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Archive for the ‘Bible study’ Category

In our lives there are people who are are mentors or people who we look up to. People who have lived a life that we want to live up to. Examples in the Bible of an individual that walks by faith and lives what he believes. 

In Acts 10 there is a certain man. A man that stands out in his class of people. Cornelius was an officer of the army of considerable rank and figure, a centurion. This is important because this man was a Gentile. At that time to share the true Gospel with anyone else but a Jew was unheard of. This was a mystery and surprise to the apostles. 

Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band…

I love that he was of the band called The Italian Band. Part of my family are Italian. I am so thankful that God allowed the Gospel to be preached to Cornelius and those like me. 

He was a devout man. He had very good character. Not an idolater, not a worshipper of false gods or images. Nor did he allow himself in any of those immoralities to which the greater part of the gentile world was given up to. He made a decision to serve God. He surrender to God’s will & ways. His mind, will, actions, & emotions surrendered and was devoted to God. 

He feared God. Not fearful, but revered God. Looks to Him & His sovereignty, surrenders to His ways in awe. Received instructions willingly, faithfully and his priority is to have a relationship with God. Not only did he fear God but brought his household in to that same relationship. His life touched all those that were around him. He made a difference in their lives because of the way he lived his. 

Proverbs 1:7 (AMP)

The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];

But arrogant [a]fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction and self-discipline.

He was a very charitable man, He Gave Much… Matt. 6:1-3 Do unto God, 2 Cor. 9:6 Sow bountifully, 2 Cor 9:7 be a cheerful giver. 

Matthew Henry: Wherever the fear of God rules in the hear, it will appear both in the works of charity and of piety, and neither will excuse us from the other. 

He was much in Prayer. Why pray – The sovereignty of God – He is supreme. 2 Pet 3:9 He is not slack, He is long-suffering, & God changes not. God’s character should cause us to pray. He is compassionate, long-suffering, loving, merciful, good, tender, gracious are just a few of God’s characters that causes us to pray and believe Him as Cornelius did. 

Wherever the fear of God rules in the heart, charity, prayer, etc… will prevail in a persons life as it did in Cornelius. His prayers and alms went up to God as a memorial to him. 

1 Peter 2:12(AMP)

Keep your behavior excellent among the [unsaved] Gentiles [conduct yourself honorably, with graciousness and integrity], so that for whatever reason they may slander you as evildoers, yet by observing your good deeds they may [instead come to] glorify God in the day of visitation [when He looks upon them with mercy].

He had a good reputation. It’s not easy to get a good reputation & to keep it. There is always someone who doesn’t like what you do & who you are. HCSB – He had a good reputation with the whole Jewish nation. They would vouch for him. 

I love the Newsboys song, Cornelius: (this is pieces of the song)

“Cornelius”

And every generation’s got

The fearless few who can’t be bought

They don’t take polls or look around

They act on truth, and then they stand their ground

Cornelius

Core-strong like a centurion

I wanna be Cornelius

Core-strong like a centurion

I wanna be Cornelius

His kneel is real

His kneel is real

My prayer is that we all would walk out our lives with the same dedication to God as Cornelius. That we would be real in a world that thrives on being fake. They do everything to cover up who they really are. Let’s be people of prayer, of good character, fear God, and walk in the truth God has revealed to us. 

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Lydia had the honor to have her name written in the bible. Acts 16:13-15 Lydia worshipped God even though she was busy with the business of her daily life. She was a seller of purple. One of the trade guilds in Thyatira made expensive purple dye, probably from the roots of the madder plant. She took the time out of her day to honor God. This shows that we have a profession in life, but we must honor God in our daily walk. God directs us to minister to those we meet in the work he has blessed us with. That can be in the home or outside the home. What ever God give us to do, we must do to his honor. Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. 

Although the bible does not say that she was married, scholars have speculated that she was a widow who brought her late husband’s business to Philippi. The other women with Lydia in Acts may have been employees and slaves. These women are in VS 13 – And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.

