Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Refuge and Fortress

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.  You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.  Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place--the Most High, who is my refuge--no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.  On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.  Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."  Psalm 91

Explanation for Psalm 91:1-16 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 815-816.
91:1-16  This Psalm describes God's ongoing sovereign protection of his people from the ever-present dangers and terrors that surround humanity.  The original setting may be that of an army about to go to battle.  Most of the terrors mentioned in this psalm are left undefined, no doubt intentionally, so that no kind of danger is omitted from application.  Believers in every age can read this psalm to learn that nothing can harm a child of God unless the Lord permits it.  However, in light of the many references in the Psalms to the future messianic kingdom (cf. especially Ps. 96-100), this psalm must be read as being literally fulfilled then.
I. The Lord's Protection (91:1-13)
    A. The Confidence (91:1-2)
    B.  The Dangers (91:3-6)
    C.  The Examples (91:7-13)
II. The Lord's Pledge (91:14-16)
91:1  shelter of the Most High.  An intimate place of divine protection.  The use of "Most High" for God emphasizes that no threat can ever overpower him.  shadow of the Almighty.  In a land where the sun can be oppressive and dangerous, a "shadow" was understood as a metaphor for care and protection.
91:3  snare of the fowler.  This metaphor represents any plots against the believer intended to endanger his life.  deadly pestilence.  The reference here and in v. 6 is specifically to dreaded diseases, plagues, and epidemics (cf. Jer. 14:12; Ezek. 5:12; 14:19).
91:4 under his wings.  Pictures the protection of a parent bird (see note on Ps. 57:1).
91:8  only. . .with your eyes.  The righteous are so safe in disaster all around them, that they are only spectators.
91:11-12  This promise of angelic protection was misquoted by Satan in his temptation of the Messiah (see Matt. 4:6).
91:13  tread. . .lion and the adder.  In general, a metaphor for God's protection from all deadly attacks (see notes on Ps. 58:4ff).
91:14  he holds fast to me in love.  God himself is the speaker in this section (vv. 14-16) and he describes the blessing he gives to those who know and love him.  The word for "love" means a "deep longing" for God, or a "clinging" to God.
91:16  long life.  Long life was a specific promise to the OT saint for obedience to the law (e.g., Ex. 20:12; Prov. 3:2).  The prophets also promise it to God's people in the future messianic kingdom (cf. Isa. 65:17-23).

I have been praying Psalm 91 over my family and household.  As a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ that He alone is my fortress and refuge--I have faith that the Lord is always protecting me and my family.  Even when we go through rough roads--because the Lord is with us--we always come through safe and sound.  This is only because of the Lord.

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up those who are reading Your Word and I pray Psalm 91 over my household and also to those who believe in Jesus--those who know and love Jesus.  I pray for those who do not yet really know Jesus. I pray that You will show them the truth.  I pray for the gift of faith. I pray for their salvation so that they too may enjoy the assurance of eternal life and Your loving protection.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Word Became Flesh (The Gospel of John)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.")  And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known."  John 1:1-18 ESV

Explanation on John 1:12-14 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1534,
"1:12 all who did receive him, who believed in his name.  The second phrase describes the first.  To receive him who is the Word of God means to acknowledge his claims, place one's faith in him, and thereby yield allegiance to him.  gave.  The term emphasizes the grace of God involved in the gift of salvation (cf. Eph. 2:8-10).  the right.  Those who receive Jesus, the Word, receive full authority to claim the exalted title of "children of God."  his name.  Denotes the character of the person himself.  See note on John 14:13-14.
1:13 of God.  The divine side of salvation: ultimately it is not a man's will that produces salvation but God's will (cf. 3:6-8; Titus 3:5; 1 John2:29).
1:14  the Word became flesh.  While Christ as God was uncreated and eternal (see notes on v. 1), the word "became" emphasizes Christ's taking on humanity (cf. Heb. 1:1-3; 2:14-18).  This reality is surely the most profound ever because it indicates that the infinite became finite; the Eternal was conformed to time; the invisible became visible; the supernatural One reduced himself to the natural.  In the incarnation, however, the Word did not cease to be God but became God in human flesh, i.e., undiminished deity in human form as a man (1 Tim. 3:16). dwelt. Meaning "to pitch a tabernacle," or "live in a tent."  The term recalls to mind the OT tabernacle where God met with Israel before the temple was constructed. (Ex. 25:8).  It was called the "tent of meeting" (Ex. 33:7; "tabernacle of witness"--LXX) where "the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend" (Ex. 33:11).  In the NT, God chose to dwell among his people in a far more personal way through becoming a man.  In the OT, when the tabernacle was completed, God's Shekinah presence filled the entire structure (Ex. 40:34; cf. 1 Kings 8:10).  When the Word became flesh, the glorious presence of deity was embodied in him (cf. Col. 2:9).  we have seen his glory.  Although his deity may have been veiled in human flesh, glimpses exist in the Gospels of his divine majesty.  The disciples saw glimpses of his glory on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-8).  The reference to Christ's glory, however, was not only visible but also spiritual.  They saw him display the attributes or characteristics of God (grace, goodness, mercy, wisdom, truth, etc.; cf. Ex. 33:18-23).  glory as of...the Father.  Jesus as God displayed the same essential glory as the Father.  They are one in essential nature (cf. John 5:17-30; 8:19; 10:30).  only.  The term "only" has the idea of a singular uniqueness, of being beloved like no other.  By this word, John emphasized the exclusive  character of the relationship between the Father and the Son in the Godhead (cf. 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9).  It does not connote origin but rather unique prominence; e.g., it was used of Isaac (Heb. 11:17) who was Abraham's second son (Ishmael being the first; cf. Gen. 16:15 with Gen. 21:2-3).  full of grace and truth.  John probably had Ex. 33-34 in mind.  On that occasion, Moses requested that God display his glory to him.  The LORD replied to Moses that he would make all his "goodness" pass before him, and then as he passed by, God declared, "The LORD. . .merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Ex. 33:18-19; 34:5-7).  These attributes of God's glory emphasize the goodness of God's character, especially in relationship to salvation.  Jesus as Yahweh of the OT (John 8:58; "I am") displayed the same divine attributes when he tabernacled among men in the NT era (Col. 2:9)."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I am so grateful that..."In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  Praise God for His beautiful, lovely, gift of salvation.  I pray that all who read God's Word will see His truth and be saved.  In Jesus' name. Amen.
Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mary's Song of Praise: The Magnificat--The Vrigin's Song

Here is the third song in my Songs from the Bible series.

