Sin in the Camp

Romans 14:23b  For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

How big is that “whatever?” Seems to me that it includes anything without limitation–no exclusion. Any action, any thought, any deed, any spoken word, anything at all must come from faith or it falls into the category of sin. That’s heavy duty, and can become kind of scary.

However, the Lord is merciful and will not hold things against us for which we have no light. But, as light is given, we become accountable.

I am now accountable for something in which I failed significantly last night.

I was asked by an unbeliever whom I have known for a few decades how we were doing financially.

This particular person lives in fear, is very negative in his outlook, and despises most things about the government. He is promoting the need to find alternative means for living in the coming crisis, such as storing food, investing in precious metals, and living beneath the radar of the government’s watching eye.

Our income was cut in half last September, just after we moved to PA. We have managed okay, but it has been thin, and is getting thinner. The winter months are especially hard here with heating costs being what they are. Our meager savings are now gone. But, we are not destitute.

The Lord has been faithful to provide in various ways. I will occasionally get a call to go preach somewhere, and there is usually a monetary gift with that. Sometimes, someone will visit my website and make a donation through that. So, the reality is that the Lord watches over us.

But, that is not the reality I presented to the person on the phone last night. I painted the picture as gloomily as I possibly could without lying. I spoke the truth insofar as the natural phenomena are concerned.

I did not speak faith. Not once. Not once did I say the Lord is providing, or the Lord will make a way.

But, that is what He has been teaching me the last few months. He has been showing me that I am to speak faith, to call those things that are not as though they already were. (Romans 4:17)

Even though I am not yet at that level of faith, I could have at least spoken about the Lord’s provision and how He has provided and will continue to provide.

I was presented with a perfect opportunity to magnify the Lord when I was told to seek alternative means of income. I missed the opportunity.

In that place, I did not come from faith, so all my speech was sin. I missed it big time.

Will I recognize the opportunity the next time? Will I be bold for the Lord in a similar situation?

What about you? Have you ever had occasion to speak your faith and let it slide?

Bible Study Lesson 6

We are learning how to use the Blue Letter Bible, an online, interactive, and very powerful study tool. If you are just joining us, place the link for the BLB in your favorites or on your desktop. You do not need to download anything. And welcome to the study. You may want to subscribe to this blog in order to keep up with the lessons. You may do so by signing up with the Free Subscription on the right-hand side of this blog. However, all lessons will be archived under the category titled Bible Study Methods. You can go there at any time and get a lesson to review or to catch up.

The more I use this tool, the more I realize how powerful it is. The BLB is a benefit for the casual student and for the one who wants to go into the deepest depths of study of God’s Word possible without actually learning the original languages. Today, just before I began this post, I learned something else about its power. I can quickly discover how many times a particular Greek or Hebrew word is used; or I can just as quickly learn how many times a particular English word is used. I can also find out how many different ways a particular original language word is translated. This is a powerful resource, and will be a great benefit. I will explain how to use this for your study in a future lesson.

We are now learning how to use the BLB as we look into what it means to be pleasing to the Lord, or how to please God. Our main text, or launching place is Hebrews 11:6 where we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God.  Bring that verse up in your window now. For information on how to do this, go to Lesson 1. Our search through the scriptures for the time being are launched from this verse and the keys associated with it in the BLB.

In our last lesson, we looked at how to access the information from Vine’s Expository Dictionary using the Strong’s numbering system. There were many verses with differing nuances of meaning that were listed just for the Strong’s word #2100. If you have just joined us, then you should go back to the last lesson by clicking on the link at the beginning of this paragraph and follow the few steps covered in that lesson.

You should now be gaining insight not only on how to use the BLB, but also on what it means to please God. So, let’s continue with learning other aspects of the BLB. You should have Hebrews 11:6 in your main window of the BLB.

