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How To…? Bible Study Basics

Here is a very simple tool to help you study the Bible. All of these elements are used in teaching and studying the Bible effectively. Below the image is a link to download the PDF of this document so that you can reference, share or print this document. Enjoy and I hope and pray that this helps you to more accurately, “rightly divide the Word of Truth” and share what you are learning with others.

-J

Basics to Gaining a Biblical Theology <PDF

God, Our Sweet Sweet Reward!

“God, show us who You are. Be revealed!”

“I want to see You… high and lifted up!”

“I want more than I have. I want to see You in Your holiness. I want my filth burned away; replaced with Your Spirit and Presence and Life and Word!”

“I just want a glimpse of Your glory…please Father, give this to me but only for a moment and I shall be happy forever.”

“We are not discontent, but we are satisfied only in You, and yet we are hungry for more because we know that only You have more to give.”

Have you ever been here, in this place? In a place of longing that goes beyond human words or understanding? I mean, you have your God and you love your Savior but you are desperate for more? Maybe you really want to see your city reached with the Gospel? So there you are: you know you are saved and you know that God does the saving but you are not satisfied that there are people surrounding you who are lost and headed for hell, so you pray.

I’m not talking about those “Thank You God for these scrambled eggs” type of prayers, I’m talking desperation type of prayers. I’m talking Jacob wrestling with God, “I wont let You go until you bless me!” type of prayers! “God help us! People are dying! We need You to intervene!” “Act oh God! Do not be silent!” I’m talking about revival praying. We-seriously-believe prayers. We-really-need-the-living-God prayers.

I’m here in this place now in my life for many reasons and my greatest want at the moment is to be in, sence, feel, and abide in the presence of God. I’m not satisfied with statuesque christianity: praying for my food (whatever that means), stopping by church once or twice a week (or month for some), doing my “devos”, and on and on, this boring robotic routine can continue habitually into an eventual, hopeful eternity. Becoming a religious person is not on my list of aspirations, I want to experience the presence and power that comes from closeness to my Jesus… my God… the one who loves me and has saved me.

I’m encouraging you and me and a lost world to enter the joy of the Lord! Come and get more of your God. We must seek Him in our prayer closets and worship Him there with all of our beings. There we must find Him and be found by Him. Not in our church buildings, but in our private world. In our heart and mind and in our bedrooms and in our workplaces. This is fellowship with our God. This kind of Christianity cannot be escaped! This is the kind of christian experience that is exciting and romantic! This is when we finally realize that God is our lover and He is pursuing us in our going to sleep and in our waking up. He is wooing us into His presence. This is the excitement about walking with Jesus that once realized, causes us to shut down the computer and phone and television and escape to a private place; alone with our God. We want more and so we go in search for more. We bow on our knees or we lock ourselves inside and there we share our hearts as we gain His heart. We simply talk to Him about all that is in ourselves. Like the marriage bed, nothing is off-limits; we are explored by Him. We sit with His Word and we ask and beg Him to make it come to life in reality and power within our bodies and minds and heart and emotion. We are experiencing transformation when we are experiencing Him.

I love this. That we want more than we could ever handle. No one can look upon the glory of God and yet we hunt after it and drool for it with a burning hearts desire.

Are you being transformed?

Are you desiring your God?

If you say yes, than good. Run harder after Him. He will always satisfy you.

If you say no, then may I remind you that though you do not pursue Him, Your God who loves you is Pursuing you relentlessly. He wants you to experience His light and life and His Joy. He is but an arms-reach away.

“…nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  -Romans 8:39

Prayer Is Power – Thoughts on Prayer

This was taken from a message preached in the fall of 2009...


Check out the new Audio-Book/Sermon-Jam of this post by clicking Here >

True prayer is the act of humility. It declares to your God that you are in need of His counsel.

Prayer is an act of Love; it makes time for God, and places Him in your priority. Intimacy cannot be built without time, effort, and communication. Loving God is making time to become intimate with Him. Prayer is where you go out of your way to show God your heart, to praise or weep before Him. Prayer is where your intimacy is developed. We need to be drawn often to prayer.

Pray about everything.

Pray because your Savior has asked and told you to do so. Prayer is an act of obedience.

Strength is drawn from prayer. Praying is an act of faith and without faith it is impossible to please God.

Please your God in prayer. He loves to hear you talk to Him. He loves to hear you ask of Him.

