Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Lesson

Lesson 12

KJV Bible

KJV Bible (Photo credit: knowhimonline)

KNOWING WHAT WE BELIEVE

It is extremely important that we know what we believe and why.  In this lesson we will consider the vital doctrines of the Word of God.  Doctrine simply means teaching, and we are considering what the Word of God teaches about fundamental and basic truths.  To honor the Lord, we must have convictions about these truths.  Knowing these doctrines will help stabilize your Christian life.  I recommend that you acquaint yourself with these truths.

THE BIBLE

Words

Words (Photo credit: tempestuousseas)

We believe in the Bible as the verbally (every word) and plenary (completely) inspired Word of God.  By its being inspired, we mean that the Bible is literally breathed of God.  It is God’s Word.  All portions of Scripture are equally inspired and contain no contradiction.  They are totally without error as originally given by God.  Therefore, the Scriptures are our only infallible and authoritative rule for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Psalm 119:89).  The canon of Scripture, comprised of the sixty-six books of the Bible, is complete.  Nothing shall be added to it or taken from it (Revelation 22:18, 19).

GOD

We believe in the one Triune God.  He is personal, spirit, and sovereign. He is perfect, infinite, and eternal in His being, holiness, love, wisdom, and power.  The Godhead eternally exists in three Persons:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  These three are one God, having the same homage, confidence, and obedience.  God is absolutely separate and above the world as its Creator; yet He is everywhere present, upholding all things (Genesis 1:1, 25; John 1:1; 14:16, 17, 26; Matthew 3:16, 17; 1 Timothy 3:16).

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

We believe that Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1-4; John 10:30).  He became the God-man by virgin bir

THE HOLY SPIRIT

We believe that the Holy Spirit is God, and therefore the third Person in the Trinity.  In Acts 5:3, 4 Peter told Ananias that he had lied to the Holy Ghost; and then he said, “Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto Godth (Isaiah 7:14).  He was begotten of the Holy Spirit, not having a human father, and is true God and true man.  He is man’s only hope of salvation, having shed His precious blood on the cross for our sins (1 Peter 1:18, 19; Hebrews 9:26-28).  He died, and buried and literally rose bodily again from the dead on the third day for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).  He is at the right hand of God today as our Mediator, interceding for us (1 Timothy 2;5, 6).  He will return for us, His church, the body of Christ, and take us unto Himself into Heaven (! Thessalonians 4:13 – 18).  He will set up a millennial reign on earth (Isaiah 9:6, 7; Revelation 20:4-6)..”  In this we see that Peter stated clearly that the Holy Spirit is God.

The Holy Spirit is a Person.  In John 16:13, 14 and in other verses, a personal pronoun is used of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 8:27 states that the Holy Spirit has a mind.  First Corinthians 2:11 reveals that the Holy Spirit has Knowledge.  Romans 15:30 speaks of “the love of the Spirit.” Also, 1 Corinthians 12:11 states that the Holy Spirit gives gifts according to His will.

From these verses we see that the Holy Spirit has these attributes of Personality:

Intellect — mind and knowledge Emotion — love Will

You see, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is not just an influence.  He is a Person at work in the world today.

His ministry is many-fold.  I will mention some of the ministries He has had in the past and does have now.

1.     In the past.  He is the Author of the Word of God.

2 Peter 1:21 – “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2.     In the past.  He took part in creation.

Genesis 1:2 — ” . . . And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

3.     Today the Holy Spirit indwells the body of the believer.

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 — ” What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 — “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

4.     Today the Holy Spirit performs the following ministries:

a.     Conviction in the hearts of the unsaved to bring them to Christ (John 16:8-11 — The word reprove in John 16:8 means convict).

b.     Regeneration of the believer (John 3:5, 6; Titus 3:5).

c.     Baptism of the believer into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).

d.     Sealing of the believer — making each believer eternally secure (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).

e.     Teaching the believer the truths of the Word of God (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1 John 2:27).

f.     Sanctifying by developing holy fruit in the life of the yielded believer (Galatians 5:22, 23).

g.     Empowering the believer for service (Acts 1:8).

h.     Filling the believer to live and serve the Lord with power and blessing (Ephesians 5:18).

To live to the glory of God, every believer should rely on  the power of the Holy Spirit.  We need to know the truth concerning Him and then rely on His power.

MAN

The Bible teaches that all men are sinners, that they are, by nature and by choice, sinful.  Man, who was created by a direct act of God, made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27), fell in sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).  Because Adam — the father of the human race — fell, all humanity has been born with a sinful nature.  The only One ever born of woman who held no sin is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Sin and death passed upon all men.

Romans 5:12 — “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Therefore, mankind is universally sinful.

Romans 3:23 — “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Read also Romans 3:9-12, Isaiah 53:6, and Ecclesiastes 7:20.

Because of his sin, man is alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18) and is outside the family of God (Ephesians 2:12).  Unsaved men abide under the wrath of God (John 3:36) and are unable to save themselves.

SALVATION

The Bible teaches that salvation is by God’s grace through the believer’s faith and is without works.

Ephesians 2:8, 9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Titus 3:5 – “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23) and cannot be merited or secured by man in any way except by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:19-24).  Salvation was purchased by the blood of Christ.

I Peter 1:18, 19 – “For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Hebrews 9:22 — “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

In Christ, believers have eternal life as a present possession and are justified before God.  Believers are sons in the family of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1).  The saved are eternally secure in Christ (John 6:37; 10:27-30; 1 Peter 1:5).

When a person is saved, he is a new creation.  His salvation affects his whole life and personality (2 Corinthians 5:17).

SATAN

The Bible reveals Satan to be a person, actively at work in the world today.  He is the great adversary of God and His people.  Satan is the leader of all evil angels and spirits.  He is recognized in the Bible as:

a.     Satan — Revelation 12:9

b.     The Devil — Revelation 12:9

c.     The adversary of believers — 1 Peter 5:8

d.     The god of this world — 2 Corinthians 4:4

e.     The prince of the power of the air — Ephesians 2:2

f.     The prince of this world — John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11

As a believer, you will be wise to recognize the reality and power of Satan. Thank God, though he is powerful, he is not all powerful, Satan was defeated and judged at the cross; therefore, his eternal doom is certain and believers can have victory over him.  Satan can come either as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) or as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).  The saved are able to overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11), and by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4).

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

God’s people should live holy lives with good works, not to bring salvation, but because of salvation.  The good works of a Christian should be the normal fruit of a saved life (Ephesians 2:10).

HEAVEN AND HELL

The Bible teaches there is a place called Heaven for the saved and a placed called Hell for the lost.

Matthew 25:46 — “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Luke 16:22, 23 — “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:  the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, . . . “

FUTURE EVENTS

The Bible teaches that at the close of the church age, the Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven to call out the believers.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 — “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

This event is called the Rapture and could take place at any time.  At the rapture, Christ does not set His feet upon the earth, but comes in the clouds to call the Christians home with Him to Heaven.  Following the Rapture there will be the seven-year period of tribulation, the worst conditions ever to exist on earth.  After seven years the Lord Jesus will return with His saints to set up His millennial reign.  These two appearances of the Lord are delineated in Titus 2:13 –

“Looking for that blessed hope [the Rapture], and the glorious appearing [Christ's coming with His saints] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The Lord Jesus will reign as King for 1000 years.