Look at the blue keys to the left of the verse. We have already delved into the “C” and the “V” keys. Now click on the “D” key next to the verse. That should bring up a small window labeled “Available Dictionary Aids for Hebrews 11:6.” Beneath that blue bar is a box labeled “Choose Dictionary Topic for Hbr 11:6 – Then Click “Go” .” Next to that box is a drop-down arrow. Click on that.

That gives you plenty of resources to continue your study on what it means to please God. One of the most outstanding and often used resources is the Nave’s Topical Bible, which is listed here with various topics around the idea of pleasing God. Click on one of the topics listed such as “Desire – Spiritual.” Then clck “Go.”

Again you will see why it is important ot have your notebook with you, for nothing but scripture addresses is given–and there are many! However, each address is “hot” and can be clicked to take you directly to that verse. However, each verse will open up in that window, so that you will have to click your back button on the browser to return to the list of verses.

If you are preparing a lesson on some aspect of pleasing the Lord, then there is the tremendously useful tool of Torrey’s Topical Textbook that is also listed as a resource under the available dictionary aids. Since we are studying Hebrews 11:6 which teaches us that faith is necessary in order to please God, lets look at how Torrey presents that to us.

As you scroll down through the available dictionary aids, you will find Torrey’s Topical Textbook at the bottom. Underneath that you will see “Faith – Impossible to Please God Without.” Select that and choose “Go.” You will notice that you are given a basic outline of what the Bible teaches concerning this vast subject.

 If you are following along on this study, you have enough in front of you now to keep you busy for quite some time. Enjoy, and share with us the fruits of your study.

NOTE: As we progress, you may have a question about something that we have covered. Be sure to use the comments section for all comments and questions. Also, read the comments section, because someone may ask or say something that will benefit you as you go through this study. Thanks

Do You Feel Taken For Granted?

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Judas Asparagus

A child was asked to write a book report on the entire Bible.
 
Judas Asparagus through the eyes of a child:
 
The Children’s Bible in a Nutshell:
 
In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, ‘The Lord thy God is one, but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, ‘Give me a light!’ and someone did. Then God made the world.
 
He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden….. Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn’t have cars.
Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.
 
Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.
 
One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.
 
 After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.
Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston.  Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

 

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor’s stuff. Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.
 
 

 

One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies.  Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.
After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot.  He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me.
 
After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore. 
There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them.
 
After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, ‘Close the door! Were you born in a barn?’ It would be nice to say, ‘As a matter of fact, I was.’)
 
During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans.
 
Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.
 
Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount.
 
But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn’t stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.
Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

God’s Home

Revelation 21:3-4  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them.

Yesterday (or two days ago if you are on the other side of the date line) millions of Christians heard something along the lines of, “Isn’t it wonderful to be in the house of the Lord?” And many of those same millions know–at least intellectually–the statement is untrue.

It is those kinds of things that we do and say out of habit that continue to perpetrate incorrect thoughts to the Body of Christ. It is those incorrect thoughts that help to weaken us in our pursuit of the Lord.

We know, and say a hearty Amen! when the truth of God’s temple is taught. Yet, we continue to use language that goes against the assimilation of that truth into the core of our being. Why?

Are we not willing to bring a conscious awareness to our speech? The tongue is a small yet strong member, according to James 3:5. It is difficult to control. Some would say even impossible to control. But, we should not buy into that negative thinking. We should try to make controlling the tongue of primary importance.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Don’t we all know that when the preacher or worship leader asks if it’s good to be in the house of God, that we mentally make the transition to correct thinking? No, because if we did, then we would all shout out, “NO! It is good that the house of God is among us!”

The building that we call church is neither a church nor God’s house.

We are God’s temple. The other translations render this verse with the words residence, tabernacle, dwelling, and dwelling place. We are God’s house.

While there are other verses that teach the individual aspect of being the Lord’s temple, this verse specifically teaches that it is the corporate expression of the Body of Christ where God chooses to dwell.

I get the sense that the Lord is speaking to the Church in this hour about this aspect of our life together. Everywhere I read, as I listen to others, I hear about the corporate expression, community, or koinonia. It is the current emphasis of the Holy Spirit.