Matthew Henry: Though she had a calling to mind, yet she was a worshipper of God, and found time to improve advantages for her soul. The business of our particular callings may be made to consist very well with the business of religion, and therefore it will not excuse us from religious exercises alone, and in our families, or in solemn assemblies, to say, We have shops to look after, and a trade to mind; for have we not also a God to serve and a soul to look after? Religion does not call us from our business in the world, but directs us in it. Every thing in its time and place.

She heard what Paul was teaching. She did not just hear with her ears, but with her heart. God worked in her life. He opened her heart so that she attended unto those things Paul talked about. She didn’t just hear the words, she acted upon what she heard. (Act 16:14) She applied the word to herself. She paid close attention to Paul’s Preaching, causing her conversion. She was immediately baptized and her household. Her faithful pursuit of God as a Jew caused the Holy Spirit to make her receptive to Paul’s Message of the Gospel. God opened her heart as He wants to open many others. Lydia showed a humble, trusting spirit. Right away she was an example to those around her bringing her household into the same salvation she had recieved.  

Matthew Henry: it is in the heart that the change is made, it is to the heart that this blessed turn is given; it was the heart of Lydia that was wrought upon. Conversion-work is heart-work; it is a renewing of the heart, the inward man, the spirit of the mind. When the heart is thus opened to Christ, the ear is opened to his word, the lips opened in prayer, the hand opened in charity, and the steps enlarged in all manner of gospel obedience.

She took time to serve and comforted those who entered her heart. 

Matthew Henry: She desired an opportunity of receiving further instruction. If she might but have them for awhile in her family, she might hear them daily (Prov. 8:34), and not merely on sabbath days at the meeting. In her own house she might not only hear them, but ask them questions; and she might have them to pray with her daily, and to bless her household. Those that know something of Christ cannot but desire to know more, and seek opportunities of increasing their acquaintance with his gospel.

Lydia was quick to share her earthly blessings with Paul and his friends. She credited God for her abundance. She is an example of a good steward. We can not pay God back for our salvation, but out of the heart we will share what God has blessed us with. 

Lydia was a worshiper of God but, like Cornelius in Act 10, had not yet heard the Gospel. It is so neat that God brought Paul to where she was so she could be in the right place to hear the Good News of the Gospel. God prepared her heart to receive the life-giving message. In this story, so full of divine intervention, we see the sovereignty of God in salvation; as Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” John 6:44. God is working in your heart today to receive His son Jesus as your personal savior. 

A Prayer for Salvation
A Prayer to Accept Jesus as Savior

Dear Heavenly Father,

I believe that Jesus died for me.

I believe that Jesus paid for my sins on the cross.

I believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

I ask you to forgive me of my sins. I ask you to wash me clean of all sin.

I put my faith and trust in Jesus as my only hope for living eternally with you in heaven.

I ask Jesus to be my Savior and my Lord. I want to live my life for Christ.

I understand that my salvation is not based on my works but on the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Thank you for saving me!

Amen!

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So many of us have felt lack in our lives. We have felt we are not good enough. Mainly because we focus on our weaknesses and what we used to be. We focus on others and what they have or what they have accomplished that we have not. 

If I were the devil I would Tell you:

You are not good enough

You are not special like others

You are not going to get answered prayers like others

You are not smart enough

You are not going to have favor with God anymore

You are not blessed like others

You are not going to get over your past

You are not going to have a future

You are not going to have hope

You are not going to have everything God has for you

He is under the curse and he wants you to share in that curse. He is a lier and the father of it. (John 8:44)

We complain and then we get overwhelmed. Then when we get overwhelmed we lose spiritual vision. When we lose spiritual vision we start to agree with the devil. (Pastor Carter Conlon)

The enemy will point out all of your failures, all the areas you have fallen short, & he will get you so focused on all things that are NOT. 