Revelation 20:6b — ” . . . but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

The Bible teaches there will be a resurrection of the saved and a resurrection of the unsaved.  The saved are raised to life and the unsaved to eternal doom (John 5:29; Daniel 12:2).

It is the responsibility of Christians to be watching for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:13 — Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Mark 13:35 — Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning.”

Hebrews 9:28 — “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

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Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Asssignments

Lesson 12

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ASSIGNMENTS

1.     Memorize 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

2.     Read Romans 1 — 8

For lessons 12 and 13 our assignment will be to read through Romans. Someone has said that Romans is a little Bible presenting a complete message of salvation and the Christian life.     Under section 2 of “NOTES” on a separate sheet, please record truths you find concerning doctrines from your reading of Romans 1 — 8.

3.     Answer the following questions in your own words:

1.     How did God give His Word? (2 Peter 1:20, 21)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2.     Note the three persons in the Godhead from Matt. 3:16, 17.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

What do these verses indicate concerning the working together of each member of the Trinity?

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

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3.     List at least four truths concerning Jesus Christ, the Word, from John 1:1-14.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

4.     What is the lost man’s condition according to Ephesians 2:1-3?

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

5.     Salvation comes by God’s _______________ and through man’s _______________________ (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

6.     What part do works have in our salvation? (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

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7.     What two things are mutually exclusive? (Romans 11:6)

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8.     Give the descriptive names of Satan as found in Revelation 12:7-12.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

e. _____________________________________________________________

9.     Give some truths about Hell found in Luke 16:19-31.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

e. _____________________________________________________________

f.  _____________________________________________________________

10.     When does a believer go to Heaven? (2 Corinthians 5:8)

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11.     What will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:10)

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12.     What should the truth of the second coming of Christ do for us as believers? (1 John 3:2, 3)

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NOTES

1.     A blessing I received each day as I read in Romans 1 — 8:

Day 1 — Romans 1 __________________________________

Day 2 — Romans 2 __________________________________

Day 3 — Romans 3 __________________________________

Day 4 — Romans 4 __________________________________

Day 5 — Romans 5 — 6 _______________________________

Day 6 — Romans 7 __________________________________

Day 7 — Romans 8 __________________________________

2.     Notes on doctrines which we believe that I found as I read these eight chapters of Romans:

1.     The Bible ______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2.     God __________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

3.     The Lord Jesus Christ ______________________________

_____________________________________________________________

4.     The Holy Spirit __________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

5.     Man __________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

6.     Salvation _______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

7.     Satan _________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

8.     The Christian Life _________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

9.     Heaven and Hell __________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

10.    Future Events ___________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

©2012 Mark Davis

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Lesson 11 – Knowing And Doing The Will Of God – Lesson

Lesson 11

 

Psalm 37:23, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." www.shadesofgrace.org/

Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”
http://www.shadesofgrace.org/

KNOWING AND DOING THE WILL OF GOD

After we have accepted Christ, God has a perfect will for us.  To realize the full blessings God has for us, we need to submit our lives to know and then to do His will.  It is only as we are yielded to walk in the will of God that we will realize the fulfillment of God’s purpose in our lives.

RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF GOD’S WILL IN OUR LIVES

1.     We cannot plan our own lives.

Jeremiah 10:23 — “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

Proverbs 20:24 — “Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?”

2.     God has a will for each of His children.

Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

3.     Jesus Christ set the example while on earth when He sought as the God-man to do the will of the Father.

John 5:30 — “I can of mine own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”

This prayer of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 26:39 reveals the very secret of His life during His earthly humiliation.

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying.  O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Hebrews 10:7 –“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

This quote of the eternal Son of God is given in Psalm 40:7, 8.

4.     The Apostle Paul set an example for us.

a.     When Paul met the Lord on the Damascus road, his first question was, “Who art thou, Lord?” (Acts 9:5).  Paul, by answering this question, came to know the Lord as his Saviour.  The second question he asked was, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).  This same sequence should take place in the lives of believers.  First, we should come to know who the Lord is and thereby be saved.  Then we should follow salvation with the request to know the will of God.

b.     Paul knew he was an apostle by the will of God.

1 Corinthians 1:1 — Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, . . .”

See also 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; and Colossians 1:1.

c.     Paul desired that those believers to whom he ministered might know the will of God.

Colossians 1:9 — “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”

5.     Only God knows the future.

Psalm 1:6 – “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

Isaiah 48:17 — “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”

6.     God wants us to know the will of God.

Hebrews 13:20, 21 — “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”

Note in Colossians 4:12 that Epaphras labored in prayer that the Colossian Christians might do God’s will.  “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

7.     God commands us to know His will.

Ephesians 5:17 — “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

8.     God commands us to obey His will.

Ephesians 6:5, 6 — “Servants, be obedient . . . as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”

REALIZING THE IMPACT
OF GOD’S WILL IN OUR LIVES

1.     Obeying God’s Word and thereby living in the will of God brings lifelong blessing.

1 John 2:17 – “. . . He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”

Psalm 1:2, 3 — “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water . . . and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

Joshua 1:8 — “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

2.     God’s plan is for believers only.

Psalm 25:12 — “What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shalt he teach in the way that he shall choose.”

To the one who states that God is his hiding place, the Lord promises in Psalm 32:8 — “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

3.     God will lead each step of the believer.

Psalm 37:23 — “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.”

Psalm 119:105 — “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Proverbs 3:6 — “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

4.     God’s plan is definite and specific.

Isaiah 30:21 – “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

Proverbs 15:19 — “The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.”

5.     God’s will is best for us.

Romans 12:1, 2 — “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service . . . that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Psalm 143:10 — “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good: lead me into the land of uprightness.”

From all of these previous verses, it is easy to see that God’s will and plan for us as believers will be the very best for us and will result in a joyous and victorious life in which the saved walk with Him.  Outside of a life surrendered to the will of God, a believer will find lost fellowship, confusion, heartache, and barrenness.  The tragedy is that too many Christians have not recognized the importance of the will of God for their lives and thereby have not realized the impact of the blessing of doing God’s will.

RESPONDING WITH INVOLVEMENT
IN GOD’S WILL

What must we do to know the will of God?

1.     Preparation of the heart

We must be willing to do God’s will.

Psalm 143:10 — “Teach me to do thy will.”

2.     Presentation of the life

Romans 12:1 — “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Romans 6:13 — ” . . . but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

3.     Practice His will

From Proverbs 3:5, 6 we note the following two truths:

a.     We must have no will of our own, no preconceived notions as to God’s will.

Proverbs 3:5 — ” . . . lean not unto thine own understanding.”

b.     We must acknowledge the Lord in all our ways.

Proverbs 3:6 — “In all thy ways acknowledge him. . . “

This means that we must clearly say, “Yes, Lord,” to every evidence of His direction in our lives.  To acknowledge His leadership means to be in a state of submission to His Word and to His providential guidance.

