Sunday, October 5, 2014

You Will Not Abandon My Soul Psalm 16


Psalm 16

16 Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You.”

3 As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4 The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5 The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.

6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7 I will bless the Lord who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8 I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.

10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.


Now this is a hallelujah Psalm if ever there was one. You shall not abandon my soul.. WOW!!

But this is more than just rejoicing, there are lessons to be learned.

Choose your friends wisely

3As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.


Rejoice with the saints of the land. Share your concern, your prayers, your activities with those who also serve God. Allow them to be there you as well as you be there for them.

4 The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.


And accept that those who serve other gods will fail. Will suffer, the victory might momentarily be theirs but in the end, the triumph is ours. And by gods, I don't just mean other religions or known "gods". There are those who worship greed, fame, power, etc...

Worry not about their "success" for "Indeed we have a beautiful inheritance"

And we when we struggle, when we are tempted, when we doubt. Remember listen to God because
"He will make known to us the path of life"

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Who Shall Dwell in the House of the Lord, Psalm 15


Whom shall dwell in the house of the Lord?

Psalm 15
 
15 O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
3 He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the Lord;
He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He does not put out his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.

Now as Christians we understand that our place is guaranteed in heaven. That Jesus' death wiped away all of our sins. But that doesn't mean we should just run around sinning willy-nilly. No it means that there is a conduct of behavior that is expected of us.

Yes, we have the privilege of having the Holy Spirit live within us but we still have to consciously decide to allow the Spirit to flow through us at that moment of temptation.

But I look as this psalm as a litany of temptations. We are tempted to:

  • Walk an unrighteous life
  • Gossip
  • Lie
  • Respect evil
  • Enact revenge
  • Accept bribes
  • Lend money to our benefit
  • Judge our friends..

And that is what David is warning us against. Of course the "big" sins are things we are aware of.. murder, stealing, adultery, etc... those are obvious. But the "little" sins are equally unrighteous and all it takes is one step on the wrong path.

And right at the end of vs 5

He who does these things will never be shaken

What does that mean? Well I read this to mean, when we do these things we are not serving God, we are not glorifying God, we are falling into sin and closing our hearts to God.

So as Christians we need to walk with integrity.. to live the life God has planned for us and then we can take vs 5 in an entirely different manner.. He who does these things shall not be moved. Living a righteous life, allowing God to flow through us.. then "just like the tree that's planted by the water.. we shall not be moved!"

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Folly and Wickedness of Men Psalms 14


Psalm 14
 
14 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds;
There is no one who does good.
2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there are any who understand,
Who seek after God.
3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one.
4 Do all the workers of wickedness not know,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call upon the Lord?
5 There they are in great dread,
For God is with the righteous generation.
6 You would put to shame the counsel of the afflicted,
But the Lord is his refuge.
7 Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores His captive people,
Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad.


This has become such a prevelant problem in our society. Somehow we have allowed those who have closed their hearts to God, to be in control. We have given them the power and now are suffering for it.

We are a generation that is searching. Because we crave that connection with God but as time has passed and it has been declared "There is no God" the people look elsewhere to fulfill their needs. We rarely call them cults anymore, instead we have watched them infiltrate our society and our minds.

"They have turned aside together they have turned corrupt"

That insidious whisper of promise has slithered into them until they believe in the power of greed. Of might making right. Of silencing those who stand for God. The problem is, our souls cry out for more. So we seek but not for God because "God does not exist". It's only when someone finally listens finally opens their eyes that they discover what they were seeking has been there all along.

That God will fill their spiritual coffers. That they are free in God's love. That those other "religions" are mere imitation. That true knowledge comes from God.

I can hear the voices now.. the outcry, the accusations. We must be tolerant of those who believe differently from ourselves. Must we? We must love them, yes, we must show God's love, yes. But be tolerant.. I wonder. I know I don't judge those who honestly show their faith in something other than my God. I would enjoy a lively discussion.. a meeting of minds. But these aren't even the people I speak of. I speak of those who are "spiritual" or have found the religion of conformity.. who disclaim God with one breath and spout their foul beliefs with the other.  The ones who blame Christians for being Christians and mock our beliefs while spouting tolerance.. Those people.. I find my tolerance factor is busted.

