October 1, 2014 Bible Study — We Are the Clay, God Is the Potter

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 24:13-14

    Honey is good for us to eat, not least because we find its flavour pleasant. In the same way, wisdom gives us pleasure, but is good for us in ways we do not normally perceive.


Psalm 73:1-28

    It is a mistake to envy the proud and wicked. If we focus our attention on them we will wonder whether it is worth our effort to do God’s will and remain pure. Focusing on the wicked will leave us bitter and tear us up emotionally. However, if instead of focusing on the wicked and their lives we focus on God and His will for us He will give us life and joy. When we focus on God we realize how empty and meaningless the life of the wicked is. With our attention on God, we will be unwilling to trade what He gives us for what the wicked have.


Philippians 2:19-3:3

    Paul commends two men to the believers in Philippi, Timothy and Epaphroditus. We should strive to emulate these two men and to not be like those Paul contrasts them with. Timothy genuinely cared about the Christians in Philippi. Paul contrasts that with others who only cared for themselves. All too many people put their own interests ahead of those of Christ. Epaphroditus was more concerned that those who cared about were distressed to hear that he was ill than by the fact that he was ill. Epaphroditus was willing to risk his life in order to the Lord’s will. In this case by apparently risking his health to do what needed to be done. He is an important reminder that the suffering we experience as a result of serving the Lord will not necessarily be the result of persecution.


Isaiah 62:6-65:25

    Despite all of our sins, God is still our Father and loves us. Let us pray and throw ourselves before Him, begging His forgiveness. We are as clay formed into the shape which God determined for us. Our separation from God is not because God turned away from us. God has always been ready to be found. He is there to be found by any who will look for Him. Not only is He there to be found, He is crying out to us, “Here I am. Look and see.” But so few of us are willing to turn from our sins and look.
    Isaiah reminds us that the righteous deeds we hold out to demonstrate our wonderfulness are mere filthy rags. All of us are infected with sin. Yet all too many hold themselves up as paragons of virtue. I cannot tell others to stay away from me because their sin might contaminate my perfection because the truth of the matter is that my sin is more likely to contaminate them than theirs me. Let us turn to God with humility, recognizing our sin. We have no place to hold ourselves up as better than others.

September 30, 2014 Bible Study — Do Everything Without Grumbling Or Complaining

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 24:11-12

    We cannot stand aside when the innocent are condemned to die by claiming we did not know. God knows the truth of the matter. If we did not know that injustice was being done because we did not want to know, He will hold us accountable. God will repay as our actions deserve.


Psalm 72:1-20

    We are to pray for our rulers. Let us pray this psalm. If a ruler has God’s love of justice and always treats the poor fairly, all of his people will prosper as will the land he rules. If a land’s rulers defend the poor and rescue the children of the needy that land will be blessed in all that happens there. If the people are faithful and pray for their rulers, God will bless the land.


Philippians 1:27-2:18

    We have no reason to be frightened or intimidated by those who oppose us because of our faith in Christ. We have been given the privilege not only of believing and trusting in Christ, but also to suffer for Him. We should not be afraid of persecution for our faith in Christ, rather we should see it as an honour, as a reward for faithfully serving Him.
    Paul challenges us to set aside our selfish goals and desire to advance our own interests. Instead we should value other people more than we value ourselves. Rather than seeking our own desires, let us work at doing that which brings happiness and pleasure to others. Let us seek to imitate Christ, who although He was God chose to walk humbly as a man and suffer a criminal’s death. Let us do every task which God sets before us without grumbling or complaining. This last part is one which is a struggle for me. Sometimes it is so easy to grumble and complain while doing what we know we should do.


