one King James Bible on our shelves. It is available for free on-line along with countless wonderful Bible software programs to help one study.

Today’s church may be the lukewarm church but it will be held accountable for having the living Word of God freely at its fingertips but yet neglecting to open its pages and freely drink! What god have you made for yourself? Be careful what doctrine you hold dear to your heart, Christian.

~2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Be sure that your God is the God of the Bible!

I grew up catholic and lived the “good and moral catholic life.”  However, I never had peace in my heart.  I did not feel “close” to God at all – no matter how many rosaries I said or masses I attended.  I can remember attending mass every day during Lent thinking that this would help absolve me.  But I never received any peace in the end.

When my dearest friend told me about salvation according to the Scriptures, the veil was removed from my eyes and they were opened!  I understood the Scriptures and immediately realized that I was a sinner deserving of Hell!  I knew about Jesus Christ’s death and suffering because that is taught in the catholic church.  However, I was also taught that salvation came from the church.  The catholic catechism stated this:

“The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: ‘For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.'” Pg. 215, #816

Even the 1994 catechism leaves no doubt that the Catholic church is necessary for salvation:

“…all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation…” Pg. 224, #846

Once I was born again, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was saved from eternal damnation and was on my way to Heaven.  This is not something that a catholic can know.  The catholic can only have a “hope so assurance” that he will get to Heaven.  So if the catholic church was wrong about salvation, what else was I taught that was not according to Scripture?  Over the next several posts, I will be dealing with some “doctrines” or “dogmas” where I will compare with what the Scriptures say.

If you found out that your church was preaching a doctrine that was not supported by the Scriptures, would you continue to stay? I think the biggest “doctrine” that separates catholicism from any other “Christian label” is the topic of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Why is that?  I want my readers to know that I am not catholic bashing here.  I just want to get people to think on their own instead of having someone else think for them.  So again I ask, why is that?  Why is such an important “doctrine” as Mary (according to catholicism) not even considered – not even a smidgen – in other Christian circles?  Yes, she is mentioned, but the Bible does not make her an object of worship or holy recognition.  Luke 1:41 states that she is blessed among women.  However, Proverbs 31:10-31 says that any virtuous woman can be called blessed.  Someone in Luke 11:27 tried to say that Mary was blessed and Jesus responded in verse 28 “blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”  I find that ironic, don’t you? Rather than epitomize Mary, Christ said God’s Word was what should be epitomized.

Furthermore, the Book of Acts speaks of the Bereans (Acts 17:11) who tested everything they heard by comparing it to the Scriptures.  The Apostle Paul told Timothy that all Scripture was to be studied for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).  When I was first saved, I spent countless hours reading God’s Word and was very studious – a virtual sponge thirsting after knowledge!  This is necessary for growth and understanding what God has to say to His creation.  He does not want us ignorant, my friend!

All I am trying to say here today is that if God wanted Mary to play such an important role in the church today, why is she not mentioned one bit in the Book of Acts when the church was being formed?  Why is her role as intercessor not mentioned along with Jesus in 1 Timothy?  Why is her assumption not mentioned when that of Enoch and Elijah were?  They do not play any part in church doctrine yet their ascension was documented in Scriptures.  If Mary is to have a part in church doctrine, her ascension would have been mentioned like Christ’s, wouldn’t you think?  That’s just me speculating here.

But let’s take a look at this list of the years that certain dogma came into the catholic church.  These are all very important to a doctrine, don’t you think?  Why are none of these found in Scripture?  The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is doctrine and is totally found in Scripture.  His ascension, His Holy Spirit given, the offices of leadership, the instructions on how to run the church can all be found in the Scriptures. Yet not one of those mentioned here can be verified in the Bible:

Circa 120 AD – Mary remained a virgin (perpetual virginity)

431 – Mary Worship began

600 – prayers directed to Mary (Ave Maria added in 1508)

995 – canonization of saints

1854 – immaculate conception of Mary (her sinlessness)

1950 – assumption of Mary (she never died)

1954 – Mary proclaimed Queen of Heaven

1965 – Mary proclaimed Mother of the Church

1980 – Mary proclaimed Spouse of the Holy Spirit

Today’s post will deal with the perpetual virginity of Mary taught by the catholic church. It’s not an exhaustive study – nor is it one that will have historical documents from anyone. I will simply be using God’s Word and let His Word do the convicting as it did for me.