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.




Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Abiding Life: Part 12 Romans 8:11


Romans 8:11

11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

This should be an easy verse to understand. If the Holy Spirit dwells in you then that same spirit will give life to your body.

If we can accept that basic concept then we will find it so much easier to walk the Christian life. The Holy Spirit guides not just our hearts and minds but our very bodies.

Of course it's never that easy for us. We always have questions. A discussion that came up in our study was, "How can the "mortal body" be separate from the flesh?" Remember, Paul refers to the mortal body when discussing our physical self and the flesh when discussing sins, i.e. The sins of the flesh.

So how can it be separated? Physically, literally of course we can't separate our flesh from our bodies, but spiritually? Now that's a different story.

The moment temptation hits we must make a split second choice. Will we give in to temptation? Will we gossip, lie, cheat, steal, etc..? Or will we yield to the Spirit that dwells within us to flow through us? To guide our thoughts and actions. Yes actions by allowing the spirit to guide our "mortal bodies" we turn away from sin. At that moment our flesh (temptation) is separated from our "mortal bodies".

It's a delicate dance with God always allowing us to choose. Give in to the flesh or yield to the Spirit? Sadly, the correct choice often seems the harder one. That's because we are not yielding to the Spirit we are trying to be good or do the right thing on our own. People, it's possible but very very hard. And doing it ourselves does not glorify God. But by yielding? By allowing the Spirit to flow through us.. now that is so amazingly easy. Let go and let God.. remember that saying? Well, that's pretty much what happens when our "mortal bodies" are controlled by the Spirit. And oh the joy that can be found in doing so.

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Abiding Life: Part 11 John 15: 1-12


We all know this scripture but do we really understand it? Sure in theory maybe but have you broken it down??

John 15: 1-12

1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8 "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
9 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
When I read this, I always took this to mean we are a family, in Christ. All of our branches connect due to the vine. Yes that could be considered accurate but it's seriously limiting God's power. Limiting how God uses you.

The essential nature of God (The Christian Life) is not something that we produce, it is something that flows through us. We are the branches, we BEAR the fruit but the vine itself is what actually produces it, cut off the branch and what you have is a dead branch but the vine can still produce.

By being Living Branches (huge shout out to my First Family High School Choir, the Living Branches) we can be pruned and sculpted. God will do whatever He needs to do in our lives to get us to produce the most fruit possible. Our dead weight removed in order to bear God's perfect fruit.

So what does this all tell us? We can't do it ourselves. We are incapable of creating the fruit, the Vine (God) creates the fruit. And once the branch starts to bear fruit, the Vinter (God) must do His utmost to make that branch strong enough to bear plentiful and abundant fruit.

And for being that branch we are rewarded. We are given a promise of a life full of Joy!!

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Abiding Life: Part 10 Col 1:27

Colossians 1:27
 
27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

To me, this verse firmly takes us from being inactive to active. God not only dwells in us but now H is using us as a witness. God in all his fullness. Yes, His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) dwells in us but we must remember that we represent the Trinity, the fullness of God.

John 14:7
 
7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

And does our purpose become? To have Chris in us with the hop of glory.

*Glory - enhance the reputation of another

There are discussions about the meaning of glory pertaining to this verse.

  • Some think it means that while Christ lives in us now, we have the promise of future glory in heaven with Him.
  •  Others believe that it means that if we allow Christ to guide us, to flow through us, we have that glory right now.
While I agree with the first explanation, we as Christians will live in Glory with Jesus, in heaven. I personally feel that this particular verse has a more imminent meaning. In this body, right now. If Jesus lives in me, I have the hope of a life of glory. Being used as an instrument to glorify God.

*To Glorify - To cause the dignity and worth of something else to be clearly seen, understood and acknowledged by another.

1 Peter 2:12

12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

By choosing to walk in the Spirit, we bear witness to Him. By our very actions we glorify Him by word and deed. 

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.




 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

How Long, Oh Lord? Psalms 13



Psalm 13  A Prayer for Help in Trouble.