4.     Proof of His will

When a believer is willing to be lead by the Lord, he will have the proof in his life.

Romans 12:2 — ” . . . that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, stated clearly, ” . . . I being in the way, the Lord led me . . . “ (Genesis 24:27).  He went out not knowing how God would lead.  When he arrived, he looked back and knew the proof of God’s leading.

Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea.  On the other shore he looked back and sang of God; “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13).

How wonderful it is to follow the leading of the Lord!  This blessing is to those who have surrendered their wills to Him.  God gives a peace and rest in the heart and life.  There is a joy when we know we have not allowed self, personal desire, or human reasoning to lead; but rather be have permitted God Himself by His Spirit to lead our lives.

GUIDELINES FOR KNOWING
THE WILL OF GOD

1.     Confirmation of the Word

Everything we do should be according to God’s Word.  He will not lead contrary to His Word.

2.     Circumstances indicating the will of God

God permits circumstances to come into our lives so that we can know His leading.

3.     Conviction that this is His will

When God reveals His will, He will give a settled peace that He is leading.  When that peace is missing, a Christian should be careful not to rush ahead (Isaiah 30:15).

4.     Crucifixion of self

Be sure you are not doing something for selfish reasons (Galatians 2:20).

5.     Consecration of yourself to God (Romans 12:1, 2)

In your consecration, pray and ask God for His leading (Psalm 143:10).

6.     Counsel of godly, spiritual folks

Seek out godly people to give you counsel.  It is well to talk to a godly pastor.  Sometimes the other individual sees something you would not see.

Remember!

God will not lead you contrary to that which is revealed in His Word.  Therefore, spend time in the Word of God so that you are able to discern the will of God.  Our reading assignment for this week uses chapters that reveal truths for us to know in order to discern the will of God.

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Growing In Grace – Table of Contents

Lesson 11 – Knowing and Doing the Will of God – Assignments >>

©2012 Mark Davis

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Lesson 11 – Knowing And Doing The Will Of God – Assignments

Lesson 11

Psalm 37:23, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." www.shadesofgrace.org/

Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”
http://www.shadesofgrace.org

ASSIGNMENTS

1.     Memorize Proverbs 3:5, 6.

2.     Read Ephesians 4 — 6; Philippians 2 — 3; Colossians 3 — 4.  Please note some truths from these passages that God would have you to know and practice so that His will can be done in your life.  Please record this information under “NOTES” on a separate page.

3.     Answer the following questions in your own words.

1.     Is it possible for man to guide his own life? (Jeremiah 10:23)

_____________________________________________________________

2.     What does God promise concerning His leadership in Isaiah 48:17?

_____________________________________________________________

3.     Epaphras had a great burden.  What was it? (Colossians 4:12)

_____________________________________________________________

4.     Who are the unwise according to Ephesians 5:17?

_____________________________________________________________

5.     How detailed is the will of God for the saved? (Psalm 37:23)

_____________________________________________________________

6.     List the Points of Proverbs 3:5, 6 in your own words.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

7.     What is important in our lives if the promise in Isaiah 58:11 that He will lead us continually is to be fulfilled?  See Isaiah 58:10.

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

NOTES

1.     A blessing I received each day as I read in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians:

Day 1 — Eph. 4  _____________________________________

Day 2 — Eph. 5  _____________________________________

Day 3 — Eph. 6  _____________________________________

Day 4 — Phil. 2  _____________________________________

Day 5 — Phil. 3  _____________________________________

Day 6 — Col. 3  _____________________________________

Day 7 — Col. 4  _____________________________________

2.     Truths I have learned so that I can have His will in my life:

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_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

©2012 Mark Davis

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Working vs. Receiving

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‎”Beloved, here is a test for us—is our religion a receiving religion, or is it a working and an earning religion? An earning religion sends souls to Hell. It is only a receiving religion that will take you to Heaven.”

— Charles H. Spurgeon

Bible Readings:

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

Acts 20:32 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Lesson 10 – Facing Problems And Dangers – Lesson

Lesson 10

FACING PROBLEMS AND DANGERS

Many new Christians have the idea: “Now that I am saved, all my problems are over.”  Nothing could be farther than the truth.  Satan hates to see anyone saved, and he has now become your enemy.  He wants to defeat you spiritually and keep you from being a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.  These are big dangers in your Christian life.

Every Christian must recognize the dangers he will face, and then he will know better how to meet them.  It is like traveling on an unfamiliar road and being warned of washouts, detours, and roadblocks.  So there are certain obstacles, dangers, and pitfalls which can cause a new Christian to be hindered in his growth in this new life.

Christian's Burden

God wants us ready to face the dangers.  John Bunyan, in his Pilgrim’s Progress, tells of showing Christian the “armoury” and the equipment to stand against danger.

“The next day they took him and had him into the armoury; where they showed him all manner of furniture, which their Lord had provided for Pilgrims:  as sword, shield, helmet, breastplate, all-prayer and shoes that would not wear out.  And there was here enough of this to harness out as many men for the service of their Lord as there be stars in the heaven for multitude.”

DANGERS THE CHRISTIAN WILL FACE

You will experience persecution.

Many times this truth seems a strange truth to new Christians.  Why would anyone want to persecute someone who wants to live for the Lord and do right?  It does sound strange, does it not?  But the fact is, that is exactly what will happen.  Because you decide to live godly, there will be those who will do all in their power to harass you.

Paul promised it in 2 Timothy 3:12 – “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Again he promised in Philippians 1:29 — “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

After one is saved there are those who will mock and make fun of the new convert.  Sometimes it is a family, or it may be friends, or it can be associates at work.  They watch the new Christian and endeavor to discourage him by making fun of him.

Don’t ever let this discourage you.  Derision of a Christian is to be expected. Jesus promised that believers would face persecution.

John 15:19, 20 — “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you.  The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

The Lord Jesus gave the beatitudes in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-9).  He gave seven blessings to the believer:

1.     “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

2.     “Blessed are they that mourn.”

3.     “Blessed are the meek.”

4.     “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteous-ness.”

5.     “Blessed are the merciful.”

6.     “Blessed are the pure in heart.”

7.     “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Then immediately after announcing these seven blessings, He adds, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (v. 10).  The Lord is saying that the person who walks with Him and receives the first seven blessings can be sure there will be persecution.  These blessings are entirely different from anything the world knows.  The world would never say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Neither would the world say, “Blessed are they that mourn.”  This philosophy is cross-grained to anything the world offers.  Therefore, the believer can expect to encounter some persecution because he is living exactly to the world’s ideology and philosophy.

The early church experienced persecution.

Acts 4:1-3 — “And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them.  Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.  And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.”

Acts 4:18-21 — “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered and said unto them,  Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.  So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.”

Acts 5:41 — “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicig that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”

Acts 8:1 — “. . .  And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

So, you see, the Bible teaches that persecution can be expected in the life of a believer.  Often such persecution comes because of ignorance or lack of understanding.  The Christian should not allow such persecution to discourage or defeat him.

It will be a normal thing for the unsaved of the world not to understand and to put pressure on us for our faith.  The early church faced great trial and persecution with rejoicing, blessing and victory.