"And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.  For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.  He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever."  Luke 1:46-55 ESV 

Explanation for Luke 1:46-55 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1475.
"1:46-55 Mary's Magnificat (the first word in the Latin translation; see notes on vv. 68-79; 2:29-32) is filled with OT allusions and quotations.  It reveals that Mary's heart and mind were saturated with the word of God.  It contains repeated echoes of Hannah's prayers, e.g., 1 Sam. 1:11 and 2:1-10.  These verses also contain numerous allusions to the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets.  The entire passage is a point-by-point reciting of the covenant promises of God.
1:47 my Savior.  Mary referred to God as "Savior," indicating both that she recognized her own need of a Savior, and that she knew the true God as her Savior.  Nothing here or anywhere else in Scripture indicates Mary thought of herself as "immaculate" (free from the taint of original sin).  Quite the opposite is true; she employed language typical of someone whose only hope for salvation is divine grace.  Nothing in this passage lends support to the notion that Mary herself ought to be an object of adoration.
1:48 humble estate.  The quality of Mary that shines most clearly through this passage is a deep sense os humility."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  Thank You Jesus for this day.  Praise be to Your Holy name.  I pray for those who are unsaved.  I ask that You would reveal Yourself to them in a dream.  Please give us Your strength and Your wisdom as we go about our day.  Thank You for Your provision in all things. I say these things in Jesus' name.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The King's Song--He is my Rock and Deliverer

Hi All,  I haven't posted in a long while.  My mom has been very seriously ill.

This devotional is second in a series of "Songs" that are all through the Bible. They are all amazing.   Our pastor spoke of all these "Songs" and I thought it would be nice to share some of them with all of you. 

"And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.  He said, The LORD  is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.  For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.  In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I called.  From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears.  Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked, because he was angry.  Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.  He  bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.  He rode on a cherub and flew; he was seen on the wings of the wind.  He made darkness around him his canopy, thick clouds, a gathering of water.  Out of the brightness before him coals of fire flamed forth.  The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice.  And he sent out arrows and scattered them; lightning, and routed them.  Then the channels of the sea were seen;  the foundations of the world were laid bare, at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.  He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  He rescued me from my strong enemy; from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.  The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.  For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not wickedly departed from my God.  For all his rules were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside.  I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt.  And the LORD has rewarded me accouding to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.  With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; with the purified you deal purely, and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.  You save a humble people, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.  For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness.  For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.  This God--his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. For who is God, but the LORD?  And who is a rock, except our God?  This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless.  He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.  He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great.  You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip; I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, and did not turn back until they were consumed.  I consumed them; I thrust them through, so that they did not rise; they fell under my feet.  For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me.  You made my enemies turn their backs to me, those who hated me, and I destroyed them.  They looked, but there was none to save; they cried to the LORD, but he did not answer them. I beat them fine as the dust of the earth; I crushed them and stamped them down like the mire of the streets.  You delivered me from strife with my people; you kept me as the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me.  Foreigners came cringing to me; as soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me.  Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses.  The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation, the God who gave me vengeance and brought down peoples under me, who brought me out from my enemies, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from men of violence.  For this I will praise you O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to your name.  Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring 'forever'."  2 Samuel 22:1-51 ESV

Explanation from the MacArthur Study Bible 2 Samuel 22:1-51, page 456:
"2 Samuel 22:1-51, David's song of praise here is almost identical to Ps. 18.  This song also has many verbal links to Hannah's prayer (see note on 1 Sam. 2:1-10) and together with it forms the framework for the books of Samuel.  This song focuses on the Lord's deliverance of David from all his enemies, in response to which David praised the Lord, his deliverer (2 Sam. 22:2-4).  The major part of the song (vv.5-46) states the reason for this praise of the Lord. David first describes how the Lord had delivered him from his enemies (vv. 5-20), then declares why the Lord had delivered him from his enemies (vv. 21-28), then states the extent of the Lord's deliverance from his enemies (vv. 29-46).  The song concludes with David's resolve to praise his delivering Lord, even among the Gentiles (vv. 47-51).  See notes on Ps. 18:1-50 for a more detailed explanation."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  Thank You for being our Rock and Salvation and for delivering us from evil.  I pray that You will reveal Yourself to those who do not know You.  I pray that You will be their Rock and Salvation and Deliverer.  Thank You for helping my mom, please continue to heal her.  Praise be to Your name.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hannah's Prayer of Thanksgiving

"And Hannah prayed and said, My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in the LORD.  My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.  There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.  Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighted.  The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength.  Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.  The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn.  The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.  The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.  He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.  For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and on them he has set the world.  He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail.  The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven.  The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the power of his anointed."  1 Samuel 2:1-10 ESV

Explanation for verses 1 Samuel 2:1-10 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 376:
"2:1-10 in contrast to the prayer that came from her bitterness (1:10),  Hannah prayed from joy in these verses.  The prominent idea in Hannah's prayer is that the Lord is a righteous judge.  He had brought down the proud (Peninnah) and exalted the humble (Hannah).  The prayer has four sections: 1) Hannah prays to the Lord for his salvation.  (2:1-2); 2) Hannah warned the proud of the Lord's humbling (vv. 3-8d); 3) Hannah affirmed the Lord's faithful care for his saints (vv. 8e-9b); 4) Hannah petitioned the Lord to judge the world and to prosper his anointed king (vv. 9c-10e).  This prayer has a number of striking verbal similarities with David's song of 2 Samuel 22:2-51: "strength/stronghold" (1 Sam. 2:1; 22:3), "rock" (2:2; 22:2-3), salvation/deliverer (2:1-2; 22:2-3), Sheol (2:6; 22:6), "thunder" (2:10; 22:14), "king" (2:10; 22:51), and "anointed" (2:10; 22:51)."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up all who are reading Your words today.  Please show the truth to  those who do not know the truth.  I pray that joy will replace any bitterness in the hearts of those who are hurting.  Please heal those who are sick and suffering.  I pray for healing for my mom who is very ill.   I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Some of the "I Am" Statements of Jesus

"Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."  John 6:35 ESV

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  John 8:12 ESV

"Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."  John 8:58 ESV
(Explanation for John 8:58 from the MacArthur Study Bible page 1559:
"8:58  Truly, truly.  See note on 1:51, I am.  See note on 6:22-58.  Here Jesus declared himself to be Yahweh, i.e., the Lord of the Old Testament.  Basic to the expression are such passages as Ex. 3:14; Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10 where God declared himself to be the eternally pre-existent God who revealed himself in the Old Testament to the Jews.  See also notes on John 8:24, 28.")