Isaiah 60-62:5

    Isaiah prophesied that the people of Israel would return to the land God had promised to Abraham’s descendants. God promised that not only would He gather them once more, but they would bring wealth from the ends of the earth. God promised that merchants from all over the earth would do business with the people of Israel. As I read this passage today, I am reminded of the economic position in the world of the state of Israel in my lifetime. Part of me thinks that such passages are prophesies about the modern state of Israel, other parts of my think that they refer to God’s action through Christ. Ultimately, I think it is a little bit of both.
    When Jesus returned to Nazareth, He read the beginning of chapter 61 in the Synagogue and told the people that the passage was fulfilled through Him on that day. Whenever I read this passage I am reminded that it was fulfilled through Jesus, but I believe that God intends for it to be fulfilled, to a lesser extent, through all of us who seek to follow Christ. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, just as it is upon all who truly love and serve Christ. When I read this passage, I can feel God’s Spirit filling me up. He intends for me to bring good news to the poor. God wants me (and you) to comfort the broken-hearted.
    Let us call for the captives to be released that the prisoners freed. When I read that couplet in the passage, I cannot help but think of William Wilberforce who upon his conversion dedicated his life to ending the slave trade. He died three days after learning that Parliament had abolished slavery throughout the British Empire. Our God loves justice and hates wrongdoing. Let us do likewise.

September 29, 2014 — To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 24:9-10

    It is foolish to come up with a sinful scheme. No matter how carefully you have thought it through, the consequences of such a scheme will include those you find unpleasant (at best).


Psalm 71:1-24

    This psalm is a challenge to me. Is my life truly an example I would encourage people to follow? God has been my strength and protection, yet I have done less with my life than the gifts He has given me would allow. I was taught about God and by God from my earliest childhood. I have no excuse for not having done more to serve Him in my life. Nevertheless, I will praise God because He has done great things for me. I will strive to do more for Him as my life continues.


Philippians 1:1-26

    Once again I am challenged to find a way to improve the amount of time I spend in prayer. Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Philippi was that their love would overflow ever more and that they would be filled with ever greater knowledge and understanding of God’s will. I am confident that he would pray the same thing for us today. I am also quite confident that there are two essential pieces to having his prayer fulfilled in our lives. The first is regular review of Scripture (I would recommend reading through the Bible on a regular basis, but for those whom that is a problem, listen to it read). The second, and the part where I am seeking God’s guidance on how to improve, is regular, disciplined prayer. I will request that those who read this pray that I find a way to improve my prayer discipline.
    Paul goes on to speak of those who were emboldened to preach the Gospel because of his imprisonment. It made him happy that such was happening. He acknowledged that some of those preaching the Gospel were doing so out of selfish ambition, this did not bother him all that much. Paul did not care what motives led someone to preach the Gospel, so long as the Gospel was preached. I am a strong proponent of that. I will go on to say that I do not care what motivates people to listen to the word of God preached, or to read the Bible. I have absolute confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit that when people hear or read the word of God it opens a door for the Holy Spirit to change their lives. Whether the motive of the person preaching, or the person hearing/reading is a good motive or a selfish one, the Holy Spirit has the ability to use the words of the Bible to transform people.
    This passage concludes by making a statement that should be at the heart of every Christian’s view about life. As long as I continue to live, I can serve Christ. However, if I die, I will go to be with Christ, which is even better. I will live for as long as God has more work for me to do on this earth, but dying will bring even greater joy. I am alive today because God has a purpose for me to fulfill in helping others serve Him, and I am glad for the opportunity. But death, whenever it comes, is something to be welcomed and I will do so when God so decrees. I will state now for those who care for me, when the day comes that God takes me home, do not grieve for me. Rejoice on that day for I will no longer be struggling against the troubles of this world.


Isaiah 57:15-59:21

    God does not desire that we put on the appearance of righteousness. Prayer and fasting in and of themselves accomplish nothing. Singing songs of praise and attending services on Sunday and other days of the week will not gain us merit with God. Humbling ourselves by doing penance is not going to excuse our actions if we have every intention of going back and repeating them.
    Rather God desires that we free those unjustly imprisoned, refuse to oppress those we have power over, share our food with the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, clothe those who need clothing, take care of our relatives in need. When we spend our effort to provide food for the hungry and act on behalf of those who are oppressed, then our light will shine in the darkness and God will take care of us.
    Our country and our society do not experience troubles because God is unable to save us from those troubles nor because He does not hear our cries for help. Rather, we, as a people are cut off from God because of our sins. People do not care about being fair and honest. They merely want what they can get for themselves. People do not seek to gather wealth by producing things. Instead they attempt to game the system and profit from others’ activity. They refuse to turn to God for peace and think that they can reap the fruits of the just and good without doing those things themselves. God will only tolerate such behavior for so long before He steps in to bring judgement and enforce justice.