He will do everything to get you to agree with him. Don’t agree with your enemy. God doesn’t agree with him. He has provided a way to be free of the voices of the enemy. It is time to start agreeing with God and not the devil. You are not washed up. Because of what Jesus did at the Cross we are not what we used to be. We do have a future and a hope. 

Philippians 4:8 King James Version (KJV)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Here are just a few things to meditate on:

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You are a partaker of the Divine Nature…YOU ARE IN CHRIST…

In Christ, I am:

God’s child, for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever.

(1 Peter 1:23).

Forgiven of all my sins and washed in the blood

(Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:14, Colossians 1:14, 1 John 2:12, 1 John 1:9)

A New Creature

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

The Temple of the Holy Spirit

(1 Corinthians 6:19)

Delivered from the power of darkness and translated into God’s kingdom.

(Colossians 1:13)

Redeemed from the curse of the law

(1 Peter 1:18,19 Galatians 3:13)

A Saint

(Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2, Philippians 1:1)

Blessed

(Deuteronomy 28:1-14, Galatians 3:9)

The Head and not the tail

(Deuteronomy 20:13)

Holy and without blame before Him in love.

(1 Peter 1:1, Ephesians 1:4)

Victorious

(Revelation 21:7)

Set Free

(John 8:31-33)

Strong in the Lord.

(Ephesians 6:10)

Dead to sin

(Romans 6:2,11; 1 Peter 2:24)

More than a conqueror

(Romans 8:37)

Joint heir with Christ

(Romans 8:17)

Complete in Him.

(Colossians 2:10)

Crucified with Christ

(Galatians 2:20)

Alive with Christ

(Ephesians 2:5)

Reconciled to God

(2 Corinthians 5:18)

Free from Condemnation

(Romans 8:1)

Firmly rooted, built up, established in the faith and overflowing with gratitude.

(Colossians 2:7)

Born of God, and the evil one does not touch me.

(1 John 5:18)

The Righteousness of God

(2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24)

Chosen

(1 Thessalonians 1:4; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:9)

The Apple of My Father’s Eye

(Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalm 17:8)

Healed by the stripes of Jesus.

(1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:6)

Being changed into His image

(2 Corinthians 3:18; Philiippians 1:6)

Raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places.

(Colossians 2:12; Ephesians 2:6)

Beloved of God

(Colossians 3:12; Romans 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:4)

Established to the end

(Colossians 1:8)

One in Christ

(John 17:21-23)

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Oh how many times do we get depress or discouraged when a situation arises. I know I have many of times. God is forever showing us daily that He is more powerful, more compassionate, and is The Shepherd of those who call on His name.

Many time He sends a word through His people to remind us of His Greatness. This was so true with the children of Israel and we can claim those same words for ourselves. He brings words of home, though we may be weak and we see our oppressors as strong, He is encouraging us to cling to Him.

When we read this scripture we see God’s power and strength.

Isaiah 40:12 (AMP)

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,

And marked off the heavens with a span [of the hand],

And calculated the dust of the earth with a [a]measure,

And weighed the mountains in a balance

And the hills in a pair of scales?

Back then they didn’t have all the scientific evidence that we do. They could look at creation and see His handy work. But we have more evidence.

Sticking us at the center of a massive sphere, the currently observable universe has a diameter of about 92 billion light years. Even with this observed distance, we know that it extends much further than that. He measured the Heavens with His hand. All the waters in the world He measured in the hollow of His hand.

We can go on and on about creation. But His wisdom is unsearchable. He doesn’t need to be told what is done, for He knows it. He doesn’t need advise, for who could give Him directions? He knows what needs to be done, the right way it needs to be done, & the right time it needs to be done.

His love for us is so big and endless. No one or nothing can take us out of His strong powerful hands.

Romans 8:35, 38-39 (AMP)

Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 3:18 (AMP)

the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]…

How wide is His love?: It is as wide as the arms of Christ outstretched on The Cross. Wide enough for everyone and broad enough to pull you into His loving arms.