"So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door.  If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.  I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.  So there will be one flock, one shepherd.  For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to take it up again.  This charge I have received from my Father."  John 10:7-18 ESV
(Explanation for John 10:7-18 from the MacArthur Study Bible, pages1561-1562:
"10:7-10  I am the door.  This is the third of seven "I am" statements of Jesus, (see 6:35; 8:12).  Here, he changes the metaphor slightly.  while in 10:1-5 he was the shepherd, here he is the gate.  While in vv. 1-5,  the shepherd led the sheep out of the sheepfold, here he is the entrance to the fold (v.9) that lead to proper pasture.  This section echoes Jesus' words in 14:6 that he is the only way to the Father.  His point is that he serves as the sole means to approach the Father and partake of God's promised salvation.  As some Near Eastern shephers slept in the gateway to guard the sheep, Jesus here pictures himself as the gate.
10:9-10  These two verses are a proverbial way of insisting that belief in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God is the only way of being "saved" from sin and hell and receiving eternal life.  Only Jesus Christ is the one true source for the knowledge of God and the one basis for spiritual security.

10:11-18  Jesus picked up another expression from vv. 1-5, i.e., he is the "good shepherd" in contrast to the present evil leadership of Israel (9:40-41).  This is the fourth of seven "I am" statements of Jesus (see vv. 7, 9: 6:35; 8:12).  The term "good" has the idea of "noble" and stands in contrast to the "hired hand" who cares only for self interest.

10:11 lays down his life for the sheep.  This is a reference to Jesus' substitutionary death for sinners on the cross. Cf. v. 15; 6:51; 11:50-51; 17:19; 18:14.

10:12 sees the wolf coming. . .flees.  The hired hand likely represents religious leaders who perform their duty in good times but who never display sacrifical care for the sheep in times of danger.  They stand in contrast to Jesus, who laid down his life for his flock (see 15:13)

10:16 not of this fold.  This refers to Gentiles who will respond to his voice and become a part of the church (cf. Rom. 1:16).  Jesus' death was not only for Jews (see notes on John 10:1,3), but also for non-Jews whom he will make into one new body, the church (see notes on 11:51-52; cf. Eph. 2:11-22).

10:17-18 take it up again.  Jesus repeated this phrase twice in these two verses indicating that his sacrifical death was not the end. His resurrection followed in demonstration of his messiahship and deity (Rom. 1:4).  His death and resurrection resulted in his ultimate glorification (John 12:23; 17:5) and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (7:37-39; cf. Acts 2:16-39)."

"I and the Father are one."  John 10:30 ESV

"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?  She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world."  John 11:25-27 ESV

"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6 ESV
(Explanation for John 14:6 from the MacArthur Study Bible page 1571:
"14:6 This is the sixth "I am" statement of Jesus in John (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5).  In response to Thomas's query (14:4), Jesus declared that he is the way to God because he is the truth of God (1:14) and the life of God (1:4; 3:15; 11:25).  In this verse, the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach to the Father is emphatic.  Only one way, not many ways, exist  to God, i.e., Jesus Christ (10:7-9; cf. Matt. 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; Acts 4:14)."

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser."  John 15:1 ESV
(Explanation for John 15:1 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1573:
"15:1  I am the true vine.  This is the last of the seven claims to deity in the form of "I am" statements by Jesus in the Gospel of John (see  6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6)."

"Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."  John 15:5 ESV
(Explanation for John 15:4-6 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1573:
"15:4-6  Abide in me.  The word "abide" means to remain or stay around.  The "remaining" is evidence that salvation has already taken place (1 John 2:19) and not vice versa.  The fruit or evidence of salvation is continuance in service to him and in his teaching (John 8:31; Col. 1:23,  1John 2:24). The abiding believer is the only legitimate believer.  Abiding and believing actually are addressing the same issue of genuine salvation (Heb. 3:6-19).  For a discussion of the perseverance of the saints, see note on Matt 24:13.)"

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up to You those reading Your words.  We worship and honor You and are so grateful for Your sacrifice on the cross.  We do not deserve Your love, but we are humbled that even though we sin You still love us and have provided a way for us to be with You forever.  I pray that You would speak to the unbelievers hearts and that those who are not believers would come to have faith and believe in You as their Lord and Savior.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Who do You Belong to?

"No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.  By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother."  1 John 3:9-10 ESV

Explanation for 1 John 3:9-10 from the MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, page 1919:
"3:9  The fourth reason why Christians cannot practice sin is because it is incompatible with the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who has imparted a new nature to the believer (John 3:5-8).  born of God.  John wrote here of the new birth (John 3:7).  When people become Christians, God makes them new creatures with new natures (2 Cor. 5:17).  Believers have God's characteristics because they have been born into God's family.  This new nature exhibits the habitual character of righteousness produced by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24).  John repeats this phrase twice for emphasis.  God's seed. The new birth involves the acquisition of a seed, which refers to the principle of life of God imparted to the believer at salvation's new birth.  John uses this image of a planted seed to picture the divine element involved in being born again.  See notes on 1 Pet. 1:23-25.  abides. The word conveys the idea of the permanence of the new birth, which cannot be reversed, for those who are truly born again are permanently transformed into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10).  he cannot keep on sinning. This phrase once again conveys the idea of habitual sinning (see vv. 1 John 3:4, 6).

3:10 This summary verse is the key to vv. 4-10.  Only two kinds of children exist in the world: children of God and children of Satan.  No one can belong to both families simultaneously.  Either one belongs to God's family and exhibits his righteous character or one belongs to Satan's family and exhibits his sinful nature.
3:10b the one who does not love his brother. This phrase introduces the readers to the second aspect of the moral test, i.e., the test of love (as in 2:7-11).  John develops this thought through 3:11-24.  The false teachers not only had an erroneous view of Christ's nature and displayed disobedience to God's commands, but they also displayed a distinct lack of love for true believers, who rejected their heretical teaching."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up those reading Your Word today.  I pray that those reading 1 John 3:9-10 would choose to belong to Jesus.  I pray for the unbelievers--that their hearts would be convicted by the Holy Spirit and that they would see their sin and see the truth that is found only through Jesus in the Bible.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Note:  The little children in this painting are children of God.

Monday, July 29, 2013


"And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore." 1Kings 4:29 ESV

"Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12 ESV
(Explanation for  Psalm 90:12 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 814:
"90:12 number our days.  Evaluate the use of time in light of the brevity of life.  heart of wisdom. Wisdom repudiates autonomy and focuses on the Lord's sovereignty and revelation.")

"O LORD, how manifold  are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." Psalm 104:24 ESV

"For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 ESV
(Explanation for Proverbs 2:6 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 868.
"2:6 his mouth.  The words of his mouth are contained in Scripture.  It is there that God speaks (cf. Heb. 1:1-2; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).  Wisdom comes only by revelation.")

(The Woman Who Fears the LORD)
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26 ESV
(Explanation for Proverbs 31:26 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 907.
"31:26 opens her mouth. . .teaching of kindness.  Her teaching of wisdom and the law is tempered with mercy.")

"Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good." Ecclesiastes 9:18

"It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens." Jeremiah 10:12 ESV

"Where is the one who is wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" 1 Corinthians 1:20 ESV
(Explanation for 1 Corinthians 1:20 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1685.
"1:20 Where is the one who is wise?  Paul paraphrased Isa. 19:12, where the prophet was referring to the wise men of Egypt who promised, but never produced, wisdom.  Human wisdom always proves to be unreliable and impermanent (cf. 1 Cor. 1:17; Prov. 14:12; Isa. 29:14; Jer. 8:9; Rom 1:18-23). scribe. Probably Paul has in mind the Assyrians, who sent scribes along with their soldiers to record the booty taken in battle.  God saw to it they had nothing to record (Isa. 33:18). debater. This was a Greek word with no OT counterpart, identifying those who were adept at arguing philosophy.")

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:17-18 ESV
(Explanation for Ephesians 1:17-18 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1758.
"1:17-18 a spirit of wisdom. . .hope.  Paul was praying that believers will have the disposition of godly knowledge and insight of which the sanctified mind is capable (v.8), so as to grasp the greatness of the hope (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2) and the inheritance that is theirs in Christ (Eph. 1:3-14)")

"so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places." Ephesians 3:10 ESV
(Explanation for Ephesians 3:10 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1761.
3:10 rulers. . .authorities.  Angels, both holy and unholy (1:21; 6:12; see note on Col. 1:16).  God, through the church, manifests his glory to all the angels.  The holy angels rejoice (see Luke 15:10; cf. 1 Pet. 1:12) because they are involved with the church (see 1 Cor. 11:10; Heb. 1:14).  Although they have no desire or capacity to praise God, even fallen angels see the glory of God in the salvation and preservation of the church.  in the heavenly places. As in Eph.1:3 and 6:12, this refers to the entire realm of spiritual beings.")

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:5 ESV
(Explanation for James 1:5 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1876.
1:5 wisdom.  James' Jewish audience recognized this as the understanding and practical skill that were necessary to live life to God's glory.  It was not a wisdom of philosophical speculation, but the wisdom contained in the pure and peaceable absolutes of God's will revealed in his word (cf. 3:13, 17) and lived out.  Only such divine wisdom enables believers to be joyous and submissive in the trials of life.  ask God.  This command is a necessary part of the believer's prayer life (cf. Job 28:12-23; Prov. 3:5-7; 1 Thess. 5:17).  God intends that trials will drive believers to greater dependency on him, by showing them their own inadequacy.  As with all his riches (Eph. 1:7; 2:7; 3:8; Phil. 4:19).  God has wisdom in abundance (Rom. 11:33) available for those who seek it.  See notes on Prov. 2:1-8.")

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." James 3:17 ESV
(Explanation for James 3:17 from MacArthur Study Bible, page 1881.
3:17 wisdom from above. (see note on v. 13--(here is the note from v.13 on wisdom. The kind that comes only from God (see notes on James 1:5; cf. Job 9:4; 28; Ps. 104:24; 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 2:1-7; 3:19-20; 9:10; Jer. 10:7, 12; Dan. 1:17; 2:20-23; Rom. 11:33. 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 3:10; Col. 2:3). 
pure. This refers to spiritual integrity and moral sincerity. Every genuine Christian has this kind of heart motivation (cf. Ps. 24:3-4; 51:7; Matt. 5:8; Rom. 7:22-23; Heb. 12:14). peaceable. Means "peace loving" or "peace promoting" (cf. Matt 5:9). gentle. This word is difficult to translate, but most nearly means a character trait of sweet reasonabless. Such a person will submit to all kinds of mistreatment and difficulty with and attitude of kind, courteous, patient humility, without any thought of hatred or revenge (cf. Matt 5:10-11). open to reason. The original term described someone who was teachable, compliant, easily persuaded, and who willingly submitted to military discipline or moral and legal standards.  For believers, it defines obedience to God's standards (cf. Matt. 5:3-5).  full of mercy.  The gift of showing concern for those who suffer pain and hardship, and the ability to forgive quickly (cf. Matt. 5:7; Rom. 12:8).  impartial. The Greek word occurs only here in the NT and denotes a consistent, unwavering person who is undivided in his commitment and conviction and does not make unfair distinctions (see notes on James 2:1-13).")

"saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" Revelation 5:12 ESV
(Explanation for Revelation 5:12 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1949.
5:12 power. . . and blessing.  This doxology records seven qualities intrinsic to God and to the Lamb that demand our praise.")

"saying, "Amen!  Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." Revelation 7:12 ESV

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up those reading Your Words today.  Please give us Your wisdom and favor. Please forgive us when we are foolish (thinking we are wise) and don't listen to You.    Thank You for Your holy wisdom and thank You for the Bible because You speak and reveal Yourself to us through it.  Please open the eyes of the unbelievers so that they will see the truth before it is too late.  I pray for their salvation.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, July 26, 2013


"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6 ESV
(Explanation for Matthew 5:6 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1366.
"5:6 hunger and thirst for righteousness.  This is the opposite of the self righteousness of the Pharisees.  It speaks of those who seek God's righteousness rather than attempting to establish a righteousness of their own (Rom. 10:3; Phil. 3:9).  What they seek will fill them, i.e., it will satisfy their hunger and thirst for a right relationship with God.")

"Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."  John 6:35-40 ESV

(Explanation for John 6 verses 35, 37, and 40 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1550:

"6:35 I am the bread of life.  The obtuseness in v. 34 prompted Jesus to speak very plainly that he was referring to himself.

6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me.  This verse emphasizes the sovereign will of God in the selection of those who come to him for salvation (cf. w. 44, 65; 17:6, 12, 24).  The Father has predestined those who would be saved (see notes on Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:3-6; 1 Pet. 1:2).  The absolute sovereignty of God is the basis of Jesus' confidence in the success of his mission (see note on John 6:40; cf. Phil. 1:6).  The security of salvation rests in the sovereignty of God, for God is the guarantee that "all" he has chosen will come to him for salvation.  The idea of "gives me" is that every person chosen by God and drawn by God (John 6:44) must be seen as a gift of the Father's love to the Son.  The Son receives each "love gift" (v. 37), holds on to each (v. 39), and will raise each to eternal glory (w. 39-40).  No one chosen will be lost  (see notes on Rom. 8:31).  This saving purpose is the Father's will, which the Son will not fail to do perfectly (John 6:38; cf. 4:34; 10:28-29; 17:6, 12, 24).