September 28, 2014 Bible Study — Put On the Armor of God

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 24:8

    It does not take people long to recognize those who are constantly planning evil or nasty things. They recognize such people as the troublemakers they are.


Psalm 70:1-5

    Let us have the humility of the psalmist. Let us recognize that before God we are poor and needy. However, whenever we are in a situation where we cannot be accurately described as poor and needy, let us use what we have been given to help those who are. I am of no account, except insomuch as God can use me to bring glory to His name. My possessions are of no value, except the way in which they can be used to honour the Lord.


Ephesians 6:1-24

    Paul writes that children should obey their parents, referring back to the commandment to honour your father and mother. He goes on to tell slaves to obey their masters. Slaves should obey their masters, not just to please their masters, but in order to serve Christ. Let us do whatever work we do with enthusiasm, as if it was God’s work…because it is. If we do our jobs as if we every task is furthering the Kingdom of Heaven then every task we accomplish will further the Kingdom of Heaven. Further Paul reminds those who own slaves (and those who are bosses over employees) that we all answer to Christ.
    Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesians by telling them how to prepare for the battles we face. Our battle is not against flesh and blood enemies, rather we battle against powers and ideas which serve evil. That is why the very first piece of armor Paul describes is the belt of truth upon which everything else depends. It is by basing all of our thoughts and actions on truth that we will be able to resist and defeat the lies of the enemy, the ideas that sound good, but rest on something other than the truth. Ultimately, we cannot accomplish God’s purposes if we do not remain committed to the truth. If we allow ourselves to attempt to use lies and deception to accomplish anything, we will find everything we have done falling apart.
    Paul tells us to follow up the belt of truth with the armor of God’s righteousness. That is the righteousness which we received from God. In order for our righteousness to be of any value we must recognize that it is purely a gift from God, not something we have accomplished on our own. If we recognize that righteousness is a gift from God, we will realize that it cannot be taken from us, even if we slip and fall. It is by standing firm in the Gospel message that our footing can remain steady. It is by remaining steadfast in our faith that we can extinguish the burn from the barbs and jabs that attempt to destroy our confidence. We can keep our thoughts clear and protected by remembering that salvation comes as a gift from God through Christ…and by not other means. Finally, we can strike back and destroy the ideas which attempt to take us away from God by expanding our knowledge of God’s word. The more familiar we are with God’s word, with what God has said in the Bible, the easier it will be for us to dispatch those ideas which do not measure up to what is true and real.


Isaiah 54-57:14

    At one time I had memorized most of chapter 55, I think I should work to recommit it to memory. God is calling us (and through us everyone) to His free gift of salvation. This passage reminds us that the salvation which God offers is not just spiritual. God offers salvation for our entire being. He will meet all of our needs, including our need for food and drink. We do not need money to obtain what God is offering. It is not something which we can purchase. Yet despite the fact that God will freely satisfy our deepest needs, many people spend their money and their effort pursuing things which will not satisfy at all. If we open our ears and listen to God’s message, we will find that which will satisfy.
    Those of us who have found God need to call on those around us to seek God NOW. There is a time in our life when we can find God, if we do not seek Him during that time, we will not be able to find Him later when we realize that something is missing. I will not tell you when that time is for any given individual, only God knows when the time is ripe for each individual to find Him. If you are reading this and do not know God, seek Him now, tomorrow may be too late. Seek God and let Him change your ways. Turn from evil and do good.
    It is important to remember that God does not think about things the way in which we think about things and our ways of doing things are not God’s ways of doing things. His ways and thoughts are better and higher than our ways and thoughts. Let us listen when He tells us His thoughts and His ways. Then, let us think His thoughts and do things His way. God is sending His word out and it will bear fruit. It will change the world and make it a better more just place. God’s word will accomplish all that He intends. In the meantime, let us maintain justice and do what is right.

September 27, 2014 Bible Study — Fill Your Time Doing Good

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 24:7

    Fools do not even aspire to wisdom. They should not speak when serious matters are being discussed. These are people who refuse to think deeply about things, but then want a say in deciding what should be done.