The catholic church teaches that Joseph was a widower with children from his former marriage. God’s Word has nothing to say about Joseph being a widower. Just a thought on my part, if Joseph did have children from a former marriage, why did he not take them with him when he took the pregnant Mary for the census in Bethlehem? The whole family had to be counted. If the children stayed behind due to the exhausting trip, how the much more would Mary have needed to stay behind when she was about ready to deliver a baby! The Bible does speak of the siblings of Jesus. Matthew 13:55 states Christ’s brothers as: James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. Mark 6:3 also mentions Jesus’ sisters. Luke, the doctor, makes a distinction in 16:6 between Judas, the brother of Jesus, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.

Furthermore, Matthew 27:56 clearly says that Mary is also the mother of James and Joses. This is the same Mary as Jesus’ mother! Mark 15:40 and Mark 16:1 also confirm this fact. Mary could not have remained a virgin if she had other children. The catholic church is adamant in stating that these children were “the brethren” in general and not actual blood brothers and sisters. However, read the Scriptures and study it out as the Bereans did. Ask God about these matters. He is faithful and wants to help you understand.

~James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

If you have even one iota of doubt and you question whether you’ve just accepted what you’ve been told through the years, then please ask God for wisdom. Start reading the Gospel of John and read it through three times. Then come post a comment here and let me know what you’ve discovered.

~Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

This Proverb is a great one in instructing parents on how and when to discipline their child. The word betimes according to the Strong’s Concordance means early. Noah Webster defines it as seasonably; in good season or time; before it is late. Both definitions give us a clear picture that a child needs to be disciplined early in his life. I also believe that Mr. Webster’s definition could be interpreted to mean “at the moment of the offense.” Consistent discipline is so important. You should not discipline a child one day for disobedience and then ignore it the next because it is not convenient for you.

Do you not want a well adjusted child? Do you want a child that will not bring you shame? There are times when a child needs a spanking and there are times when mere correction is sufficient. It also depends on the child. Some children only need a stern talking to while others need a little more convincing. We are all different! Not everyone responds in the same manner. Whatever personality your child has, he still needs discipline.

~Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Our children do not need to be taught to do wrong. Just watch a two-year old long enough and he will figure it out all by himself. However, you will not see a child naturally do what is right. That is what needs to be taught.

Scenario: Mom pulls up to the cash register after half an hour of shopping with her two-year old in the cart. The grocer in his infinite wisdom has the candy strewn on both sides of the check-out lane. The toddler stretches to maximum capacity and his little hands get a hold of the candy. Mom takes the candy away and puts it back on the shelf and the toddler goes into screaming mode! What’s a mother to do? Does she allow the child to pitch his hissy fit or does she handle it right then and there? It only takes one lesson to teach most children.

This same thing happened to me. I gathered all my groceries and put them back in the cart and excused myself. I pushed my screaming child and full cart to the bathroom. This is where my toddler’s first lesson on “how to act while shopping” was learned. Anyone who has had a screaming two-year old knows that logical conversation just does not work. Therefore, I applied the rod of discipline to the seat of instruction.   I hugged him and after he was done the initial crying, I explained to him that his behavior was not pleasing to me nor to God.  I reminded him of “Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” I had him repeat it back to me. I then told him that we were going to go back to the checkout counter and that he was going to behave and not grab at candy or we would be returning to the bathroom for more of our lesson. The rest of the checkout experience went without a glitch.

Shopping was a pleasure after that day.  If I noticed my son’s eyes focus in on the candy at the checkout aisle, I would remind him of our trip to the bathroom. He would immediately stop tempting himself and look the other way. As I grew in my role of being a Mom, I learned to pack “distractions” in the diaper bag to keep my toddler occupied as I shopped and checked out. This also kept him focused.