He is a fulfiller of promises, so pray His Word and you will never fall short of His will in prayer.

Remember, in any relationship, you must communicate to keep things fresh. So keep the lines of communication open with Jesus. Speak to Him and listen to Him.

Pray for strength, He always gives it.

Pray for direction, He knows the way.

Pray for Salvation, that’s why He came, died and rose again.

Pray for the impossible, He is God almighty. He is the God of miracles and impossibilities. Believe Him always.

You must pray in faith. And sometimes you must pray desperately for faith. Men have seen revival and what others thought impossible because they sought their God and asked Him for things others only dared to dream of. Stop dreaming and pray to your God who is reality and power and so near to you.

Prayer is where you gain the heart of God for your life and ministry. It is where you come face to face with love and where you are broken, humbled, changed and filled with His Spirit that is power in you.

You don’t have because you don’t ask. Ask! Ask for everything that you need and don’t have. Don’t be timid or shy. Don’t be faithless. Be willing to be wrong for some things that you ask for. We are praying for His will to be done.

Pray like Jesus.

And remember, you only need a mustard seed of faith in order to petition the face of God. If you feel like you don’t even have a mustard seed of faith, than ignore your feelings and ask anyways.

Pray always about everything.

Don’t be paranoid about everything and every decision you make. If you have an active prayer-life, than don’t be scared to walk by faith. Remember that faith is an action word and He is directing your steps. Pray then walk and most of the time, pray while your walking.

Pray for others; right there on the spot. Show others by praying with them that you believe in a God who hears. It will impart faith to them.

And Pray for you.

Prayer will keep you alive. It is impossible to have an active, fruitful private prayer-life and die spiritually. If you want to live more, than pray more. Prayer is the I.V. from heaven; It will keep your heart beating, your blood pulsing, and your Spirit above the clouds. It is an exercise in the spirit and so you must fight against your flesh. Be constant in prayer. Never give up. Pray

Remember ROMANS 12:1

Why I Love The Word of God – Part 3 (final) – Life Giving Words

 

 

CHECK OUT THE FULL AND UPDATED VERSION OF THIS POST HERE!

 

The Word of God is power to the believer. It is Spiritual. The Word of God is not a burdensome law. It is not legalism or rules. The Word of God is not a religion! It is Safety. It is a glimpse into the very heart of God who rules the Universe! It is for your Heart,  your life and for your Spirit and for eternity.

The Word of God is life giving, life changing, miracle working, alive, true and there is nothing false in it! It is perfect, empowering, encouraging, up-lifting, healing, it speaks to man, guides us, directs us, gives wisdom, judges the thoughts and intents of the heart, it is purity in an imperfect world, it is to be treasured, it is historically accurate, and it is just and right when everything else is wrong!

And do not forget, the Word of God is for you! Treasure your Savior and treasure His promises. Don’t allow satan to keep you from your Bible. Open it up, be familiar with it, read it, write in it, memorize it and not because you have to, but because He loves you. Guard your time with Jesus.

“Why I Love The Word of God” – Part 2 – Profitable Words and Bad Pastors


CHECK OUT THE FULL AND UPDATED VERSION OF THIS POST HERE!

Let me share some other biblical reasons on why I love the Word of God and why it is needed in assisting ministry, ministry in general and in our personal lives.

 Because the words of God are profitable.

 We gain from His Word! Ill say it again. We get to gain insight and wisdom and direction, encouragement and many more wonderful things for our life; and they are all delivered to us straight from the God of the Universe and the God of your life. That’s why the word of God is profitable for our whole lives! Because God knows best. He knows all of humanity and creation from the inside out, that is, things inside and outside, physical and emotional, psychological and He is in control of all things near or far, into the galaxies and universe. There is no part over your lives that He is not in the position to touch, or change, or help. He is God and His word is living and full of endless power!

Hebrews 4:12 says of the Word of God, that it “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” We are lost without Gods revealing Himself to man!