6:40 everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him.  This verse emphasizes human responsibility in salvation.  Although God is sovereign, he works through faith, so that a person must believe in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God who alone offers the only way of salvation (cf. 14:6).  However, even faith is a gift of God (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 2:8-9) intellectually harmonizing the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man is impossible humanly, but perfectly resolved in the infinite mind of God."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up those reading Your Word today. I pray that those reading Jesus' words will choose to accept His gift of salvation.  It is only in Jesus that we will never hunger or thirst because He is the way the truth and the life. You, Jesus are the bread of life and we thank You for Your sacrifice for all of us sinners.  I pray for the peace that only comes from Jesus to be over us and to keep us safe and healthy.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, July 22, 2013


"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."  To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:14-21 ESV

(Explanation for Romans 12:14-20 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1673:
"12:14  Bless those who persecute you.  Treat enemies as if they were your friends (Luke 6:27-33; cf Matt. 5:44; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; 1 Pet. 2:21-23).

12:15 Rejoice. . .weep.  To be glad in the blessings, honor, and welfare of others--no matter what one's own situation (cf. 1 Cor. 12:26; 2 Cor. 2:3); and to be sensitive or compassionate to the hardships and sorrows of others (Col. 3:12; James 5:11; cf Luke19:41-44; John 11:35)

12:16 Live in harmony with one another.  To be impartial (see notes on 2:11; James 2:1-4, 9; cf. Acts 10:34; 1 Tim. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:17)  not be haughty.  To be haughty with self-seeking pride (cf. Phil 2:3).  wise in your own sight.  Christians are not to have conceit or feelings of superiority toward fellow believers (cf. Rom. 1:22)

12:17 Repay no one evil for evil.  The OT law of "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" was never intended to be applied by individuals in the OT or NT; but it was a standard for the collective society to use to enforce good conduct among people (1 Thess. 5:15; see note on Ex. 21:23-24; cf. Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21; 1 Pet. 3:8-9) give thought to do what is honorable. Christians are to respect what is intrinsically proper and honest and have the right behavior when they are around others, especially unbelievers.

12:18 if possible.  Although we should do everything possible to be at peace with others, it will not always come, because it also depends on others' attitudes and responses.

12:19 wrath. Of God (see note on 1:18). Vengeance.  Divine retribution as quoted from Deut. 32:35.

12:20 heap burning coals on his head.  Refers to an ancient Egyptian custom in which a person who wanted to show public contrition carried a pan of burning coals on his head.  The coals represented the burning pain of his shame and guilt.  When believers lovingly help their enemies, it should bring shame to such people for their hate and animosity (cf. Prov. 25:21-22)."

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered him, "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.  How is it that you say, 'You will become free'?"  Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."  John 8:31-36 ESV

(Expanation for John 8:31-36 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1557-1558:
"8:31-36  These verses are a pivotal passage in understanding genuine salvation and true discipleship.  John emphasized these realities by stressing truth and freedom.  The focus in the passage is upon those who were exercising the beginnings of faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.  Jesus desired them to move on in their faith.  Saving faith is not fickle but firm and settled.  Such maturity espresses itself in full commitment to the truth in Jesus Christ resulting in genuine freedom.  The passage has three features: 1) the progress of freedom (w. 31-32); 2) the pretense of freedom (w. 33-34); and 3) the promise of freedom (w. 35-36)."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus I lift up those reading these verses today.  I pray that those who have been hurt will give their hurt to You Lord and not seek vengeance themselves. I pray for forgiveness.  I also pray for those who are unsaved and hurting that they will choose to be set free by Jesus Christ for He is the way the truth and the life.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Liars and Deception

"Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer." 1 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV

(Explanation of 1 Timothy 4:1-5 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1818:
"4:1 the Spirit expressly says.  Paul repeats to Timothy the warning he had given many years earlier to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:29-30). The Holy Spirit  through the Scriptures has repeatedly warned of the danger of apostasy (cf. Matt. 24:4-12; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Thess. 2:3-12; Heb. 3:12; 5:11-6:8; 10:26-31; 2 Pet. 3:3; 1John 2:18; Jude18).  in later times. The period from the first coming of Christ until his return (Acts 2:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2; 9:26; 1 Pet.1:20; 1 John 2:18). Apostasy will exist throughout that period, reaching a climax shortly before Christ returns (cf. Matt. 24:12). depart from the faith.  Those who fall prey to the false teachers will abandon the Christian faith.  The Greek word for "depart" is the source of the English word "apostatize," and refers to someone moving away from an original position.  These are professing or nominal Christians who associate with those who truly believe the gospel, but defect after believing lies and deception, thus revealing their true nature as unconverted.  See notes on 1 John 2:19 and Jude 24.  deceitful spirits.  Those demonic spirits, either directly or through false teachers, who have wandered away from the truth and lead others to do the same.  The most defining word to describe the entire operation of Satan and his demons is "deception" (cf.John 8:44; 1 John 4:1-6).  teachings of demons.  Not teaching about demons, but false teaching that originates from them.  To sit under such teaching is to hear lies from the demonic realm (Eph. 6:12; James 3:15; 2 John 7-11).  The influence of demons will reach its peak during the tribulation (2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 9:2-11; 16:14; 20:2-3, 8,10).  Satan and demons constantly work the deceptions that corrupt and pervert God's word.

4:2 insincerity of liars. Lit., "hypocritical lie-speakers."  These are the human false teachers who propagate demon doctrine (cf. 1 John 4:1).  seared.  A medical term referring to cauterization.  False teachers can teach their hypocritical lies because their consciences have been desensitized (cf. Eph. 4:19), as if all the nerves that make them feel had been destroyed and turned into scar tissue by the burning of demonic deception.  consciences. See note on 1 Tim. 1:5.

4:3 forbid marriage. . . abstinence from foods.  A sample of the false teaching at Ephesus.  Typically, it contained elements of truth, since Scripture commends both singleness (1 Cor. 7:25-35) and fasting (Matt. 6:16-17; 9:14-15).  The deception came in making such human works a prerequisite for salvation--a distinguishing mark of all false religion.  This ascetic teaching was probably influenced both by the Jewish sect. known as the Essenes, and contemporary Greek thought (which viewed matter as evil and spirit as good).  Paul addressed this asceticism in Col. 2:21-23 (see notes there). Neither celibacy nor any form of diet saves or sanctifies.

4:4 everything created by God is good.  The false teachers' asceticism contradicted Scripture, which teaches that since God created both marriage and food (Gen. 1:28-31; 2:18-24; 9:3), they are intrinsically good (Gen. 1:31) and to be enjoyed with gratitude by believers.  Obviously food and marriage are essential for life and procreation.