Discipline is needed at an early age. Tumultuous situations in a grocery store can turn into peaceful ones. The same applies when you go out to eat in restaurants. Don’t allow toddlers to get out of their high chair or booster seat and walk around your table. You can rest assured that they will wander and ruin meal time for others. Pack toys and distractions in the diaper bag to keep your toddler busy as you wait for the meal. A toddler gets whiny and cranky when he is hungry so crackers come in handy while waiting. When you train your toddler while he is yet young, you create pleasant situations for yourself later.  I can remember people stopping by our table and commenting how well behaved our toddlers were.

Discipline is doing something you dislike to create something you love.  It’s never easy to discipline.  It is hard work.  But the results are marvelous.

~Proverbs 24:10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

Not all depression revolves around our spiritual condition, I have found. My husband is a recovering cancer patient and the chemotherapy and radiation messed with his immune system. He was low on all vitamins and minerals, as well as various hormones. The body is an intricate network and when one part is out of whack, it can play havoc on a person. Once my husband was nursed back to health by a wonderful naturopathic doctor, the depression subsided.

But let’s talk about depression with the physically healthy Christian. The terminology for depression in Scripture was the word “fainting.”

~Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

When one is weak in his faith, worry sets in.  One loses hope of a solution to their circumstances.  The new believer has the zeal that comes with new found faith. However, that new zeal wears down because of the cares of this world, unless the new believer has grounded himself through the living words of the Scriptures.  He will find himself falling into the depression trap and his hope will wear thin. Some stay in the trap longer than others – some are quick to recognize their weak spiritual condition and remedy it by drowning their sorrows in the Word of God (not alcohol, drugs, or any other distractions of the world).

Our sins can lead us to depression.  When we get in a blue state of mind and we don’t keep it in check, we will find ourselves depressed before we know it. How do we keep ourselves in check? We do moral inventory – keep our list of sins short with the Lord – acknowledging each one and striving toward eliminating them from our lives.  Romans 14:23 tells us that whatever is not of faith is sin.  If our faith is weak and we do not exercise our faith like we do a weak muscle, we sin against God.  The result of this is sadness, blueness and depression.  We do not rely on God to take care of our circumstances.  We do not hope for His work in our lives.  Instead, we look to ourselves to take care of the problem or we look to outside worldly help.

~Lamentations 3:39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?

We do not have to worry about eternity but we will be “spanked” by the Lord if we continue in habitual sin. For example, if you are still smoking as a born-again believer, surely you don’t think that God would keep you from lung cancer or some type of lung ailment, right? This is where moral inventory is good. When the Lord brings a sin to mind or you know right off that you have sinned, get it behind you, confess it, forsake it and move forward. Dwelling in our past mistakes can lead us to depression.  However, the Christian who has confessed and forsaken his sin must press forward and look to Christ to strengthen him during his weak and dark moments.  Dwelling on our circumstances is not a sign of faith.  Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by the Word of God.  So Christian, dig into your Scriptures and build your faith so that you do not faint in difficult times.

Luke 18:1 encourages us to pray so that we do not faint. What a great remedy! If our thoughts are focused on prayer, they are removed from the current circumstances. When we are discouraged and depressed, it is because we have lack of hope. But the born again Christian has more to hope for than the lost soul! Take charge of your thought life and focus on your hope!

~Psalms 146:1-10 Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.

Christian, if you are one of those who struggle with blueness or depression, train yourself to read the Psalms that encourage the heart and the soul. Train yourself to dig into God’s Word!   Feed yourself with the Living Waters of the Word of God. God’s Word is alive and can encourage and strengthen the weak! Christ promised us that He will help us through our burdens. Why not take Him up on His offer?

~Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I was driving to work the other day and listening to my audio Bible. At the time, I was in Psalms, and the Lord impressed upon me the words “the Lord is my.” I decided to check to see how many times this phrase is used in Scriptures and what the phrase referenced. I was so blessed by what I discovered, I had to put it down in writing. I hope you are blessed!

The Lord is my:

Strength

(Exo 15:2) The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

I do not know I need anyone, let alone God, until I am down and at my weakest. It is then that I can see God at work and His strength is made evident.

Song

(Psa 118:14) The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

God gives me a new song when I finally realize that He is the one that I need.