How long?: His love is an everlasting love. His span reaches for eternities, past and future. There is never a time when He does not love you.

How high?: Look up, higher than all the stars, heaven, and it lifts us up to Him.

How Deep?: Deeper than all the problems, hurt, & pain: deeper than any distress, disaster, & reaches to the depths of our sins, griefs and pulls us out of the deepest pit.

His love is amazing. He will never, never, never leave you or forsake you. When the lies start coming just look up and see His amazing handing work.

Psalm 31:14 (AMP)

But as for me, I trust [confidently] in You and Your greatness, O Lord;

I said, “You are my God.”

Psalm 66:2-4 (AMP)

Sing of the honor and glory and magnificence of His name;

Make His praise glorious.

Say to God, “How awesome and fearfully glorious are Your works!

Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will pretend to be obedient to You.

“All the earth will [bow down to] worship You [in submissive wonder],

And will sing praises to You;

They will praise Your name in song.” Selah.

Psalm 86:10AMP)

For You are great and do wondrous works!

You alone are God.

We are more than conquerors because of what Jesus did on the Cross. The truest demonstration of God’s love for us. So what ever you may face today, look up for your redemption in nearer than you think. He overflows with Love for you. Nothing and no-one can take you from His hands.

Father reveal your love for each of us. Open our eyes to this truth. There is so much hurt and pain in this world, show us that your love has reach out through Your Son Jesus to us.

Trust Him today. Receive His love for you today!!!

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So many wake up and pray this, “Father give me strength for today”. They have been tired out by the days before and need rest from the trials and burdens of life. God is so faithful. Not only does He promise strength for the day, but He promises strength for everyday.

Deuteronomy 33:25 … as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

As you live today, He will provide strength for the whole day. What ever you may face, He has already provided for the day.

Matthew Henry: “Thou shalt be strong and bright, as iron and brass.” The continuance of their strength and vigor: As thy days, so shall thy strength be. Many paraphrase it thus, “The strength of thy old age shall be like that of thy youth; thou shalt not feel a decay, nor be the worse for the wearing, but shalt renew thy youth; as if not thy shoes only, but thy bones, were iron and brass.” The day is often in scripture put for the events of the day; and, taking it so here, it is a promise that God would graciously support them under their trials and troubles, whatever they were. And so it is a promise sure to all the spiritual seed of Abraham, that God will wisely proportion their graces and comforts to the services and sufferings he calls them out to. Have they work appointed them? They shall have strength to do it. Have they burdens appointed them? They shall have strength to bear them; and never be tempted above that they are able. Faithful is he that has thus promised, and hath caused us to hope in this promise.

There are many scriptures that encourage us for our days ahead.

Habakkuk 3:19 (AMP)

The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my [a]high places [of challenge and responsibility].

I love these words, source of courage, My invincible army, spiritual confidence…

We must daily remember that He is our source. We must look to Him, not our circumstances or our own strength. Our strength will weaken if we continually look to ourselves. Draw your strength from Him.

Ephesians 6:10(AMP)

…be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (AMP)

So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].

I am truly able, I am truly powerful, when I draw from God’s strength. Vs. 9 says “for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” His strength, His Grace, for today, you can trust Him.

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

A very present help. Today, what ever you need He is there NOW. TODAY.

One of my favorite verses is:

Lamentations 3:22-23 (AMP)

It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed,

Because His [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning;

Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.

Every morning is new. God will provide you strength for today. His mercies and loving kindness is new today. He wants you to trust Him for today. You can’t change yesterday or do anything about tomorrow. You can only live one day at a time.

Hebrews 4:16 (AMP)

Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].

Just at the right moment He will come. He is never late. He is always on time. Call on Him today. You will find His amazing Grace come upon you.

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Our story starts with Jacob going to find himself a wife. He had deceived his father into giving him the blessing that should have went to his brother. His brother was so angry he wanted to kill him. So Jacob fled and started his journey towards Haran to find a wife from his mother’s brother home.