4:5 made holy.  Set apart or dedicated to God for holy use.  The means for so doing are thankful prayer and an understanding that the word of God has set aside the temporary Mosaic dietary restrictions (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:9-15; Rom.14:1-12; Col. 2:16-17).  Contrast the unbeliever whose inner corruption and evil motives corrupt every good thing (Titus 1:15)."

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus I lift up those who are living in deception.  I pray that they will see the truth found only through Jesus in the Bible.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Message of Salvation For All

"For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.  But the righteousness based on faith says, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'"  (that is, to bring Christ down) or "Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  Romans 10:5-13 ESV

(Explanation for Romans 10:9 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1668:
10:9 confess. . .Jesus is Lord.  Not a simple acknowledgement that he is God and the Lord of the universe, since even demons acknowledge that to be true (James 2:19).  This is the deep personal conviction, without reservation, that Jesus is that person's own master or sovereign.  This phrase includes repenting from sin, trusting in Jesus for salvation, and submitting to him as Lord.  This is the volitional element of faith (see note on Rom. 1:16).  believe in your heart. See note on 1:16.  God raised him from the dead.  Christ's resurrection was the supreme validation of his ministry (cf. John 2:18-21).  Belief in it is necessary for salvation because it proved that Christ is who he claimed to be and that the Father had accepted his sacrifice in place of sinners (Rom. 4:24; cf. Acts 13:32-33; 1 Pet. 1:3-4).  Without the resurrection, there is no salvation (1 Cor. 15:14-17).  See note on Rom 1:4.   will be saved. See not on 1:16.)

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up those reading Your message of salvation.  I pray the truth of Your words will touch their hearts.  I pray for the unsaved that they will call on the name of the Lord and be saved.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


"Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed.  Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame."   1Peter 3:13-16 ESV

Explanation for for verses from 1Peter 3:13-16 from the MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, page 1894:

"1Peter 3:13, who is there to harm you.  It is unusual for people to mistreat those who are zealous for good.  Even a hostile world is slow to hurt people who are benefactors of society, who are kind and caring (cf. 4:12), but it does happen (3:14).
3:14 blessed.  Here the idea is "privileged" or "honored" (cf. Matt. 5:10). Have no fear.  The idea here is borrowed from Isa.8:12-13
3:15 in your hearts honor Christ the Lord.  The meaning is "set apart in your hearts Christ as Lord." The heart is the sanctuary in which he prefers to be worshiped.  Live in submissive communion with the Lord Jesus, loving and obeying him--and you have nothing to fear.  always being prepared to make a defense. The English word "apologetics" comes from the Greek word here translated "defense".  Peter is using the word in an informal sense (cf Phil. 1:16-17) and is insisting that the believer must understand what he believes and why one is a Christian, and then be able to articulate one's beliefs humbly, thoughtfully, reasonably, and biblically.  the hope that is in you.  Salvation with its anticipation of eternal glory.
3:16 a good conscience.  The conscience accuses (cf. Rom. 2:14-15) by notifying the person of sin by producing guilt, shame, doubt, fear, anxiety, or despair.  A life free of ongoing and unconfessed sin, lived under the command of the Lord, will produce a "clear conscience" (Acts 24:16; see notes on 2 Cor. 1:12; 4:2). This will cause your false accusers to feel the "shame" of their own consciences (cf. 1 Pet. 2:12, 15)"

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up to You those who are reading these verses today.  I pray for those who are  being slandered--I ask You Lord to protect them.  I pray for those people who do the slandering--that the truth would be known and that they would be put to shame. I pray for their salvation. I pray they would seek the truth that is only found in Christ Jesus.  I pray the chains of bondage will be unlocked and that the truth will set them free. I say these things is Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Jesus Speaks About Marriage and Divorce

Today's passage is from Mark chapter 10. 

"And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again.  And again, as was his custom, he taught them.

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"  He answered them, "What did Moses command you?"  They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away."  And Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.  But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.  And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."  Mark 10:1-12 (ESV)

Explanation for some of these verses from the MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, page 1445:

10:6 from the beginning.  Divorce formed no part of God's original plan for marriage, which was that one man be married to one woman for life (Gen. 2:24).   male and female. Lit., "a male and a female,"  Adam and Eve.  Mark quoted from Gen 1:27 and 5:2

10:7-8 Jesus took the issue beyond mere rabbinical quibbling over the technicalities of divorce to God's design for marriage.  The passage. Christ quotes (Gen. 2:24) presents three reasons for the inviolability of marriage: 1) God created only two humans (see note on Mark 10:6), not a group of males and females who could configure as they pleased to switch partners as it suited them;  2) the word translated "become one" lit. means "to be joined" or "to glue", thus reflecting the strength of the marriage bond;  3) in God's eyes a married couple is "one flesh," forming an indivisible union, manifesting that oneness in a child.

10:9  What therefore God has joined together.  Jesus added a fourth reason for the inviolability of marriage (see note on w. 7-8):  God ordains marriages and thus they are not to be broken by man.

10:11-12 Remarriage after a divorce--except for legitimate biblical grounds--proliferates adultery.  The innocent party--one whose spouse has committed prolonged, hard-hearted, unrepentant adultery--may remarry without being guilty of adultery, as may a believer whose unbelieving spouse has chosen to leave the marriage. (see note on 1 Cor. 7:15)

Genesis 2:24, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Explanation on this verse is from MacArther Study Bible, ESV, page 20: 
2:24  leave. . . hold fast to.  The marital relationship was established as the first human institution.  The responsibility to honor one's parents (Ex. 20:12) does not cease with leaving the union of husband and wife. (Matt. 19:5; Mark 10:7, 8; 1 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 5:31), but does represent the inaguuration of a new and primary responsibility.  "Hold fast" carries the sense of a permanent or indissoluble union, so that divorce was not considered (cf. Gen. 2:16).  "One flesh" speaks of a complete unity of parts making a whole, e.g., one cluster, many grapes (Num. 13:23) or one God in three persons (Deut. 6:4); thus this marital union was complete and whole with two people.  This also implies their sexual completeness.  One man and one woman constitute the pair to reproduce.  The "one flesh" is primarily seen in the child born of that union, the one perfect result of the union of two.  Cf.  uses of this verse in Matt. 19:5,6; Mark 10:8; 1 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 5:31.  Permanent monogamy was and continues to be God's design and law for marriage.