Psalm 69:19-36

    The psalmist was in deep despair, such that if even one person had offered him comfort it would have lifted the burden. Let us strive to be that one person to those suffering despair. Let us not be like those he described as his enemies, those who added to the injury of those suffering God’s judgement. God will judge those who sin, let us remember to show His love. Let us not make the mistake of pretending that our sins are any less severe than those who are suffering despair. Let us show them the love God has for them and remind them that He will forgive them if they turn from their sin.


Ephesians 5:1-33

    Paul tells us that we should strive to imitate God in everything we do. Christ set an example for us and we should follow it, living a life filled with love for everyone. In particular Paul points out three types of sin which will infect us and keep us from growing as Christians. Those sins are sexual immorality, impurity, and greed. It is very telling that Paul singles out these three sins. We need to strive to avoid obscenity, foolish talk, and coarse jokes. It is so easy to let these creep into our lives and then allow them to inflame our sinful nature.
    Staying away from those sins is difficult. As Paul pointed out earlier, our sinful nature constantly entices us to follow those desires. However, he tells us how to do so. The way to stay away from sins is to fill our time doing that which is good, that which God desires us to do. Let us spend our time being thankful to God, seeking to do what pleases Him. Let us fill our minds with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. If we fill our time with doing that which God desires us to do, we will not have time left over to yield to the sinful desires of our earthly nature.


Isaiah 51-53:12

    As we seek the Lord and face the difficulties of this life, let us remember Abraham. He was but a single man when God called him. Yet God blessed him and made a great nation out of him. God’s law will be proclaimed to every nation. Indeed, it has been so proclaimed. His justice is a light for the world. This world will wear out in time, but God’s righteousness and salvation will last for eternity. Our God today is the same God who rescued His people from Egypt and drowned Pharaoh’s army in the sea. We need not fear any human agency if we serve the living God.
    This passage also contains one of the prophecies about Jesus which deeply touches my heart.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

It breaks my heart that this is true, but it also brings me joy to know that God loves me so much.

September 26, 2014 Bible Study — Let Us Be Made New

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 24:5-6

    Strength and power applied without wisdom and knowledge will fail. Seek advice before entering into the contest. You will not prevail unless you weigh the advice from many advisers.


Psalm 69:1-18

    Let us follow the psalmist’s example. When we are overwhelmed by the troubles of this life and are sinking fast, let us continue to cry out to God. Even when I am about to drown in my troubles I will not lose faith in God. Even then I will remain faithful trusting Him to rescue me.


Ephesians 4:17-32

    Paul warns us against living our lives by the standards of those who have closed their minds to God and hardened their hearts against Him. They live their lives for lustful pleasure and give themselves over to all sorts of impurities. Let us put off our old selves with their deceitful desires, desires which promise more pleasure than they deliver. Instead, let us be made new in our minds and our attitudes so that we may become like Christ. Every time I hear or say what I just wrote above the question comes to me, “But how do I do that?”
    Fortunately, Paul offers an answer to that question as well. If we follow his answer with discipline it will allow us to be transformed. Step one, resolve to avoid falsehood as an easy out and only speak truth to our neighbors (remembering what Jesus told us about who are neighbor is). Step two, control our anger, do not allow our anger to cause us to sin. No matter how justified our anger, it does not justify doing that which is wrong. One part of that is letting our anger go and move on. We need to let our anger go at the end of the day, if not sooner. The longer we hold onto our anger, no matter how justified, the more likely we are to sin because of its influence on our thinking. Holding onto our anger gives the devil a foothold to influence our actions, let us not yield him any advantages.
    Step three, if we have been living by stealing from others (and I think he means that in the most expansive meaning of “stealing”), let us stop doing so and start doing something useful so that we have excess to give to those in need. Step four, stop using foul and abusive language. Instead let us choose our words carefully so that they are helpful and encourage everyone who hears them to improve themselves.
    The final step is twofold. Let go of bitterness and anger (which really goes back to step two), and all other evil behavior. Instead, let us be kind and tenderhearted, forgiving those who have sinned against us. Christ forgave us for our sins, we cannot be like Him unless we are willing to forgive those we believe have sinned against us. We cannot claim to have forgiven someone if we remain bitter and angry about what they have done.