  1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 

  2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 
  3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 
  4 And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. 
  5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
  6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Do you know what I liked about this Psalm? Even David, beloved of God sometimes felt like God had abandoned him. Like he was on his own, clueless as to how to serve God without His guidance. And yet, even though he felt abandoned, even though he felt like he was suddenly God's red headed step child. That God actually favored his enemies. He still knew, in his heart that his only true recourse was to turn to God. To believe in the faith he had entrusted in God. Because God had yet to fail  in a promise made.

How easy is it to step believing? To allow the circumstances to dictate the facts. To turn our own way, sure that we can handle our struggles on our own? Way too easy. This Psalm reminds me of one of my favorite expressions, "I have failed God many times but He has NEVER failed me." Seems David got the memo. It's ok to question but when our doubts overflow (or even just start) turn your eyes to God. Because He has never failed us and his promise is solid as the very foundations of the world.

Shauni


*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.


Friday, September 26, 2014

The Abiding Life: Part 9 Romans 8:1

ROMANS 8:1

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


13 words that's all today's verse entails. 13 words that release us from the troubles of this world. It's rather amazing, isn't it?

Romans 8:1 tells us that we are not condemned to live with the "I" factor. We are FREE if we understand the spiritual life.

There is so much that can be said about this verse, so many ways to rejoice but I am going to focus on the fact that we are FREE from bondage. We are no longer slaves to Sin. For if we put our lives in Jesus' hands. If we allow the spirit to flow through us. If we choose Christ then we are FREE. It's that simple!

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Abiding Life: Part 8 Romans 7: 15, 17, 19 & 20

Romans 7: 15 - 20

 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 
 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

I am going g to break this down just a bit... first let's look at verses 15 & 19


 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

 These two verses are full of what I call the "I" factor (otherwise known as me, Me, ME). We as Christians want to serve God but continually fail. Why? The "I" factor. I want to do righteous deeds but because I am born of the flesh I fail. And sometimes find myself falling back on my SIN nature.



Let's take this a bit further by adding verse 17 after verse 15


15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

And verse 20 after verse 19

19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

I read this and realized how easily this can be misread.  Paul did not write this as an excuse for his sin nature but rather as an explanation for his sins. 

Basically the way I see it, we want to walk a righteous path but Sin (pride, temptation, etc...) dwells (lives) within us and is constantly tempting us to stray. When we flounder we need to allow God's Spirit to flow through us. And when we stumble, when we falter, when we sin, we need to recognize where it is coming from. Then once again yield to the spirit.

Romans 8:13

13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

A veritable fork in the road. Yes sin dwells within us but we need to consciously choose to live by the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25

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

So we make that conscious choice to live by the Spirit. We choose the path we walk on. And once we choose to walk in the Spirit the "I" factor will fade as God's Spirit will shine through.

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Faithful Have Vanished Psalms 12


PSALMS 12

1Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be, For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.

 2 They speak falsehood to one another; With flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.
 3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, The tongue that speaks great things; 
 4 Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; Our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”
 5 “Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.” 
 6 The words of the Lord are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
 7 You, O Lord, will keep them; You will preserve him from this generation forever.
 8 The wicked strut about on every side When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

Is it just me? Or are you amazed at these words? I find it astonishing that David speaks so well for us. We are living in a time where the faithful seem to have vanished. In a time where are very leaders seem to be the ones who are leading us astray. In a world where it is more important to appease the ungodly than it is to serve God.

Where promises are made to those in need, those who are suffering and yet with each promise, strings are attached. Promises are broken, individuals are sacrificed to the masses. Lies rule the world. (Are we sure this didn't come from our morning paper?)

But God promises to arise and protect those of His people. He promises to place them in safety. Ok, all you scoffers, being held in God's embrace is a truly safe place to be. Is the world still going insane around us, yes. Are we suddenly physically safe from the world's problems, no. But when God embraces us, protects us and lights the way for us, our burdens are lighter and our fears are gone. If that's not safe, what is?

We still live in a world run by man so our strength must come from God's promises.