I Peter 4:14 – “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”

When loved ones and friends do reproach you for your faith in Jesus Christ, we suggest the following reactions:

1.      Have love and understanding.

2.     Have a definite concern and burden for them because of their lost condition and their inability to understand.

3.     Pray for yourself that you will use good wisdom in the way you treat them and handle the situation.

4.     Pray for them with wisdom and concern fore their spiritual condition.

You face an expert enemy.

The Bible teaches there is a personal devil who will do all in his power to defeat us.  He will attack us, and he longs to have victory over us.

I Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

He may come as a roaring lion, or he may come as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:14 —  “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

When he comes as an angel of light, Satan is using his lying technique to deceive.  God’s Word says he is the father of lies.

John 8:44 — “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

Revelation 20:10a — “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, . . . “

Satan is:

1.     The god of this world.

2 Corinthians 4:4 — “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

As the god of this world, Satan does all in his power to keep folks from hearing and believing the Gospel for salvation.  He endeavored to keep you from being saved and will do the same for others.

2.     The resister who will fight the believer.

2 Corinthians 2:11 — “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

This verse presents Satan as a cunning fighter, using every technique he can find to defeat the believer.

3.     The adversary who accuses the brethren.

Revelation 12:10, 12 — “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven.  Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night . . . for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

4.     The enemy that opposes all that is of God.

Matthew 13:38, 39 – “. . . but the tares are the children of the wicked one: The enemy that sowed them is the devil . . .”

Ephesians 6:12 —  “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.”

5.     The tempter that lures us to sin.

I Thessalonians 3:5 — “For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.”

Satan will trouble us as long as we live.  He works on our minds to influence us.  This is the reason we need to have “the renewing” of our minds as mentioned in Romans 12:2.  To have victory, we must have our minds under the control of the Lord.

Philippians 4:8 is a good rule for us so that we can have mind control.

Philippians 4:8 — “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,  and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

HOW TO HAVE VICTORY OVER SATAN

James 4:7 — “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I Peter 5:8, 9a — “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist steadfast in the faith, . . .”

RESIST!  That means to say, “NO!”  We can resist him only if we submit to God.  We say “NO!” to the devil in the power of the Lord.  The idea of resisting is to withstand or stand against.  The Greek word for resist is the word from which we get our word antihistamine.  An individual has a cold with watering eyes and running nose.  He takes a dose of antihistamine. That drug stands against the cold, dries up the tissue, and does not allow the cold to be in control.  So it is with us as we meet the devil.  We must stand against his attacks.

In any possible temptation or problem we should ask, “Will this please God, or will it please Satan?”  In every case, Satan’s will is opposite the will of God.  Therefore, no born-again child of God should have any question. He should not want to please Satan.  We must live to please God and to bring glory to His name.

A Very Important Verse

I Corinthians 10:31 — “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Years ago, as a new Christian, I took this as my life verse.  If we obey this verse, our problems will be solved concerning Satan’s attacks.

You must face a sinful world.

I John 2:15-17 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the word. And the work passeth away, and the lust thereof” but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Please note that these verses do the following:

1.   Command believers not to love the world.

2.   State that if a believer loves the world, he does not have the love of the Father in him.

3.   Reveal that the “world” is the world system.

The world of which the Bible speaks is not the created world.  It is the system of the world that is contrary to the Word of God.

God created the world and declared all that He created was good.  When sin entered into the world, immediately Satan went about to destroy all that was moral and good and right.  Even the material world is marred by the entrance of sin into the universe.  But the Bible word World means more than that.  This world is the world created by men; the business world, the educational world, the societies of the world, the governments of the world, the world civilization, and the manner of life of the world.  This sis the world system.  It is opposed to God, for Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).  So completely is the world under the control of Satan that 1 John 5:19 states, “the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

This world system is the enemy of the Christian.

James 4:4 –“Ye adulterers and addulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Therefore, you can know that the world system is designed to defeat you in your Christian life.  This world makes great demands upon our time and energy.  It will get us involved in making money, striving for success, seeking for comfort and security.   When these become our chief interests, we will not be happy, victorious, fruitful Christians.

Jesus warned:

Luke 21:34 — “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”

We must be on guard against this enemy, the world, and its temptations. We must protect our children and our homes from the influence of the world.  We need to obey Romans 12:2 — “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

You face decisions in your Christian life.

1.     Decisions Concerning Your Participation in the World

Today strange things are taking place in the so-called Christian world. There are those who claim to be saved but who go right on living as the world lives.  For example, there are certain individuals today who are played up as outstanding Christians, but who play in night clubs on Saturday night and preach in churches on Sunday.  Recently, I saw a picture of a well-known sports figure who claims widely to be a Christian; and in the picture, it showed him drinking beer.  Later I read in the newspaper that he was being tried for a case of drunken driving.  This type of Christianity is alien to the Word of God.

You will have to decide that you are going to live differently than the world lives, differently than you did before you were saved.  This means you will need to make decisions about what is helpful toyour spiritual life and what is a hindrance.  I personally believe that a Christian should be outwardly different from the world by:

a.     Not using foul language.

b.     Not reading pornographic material.

c.     Not participating in, telling, or listening to sensuous, filthy jokes.

d.     Not attending Hollywood movies.

e.     Not using alcoholic beverages of any kind.

f.     Not hurting the body by smoking or the use of drugs.

The above is by no means a complete list.  You need to determine that whatever you do will be done to glorify God (I Corinthians 10:31).

2.     Decisions About Your Companions

a.     Be careful about your companions.  They will have a great influence on you.

I Corinthians 15:33 — “Be not deceived; evil communications [companions] corrupt good manners.”

b.     Be careful about lifting people above the Lord.

Many times new Christians begin to exalt certain individuals in their thinking.  A believer can make a mistake by putting even a good Christian on a pedestal and beginning to look at that individual as a model.  You must remember, however, that even the best Christian still has a fleshly nature.  He may stumble and fall and really disappoint you.

If you will determine you are going to look only to Jesus, you will find much greater victory in your life.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
— Mrs. Helen H. Lemmuel, 1864 – 1961

You face an enemy within — the flesh.

The “flesh” is that sinful nature that remains with the believer.  A child of God has a new nature through the new birth.  But he still has the old flesh nature.

Galatians 5:17 –“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul identifies the works of the flesh, and in verses 22 and 23 he identifies the fruit of the Spirit.  You and I need to pray and long for the fruit of the Spirit to be manifested in our lives. That fruit is nine-fold:  love, joy, peace,  longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.

These nine aspects of the fruit in the life of the believer can be divided into three sections:

1.   Our inner man — love, joy, peace.

2.   Our relationship to others — longsuffering, gentleness, goodness.

3.   Our relationship to God — faith, meakness, temperance.

Galatians 5:16 instructs us that if we will walk in the Spirit, with this fruit of the Spirit being manifested in our lives, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

We need to recognize that one of the biggest enemies we face is ourselves and our fleshly desires.

You will meet trials that will test you.

Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33a

Some new Christians have the idea that when a person accepts Christ, he will not have any more problems.  Oh, no! The devil, the world, and the flesh are still active.  They will do what they can to stop a believer.  Trials, testing, and tribulations will come.

What should you do?

1.     Realize that God has not forsaken you.  He permits testings to come in any life.  These testings are to be used to make us stronger.

Remember: Trials should make us better, not bitter.

2.     Recognize that God has a purpose in the testings.

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

3.     Rest in the Lord.

Psalm 37:1 — “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.”

The Lord wants us to trust Him.  He stands ready to meet every need. First Peter 5:7 gives excellent advice in this regard: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

Related Articles:

<< Lesson 9 – Knowing The Way of Victory – Assignments

Growing In Grace – Table of Contents

Lesson 10 – Facing Problems And Dangers – Assignments >>

©2012 Mark Davis

Continued Reading:

Lesson 10 – Facing Problems And Dangers – Assignments

Lesson 10

ASSIGNMENTS

1.     Memorize 1 Peter 5:8.  We suggest you also memorize Philippians 1:6.

2.     Read First and Second Peter.  Please Note references to our spiritual growth under “NOTES” on a separate page.

3.     Answer the following questions in your own words:

1.     How did the early church face their persecutions? (Acts 4:13, 18 – 20; 5:41)

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2.     What should we ask for when we are scoffed at and mocked? (Acts 4:29)

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3.     What must we do, regardless of the persecution of others? (Acts 5:28, 29)

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4.     How did Moses endure when he could have looked to men for encouragement? (Hebrews 11:27)

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5.     To whom should we look for our example? (Hebrews 12:2)

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6.     In what manner did we walk before we were saved? (Ephesians 2:2)

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7.     Who has control of this world system? (1 John 5:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4)

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8.     What are the three main aspects of worldliness? (1 John 2:15, 16)

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

9.     What do we need in order to stand against Satan’s wiles? (Ephesians 6:11)

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10.    What word is used three times in Ephesians 6:13, 14 in defense against Satan?

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11.    Name three important parts of our armor. (Ephesians 6:16, 17)

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

12.    Briefly list the glorious promises we can claim in the midst of every trial and test.

Hebrews 13:5, 6

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1 Corinthians 10:13

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James 1:2, 12

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Philippians 4:7

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1 Peter 1:5 — 7

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NOTES

1.     A blessing I received each day as I read First and Second Peter:

Day 1 — 1 Peter 1  __________________________________

Day 2 — 1 Peter 2  __________________________________

Day 3 — 1 Peter 3  __________________________________

Day 4 — 1 Peter 4 — 5  _______________________________

Day 5 — 2 Peter 1  __________________________________

Day 6 — 2 Peter 2  __________________________________

Day 7 — 2 Peter 3  __________________________________

2.     Below I note all of the references I found in First and Second Peter concerning our spiritual growth:

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©2012 Mark Davis

Related Articles:

<< Lesson 10 – Facing Problems And Dangers – Lesson

Growing in Grace — Table of Contents

Lesson 11 – Knowing And Doing The Will Of God – Lesson >>

Continued Reading:

Related Articles:

I Am Second – Live Second #4 – Available

I Am Second – Available

Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

Luke 10:39-40 —

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet
listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted
by all
the preparation that had to be made.”

This article is the fourth and last in the 4 part series that I am doing for the debut of the I Am Second’s Doug Bender’s latest devotional book Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First“.  I strongly recommend that if you haven’t read my first entries, that you do it now since it will shed a lot of light on the content of this post.  You can read the first here and the second entry here and the third here.

To get your own copy of this book for it to show you how you can Live Second too, click on the picture above and it will take you to an online order page for the book.  As a disclaimer – I am NOT a paid contributor.  I am writing all of this of my own free will.

Available

page 198

You’ve heard people ask you, “What would you do if you knew you only had one day left to live?”  What if you had only a week, a month, 6 months, how about a year or two?  What “things” would you do if you were given a definite time to live?

One week consists of 168 hours. Never more, never less. Subtract eight hours a night for sleep and all we have left is 112 hours. This is our available time—the time for work, society, family, recreation, and anything else we might wish to do.   Schedules may fluctuate and shift, but that 112 hours each week is ours to manage, ours to spend.

In prior posts (1, 2 and 3), I’ve explained in some detail my childhood, how I missed my first calling (to be a preacher/pastor), how I entered into the devil’s playground and got tangled up in things that I never should have been around – especially as a Christian, how I was married twice and now am on my third wife (who is incredible, by the way), how I developed a spinal cord tumor and had to have it taken out and that left me mostly paralyzed from the chest down, and to top it all off, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 (terminal) Carcinoid Cancer.

Wow, maybe you don’t need to read the previous posts after all that…  At least you don’t know what I’m going to say next. :-)

I pick up where I was just diagnosed with Carcinoid Cancer:  I was working as an I.T. Tech – remember that I used to be in sales/management, I had to go back to school to learn a new trade – when I met my current wife. Since I worked in a call center, I met her over the phone.  She was in the Chicago area and I, in Denver.  Thanks to mobile-to-mobile cell phone plans, we were able to talk on the phone a lot – and I mean a LOT.  In the following 3 months, we talked about as much as a normal “courting couple” would in at least 2 years (if you really think about it).

She had her life and I … didn’t have one.  I spent all my time talking on the phone with her – she was (and is) my life.  Almost every non-working waking hour that I had was spent talking to her, or listening to her breathe, or sometimes I would put her to sleep and I’d listen to her snore because I didn’t have it in me to hang up on her.  She came out to visit me for a weekend once.  We spent a lot of time up in the beautiful, Rocky Mountains, driving around, taking small walks around a lake or getting out to see how cold it was outside (November) and taking lots of pictures.  I really wanted her to know what I was like.  I wasn’t your run of the mill dime store guy that you can find anywhere.  I also had to make sure that she had what it would take to take care of me if she had to at some point.

She had it…  She came back out again a month later with her 2 kids to check me out and see if I was good enough for their mom or not.  I guess I passed muster.  In January she had a birthday.  I planned to go out to Chicago to see her and her family and celebrate her birthday.  But, we had another plan – to get married on the day after her birthday.

You might think that we jumped into things a bit too soon, but if you look at how much time we spent on the phone together, we, in a way, had a longer courtship than most couples now days.  Plus, communication is key to a marriage, right?  I’m not trying to get your approval here…

She still had obligations in Chicago that would keep her there until June.  In the mean time, we still spent as much time on the phone as we did before. I had to find a place for us to live – we would be merging two households together and wouldn’t be able to make it work where I lived at the time. The rest of the story is still being written from there…

During our “courtship”, I definitely had to find out what her Christian beliefs were since I would not be “unequally yoked together with an unbeliever”.  Fortunately, they were where they should be.  What she didn’t realize at the time was, she was beginning to hold me accountable spiritually.  What that means to me?  I had to lead a family.  I had to straighten up my life and make it something that would be pleasing to the Lord and so that I could lead a family in a Biblical sense.  I had to “sweep a few cob webs out of the corners” if I was going to make things work.  I made some decisions at that time that I was bound to keep from then on.

