from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Archive for the category “Bible Study”

Waiting Can End Quickly

No doubt we all wait from time to time. Maybe a lot of the time. I find myself waiting on God…waiting…waiting. It’s easy to lose heart and have our faith challenged. And while many times God is actually waiting on us, there are situations where other things simply haven’t fallen in to place yet. The time is not right for God to act.

Isaiah chapter 60 is about Christ’s return and the very last sentence is the kicker. Verse 22b says, “I will accomplish it quickly in its time.” Even though it may seem like something is taking forever and the waiting endless, and you simply can’t see how things will ever come together, remember this verse. When it’s time, God can make things happen so quickly it may make your head spin.

 

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Revival or Politics

I’ve been reading through Isaiah, and this morning a picture of where our society seems to be headed came to mind. In Chapter 16, the prophet speaks of  fallen nations and longings for how wonderful things used to be.

People have always referred to the “good ole days,” but this kind of longing is different. It’s not just one of reminiscing. It’s one of desperation, with a sense of hopelessness. More and more of us seem to feel this way about our country. Political slams and warnings dominate unsolicited emails and Facebook shares. But no matter how much we criticize the government, we’ll never find the answer there.

The solution isn’t far away in Washington or Europe. It is inside each one of us. The only solution for Isaiah’s time, and the only solution for us is revival of God’s people. A great awakening, if you will. That’s where our concern should be. That’s where our prayers should focus. Otherwise…

“Moab’s splendor will become an object of contempt, in spite of a very large population. And those who are left will be few and weak.” – Isaiah 16:14

 

What God Hates

A reminder today that while nothing separates us from the love of God, there are some definite things God hates.

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:

  1. haughty eyes
  2. a lying tongue
  3. hands that shed innocent blood
  4. a heart that devises wicked plans
  5. feet that make haste to run to evil
  6. a false witness who breathes out lies
  7. one who sows discord among brothers

Prov 6:16-19

Little Mountains

Denali - Mountain Landscape from Alaska

“Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for his abode,
yes, where the Lord will dwell forever?” – Psalm 68:16

God chose Mt. Zion as the resting place for the ark of the covenant. You would expect it, then, to be the grandest of all mountains, towering over the earth. But Zion was surrounded by taller peaks, and the psalmist notes the jealousy of all the other taller mountains because they were not chosen by God.

Those higher mountains were chosen by the world as the residence of their false gods. It’s all much as life in general. The human nature migrates toward the biggest, best, most beautiful, most intelligent, wealthiest. God looks for other qualities.

Enjoy Your Weaknesses

I was commending our bass player the other night flexibility and willing to play whatever instrument was needed. He’s played acoustic guitar for years, but this year he’s also played electric, bass, and percussion. Sometimes not knowing which until late in the week.

Posture to counteract weakness and enhance blo...

He commented about being a jack of all trades but not knowing any of them very well. I replied that that described me. I know a little about a lot of things, but not a lot about anything. That tends to get me a lot of responsibility and in over my head sometimes.

I have learned to take pleasure in pulling off things I don’t really know how to do. It’s actually fun to watch God make things happen that I can’t do myself. Whether it’s something with a sound system, a computer, web code, or a person, the first thing I do when I hit a snag is pray.

I don’t mean it to sound like a magic formula. There are things I never figure out and have to get help or find some other way to do it, but God has helped my more times than I can even begin to count in situations where I’m just not good enough on my own. And I like it that way.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul says, speaking of his weakness, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul’s weakness is believed by most to be a physical ailment that God never healed him of, but there is application here for each of us everyday.

We all have to do things beyond our capabilities from time to time. Enjoy your weakness, and let God help get you through.

Are You in Prison?

English: Jail Bars icon Русский: Иконка тюремн...

Psalm 142:7says “Free me from prison so that I can praise Your name.” David wasn’t actually in prison when he prayed that. It just felt like it because he was hiding in fear for his life.

The worries and cares of our world can put us in a prison of sorts, making it difficult to praise God. Freedom from that prison doesn’t necessarily mean those worries and troubles go away. Most often it simply means we’ve pushed past them enough to “praise his name.”

It’s a mental (or spiritual) prison we put ourselves in when we lose sight of, as verse 5 states, “You [God] are my shelter, my portion in the land of the living.” That is your Get Out of Jail Free card. Are you in prison?

Just Wait

Isaiah 40:31 is a familiar scripture, but like many familiar Bible passages, we may recite it to others, but we fail to grasp it ourselves.

Many times we try to rush life. We are either wanting to hurry up and achieve our goals and dreams or hurry up and get thru some difficulty or storm. As a result we end up wearing ourselves out.

It’s hard to wait. I much more patient than I used to be, but I still struggle with waiting on the things I want most.

God makes us wait in order to properly prepare us. When we try to achieve goals, both business and personal, too soon, we make everything more difficult. Business goals not where you want them to be? Just wait. Dreams not coming together? Just wait.

Ezra’s Prayer

English: Ezra Kneels in Prayer (Ezr. 9:1-15) Р...

One of the first things Ezra did upon his return to Jerusalem was the prayer in Chapter 9. It is a prayer of confession for the sins of the exiled of Israel, mainly that of intermarriage with pagans. Ezra genuinely mourns the sins of the nation in his plea to God.

Matthew Henry sums the prayer up with three words – amazed, ashamed, afraid. Ezra was amazed at the sin of his nation, ashamed of them, and afraid of God’s judgement once again.

It made me question when was the last time I was sincerely amazed, ashamed, or afraid over sin, whether my own, my family, or my country. How about you? It’s sad to say these are three things we rarely feel any more, and that is a dangerous place to be.

The Limits of Perfection

I read an interesting verse the other day in Psalm 119 that speaks to a part of me I have to deal with on a regular basis. The desire for perfection. Verse 96 says, “I have seen a limit to all perfection, but Your command is without limit.”

What exactly is a limit to perfection? Mike Sessler answers that pretty well with a post he wrote last week. Only God performs absolutely perfect all the time. And any time we think we’ve performed perfectly can be overshadowed by something better eventually.

 

My Help

There is a wonderful prayer in 2 Chronicles 20 by King Jehoshaphat that ends with the simple sentence “we do not know what to do, but we look to you.” The key word in this sentence is “but.” I checked several translations to be sure, and they all use the word “but” as the conjunction between these two sentences. So often we say to God, “I don’t know what to do, so I’ll ask God, but Jehoshaphat essentially said, “we don’t know what to do, but that doesn’t matter because we are relying on you, God.”

God’s answer was equally wonderful. “You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” Relying on God doesn’t mean sitting back and doing nothing. God tells them to “position” themselves, or “stand firm” as some translations state. In other words, don’t give up, be strong, prepare. That preparation could be any number of things depending on the circumstances. I think of it as doing whatever you would do if you were handling the situation yourself…except, the next phrase from God is “stand still” – prepare yourself for battle, but let me do it.

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