Do you sense the same importance? Why is this word coming now?

Bible Study Lesson 5

We are learning how to use the Blue Letter Bible, an online, interactive, and very powerful study tool. If you are just joining us, place the link for the BLB in your favorites or on your desktop. You do not need to download anything. And welcome to the study. You may want to subscribe to this blog in order to keep up with the lessons. You may do so by signing up with the Free Subscription on the right-hand side of this blog. However, all lessons will be archived under the category titled Bible Study Methods. You can go there at any time and get a lesson to review or to catch up.

I recently received the following note from the folks at the Blue Letter Bible:
Dale,
Thank you so much for this. Your blog is extremely helpful. It’s
encouraging to read a thorough and clear use of the BLB tools! So you
have encouraged us greatly. I really like your idea of parallel
viewing panes. Right now the only way to do that right now is to line
up BLB windows next to each other.

Your participation in this study is helping to encourage others as well as build yourself up in the faith.

In our last lesson we learned about using Strong’s numbers to aid in our study. Strong’s is the word used to reference the original comprehensive concordance to the Bible. If you are not familiar with the reference work, that is okay. Using it within the BLB will open a new world of study for you.

Bring up the homepage of the BLB, and in the search box enter Hebrews 11:6. For information on how to do this, go to Lesson 1.

Notice the blue buttons next to the verse on the left-hand side. Click the “C” button. A window opens that is labeled Lexicon/Concordance for Hebrews 11:6. Scroll down until you find the phrase “to please.” Next to that is the number G2100 in the column labeled Strong’s.

Click on the G2100. That brings up an entirely new window labeled Lexicon Results with a lot of information in it, and new roads to take in our exploration. For this lesson, we will look into Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words.

Locate the blue bar labeled “Vines” and click on “View Entry.” That opens a new window containing the basic information from Vine’s work.

Then, underneath the first simple entry is the phrase in brackets [View Entry in Its Context]. Click on that and you are brought to the full entry from Vine’s that contains all the various ways the words translated “please” are used.

Remember, we are looking into what the Bible says about pleasing God, because it is our desire to be found pleasing in His sight.

You should have your notebook out, because the amount of information now becomes much more than your mind can assimilate.

Notice that all Scripture references are “hot” so that you can click on any one of them and be taken to that verse. It would be better if that link opened in a new window, but it doesn’t. So, you will always have to use your back button at the top of your browser to return to where you were.

I’m going to leave you with this for now. Begin your own study of what it means to be found pleasing to the Lord. Search through the verses listed in the Vine’s window. Make notes as you go. Add what you learn to the comments section below, so that we may all benefit from what the Lord gives you (Matt. 4:4).

If you click on a verse, and then get sidetracked by the buttons on the side that you have already learned how to use, you should REJOICE! You will not come to the end of the study anytime soon if that happens to you.

As you explore the idea of what it means to please the Lord, you will discover many wonderful things from the Word. Be sure to take notes from your study. This is not only about how to use the BLB. It is also about trying to discover “what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).

NOTE: As we progress, you may have a question about something that we have covered. Be sure to use the comments section for all comments and questions. Also, read the comments section, because someone may ask or say something that will benefit you as you go through this study. Thanks

The Dead Can Hear

John 5:28-29  “Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice…”

I know that the Lord is speaking about the end times here–more specifically, the resurrection.

But there is something else that I see that relates to our current hour.

There is another strong move of the Spirit happening around the globe, and it is exciting to see and be a part of.

There are many who are dead who are hearing the voice of the Lord.

There are those who are dead in their trespasses and sins who are hearing His voice calling them to life.

There are those who are dead because of the lack of life within their church community. They have not heard the voice of the Lord for a long time–have actually experienced the famine of Amos 8:11. But now His voice is calling to them to come out of their tomb.

Either condition equates with being “in the tombs.”

His voice is going out and many are hearing.

Thanks be to God who gives the hearing ear, I am one of those!!