She keeps me on the up and up.  Since we have been together, many things have happened in our lives; hers and mine.  We’ve had our ups and downs just like any other couple.  The great thing about it all is that God was in the middle of it all.  We had some tragic things happen in our lives that put our relationship on the edge; but you know, God works in us when we are on the edge.  We saw God’s hand in many things especially visible ones; He really used our finances to show us that He was guiding us.

I get excited thinking about this part, because, He shows up in some of the most unexpected times and places.

We began having financial issues due to the fact that my health was going down and working full time was killing me – literally.  I felt like I would only live another year or so at that pace – seriously – I was dying.  I had to quit working.  We were not well off; we had no idea how we were going to pay our bills with only my wife’s income.

My work; they knew that I had problems with my health and knew what my outcome would likely be, they also knew that we didn’t have money.  I qualified for long term disability (LTD) through my work, but they only start paying after you have been off work for 3 months.  Once the LTD kicked in, it would help, but it still wasn’t enough.  One of my co-workers plotted to change our company’s SOP.  She was a VP in our office and she came up with an idea where my co-workers could donate, hour for hour, their vacation time to supplement my income for those 3 months until LTD kicked in.  That had never been done in our company before.  The president, knew me, my situation and health concerns, and he allowed it only the one time.

I had given a month’s notice.  On my last day, Friday, the president approved the proposal to allow the vacation donations to me.  THE LAST DAY!!!  They really know how to keep a guy on pins and needles (or should I say, the Lord knows how).  He approved it around noon that Friday.  By 4:30pm (I go home at 5) they already had enough donations, from people around our small office of 25 – 30 people, to cover the first 2 months out of the 3!  How Awesome is that?  I heard that they filled it up by Monday the next week… Praise Our God!!!

That was the beginning of a roller coaster ride after that.  Every month we were short on money to pay the bills.  We weren’t extravagant or anything. Most of the times we only needed $200-500 to make it work.  EVERY month after that, God made it happen.  He made sure by a different means every time (sometimes two means), but He always came through for us. Something that I noticed in all of this is that we (and our bill collectors) have a different time table than God’s.  I said before that we were able to pay the bills, I didn’t say that they were actually on time or not.  Some were, some weren’t.

It got to the point where I started laughing when I would be praying over our bills, knowing that I couldn’t pay them all.  Laughing because I knew that the Lord was going to pay these bills for me.  I would put my hands up in the air and tell Him that they were all His.  He can meet the need however He would see fit.  And, He had some very creative ways of making it happen.  Laughing, because  I would try to make something happen to get some extra money and it would fall through.  Laughing, because I loved to see the creativity that He used.  I could never anticipate His plan, yet, He Always came through.  He still does to this day even.

My story is supposed to be on “Available“, but I think I might be able to write about 5 – 10 different days here, what do you think?  I guess you would have to have the book to know.  Go buy it if you haven’t.

During all of these trials that I was going through, having God meet my needs at every turn, was starting to build my faith up.  I had really lost a lot of my Bible knowledge in the last 30 years or so.  Amazing what happens if you don’t use something, huh?

God was starting to get to me by revealing Himself to me (us – my wife too).  He was starting to produce the results that I knew that He could, and Would, if our faith was bolstered and built up to the point of it being second nature.  I had gotten used to expecting God to meet my needs.  God really uses people who have no where else to turn.  He proves to us that He really is in control of, not only my finances, but, my car, my lawnmower, <insert chuckle here> my total existence.

He is the reason why I’m still here.  He isn’t through with me yet.  Wow, now how do I know what I’m supposed to be doing to fulfill His need?

My family and I had started going to a church near our home.  I looked it over and, though non-denominational, it seemed pretty sound scripturally So, we started going.  We don’t GO to church, we LIVE church.  To say it better; when we go to a church, we get thoroughly involved in every aspect of the church that we can.  We worked in the food bank ministry.  They had a counselling ministry that my wife and I trained for and became one of the “ministers” in that area.  I could go on.

The further that we got involved in this church, the more we started seeing things that really weren’t going along with God’s Word.  We set to studying in order to see if we were right (the Bible side) or they were right.  The more we studied on this and that subject (I’m not going into details in this post), we found that they were wrong.  We also knew what the Bible says about staying in a situation like that and that is, to leave.  We prayed about it and sought out God’s will and we just had to break ties with this church.

Now my wife started thinking about, “What kind of a church is going to believe in the same things that we did”?  Remember, I was brought up in the Word.  I knew where we were supposed to be but I knew that she wouldn’t go for it because it was a denomination.

I put out some ideas of churches to visit.  They were put on the back burner.  Between my wife and daughter and I; we were throwing around different denominations and I would bat them back at them siting problems in their theology.  We got down to a couple different ones.  I started studying even harder because I knew where the Lord wanted us and it wasn’t plan B either.  I found holes in their theology and documented a few of them and pointed them out and ran them past my wife and daughter and that one seemed to go away.  We knew at that point that it was plan A that we were supposed to be at.

Notice in the previous few paragraphs that I’m starting to study more. God is starting to build me back up to where He wants me to be… Unfortunately, it would never be where I would have been had I gone with His original plan for my life instead of MY plan.  I couldn’t do anything to change the time but I could do something to change my mind, my brain, my knowledge.   He was starting to build me back up to where I could stand up in a proverbial “fight”.

Without giving a total blow-by-blow here I will suffice it to say that He was guiding me, and us, to where He wanted us to be.  In previous posts, and even in the beginning of this post, I mentioned that my first calling was to become a pastor.  What is it that a pastor does?  Besides many other administrative things, he teaches.  He preaches.  I am not scripturally able to fill the shoes of the pastor now.  I couldn’t physically even if I were otherwise capable.

I know I’m long winded.  I hear it all the time.  I just don’t know when to shut up.  Well, sometimes.  My wife had been telling me since I had stopped working that I should start a blog.  She says, “You’re so smart about the Bible, you could help others by blogging about what you are thinking about and you could study more”.  Her words!  I never claimed to know it all about the Bible but I do have the gift of discernment.  I still have fragments of my previous knowledge of the Bible that I can pull from. As long as I have my computer in front of me, I can usually find the answer.

Availability…  God can’t use those who don’t want to be used.  When we don’t want to be used, we have a tendency to find other things to fill our time with and we make excuses about why we can’t do what God wants us to do.  It could be something big or small.  It doesn’t matter.  If we aren’t “Available” to Him, then He is going to go past us and go on to the next guy that is “Available” and use him.  What is the problem here?  You might say, “It doesn’t matter who God uses, it still gets done” or “God is God, He can make it happen without human hands”.  Both, very true.

The problem is (at least) two-fold:

1.     When we do what He wants us to do, we will receive a “reward” for it when we get to Heaven.  see Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:6; Luke 9:26; Revelation 2:23; Revelation 22:12; I Corinthians 3:12-15

2.     We are commanded by God to do His bidding – that is the purpose of our existence.  see Acts 13:47; Matthew 5:16; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19, 20; John 14:15

God can bless us here on earth if He wants to, but our true reward will be when we finally get to Heaven.