Isaiah 48:12-50:11

    God has declared that when the time is right, He will make His salvation known to us. He will lift people up and draw them to Him from far away lands. I read this as both a promise to the Church and to the people of Israel. In this passage, Isaiah predicts the coming of Christ as God’s servant, but he also predicts the return of the people of Israel to the land God promised Abraham’s descendants. When I read this part:

See, I will give a signal to the godless nations.
They will carry your little sons back to you in their arms;
they will bring your daughters on their shoulders.

It made me think of when the modern state of Israel was created following WWII. Countries from all over the world helped Jews go to the newly established state of Israel.
    At the end of the passage there is this:

Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys his servant?
If you are walking in darkness,
without a ray of light,
trust in the Lord
and rely on your God.

Even if we cannot see the way in front of us, we can rely on God and He will direct us. It is better to be in darkness and trust in God than to make our own false light and rely on ourselves.

September 25, 2014 Bible Study — The Lord Is God, There Is No Other

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 24:3-4

    It takes wisdom to build a place to call home. It is by carefully following our knowledge of God’s will that we fill it with the things we will treasure long into the future.


Psalm 68:19-35

    Our God is awesome in His power. He will display His power and cause all nations to bring tributes of praise to Him. People and nations may rebel against God, but He will smash His enemies and force them to submit to His will. God will save those people who submit to His will and make them His own. He give them power and strength to carry out His will.


Ephesians 4:1-16

    Paul calls on us to work towards unity in Christ, being bound together in peace. He does make it clear that this will not always be possible. I have noticed that when controversy stirs and divides the Church it is often those who are causing the division who cry the loudest about maintaining unity. What they forget is that there is only one body and one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father over us all. If we fail to be true to the will of that one God, we cannot have unity.
    Paul goes on to tell us that Christ gave the Church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work in order to build up the body of Christ. Those five categories of people are to continue their work (and God will continue to provide us with more of them) until we all come to unity in faith and knowledge of Christ. And here Paul makes the comment that should be devastating for those who cry unity while causing division. We will achieve such unity when we are no longer tossed and blown by every new teaching that comes along. True unity will arrive when the people of the Church are not fooled by lies cleverly crafted to sound like truth. Instead we will speak the truth in love and thus grow to truly become the adult body of Christ. The truth is that while God will forgive our sins and loves us despite our sins, those sins bring harm to us and our fellow man. It is not love to tell people that sin is not sin and that it is OK to continue to practice such behaviors which bring harm to themselves.


Isaiah 45:11-48:11

    Isaiah predicted that people from all over the world would seek to serve and follow God, recognizing that He, and He alone, is God. Those who make idols and those who encourage others to worship them will be disgraced. God’s instructions to us are not hidden, He does not speak in obscurity. We do not need to listen to some Grand Master to whom God has revealed His secrets. God has made spread knowledge of Him far and wide. He is there to be found by those who seek Him. There is no path to salvation but through Him, for there is no other God.
    The day will come when all of humanity will acknowledge that God is sovereign and Lord. We can wait until we have no choice. I will choose to submit to Him now. There is nothing that compares to Him. I look at the wonders He has done in the past and the things He has promised to do in the future and it leaves me in awe of His greatness. God is prepared to set things right, not in the far future, but now. God is offering us salvation, not because we have done something worthy of salvation, far from it. God will rescue us in order to bring glory to His name, not because we deserve it. Will we be grateful for the grace He has shown us by doing His will? Or will we turn from Him once more?

September 24, 2014 Bible Study — To Him Who Is Able To Do Immeasurably More Than All We Ask Or Imagine

For today, One Year Bible Online links here.


Proverbs 24:1-2

    Do not think that the wicked have things better than you, do not wish that you had their life. Do not seek out their company or attempt to become their companions. The wicked are plotting violence against even their companions and they say things for the purpose of causing trouble.


Psalm 68:1-18

    God is a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. He places the lonely among those who will be family to them. He sets prisoners free and gives them joy. We read this and think how marvelous the things which God does by His miraculous power, and we are not wrong. God does do these things by miraculous power. However, there is a reason that Christ founded the Church. So that we can do these things. We are called to be a father to the fatherless and to defend widows. It is we who God has called to be family to the lonely and to show the prisoners how to be free. Let us praise God for what He has done and serve Him as He calls us to do.