Shauni


*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The non Prodigal Son

We all know the story of the prodigal son. It's probably the most well know parable in the Bible. It's how we are taught to embrace those who have turned away from sin. As a culture we have brought it into the secular world. It is truly a wonderful story. But today, I want to talk about the other brother.


Luke 15:11-32
 11 And He said, “A man had two sons.
 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his [a]wealth between them.
 13 And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.
 14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.
 15 So he went and [b]hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
 16 And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the [c]pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.
 17 But when he came to [d]his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!
 18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and [e]in your sight;
 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’
 20 So he got up and came to [f]his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and [g]embraced him and kissed him.
 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;
 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;
 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

 25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.
 26 And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be.  27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’
 28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.
 29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never [h]neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends;
 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your [i]wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’
 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you [j]have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.  32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

Initially we could say this is about a selfish and jealous child and I am sure that's how some people see the other brother. But he's not, he's hurt and confused. It's not that he doesn't live his brother or isn't happy he's home, it's that he suddenly feels unappreciated. That his hard work was for nothing. Fortunately Dad puts a stop to that. 

We, as part of the Christian community and the world all tend to forget the unProdigal Son. We forget, being a Christian is hard. Finding Christ and accepting Him into your life is the easy part. The hard part is staying on the path of righteousness. Offtimes, the faithful are forgotten. Not by God, no He welcomes them into His embrace. Offers them comfort and solice. It's the rest of us who fail.

When we see someone who has fallen from grace, we rush to embrace him, the farther they fall, the bigger our pig (to roast) is. We oooooo and we ahhhhh impressed with their strength. While ignoring those who have stood fast in their faith. Shoot, the world openly mocks them. Even (or rather especially) our "Christian" Nation.  In fact it seems we Americans are the hardest on our Christians. We are supposed to support those of other faiths, respect those who choose to disbelieve entirely (no matter how loud they clamour). We have to quietly stand by as our Christian nation falls into the hands of unbelievers. At least that is what our society says. After all everyone knows all the earth's problems were brought on by white European Christian men. Obviously the world would be a eutopia if only..

So while they bend over backwards to welcome just about anyone who believes in anything other than Christ, they mock us. But be faithful because no matter the ways of the world, God will provide for us and we will abide with Him forever. 

I, myself have stumbled and left the path only to return years later but I wanted to show my appreciation to the faithful. The path may be hard but your travels have been noticed.

Shauni



*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Facing the Arrows of Life Psalms 11

Psalms 11
1 I've already run for dear life straight to the arms of God. So why would I run away now when you say, 2 the evil bows are bent, the wicked arrows Aimed to shoot under cover of darkness at every heart open to God. 3 The bottom's dropped out of the country; good people don't have a chance"?


 At first glance Psalm 11 was a quick read lacking that profound and immediate message but after re reading it and slapping myself upside the head.. I saw so much more than a quick easy read.

 We as Christians face so many struggles and yet so often don't understand why. There are those who literally attack us "straight through the heart" so to speak. They bend their bows and let loose their arrows. Arrows of spite, jealousy, gossip, etc. with each hit from those poisonous arrows, we can crumble just a little bit more. As beings of flesh our foundation is already shaky. Fortunately for us God provides a firmer ground.

 4But God hasn't moved to the mountains; his holy address hasn't changed. He's in charge, as always, his eyes taking everything in, his eyelids Unblinking, examining Adam's unruly brood inside and out, not missing a thing.
 5 He tests the good and the bad alike; if anyone cheats, God's outraged.
 6 Fail the test and you're out, out in a hail of firestones, Drinking from a canteen filled with hot desert wind.
 7 God's business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, Setting us straight. Once we're standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.

 God's eyes are upon us, he supports our very foundation. When the aroorws fly we can rest in God's shadow. His sight will protect us from the incoming, He will be our shield. He will be our protector and He will retaliate against the wicked. And we can just sit and bask in His faithfulness..

 Shauni


*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why do You Hide Yourself? Psalms 10




A Prayer for the Overthrow of the Wicked.



1 Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?

          Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?

2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
          Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.



3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire,


          And the greedy man curses and spurns the LORD.