Matthew 6: 19; “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

If you weren’t concerned with your eternal being at all, you wouldn’t be reading to this point.  That being the case, you owe it to yourself and to those whom you can influence for Christ, to make yourself available to God’s bidding.  The joy that you can feel here on earth is immeasurable and like nothing else you have ever felt.  Once you taste it, you won’t want anything else.

I’ve come to the realization, personally, that I will die soon.  Although, I could still walk out in the street and get hit by a car and die that way.  The truth of the matter is: You could die before I do.  How is it that you want God to greet you when you get there?  “Welcome, thou good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of our Lord.” or “Depart from me you worker of iniquity.  I never knew you.”  I want Jesus to have open arms with a smile on His face when I see Him.  If, in fact, He chooses to come back to receive His own before that, I want Him to find me doing something that brings Him glory.  I couldn’t imagine the shame that we both would feel if I wasn’t.

Isaiah 6:8; “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

Acts 9: 10;  “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

God Bless You!

Tweet using #IASavailable to share your thoughts.

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Additional Reading:

A Bible study to get you on the right track in your Christian life.

What is Our Holy Scripture?

©2012 Mark Davis

Links to previous Live Second blog posts:

Post #1 – lies

Post #2 – New

Post #3 – Faithful

This is the Fourth and Final post.  I hope you have enjoyed my stories. Follow my blog to get further blog updates and teachings as they are posted.

I Am Second – Live Second #3 – Faithful

I Am Second – Faithful

Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

—Acts 9:27

“He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.”

This article is the third in the 4 part series that I am doing for the debut of the I Am Second’s Doug Bender’s latest devotional book Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First“.  I strongly recommend that if you haven’t read my first entry, that you do it now since it will shed a lot of light on the content of this post.  You can read it here and the second entry here.

To get your own copy of this book and let it show you how you can Live Second too, click on the picture above and it will take you to an online order page for the book.  As a disclaimer – I am NOT a paid contributor.  I am writing all of this of my own free will.

Faithful

page 197

In my first post in this series, I mentioned that I was raised a Christian and was taught the ways of a good Christian.

This post, I’m telling you, of a fact that, I was saved at the age of 6 and shortly after that baptized by immersion and so began my Christian journey.  My father was an, Independent, Fundamental Baptist preacher; and so was until I was 11 years old.  My mother passed away at the early age of 39 of cancer (we believe that it was the same type of Carcinoid Cancer that I have currently). After that point, my father left the pastorate and we moved to another town, another church (same denomination) and another life.

For some time I did as most people might do after a great loss of a family member, and that was mourn.  Although, my mourning included, again as some would, blaming God for my loss and blaming myself for her death.  “I wasn’t worthy to have a mother…”, “I didn’t love her enough…”, and so went my rants.  I spent many a night lying next to my dog (my best friend and only friend) crying until I fell asleep with my head buried in her coat.

I went through quite a period for the next 4 -5 years where my life was just tossed around, it seemed.  I had a new step-mom that hated me and my siblings – I was the stereotypical, proverbial, “Cinderella” , except I was a guy.  I, literally, was made to do everything that she did in the movies (almost); I even had the evil step-sisters  – 5 of them – and one brother.  I knew what responsibility that I had, of course, given by God, to respect her as an elder and that of a step-mother, but that didn’t mean that I had to like her; and I didn’t respect her that much.

My dad saw to it that I continued in Christian education until I was in Jr. High school (I know, what’s that?) and since I was doing so poorly in my classes, I was held back in 5th grade and then finally asked not to come back for my 7th grade year.  That threw me from the pot into the fire!

I was put into the public school system.  I really didn’t do much better there either, considering, I didn’t WANT to do ANYTHING!  For anybody.  And especially do anything that might make my step-mom look good (I keep wanting to type “stop-mom”… I wander if the Lord is trying to tell me something…).

During this period, I was introduced to pot, hash, coke, porn, cigarettes, and quite a bit more.  I was a different kind of guy in that cesspool.  No one wanted to be my friend.  All of the popular groups would kick me out of their circles and pick on me – talk about “bullying”.  The only crowd that “accepted me” were the “freaks”, the “pot heads” and otherwise known as rebels.  Just like me.  Just different.

It wasn’t until the end of my 9th grade year that I witnessed one of my “freak” “friends” being hauled off in the back of a police car and I stepped outside of myself and saw myself in that police car, because I was doing the same things that he got busted for… I was someday, if I continued on the same path that I was on, going to end up there too.  I really didn’t want that…

Up to that point I knew what I had been doing was wrong, but didn’t care at the time.  Now, at that time, I’m starting to care… I didn’t want that to be me, so I decided right there and then that I was going to clean up my act.  I was going to start back down the straight and narrow again.  **Notice I didn’t say that I was turning my life over to Christ again.

One thing led to another and I became the driving force that made my evil step-mother and my dad “separate”.  Notice I didn’t say the “D” word.  My dad was a great man of God (and still is) and tried as best he could to give me the right influences in my life.

After their separation, I finally begged the Christian school, that I went to earlier in the story, to let me come back and that “I was different now”, “I was going to make it work”.  They weren’t too sure about that, so they told me that if I memorize Proverbs 4 – the whole chapter – then they would put it up to a vote to see if I could come back, or not.  I memorized that chapter backwards and forwards, verse by verse.  They finally allowed me to come back.  The problem was that, they found out, I flunked my 9th grade year because I told a teacher off.  **Bad career choice here.

I had been put back in 5th grade again when my mom died, now I have to repeat the 9th grade due to my udder stupidity.  I will do my time.  Now, I’m the oldest kid in the class.  My junior year I became the President of my class.  My senior year I had to work almost full time, because my dad couldn’t afford that school any longer,  then playing sports on top of it, to put myself through this school so I could graduate from a Christian school and not a public school.

It was “tradition” within our church’s youth group that we would all go to summer church camp for a week.  It was notorious that everyone – mostly – would come back as someone “new”, they would get convicted and make life changing decisions to follow the Lord better somehow, than they did before.  Some guys would come out “being called to preach or become a missionary”, the girls might “be called to be Proverbs 31 women (in training) and/or become missionaries or preacher’s wives or a missionary’s wife”.

That year I couldn’t afford to go to camp, I had to work at my new job instead.

When everybody came home from camp, I began watching my “best friend” and wondering if his new choice to follow the Lord was actually going to stick or not.  After the second week, I realized that I was losing my best friend because I was beginning to be de-friended by him since we no longer desired the same things anymore.

After the 3rd week or so, I made my own decision to turn my life fully over to the Lord; for Him to do whatever He wanted to do.  I don’t usually do things half-way.  When I made this choice, it took a lot of soul searching for me, because I had a bunch of stuff that I had to quit doing or things to destroy/throw out, to clean up my life.  All of my choices from there on out were going to be made by putting them through the “What Would Jesus Do?” filter (that was long before the WWJD movement started).

From that point on, I did everything that I could for God.  I started really applying myself to my school work.  I became a “spectacle” at work – the jokes were always on me, at least until I finally became their boss.  I played sports to the best of my ability and gave the glory to God – and it seemed that He got quite a bit.