Rock

(2 Sam 22:2) And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;

God becomes my Rock because there is no other. My salvation cannot rest on anyone else or else it rests on sand.

Fortress

(Psa 18:2) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

When all the world falls apart around me, I know that I can run to Him and rest in His protection. No one can take away what He has given to me – that is, my salvation.

Deliverer

(Psa 18:2) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

He delivers me from the evil around me. I do not need to succumb to temptation because He is there to provide a way out.

Shepherd

(Psa 23:1) A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Lord gently guides me in the paths that I take but also firmly rebukes me when I am going down the wrong one.

Light

(Psa 27:1) A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

My God sheds light on His Word to light my path so that I do not walk in darkness as I once did. I can clearly see what lies ahead.

Salvation

(Psa 27:1) A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

There is salvation in no other than in the Lord. What do I have to fear if I am threatened with death if I do not bow down to other gods?

Shield

(Psa 28:7) The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

My God shields me from the devil’s darts of destruction. He helps me to recognize them through His Word and helps me day by day. What comfort and joy this brings to a child who is going through tumultuous times.

Defence

(Psa 94:22) But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

When I am mocked and wronged, my God will come to my defense. It may not be in my lifetime but this child knows that it will all be made known in eternity – and that’s a long time!

Portion

(Lam 3:24) The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

At the moment I was born again, salvation became my inheritance. God’s righteousness is over me, not my own, praise His Holy Name!

God

(Zech 13:9) And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

He no longer is just “god” but He is now my God and Lord.

Helper

(Heb 13:6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

It is appropriate that the New Testament closes out this phrase with the fact that God is our Helper. There is no way we could gain salvation on our own. After salvation, there is no way we could keep it or live a perfect life without His doing. He is my Helper.

God is all these things and more to the child of the King! Rejoice in Him this morning!

God’s Word saves us from eternal life in the Lake of Fire:

~1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God’s Word increases our faith:

~Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

God’s Word cleanses us as we mature in Christ.  By this, I mean that His Word challenges us to live more righteously with each passing day:

~John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

God’s Word sanctifies us for His use. Through His Word, we are cleansed and regenerated by being born again. Christ’s righteousness now covers us and all the Father sees is His precious Son’s righteousness over us. That is the only way we can be found holy and without blemish because we are all sinners (Romans 3:10) in need of salvation.

~Ephesians 5:26-7 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

God’s Word is so important! It is necessary for salvation. It is necessary for the believer to grow more Christ like. It is necessary to encourage the believer as he walks on his journey! Thank You, Lord, for Your Word!!

Deu 30:10  If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
Deu 30:11  For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
Deu 30:12  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Deu 30:13  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
Deu 30:14  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

~Deuteronomy 30:10-14  If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.   For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.   It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?   But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

God’s Word has been given to us to read.  It has been in written form for thousands of years.  To say that today’s Bible is outdated or has been corrupted is to say that God is not able to preserve His Words.  That puts limitations on God and we all know that God has no limitations.  God’s Word is final – settled both here and in Heaven.  His Word is true from the beginning of time and will continue to be true forever!

~Psalm 119:89  LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

~Psalm 119:160  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
It would be cruel for the Father to leave us to our own devices when our hearts are so wicked.  Instead, He has left us with the Bible to teach us through His Holy Spirit and to bring to knowledge the wonderful plan of salvation that the Father, through Christ, has provided for us!
~Jeremiah 17:9-10  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
The Word of God leads us to salvation and teaches us all about Jesus Christ and His ministry.  His Holy Spirit guides us and feeds us through the everlasting Word of God.

There are different opinions on how one can worship God. Some worship God only if they are in a church “building.” Others worship God by kneeling and praying. Even yet more worship Him by singing or through the actions of their deeds. While all of these are good, one must not neglect what the root of true worship really is. Let’s go to God’s Word to see what He says:

~John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

There are two steps to worshiping God:

  1. Worship Him in spirit
  2. Worship Him in truth

To be able to worship God in spirit, one must have the Holy Spirit residing within him. How can we have the Holy Spirit residing within us? Jesus said that we must be born again.