When Jacob arrived he fell in love with Rachel, the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother. Jacob agreed to work seven years for Laban so he could marry Rachel. He was so in love with her that seven years were like days to him.

After the seven years Laban gathered everyone and made a feast for the wedding. But Laban deceived Jacob and gave his oldest daughter Leah, for it was their custom to give the oldest in marriage first. So Jacob had to serve another 7 years for Rachel. But He loved her so much he was willing to do it.

Matthew Henry Note, Love makes long and hard services short and easy; hence we read of the labour of love, Heb. 6:10. If we know how to value the happiness of heaven, the sufferings of this present time will be as nothing to us in comparison of it. An age of work will be but as a few days to those that love God and long for Christ’s appearing.

This began a long feud between the sisters. “Whom would Jacob love the most?”

There was also hatred in this new family. The bible says that Leah was hated. But God had compassion on her and allowed her to bear a son. It is interesting to me that there seems to be a balance blessings. Rachel had the love of Jacob but barren, but Leah was blessed with children.

Jacob’s Children were born in envy, rivalry, & dispute. Anytime there is deception there will come other evil works. So begins the bitter feelings between the sisters. This sounds like Jacob and Esau’s  situation. Jacob grew up in a divided and competitive home. Now his new family had the same.

Each child Leah had she was sure that it would cause Jacob to love her more. Jacob fulfilled his husbandly duties, but his heart belongs to Rachel.

The feud between the sisters continued. One time Leah even gave Rachel a mandrake from her son Reuben, for payment to have Jacob for the night. Mandrakes symbolize fertility. Rachel & Leah treated Jacob like a servant and used him as a pawn in their family feud. They bargained for him and he patiently went along. They continued to battle and offered their maids to Jacob so he could bear them children on their behave.

Over time of Jacobs had gone from the barterer to the one being bartered. The exchange between Leah and Rachel here also reminds us of the incident between Esau and Jacob over the birthright. In both, an established right is given up for a desired vegetable substance. Esau sells his birthright for a pot of lentil soup, while Rachel exchanges her “right” to lie with Jacob for Leah’s mandrakes. Jacob, who takes advantage of his brother’s desperate hunger and as a result his willingness to give up his status, is here the very object being bartered. As Esau could only think of his immediate gratification, so, too, can Rachel. The irony, of course, is that not only does Jacob become the object being bartered, but Leah’s actions remind us of his own behavior toward Esau – both seem in control and take advantage of their siblings.

Finally Rachel had a child and called him Joseph. Joseph would save the whole family during the time of a terrible famine. God blessed her and answered her prayers. Then she bore one last child, Benjamin, then she died at child birth.

We all can relate to the struggles of our human nature which brings with it, envy, jealousy, and so many fleshly actions. But we don’t have to let these kind of reactions in our lives. We have been born again and have received all things new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Galatians 5:18-25King James Version (KJV)

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:2-3King James Version (KJV)

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

In Time past we walked according to our flesh. We didn’t think twice about hating someone or committing any other act of the flesh. But now we are to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit and let Him change us from the inside out. He is forever changing us to the likeness of Christ. Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

When we take our eyes off of God, and focus on self we see how we fall short. If as we fall short we look at others and their strengths and successes then we will continue to fall into the works of the flesh. We can only be fulfilled in Jesus and not in those things we see or the things we have. When we look at other we can feel inferior or jealousy, but remember this story of deception and the funding sisters. This feud is still going on today with the descendants of these women. But God took the sin of this family and worked it out for good. Through them came the nation of Israel.

God works all things for our good. Romans 8:28  (AMP) And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

So if you have had these feelings and have made a mess of your life, be of good cheer. Jesus has overcome the world.

John 16:33 (AMP)  I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

So if you have not given your life to the one Jesus, do so today. In yourself you can not overcome your fleshly desirers. If you have given your life to Jesus. Surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life and he will continue to transform your life!!!!

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