Ephesians 3:1-21

    As I read this passage I am reminded of something that I, and too many others, forget most of the time. I seek to serve God, but that is not really to my credit. I do not deserve to be allowed to serve God. It is to God’s credit that He is not only willing to have me serve Him, but calls me to do so. If I was in God’s position, I find it hard to imagine that I would allow someone like me to work for me, let alone go out of my way to ask them to do so. Yet, that is what God has done. If I were to exhaust myself every day doing God’s will every waking moment, that in itself is more reward than I deserve. When I think of the tasks which God has asked me to do for Him, I fall to my knees and thank Him.
    As I think of this and read the rest of what Paul wrote here, it just amazes me. God’s power is at work in me, undeserving as I am, to accomplish more than I can ask for (and I can ask for a lot). Not only will God’s power do more through me than I can ask for, it will do more than I can imagine (and I have a very vivid imagination). What a great God we serve, who not only allows us to serve Him, but calls us to do so. And beyond even that, He is able to bring glory to His name through us. That in itself exceeds my ability to imagine. How can my actions, as selfish and flawed as I am, bring glory to God? Yet, He promises that they will.


Isaiah 43:14-45:10

    Isaiah tells us that God has chosen to blot out our sins and hold them against us no longer, not because we have done something to deserve such forgiveness, but solely because He chooses to do so. All we have to do to know that such is the case is review our own lives. How can anything we have done offset the evil we have done? Despite our problems and our weaknesses, He has called us to declare before the world that we are His, and glory to God, some are willing to do so.
    Isaiah goes on to talk about the foolishness of idols. How foolish it is for someone to take a tree, burn part of it for fuel, yet carve part of it into something they worship as a god capable of providing for their needs. I have friends who are professing pagans. They know there is nothing to the gods they worship, yet they choose to worship them anyway. They admit that they do so because they cannot live in a world that is nothing but what can be seen, heard, touched, smelled, and/or tasted. Despite this, they refuse to worship the Creator.
    Finally, Isaiah speaks of why God calls up certain world leaders, leaders who do not acknowledge Him. God called Cyrus and raised him to power, easing his path to world domination for the sake of His people. Time and again through history, God has raised up leaders to accomplish His purposes, to bring relief from suffering to those whom He calls His own. Those leaders have not chosen to serve God, yet God has chosen them to serve Him.

September 23, 2014 Bible Study — Happy Anniversary, Love

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. Today marks the 14th year of my marriage to the my lovely wife. I thank God every day for bringing this woman into my life. Happy Anniversary, Darling!


Proverbs 23:29-35

    This is a clear and concise warning about the dangers of becoming enticed by alcohol. While moderate drinking can have benefits, drinking all the time will lead to health problems and social difficulties.


Psalm 67:1-7

    This psalm will be my prayer for today. How much better would this world be if people everywhere were to pray this psalm, if God’s ways were known and followed throughout the earth? Yes, I will pray this psalm and hope that what it asks for comes to pass. May all the nations praise God and people everywhere fear Him.


Ephesians 2:1-22

    At one time we were all dead to sin. We all served the one whose spirit is at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. Ultimately, everything we did served death. We served our sinful desires and made ourselves objects of God’s anger. In this way, we were no better than anyone else. But God, in His rich mercy, loved us so much that He gave us life by raising Christ from the dead. We cannot take credit for this transformation from death to life because it was none of our doing. It was a free gift from God.
    We did not receive salvation as a reward for our good works, rather God gave us salvation in order to create a great masterpiece. He created a work of art out of the junk we had made of our lives. He transformed us into a new creation in Christ in order that we might do the good works He planned out for us long ago. Once we were divided into groups, and nations, a races, but God united us into one people, joining us together to be a temple where His Holy Name is worshiped. Let us seek to bring glory to God in all we do, encouraging others to praise His holy name.