But profitable for what? Well, our text says: “for doctrine [that is teaching], for reproof [that is, conviction or testing], for correction [that is, literally to restore to an upright state, to correct your life and character. To make you right.], for instruction in righteousness:” The Greek here for our word instruction is: paideia (pi-da-uh) meaning that the Word of God is everything for your growing up in life for the Lord. You cannot and will not grow or mature in Christ if you are lacking the proper nutrition that comes to your soul only by the word of God, interpreted and given proper application by the Spirit of God. It corrects your mistakes and curbs your passions, it increases virtue. This is Paideia: instruction. And this is all for righteousness. For right living before our God. Living a life that is pleasing Him, for Him, for His glory. Do you understand that the Word of God is essential for your right living for God in Christ? Willing obedience to Gods direction for your life and submission to His instruction will create in you a pure heart, making you a minister filled with personal character. Not just a Christ associated christian but an Christ experienced christian and leader/follower/servant.

But shame on the pastors, leaders and so-called servants of Jesus who are not rightly dividing the Word of God and especially to those who are forsaking the Bible all together!

They are leading their congregations down the wrong paths and have no clue how to live for God. They are simply and biblically bad pastors, ignorant of the power of God.

The Pastor who forsakes the Word of God has forsaken his calling and is no pastor at all but is a wayward; a prodigal, desperately needing to come home. And for those pastors and heretics we desperately pray,“Lord, grab their hearts and set them aright with Your Word that their congregations would be able to worship You in spirit and in truth!” “God, help us as servants of You and as servants to Your bride, not to forsake Your promises but to cling to Your words for our life, ministry, worldview, help, counsel and personal nourishment.” As assistants in ministry, the Word is our guide. We give the bride of Christ the Words of Christ and nothing else. Your opinion doesn’t really matter in the end. Stick to the Word of God.

God Doesn’t Need You to Believe In Him. But We Do Need Revival!

Reflections upon 
1 Kings 18

Here is the test of our faith. Here is the awesome display and testimony of God. Here is the challenge and examination of our ability to believe. This is God, burning from heaven the doubts and disbelief of the majority belief. The popular crowd popularly believes not. I mean, “how un-cool to believe in God” and yet God cares not about cool. But is burning hot with faith and belief in Himself and needs none to believe. He IS whether we want to believe it or not. And here is one man, Elijah, who has heard the Word of God and believes it. But He doesn’t just sit on it like most do. He acts upon it. He is moved by it and He is moving others and challenging them. The truth has become like a burning fire, wasting away doubt and spewing over in great fullness the faith that is always present when the word of God is personally activated through belief. One grows weary of holding it in like that prophet Jeremiah. He challenges all the false prophets to see and prove who the real God is. And when His turn comes to cry out to His God, Elijah does so with great convincing faith and authority.

He asks with boldness and confidence.

He asks for the seemingly impossible.

He asks for a request that to most would seem ridiculous.

He calls down fire from heaven!

Why? Because the word of God had come to this man, and he had welcomed it. The Word of God had become in him, a burning fire! God had asked of a man to call down fire; to display the power and amazing strength of the only Lord. God wanted to get the glory. God wants to display His power; to gain the victory, but where are the Elijah’s?

Where are those who believe that God can when none else could?

Where are those who are willing to be outnumbered, yet siding with God?

No man stands alone when he stands with God! Why cant more of us believe this?

What would happen if the seeker-friendly, comfort-ease, western culture, have-everything-but-everything-is-still-not-enough Christians would throw off their comfort-guards and embrace in humility the beauty of holiness, standing out for the Lord?Embrace the truth of His Word, and suffer a little for the sake of eternal gain. What if we threw out our timid, afraid-to-trust-His-promises prayer lives and instead entered boldly before His throne-room of grace.

What if we asked because He has told us to ask?

What if we seek because He tells us: seek!

What if we came desperately, steadfastly, and unwaveringly knocking? Pounding! Desperate to see Gods glory revealed!?

What if we started to ask God for what seems impossible?

We ask Him to burn up the false idols!

To restore the nation!

To breath life into this “lazy-boy” church!

To pour the water of His Spirit upon our lives and churches; drenching us until we drown! Let us come and be filled and overcome by His presence until we beg: “No More!” Gasping for breath, we will be flooded by His presence.