~John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Once one is born again of water and of the spirit, one receives the Holy Spirit. The water does not reflect baptism here. The water reflects the water of life, the Word of God. God gives us the Holy Spirit at the time we acknowledge our sinful nature to Him and become born again – with a new attitude toward sin.

~2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

~Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

~Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Our Heavenly Father desires that we worship Him in spirit and in truth. The only truth we can count on is from Him. God left us His Word, the Bible, to read and learn exactly what the truth is. People today are distracted by man’s words and cannot worship God in truth.

~John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

~John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

~John 14:17 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.

~1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

One can only worship God if one is born again! It is at this point that we sealed with the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, who testifies of Jesus Christ and gives us understanding of His Word through the bible. There is no other way to worship God. Any efforts to worship God in any other way are futile.

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16. October 2008 · 1 comment · Categories: Bible Studies · Tags:

This was written by Pastor Mike Walls – I hope this is a blessing to you. Our spiritual walk revolves around reading the Word of God!


Nehemiah 8:3-4

Introduction: Before getting into the message, a little background is needed. These people had just returned to the land of Israel after seventy years of captivity in Babylon. They had not had the opportunity to read or even hear the Word of God read to them in all those years. Ezra the scribe read the Word of God for three hours. Some people would think that was really boring. But these people were starved for it. When he opened the Bible, the people stood and continued to stand during the entire reading.

The person who can read has a much better opportunity of knowing and understanding the Word of God than a person who has to take the word of another of that is what the Bible says. You can hear it but what you get from the Bible is fresher than what you are giving from the Bible.

Reading the Word of God is a very important part of communicating God’s word to God’s people. Public scripture reading was a regular part of the worship services in Israel and in the early church. In fact, in the account of Jesus going to the synagogue, He is given the scriptures to read aloud. It was His way to announce the commencement or beginning of His ministry.

In the day in which we live, we are blessed above all people in history. Not only does most people know how to read but there is enough copies of the Bible available so that everyone may have a personal copy.

Today I want to give you some suggestions to aid you in receiving the greatest benefit from reading the Bible. Let me suggest before going much farther that you get a pen or pencil and a small notebook to write down you questions. There are no dumb questions especially when you sincerely want to learn the Bible.

1. Read your Bible prayerfully. You have the Holy Spirit to meet your heart’s need as you read. Psalm 119:18

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”
John 16:13

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
This is very true if you have been saved for a short period of time. You don’t know all you need but the Lord knows and can guide you if you ask for the help.

Matthew 7:7-8
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

2. Read your Bible thoughtfully. Think about the meaning and propositions of what you are reading. It is not the speed of your reading or how much you read that counts. It counts that you read and want to know more and more about the Bible. As you learn more about the Bible, you will find out that you know more about the Lord.

3. Read your Bible carefully. Take careful note not only the words that are used but also how they relate to one another. Let me show you a verse and see how this works.

Ephesians 3:20
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”

What does this mean? There are several key words. First key word and without it, this verse would mean nothing. It is the word “Him”. Without Jesus we would be nothing. Actually we would be like the zero with O rubbed out. The next key word is “do”. To think that our Saviour is able to do and will do is joy unspeakable. Then we see two words that relate to each other. They are “exceeding abundantly”. This means it is beyond we could ask or even think. Our God can do this. For my wife, son and Miss Amber and if Pastor Jose was here, at the beginning of the year, I chose this verse as our verse for this year. Nothing in my wildest dreams could even believe that this many people would get saved and see growth in people’s lives is a fulfillment of this verse.

4. Read your Bible repeatedly. It helps to read the passage over and over again. You could do this for a month. You will be surprised what you will see each time when you have the Holy Spirit teaching you. If you are reading a short book of just a few chapters, read it daily. Larger books break down in manageable portions. Take the book of John. It has twenty-one chapters. You could read three chapters a day and you would be able to read it four times in a month.

5. Read your Bible extensively. Sometimes it is of great help to read or even listen to large portions of the Word of God at one time. This does take planning. Do it a time when you are least likely to be disturbed during your reading. This is one of the reasons why I get up early in the morning. I can read and pray without bothering or being disturbed by my family or the telephone or the cats.