Isaiah 41:17-43:13

    As I read the beginning of this where the Lord calls on the idols men worship to tell what they had done in the past, or predict what would happen in the future, or to just do something, I was reminded of all of the models which people have proposed over the last century or two. Models which they claimed everyone should use to guide their lives, some of those models were economic models, some were scientific models, but all claimed they could tell us what the future held and demanded our loyalty. All of those promises proved to be empty and meaningless. But God has told us what He will do and we have seen it come to pass.
    Isaiah then prophesies in the name of the Lord about the coming of the Christ, a prophecy fulfilled with Jesus coming. Further he tells us to look to the past and learn from what others have experienced. Let us look to the past and see how when people refuse to serve the Lord, death and destruction come upon them. Those that continue to heed His word are completely destroyed. But those who turn to Him and seek to follow His ways make their way through the times of trouble and oppression. God will deliver them out the other side. We have the examples of the way in which He treated His people Israel, predicting the troubles that would come from their sins, and predicting the ways in which He would redeem them once more.

September 22, 2014 Bible Study — Shout, Cry Out.. The Lord Is Coming

For today, One Year Bible Online links here. I have been doing this blog for over two years now. The discipline it has given me to read through the Bible every year since I began has been a wonderful experience for me. I want to encourage everyone to do so. I have come to understand the Bible so much more thoroughly as a result.


Proverbs 23:25-28

    Make your parents happy by staying away from promiscuous sexual partners. Getting involved with the promiscuous is a trap that it will be hard to escape. They constantly try to lure more people into their lifestyle.


Psalm 66:1-20

    This psalm sums up what it feels like when God has answered our prayers. We want the entire earth to sing His praises. When we cry out to God in desperation and He delivers us we see how God has performed mighty deeds throughout history. The psalmist reminds us of one important fact, when we cry out to God for help, we need to be honest about our sins, the mistakes we have made. It is only after we confess our sins, admit our mistakes, that God will listen to our cries and come to our aid.


Ephesians 1:1-23

    God planned for us to accept His wonderful grace before He created the world. It was His plan from the beginning that we would be united with Christ and all things work out according to God’s plan. It was only after Jews had heard and trusted in Christ that we Gentiles were able to hear and receive God’s wonderful gift. When we believed in Christ, God identified us as His own by giving us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is God’s guarantee of His promises. He made those promises and gave us the Spirit as guarantee in order that we would praise and glorify Him.
    I am always challenged when I read here that Paul prayed continuously for the members of the Church at Ephesus (and elsewhere where he speaks of praying for other believers). I read this and realize that I do not pray nearly as much as I ought. As I write this, it reminds me that for years I sought the discipline to read the Bible every day (or at least, most days). I finally found that discipline when I began this blog. I am confident that God’s Spirit will show me the way to similar discipline on prayer. Perhaps, I will start a prayer journal.
    Back to the passage: It is worth noting that Paul prayed that God would give the recipients of the letter ever greater wisdom and knowledge, so that they might get to know God better. Do we strive to have our hearts and minds flooded by God’s light so that we can obtain ever greater understanding of the hope He gives us through His power? Let us seek to have ever greater confidence in the overwhelming power which God will work through us to accomplish His purposes on this earth. It is that power which has made everything, in all ways, subservient to Christ, whose body we are.


Isaiah 39-41:16

    “Shout,” the prophet tells us. Do not be quiet. Do not be afraid. Shout and then shout louder. God is coming. The Sovereign Lord is coming in power. Let us not be afraid of offending people by telling them that He is coming. God cannot be compared to anything made by man. People create things which they worship, whether from metal, or wood, or paper. They set things up which they think will stand the test of time. Yet these things are merely part of Creation. God stands above and outside of Creation. The whole of this earth and the sum of its peoples are less than a grain of sand before Him. How can we compare anything we can imagine, much less bring into being, to God, the Creator of all that is?
    Professional athletes in the prime of their careers, soldiers who have conditioned themselves relentless will become tired. They will reach a state of exhaustion where they can do no more. The task is greater than they have the endurance to complete. However, those who trust in the Lord will find their strength refreshed. If you are facing troubles which are wearing you out, wait for the Lord in prayer and He will renew your strength. If you are seeking to do God’s will and find your strength waning, wait for the Lord in prayer and He will give you fresh strength. If you wait for Him, you will run the race He has set for you without growing weary, you will walk the path He has shown you without growing faint.
    Shout it out. Cry out at the top of your lungs. Challenge the people of this world to see what our God has done. Do not be afraid. Trust in God, wait for Him to act, do the things He instructs you to do, and you will never grow too weary to do the next thing He asks.