I became active in my church; I started working in our children’s church department as teacher/preacher/story teller/song leader – I saw quite a few children get saved and their lives changed; I started singing in our church’s choir every Sunday morning; I went out on “visitation” on Thursday nights, calling on people that we had leads on, as well as going out on our teen visitation every Saturday morning, where we went up and down neighborhoods knocking on doors inviting people to our church and witnessing at every opportunity.  I was, personally, privileged to see many souls come to Christ in those capacities – and I was just a teenager.  All of this seemed to make it obvious to me that I was being called by the Lord to become a pastor.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts and have followed parts of my life as I tell them, you already know that I wasn’t able to go to college after I graduated high school like all the rest of the kids.  I had a situation where, my dad and I lived together in an apartment, since he and my step-mom had separated.  He, since, had to take a job assignment in a different state. He offered to take me but I already was putting down roots where I was at.  I had, what looked like, a “promising” future at the job that I was in at the time.  I stayed behind.  Problem: my dad left me with EVERYTHING! If I were to go to college, I had nothing to do with all of “my” stuff, now.  I couldn’t put it into a dorm room, and that was the way I would have had to do it.

That sealed my fate…  I became a salesman.  Then a sales manager.  Then a district sales manager…  Then a salesman again…

…In the story of Paul in the passage above – remember, that is the reason that I’m telling you this epic mini-series – FAITHFULNESS!

As you can see by the turn of events in my life, I had times of fatness (spiritually) and leanness.  I think of an analogy of the images of fitness gurus.  On one side, you have the muscle men, the body builders; and on the other side, the marathon runners, all lean and slim muscled people.

Why do I draw this analogy?  The muscle man is one who has gone to school or church and memorized a bunch of scriptures and even, in some cases, learned theology and doctrines and how to apply it to certain situations, primarily witnessing and daily life applications.  But, these guys just hold it in; they have contests among themselves as to whose muscles are bigger or who can memorize the anatomy of the muscles or something better than the next guy.  They retained all of that information. Wonderful!

On the other hand, we have the runner.  He’s in it for the long haul.  He may never see the inside walls of a gym, but he’s still strong.  He might not be able to bench press 250 pounds like the body builder, but he could run farther and faster than the body builder.  He was well conditioned to get in the race and press on and run miles upon miles.  Body builders aren’t usually into too much of that  cardio stuff.

My application is this; as Paul stated in another passage in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  He was a “runner” for the Lord.  Yes, Paul was very learned and smart.  He knew the Old Testament backwards and forwards and he was even the head guy in the Sanhedrin before his conversion.  After his conversion though, Paul put a pin into his balloon of an ego, being his knowledge of God’s Word, and popped it.  He started letting it out and finally using his knowledge of God’s Word and using it the way God intends every Christian to do.

Drawing my story into all of this:  During my life, I had good, even great things going on and then there were times where I just got fat and learned, and then there were times where it seemed that I was going backwards in my Christian life.

Yes, I admit that I believe I missed my first and highest calling, to be a preacher.  Let me tell you something:  Any man can preach!  God allows us those ups and downs to build character within us.  He would rather that we were straight as a pin, but if that were the case, we would be gods ourselves and we know that that just can’t happen because of our sin.

Sometimes I really hate character.  Because, I know what it takes to build that character.  I would have much rather followed the Lord’s call to become a pastor, but that didn’t happen.  I am who I am right now and I can do NOTHING to change that and neither can anyone else, as much as they might like to.

God can and will still use us if we are or become faithful to Him and His Word.

Now, quite a few years and a whole lot of character later, I’ve finally succumbed to His will.  I finally give up (continually) the reigns to my life and let Him guide it.

No matter how broken we are, God still has a plan for us and wants to use us for some reason.

Take a look at your life – right now – and find the ways that you are and aren’t being faithful to Him.  Where do you need to make the changes? God really would rather not give us character building experiences.  We can keep that from happening by yielding to Him and His will as soon as possible – RIGHT NOW.  Don’t wait!  Please, don’t wait!  Some of those exercises that He lets us go through can be really, really hard to recover from… Someday, you might not recover from one of them…

God Bless You!

Tweet using #IASfaithful to share your thoughts.

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Leave a comment at the bottom of the page here if you like.

©2012 Mark Davis

Read all of the I Am Second Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First posts:

See Post #1 - lies here

See Post #2 – New here

This is post #3

Follow on to post #4 – Available

Greg Laurie: Is It Acceptable For A Christian To Drink Alcohol?

By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter
December 6, 2012|7:17 am

Evangelist pastor Greg Laurie tackled the question of whether it’s acceptable for Christians to drink in a recent blog post by pointing out that John the Baptist is a good role model – he drank neither wine nor strong drink.

“John gives us a good model for life: he drank neither wine nor strong drink. Personally, I don’t drink at all,” Laurie states. “That is due, to some degree, to coming from an alcoholic home and seeing the devastation that drinking can bring.”

In his blog post, “Some Thoughts on Drinking in This Holiday Season,” Laurie describes how John was set apart by God from the time he was in his mother’s womb.

“In Luke 1:15, the angel said of John, ‘He will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb’ (NKJV).”

Among the sobering statistics about alcohol consumption in the U.S.: In 2010, 211 children were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Out of those 211 deaths, 131 (62 percent) were riding with the drunk driver. Also, adults who drank too much and got behind the wheel amounted to 112 million times, two years ago. That is almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving each day, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

Perhaps one of the most revealing statistics about the harm of alcohol abuse, three out of every four convicted jail inmates were involved in alcohol or drugs at the time of their current offense, according to statistics cited on the faith-based recovery website, MartyAngelo.com.

“I can’t think of a single good thing that comes from drinking, but I can think of many bad things that come from it: broken homes, violence, accidents, people killed on the road by drunk drivers, addiction, destroying your health . . . the list goes on,” Laurie writes.

“Drinking will never make anything better, only worse. Every illustration of drunkenness in the Bible is a disaster: Noah became drunk, and in his nakedness, he acted shamelessly. Lot became drunk and his daughters committed incest with him. Belshazzar, in Daniel 5, had a drunken feast and worshipped his false gods. He lost his kingdom that night. Many a kingdom, family, career, ministry, and life have been lost through drinking.”

Laurie said he would not dispute someone’s “liberty to drink,” but personally drinks as much as he wants to, which is nothing because he doesn’t want to.

“As Paul told the Corinthian believers, ‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but I will not be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV),” he states. “I don’t want to be under the power of anyone or anything but Jesus Christ!”

Laurie adds, “Here’s a revolutionary thought: If you don’t drink, you will never get drunk. If you do drink, you may get drunk. Is it worth the risk?”

Laurie also believes that drinking by a Christian could cause another believer to stumble in their faith. He cites 1 Corinthians 8:9 that states, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”

He concluded his post by noting that John never touched alcohol, but was instead “filled with the Spirit.”

“The Bible says, ‘Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18 NLT). It’s better to be filled with the Spirit than with the spirits.”

Source: Christian Post

Continued Reading:
Our Holy Scriptures
What Does Your Mouth Say About You?

©2012 Mark Davis

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