6. Read your Bible habitually. It will help you to have a regular time every day when you habitually read your Bible. Most of us don’t have a driving discipline to do something regularly. So this helps be disciplined to start our life as a believer right.

7. Read your Bible faithfully. There may be days that you fail to read your Bible. Don’t let this lapse discourage you. Restart again and try to be faithful. No one I have ever known started walking and never fell. In fact they fell a lot and restarted. But as far as I can tell, everyone walked in today. Why? They picked themselves up and walked as a young child and have continued. God will bless your faithfulness.

8. Read your Bible obediently. Why? The Bible was written to you. It is essential to obey when it speaks to you.

Conclusion: Let me end with some suggestions that will make your Bible time more enjoyable. Don’t make reading something you have to do just for the sake of reading your Bible. That makes it a chore. After a while, chores is dreaded and put off. Read your Bible with an anticipation that God is going to speak to you through His word.

Start with books of the Bible that will help you. As a new believer, the book of John will help you. I suggest that you make this book a must read for several months. Why? Within its pages is great words like “believe”, “love”, “eternal or everlasting life”. It is a book that Jesus dealt with many individuals.

Another great book of the Bible to read regularly is the book of Proverbs. It will deal with some sins that you may have and cannot seem to shake. These can be anger, lying, pride and so forth. This book has a habit to be very much to the point.

Reading your Bible must be a joy. If you approach it that way, you will be surprised to how much you can learn in one year’s time. Let me encourage you to start tomorrow in your new journey.
Don’t be afraid to write down your questions and ask one of us that have been saved for a while. As I said earlier, there are no dumb questions when someone sincerely wants to know the Word of God. I have been saved for over thirty-six years and still have questions. Finding the answers is easier now but I still enjoy learning it. This Bible is timeless and you will never learn it all. But it is fun trying.

Pastor Mike Walls
Freedom Baptist Church Smithfield, NC
jmichaelwalls@juno.com
Isaiah 41:10

This study was done by Lee Pierson! Not only is it powerful but it is backed up by Scriptures. I pray that it will be as much of a blessing to you as it was to me! Thank you, Bro. Lee!


There are a few things that I have found in my Christian walk that we should always remember.

Galatians 6:7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Galatians 6:8
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

We reap what we sow! You may be saved but if you sow to your flesh you will reap corruption. This is very evident in drug abusers and alcoholics. It shows up among many Christians (guilty) in slothfulness and gluttony. And sins of the flesh will lead us toward afflictions of the flesh. That does not mean that all afflictions of the flesh are due to sin but if we sin in the flesh there will be a price.

Also Though our soul has been saved we can suffer loss.

1Corinthians 3:10
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

1Corinthians 3:11
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1Corinthians 3:12
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

1Corinthians 3:13
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

1Corinthians 3:14
If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

1Corinthians 3:15
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

I don’t know what our rewards will be like in heaven but I do know that the Bible teaches that there will be some. The biggest reward that I can think of is finding out that through my witness I played a roll in another soul coming to the Lord. How precious the thought that we in some part have added to the body of Christ!

I don’t think we will know the full extent of our ministry here on earth but on the day of the Judgement Seat of Christ we will find out all of our successes and failures. How sad it will be and how the tears will flow (The very tears that are wiped from our eyes) when we realize the people we hurt through our sin and neglect. Did drinking in my youth lead someone into alcoholism? Was my testimony ruined with someone due to profanity? Did I fail to visit or pray for someone when God gave me a burden for them?
Yes I fear we will all suffer some loss.

The last thing I want to point out is a loss of fellowship. Sin causes us to loose fellowship with our brothers and sisters, with our family, with our friends and neighbors, and especially with our Lord.

1John 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

1John 1:2
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

1John 1:3
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1John 1:4
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

1John 1:5
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

1John 1:6
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

1John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Of course we know that we all sin but it is that continued and unrepentant sin that is the real problem here.

1John 1:8
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1John 1:10
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

I thank God for His grace but I not only want that grace I also want that closer walk with Him!

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