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I pray for all the God designed marriages--that they would be strengthened in You.  I pray that You would open the eyes of those that are unbelievers and that they will see the truth that is found only in the Bible.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Genesis 19

"The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.  When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, "My lords, please turn aside to your servant's house and spend the night and wash your feet.  then you may rise up early and go on your way."  They said, "No; we will spend the night in the town square."  But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house.  And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  And they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us, that we may know them.  Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.  Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man.  Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please.  Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof."
(explanation for the verses Genesis 19:6-8 from the MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, page 42, "19:6-8 Lot's response betrayed tension in his ethics; his offer to gratify their sexual lust contradicted his plea not to act "wickedly".  Such contradiction made clear also the vexation of spirit under which he lived in wicked Sodom. (cf. 2 Peter 2:6-7):  Verse 8, do to them as you please.  The constraints of Eastern hospitality and the very purpose for which Lot had invited the visitors (w. 2-3) compelled Lot to offer his daughters for a less deviant (see notes on Rom. 1:24-27) kind of wickedness, so as to protect his guests.  This foolish effort shows that while Lot was right with God (2 Pet. 2:7-8), he had contented himself with some sins and weak faith rather than leaving Sodom.  But God was gracious to him because he was righteous, by faith, before God.")
But they said, "Stand back!"  And they said, "This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them."  Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down.  But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door.  And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.
Then the men said to Lot, "Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place.  For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it."  So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, "Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city."  But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city."  But he lingered.  So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out  and set him outside the city.  And as they brought them out, one said, "Escape for you life.  Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley.  Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away."  And Lot said to them, "Oh, no, my lords.  Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life.  But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die.  Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one.  Let me escape there--is it not a little one?--and my life will be saved!"  He said to him, "Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.  Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.  Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.  Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven.  And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.  But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
(explanation of Lot's wife from the MacArthur Study Bible, ESV, page 43: "Genesis 19:26  Lot's wife . . .looked back.  Lot's wife paid the price of disregarding the angelic warning to flee without a backward glance (v. 17).  In so doing, she became not only encased in salt, but a poignant example of disobedience producing unwanted reaction at judgment day (cf. Luke 17:29-32), even as her home cities became bywords of God's judgment on sin (cf. Isa. 1:9; Rom. 9:29; 2 Pet. 2:5-6)."

And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD.  And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar.  So he lived in a cave with his two daughters.  And the firstborn said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth.  Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father."  So they made their father drink wine that night.  And the firstborn went in an lay with her father.  He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, "Behold, I lay last night with my father.  Let us make him drink wine tonight also.  Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father."  So they made their father drink wine that night also.  And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.  Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father.  The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab.  He is the father of the Moabites to this day.  The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi.  He is the father of the Ammonites to this day."  Genesis 19 (ESV)
(explanation for Genesis 19:31-38, from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 43.  Genesis 19:31-36, "The immoral philosophy of Sodom and Gomorrah had so corrupted the thinking of Lot's daughters that they unhesitatingly contrived to be impregnated by their own father!  They were virgins (v.8), the married daughters were dead (v.14), and there were no men left for husbands (v.25).  In fearing they would have no children, they conceived the gross iniquity."
Genesis 19:37-38, "The two sons born of incest became the progenitors of Moab and Ammon, Israel's longstanding enemies.")

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sinking Sand

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."  Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)

Expanation for Matthew 7:24-27 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1372:  "The house represents a religious life; the rain represents divine judgment.  Only the house built on the foundation of obedience to God's word stands, which calls for repentance, rejection of salvation by works, and trust in God's grace to save through his merciful provision.  See notes on James 1:22-25"

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." James 1:22-25, (ESV)

Expanations for James 1:22-25 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1878: 
"1:22 be doers.  The fact that James calls professing believers to be "doers," rather than simply to do, emphasizes that their entire personality should be characterized in that way.  See notes on Matt. 7:21-28.  deceiving. Lit., "reason beside or alongside" (as in "beside oneself").  This word was used in mathematics to refer to a miscalculation.  Professing Christians who are content with only hearing the word have made a serious spiritual miscalculation."
"1:23 looks.  A forceful Greek word meaning to observe carefully and cautiously, as opposed to taking a casual glance.   mirror.  First century mirrors were not glass but metallic, made of bronze, silver--or for the wealthy--gold.  The metals were beaten flat and polished to a high gloss, and the image they reflected was adequate but not perfect (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12)."
"1:24 forgets what he was like.  Unless professing Christians act promptly after they hear the word, they will forget the changes and improvements that their reflection showed them they need to make."
"1:25 perfect law.  In both the OT and NT, God's revealed, inerrant, sufficient, and comprehensive word is called "law" (cf. Ps. 19:7).  The presence of his grace does not mean there is no moral law or code of conduct for believers to obey.  Believers are enabled by the Spirit to keep it (see note on Rom. 8:4).  liberty.  Genuine freedom from sin.  As the Holy Spirit applies the principles of Scripture to believers' hearts, they are freed from sin's bondage and enabled to obey God (John 8:34-36)"

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I pray that we will continue to put our faith in You, Jesus, and that we will build our house upon the rock (which is You, Lord).  I pray that You will protect us from this sinking sand that is enveloping the world.  I pray for those unsaved and in bondage to their sin and pray that You would knock on the door to their heart and I pray that they would let you in and repent from their sin.  You, Jesus are the truth and You alone sets us free.  Thank you for all the blessings that You have given us and thank You for never leaving us for You have said in Matthew 28:20, "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

When You Don't Know What to Pray For

Here are some Bible verses that deal with how to pray, what to do when you don't know what to pray for anymore, and pray without ceasing. 

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."  Romans 8:26 (ESV)

(Explanation for verse Romans 8:26 from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 1664, "8:26 Likewise.  As the creation (v. 22) and believers (v.23) both groan for ultimate restoration, the Spirit does as well.  groanings too deep for words. Divine articulations within the Trinity that cannot be expressed in words, but carry profound appeals for the welfare of every believer (cf. 1 Cor. 2:11).  This work of the Holy Spirit parallels the high-priestly work of intercession by the Lord Jesus on behalf of believers (see Heb. 2:17-18; 4:14-16; 7:24-26)

"For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him?  So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." 1 Corinthians 2:11 (ESV)

"Pray then like this:  Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name.  Your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:9-14 (ESV)
(Explanation for Matthew 6:15 from the MacArther Study Bible, page 1370:  "Matthew 6:15 neither will your Father forgive your tresspasses.  This is not to suggest that God will withdraw justification from those who have already received the free pardon he extends to all believers.  Forgiveness in that sense--a permanent and complete acquittal from the guilt and ultimate penalty of sin--belongs to all who are in Christ (cf. John 5:24; Rom. 8:1; Eph. 1:7).  Yet, Scripture also teaches that God chastens his children who disobey (Heb. 12:5-7).  Believers are to confess their sins in order to obtain a day-to-day cleansing (1 John 1:9).  This sort of forgiveness is a simple washing from the worldly defilements of sin, not a repeat of the wholesale cleansing from sin's corruption that comes with justification.  It is like a washing of the feet rather than a bath (cf. John 13:10)).  Forgiveness in this latter sense is what God threatens to withhold from Christians who refuse to forgive others (cf. Matt. 18:23-25)"