There, we shall lay, with no response except prostrate on our belly, face full of carpet and heart full of His radiant light and life. We must not back down or be intimidated until His fire falls from heaven; His glory revealed! Praying and agonizing until revival comes to ourselves and to those stumbling in the shadows! God is waiting for a desperate people; sick of doing things their own way, in their own strength; to cry out to Him with prayers like that of Elijah:

“O Lord, God… let it be known… that you are God…Answer me, o Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”

– Bloody God – and – Undeserved Grace-

1 Peter 2:24,25

 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

How lost we must have been, that to God Himself, it seemed necessary to clothe himself in His own creation that we might be bought back; redeemed. Purchased by Gods blood! God bled. He subjected Himself to pain. “For you were straying like sheep…” I love the gentleness of Gods mercy displayed here in this verse. He equates us, His children to sheep. Gentle and frail. Unable to fend for themselves in the face of their adversaries; ours being sin and its eternal reward. Scattered we were, unable to defend, vindicate, or rescue ourselves. All we could do is run lost in vain. We were in need of a Shepherd. One who would sacrifice His time, energies, sleep, sweat, blood, and I must say, even His life to protect that which belonges to His Master: you and me. And a shepherd we have. We got the best. The Master Himself became our Shepherd. No one cares more about His sheep than the Master. The sheep are His posession and prize. They are of great value in His eyes. But must i say, they are dumb and ever so needy. They would perish without His care. Certain death is inevitable without the Shepherds care.

We are His sheep and we had gone astray, and death had become inevitable. We are those spoken of here: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” And what a horrific way! The end of our way is death, and that eternal. We are those about whom God has spoken: “[There is] none who does good, No, not one.” “They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” “There is none righteous, no, not one.” If this is us, than “God! Who can stand before you!?” Who can dwell in your presence!?” “Who will You welcome into your glory!?” and as if heaven stands still awaiting His perfection-answer…. God Speaks in His great justice: “There are none… no… Not ONE!”
We are the none, the no-ones. And to the no-ones God in His great mercy and grace has sent to us Someone; namely, Jesus Christ. And just as was spoken of us, to this one it is spoken: “and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” This is the one who will be ushered into the throne room of God. This is the one who will sit on the throne of God forever, judging grace-saved-sinners as perfected and holy by His blood. This is the one who has taken the punishment that was for man because God became man that man might come near to God. So near that God would dwell in man. Making man His temple. And just as the sacrifice (Jesus Christ) was raised to the throne in Gods presence, so must we, in Christ, become raised with Him, sharing in His risen glory. This is possible only through God’s grace. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” Receive His healing afresh today and become drowned in His awesome grace, “For you were straying like sheep, but now returned to the shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
Amen

Discontentment and My Response to “Why Powerful Men Can’t Keep Their Pants On” – an Article

“The first rule of success is that there is nothing on the outside that can compensate for a feeling of failure on the inside. External accouterments of success — from armored limousines to an army of personal bodyguards — can never protect you from the din of demons who whisper to you that for all you have achieved you are still a big zero.”  

        That was just one powerful quote from a recent article published in the Huntington Post entitled “Why Powerful Men Can’t Keep Their Pants On.” The Article made an attempt to wrap the mind around the mystery of adulterous human behavior. Why do men like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Tiger Woods trade their reputations as successful and outstanding men for the reputation of an unfaithful and uncommitted failure of a husband? That is, succeeding in business, politics, or professionalism yet failing in the home. Guarding their business yet throwing away the family. If there ever was a badge for failure, harming those whom you should love the most would be it. It is often the case that men and women succeed in their pursuit of the worlds riches, attaining them all and yet are all together unsatisfied, miserable, and discontented. Having achieved family, wealth and prestige and yet still longing for more of what cannot seem to be attained.

        The Bible tells us that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12).” I love what Augustine had to say about the pursuit of man: “Thou hast prompted him, that he should delight to praise thee, for thou hast made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in thee.” Man is restless until he finds his true peace in the God who made him. God is spirit and we are made in His likeness. We too are spiritual and that is where our greatest longing lies; in the spirit. Our hunger for more is a spiritual hunger often unrealized. We are after God and He is after us and we will find no rest until we find ourselves at rest with our Savior: Jesus.

        Stop pursuing the greener grass and start pursuing your God. He satisfies the longing of your soul by freeing you from the longing after things, whatever they may be: reputation, job, money, sex… the list goes on. Your identity will not rest until you find yourself at rest with God. Being identified with Him frees us from needing to be identified with or by anything else. Idols bog us down, making us miserable because they are temporal just like our flesh, but God is eternal as is our spirit and He alone makes our spirit soar with joy and delight and meaning that lives beyond this life into eternity.

