April 21st, 2015
April 18th, 2015
Psalm 23 is so beloved and familiar that you probably don’t even need to open our Bibles to it in order to study it because you know it by heart. It is a popular reading at funerals, during crisis and in times of depression.
When we started the book of Psalms, we talked about how the book of Psalms itself is the place where we love to turn to in the Bible in order to find comfort for our hearts. We referred to it as a sanctuary, a hiding place of refuge, the consecrated place where we always seem to find God and were or heart is called from all its afflictions and fears. The book of Psalms soothes us.
Psalm 23 itself is like a favored secluded sitting spot within the book of Psalms. It’s a place where we all love to go. Despite its popularity, we always find ourselves alone there, yet not alone for the Lord’s presence is great in Psalms 23. That is the theme of this Psalm. Assurance of the Lord’s abiding presence with us during dark times, assurance that He is leading us to a place of rest, along the paths of righteousness, by the best route available. It is reminding ourselves of these truths which calm the anxiety, grief and fear that unsettles our hearts during dark times. Read the rest of this entry »
April 4th, 2015
March 31st, 2015
March 24th, 2015
The book of Psalms is one of the most beloved books of the bible. This is one book you do not need to give people directions to locate in the bible. Everyone knows how to get there by simply opening their bibles, they naturally open up to the book of Psalms being at the center of the bible. And in similar response, we naturally open up in the book of Psalms, pouring out our hearts to God and finding that His word is indeed a refuge for us. In this book we find much comfort and hope in our time of need. It calms our heart. It centers our thoughts. It realigns our wills. It lifts our spirit. It captivates our imagination. The book of Psalms speaks to every part of our being, mind, spirit, heart, imagination and will. Deep truly calls out to deep in the book of Psalms. The depths of God call out to us in our time of need from the book of Psalms, exhorting us to Seek his face! And the depths of our hearts cry back to Him for comfort and understanding stating “Your face I will seek!”
Why do we love the book of Psalms so much. There are many reasons but I will list three. Read the rest of this entry »
July 29th, 2014
Tonight we start a new letter written by John to a Christian lady. In it we will have many of the truths we learned in 1 John repeated and demonstrated.
“This epistle is more remarkable for the spirit of Christian love which it breathes than for anything else. It contains scarcely anything that is not found in the preceding; and out of the thirteen verses there are at least eight which are found, either in so many words or in sentiment, precisely the same with those of the first epistle.” (Adam Clarke)
When Tim and I attended Providence Church, we went through a counseling course called Equipped to Counsel. At the end of these weekly lessons we would have different real life case studies to read about and review and to discuss that had to deal with that week’s lesson so that we could see how these truths we had learned played out in real life. I think these two small letters 2nd and 3rd John act as case studies for us to apply what we have learned. They demonstrate very well the truths that John would teach us. Read the rest of this entry »
July 21st, 2014
Last week we talked about four birthmarks identifying the children of God. The children of God are marked by:
- A belief that Jesus is the Christ. (John 5:1)
- A love for God the Father. (John 5:1)
- A love for all those born of God. (John 5:1)
- A love for God the Father (1 John 5:2)
- Obedience to the commandments of God (1 John 5:3)
- A love for all those born of God. (John 5:1)
- A faith which overcomes the world. (1 John 5:4)
- A belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (1 John 5:1:5)
Once again we are brought back to the foundation of our faith which is centered around the identity of Jesus. Our identity as children of God, is united to Christ’s identity as the Son of God. Those who deny the deity of Jesus as being Christ, the Son of God are called antichrists and are not the children of God. Read the rest of this entry »
June 30th, 2014
I made this [letter] very long, because I did not have the leisure to make it shorter.” – Blaise Pascal
I ran across this quote by Blaise Pascal while I was trying to remember something else he had once said that I had read and it made me laugh because this is so true. I made this lesson very long, because I did not have the leisure time to make it shorter! I never have time to shrink down my notes like I want to. It’s nice to know I am not the only one in history that has faced this problem. It takes a lot of time to go back through and cut the fat from my notes and I am always running low on time. So my writing continues to be high in fat. Not sure if that is totally good for you. I know we live in a world of low fat and no fat but in the old days the fat was considered the choicest portion of meat that was offered to God. It’s all the extras and usually contains a lot of good stuff and often holds the most flavor. Some of the best cuts of meat contain a lot of fat in them that keep them from being too tough, dry and give a lot of flavor. I pray my writing even though it is long and contains a lot of fat, would be more like that choice piece of meat. There are some parts we will cut off and push to the side because we don’t have the time to consume them. However, for the most part I hope all the extras add flavor. Read the rest of this entry »
June 17th, 2014
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
Once again tonight we are back to the topic of love and our calling to love one another. In 1 John chapter 2 we spoke about our duty to love one another and the reason why was because to love one another is to walk in the light and he who does not love walks in darkness.
“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in the darkness. (1 John 2:9)
In this first lesson on loving others we spent much time talking about how sin boils down to being our failure to love God and others as we should love them. The entire ten commandments can be summoned up in the new commandment to: Read the rest of this entry »
May 19th, 2014
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
We have talked about a lot of heavy stuff in this letter by John so far about how we should walk as Christians. We talked about how we are called to walk in the light, how we are to walk in obedience, how we are to walk in love for the brothers especially, how we are to walk in the world by not loving the world that is perishing, how we are to abide in Christ and practice righteousness so that we might become righteous as Christ is which is our hope. Last week we turned back to the subject of loving our brothers again and added more detail of what it looks like to love our brothers and sisters in Christ and what it doesn’t look like. We emphasized that love is not just an emotion that we feel but is demonstrated and brought to completion through our actions. Read the rest of this entry »