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

(Explanation for 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 from The MacArthur Study Bible page 1802: 
1 Thess. 5:16, Rejoice.  Joy is appropriate at all times.  Cf. Phil. 2:17-18; 3:1; 4:4
1 Thess. 5:17, Pray.  This does not mean pray repetitiously or continuously without a break (cf. Matt. 6:7-8), but rather pray persistently (cf. Luke 11:1-13, 18:1-8) and regularly (cf. Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; Col 4:2, 12).
1 Thess. 5:18, Give thanks.  Thanklessness is a trait of unbelievers (cf. Rom. 1:21; 2 Tim 3:1-5).  "This is the will of God" includes 1 Thess 5:16-17)

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up those in prayer reading Your Word today.  I pray that all of us will forgive others and be thankful to You for everything we have.  I pray for those reading these Bible verses who are unsaved.  I pray for their salvation and that the truth in Jesus will set them free. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Jesus tells of the close of the age and speaks of the tribulation in Matthew 24. 

"As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"  And Jesus answered them, "See that no one leads you astray.  For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ', and they will lead many astray.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these things are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come.
(Explanation from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1404, Matthew 24:10, many will fall away. Lit., "cause to stumble"--suggesting professing believers who fall away--and even turn against "one another" in shocking acts of spiritual treachery.  Those who fall away in such a manner give evidence that they never were true believers at all (see not on v. 13).

So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.  And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!  Pray that your flight  may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.  And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.  But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.  Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand.  So, if they say to you, 'Look he is in the wilderness,' do not go out.  Of they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
(Explanation from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1404, Matthew 24:21 great tribulation.  The words "such as this has not been" and "never will be"--along with the description that follows--identify this as the yet-future time in which God's wrath shall be poured out upon the earth (see note on Rev. 7:14).  Jesus' description of the cataclysms that follow closely resemble the outpouring of divine wrath described in the bowl judgments of Rev. 16 and his subsequent appearing in Rev. 19 (see note on Matt. 24:30).

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
(Explanation for these verses from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1405,  Matthew 24:34  this generation.  This cannot refer to the generation living at the time of Christ, for "all these things"--the abomination of desolation (v. 15), the persecutions and judgments (w. 17-22), the false prophets (w. 23-26), the signs in the heavens (w. 27-29), Christ's final return (v. 30), and the gathering of the elect (v.31)--did not "take place" in their lifetime.  It seems best to interpret Christ's words as a reference to the generation alive at the time when those final hard labor pains begin (see note on v. 14).  This would fit with the lesson of the fig tree, which stresses the short span of time in which these things will occur (see note on v. 32). 
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.  For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.  Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 
(Explanation from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1405, on verse Matthew 24:40-41 one will be taken. I.e., taken in judgment (cf. v. 39) just as in Noah's day ("swept them"; v. 39).  This is clearly not a reference to the catching away of believers described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.  But if that wicked servant says to himself,  My master is delayed, and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hyprocrites.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
 (Explanation from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1406, for Matthew 24:45-51, The evil slave represents an unbeliever who refuses to take seriously the promise of Christ's return (cf. 2 Peter 3:4).  Though he is an unbeliever (as demonstrated by his punishment -- see note on Matt. 22:13), he is nonetheless accountable to Christ for the stewardship of his time.  Jesus was teaching that every person in the world holds his life, natural abilities, wealth, and possessions in trust from God and must give account of how these things are used.)
Matthew 24:3-51, (ESV)

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up those reading Your Words today.  I pray that none of us would be deceived into believing a false prophet or a false religion.  Please keep those who are true believers in Your care.  I pray Jesus' words in  Matthew 24 would soften hearts to the truth and freedom of salvation that is only found in Jesus Christ.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Rapture

I recently saw a Christian movie about the Rapture.  It was where a man who was unsaved, but was starting to think about who Jesus is and what it means to him.  The Rapture occurs in the movie and all chaos occurs.  I looked up in the Bible the verses that speak of the Rapture.  Here they are:

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words."  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (ESV)

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.  I and the Father are one."  John 10:28-29 (ESV) 
The explanation for John 10:28-29 is from "The MacArthur Study Bible",  John 10:28-29, page, 1562:  "10:28-29  The security of Jesus' sheep rests with him as the good shepherd, who has the power to keep them safe.  Neither thieves and robbers (w. 1, 8) nor the wolf (v. 12) can harm them.  Verse 29 makes clear that the Father ultimately stands behind the sheep's security, for no one is able to steal from God, who is soverign control of all things (Col. 3:3)  See notes on Romans 8:31-39.  No stronger passage in the OT or NT exists for the absolute, eternal security of every true Christian."

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?  It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn?  Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger or sword?  As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to spearate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:31-39 (ESV)

"And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing." Acts 8:39 (ESV)
Explanation for Acts 8:39 from "The MacArthur Study Bible" page 1606, "8:39 carried Philip away. Elijah (1Kings 18:12; 2Kings 2:16) and Ezekiel (Ezek. 3:12, 14; 8:3) were also snatched away in a miraculous fashion.  This was a powerful confirmation to the caravan that Philip was God's representative."

"Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."  John 14:1-3 (ESV)

"Behold! I tell you a mystery.  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (ESV)
Explanation for 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 from "The MacArthur Study Bible" page 1711.  "15:51 mystery.  This term refers to truth hidden in the past and revealed in the NT.  See notes on 2:7 and Eph. 3:4-5. In this case, the rapture of the church was never revealed in the OT.  It was first mentioned in John 14:1-3, when it is specifically explained and is detailed in. 1 Thess. 4:13-18 (see notes there).  Sleep. See not on 1 Cor 15:18."
"15:52 twinkling of an eye.  This was Paul's way of showing how brief the "moment" will be.  The Greek work for "twinkling" refers to any rapid movement.  Since the eye can move more rapidly than any other part of our visible bodies, it seems to well illustrate the sudden transformation of raptured believers.  trumpet will sound.  To herald the end of the church era, when all believers will be removed from the earth at the rapture (1 Thess. 4:16) dead. . .raised. According to 1 Thess. 4:16, they are first and the living saints follow (1 Thess. 4:17)."

It is comforting to know that those who truly believe in Jesus Christ and are saved through Him, when the time comes, will be raptured up to heaven and will not have to endure the Tribulation. 

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  Thank You for saving us.  Thank You for never leaving us.  Thank You for Your provision and blessings. I pray for those who are unsaved that they would come to know You, Jesus as their Lord and savior.  I pray for these Bible verses to touch the hearts and minds of those enveloped in darkness.  I pray that You will show the truth those who wish to know. I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.