        So the reason why so many are unsatisfied with this world is because this world was not created to be our satisfaction. God meant to be Himself, satisfaction for us. God loves you and asks you to turn from living for yourself and to finally and forever find your satisfaction in Him…

 You can access Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s full article from the Huntington Post that I refer to here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-shmuley-boteach/dominique-strauss-kahn_b_863357.html

Reasoning With The World – 1 – Is God a force of nature or a personal loving God?


The following is an answer to a recent question I received from a seeking skeptic. May you be encouraged to boldly reason your faith in an intelligent and loving way. The World has great and honest questions. We should learn to patiently lend a listening ear and do our best in reasoning with them, leading them to God.

Here is the Question:Does the bible distinguish if it is more important to use the right words to express the wrong ideas or the wrong words to express the right ideas?  Example, if I use the word “energy” in replace of the word God to express God, but think of the same image as those who say God, is this ok?

 Here is the Answer (in the context of the letter i received, the person had many more questions which is why i gave this exhaustive illustration. ill share the other questions later):

First of all, A Christian’s life should be governed by the Word of God (the Bible). This does not mean that there are not Hypocrite-Christians who speak one thing and practice another as there are hypocrites in every faith and in every belief system. There are hypocrite atheists, agnostics…etc but this does not mean that we should reject absolutes simply because of errors in human behavior or follow-through. Truth is truth; in the Bible and elsewhere. We don’t throw the baby out with the bath-water so-to-speak. And if hypocrites (liars, money hungry TV evangelists, child-molesting priests/pastors… the list could go on) are the bath water and Jesus and the Bible are the baby we can just as well throw out the bath-water hypocrites and yet still deal solely with Jesus and the Bible. That is the decision each person must come to on their own: What do I believe about Jesus and the Bible. With that pre-face let me attempt to answer your questions.

The Bible says to “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)

Imagine that a doctor just diagnosed you with a terrible deadly disease. “You are going to die!” says the doctor. You walk away feeling like you’ve been sucker-punched in the gut, scratching your head, saying to yourself, “What a cruel thing that has just happened to me.” You don’t blame the doctor for your disease. The disease was already there. The doctor simply let you know your inevitable condition. He revealed the reality of your condition: Certain doom. You don’t walk away going “What a cruel doctor.” But rather “What a cruel thing is going on inside of my body.” The doctor has simply told you the truth of what is happening in your body. Now, imagine that the doctor had just given you this death sentence and allowed you to just walk away hopeless, and yet withheld from you the further truth that He also knows of a cure for your body that will make you well. Now that might seem cruel. He gave you the diagnosis without the cure. He spoke some truth to you, and yet withheld other truth. This is not love, it is not loving. If a father sees his child playing in the street with traffic, the father does not simply allow the child to continue in the behavior because the child decides, “this is what I want to do,” but the father, because He loves His child must speak boldly to the child, letting him know that if he continues in this behavior, his life is in certain danger and inevitable doom. Does this spoil the child’s fun? For a moment it might, but if the child hears the voice of the father and listens, than the love of the father has won the life of the son. If the son does not hear the father’s voice and obey, than he has taken his life in his own hands and will sadly die. The heart of the father was to speak the truth in love, giving his son the bad news (you cannot continue this way) so that he can experience life; receiving the good news.

This is the same as our diagnoses/ cure scenario with the doctor and the patient. In order to bring healing to the patient, the doctor must give him a proper and true diagnoses even if it is hard to give (because that is the loving thing to do), and as a bonus and a blessing, the doctor gives the hope of a cure. But as we know from life, truth is not always welcomed or received. The patient may not accept the cure because he does not want to accept the preceding diagnoses. But as we know, you cannot have one without the other. You will not accept the cure for cancer if you don’t first accept that you have the disease. Though the doctor was faithful to deliver his message to the patient (or speak the truth in love), it is up to the patient to receive or reject both. One option leading to the reality of death (whether he believes it or not), or the other leading to the reality of Life.

So, in using words, we are to speak the truth. And do it in a way that would reflect the heart of God: love. Though truth is truth, however it comes across, there is a tactful, gracious, and loving way to display and speak it to others.

So, if someone says “Energy” or “Mother-nature” and really means “creating-force” or “God” I would need further clarification. Because as Christians, we are to say what we mean and mean what we say. I say, Jesus is God and nothing was created without Him. I simply mean that Jesus is God, God is Jesus, Not “mother-nature” , Not some mysterious force, but a known, revealed God who has a name and a certain, absolute identity.