4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.
          All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”


5 His ways prosper at all times;
          Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
          As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.

6 He says to himself, “I will not be moved;
          Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.”

7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;
          Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.

8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages;
          In the hiding places he kills the innocent;
          His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate.

9 He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair;
          He lurks to catch the afflicted;
          He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net.

10 He crouches, he bows down,
          And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones.

11 He says to himself, “God has forgotten;
          He has hidden His face; He will never see it.”

12 Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Your hand.
          Do not forget the afflicted.

13 Why has the wicked spurned God?
          He has said to himself, “You will not require it.

14 You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand.
          The unfortunate commits himself to You;
          You have been the helper of the orphan.

15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer,
          Seek out his wickedness until You find none.



16 The LORD is King forever and ever;


          Nations have perished from His land.


17 O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble;
          You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear

18 To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
          So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.



With all the things going on in the world today, this Psalm really hit home. It reminds me of the age old question"Why does a Loving God allow bad things to happen?" Why do those who have evil design constantly and consistently rise to power? 


These are good questions and obviously have been around for a lot longer than I was aware of. And I of course have no real answers, just some thoughts. 


How can a loving God allow this?? I think that can be answered by a question that was posed to Me in my youth. "If God is all powerful, can He make a rock so big He can't move it?" Ahhh a riddle. I want you to think about this for a moment. I do have an answer. It's yes...What? God can't do something???? Here's my reasoning Free Will (replace the word rock with free will). God promises us free will. He promised us that He would not force us to choose Him. He wants us to serve Him with open and living hearts but He. Will. Not. Force. US. Because He gave His word because His word is His bond, He Can Not break it. Why? Because He said He wouldn't. 


So there's your answer. How can God allow all the evil things to happen? Because He promised us He would allow us free will. Yeah, but what about the Christians who serve Him? Don't they deserve better? Of course they do. And God offers His comfort and support, God carries their burdens for them. For all of us if we let Him. The struggles and troubled and persecutions don't go away, the just become easier to bear because God carries them for us. Why? Because we asked Him to!


Consider all the nation's that have risen to power based on evil and consider how many have stumbled, failed and are now crumbled to dust. In a way we are a "last man standing" kind of world. And God will be that "man". So the evildoers will fail, the nation's Will fall and we, His children will be there to praise Him in victory.


Shauni


*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Abiding Life: Part 7 Romans 6:12-13

Romans 6:12-13


 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 
13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of
unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Therefore? Way back in Mrs. Elkhart's 7th grade language arts class, I was taught... if it says therefore, find out what it's there for. So what's your therefore, there for? Remember yesterday's verse,   Romans 6:11
11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
There's our therefore... if we are dead to sin and alive in Christ, we must not let sin reign in our lives. Wait...that's confusing isn't sin a constant in our lives??? Well it's there. But in this case we are not speaking of the sins of the flesh, rather of sin. There's a difference???

SIN - the original pride, self centeredness, power or entity that tempts us. Going all the way back to push temptation and doubt into our lives... aka Lucifer, Satan, The Devil, Bealzabub, etc...

Sins - those actions we take when we give in to Sin.

There is plenty of terminology in these two verses that can lead to some confusion. What exactly is Paul referring to when he says mortal body? Just that. The flesh, bones, muscle of our physical selves...as opposed to when he says flesh, that usually implies our sinful nature, ie. Sins of the Flesh. What are the members he speaks of?? This can be compared to our senses... and instruments? What do we all need to play the tuba? No an instrument is a tool of sorts. A tuba is in fact a musical tool.

So, what does that mean to us?

We are dead to Sin sooo do not let it control our body's actions. Do not let it back inside. What we need to do is take our physical body to God allowing Him to use all of us (head, shoulders, knees and toes) not just our bodies but our senses, our heart, all of us. And use them as tools (or be realistic allow God to use them as tools) of righteousness to God.

Any clearer?

Bottom line, use our tools to serve God not sin.

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Abiding Life: Part 6 Romans 6:11


Romans 6:11

 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Even so? Even so what? Today's verse is a continuation of Part 4. We slipped Colassions 2:12-14 in there yesterday because it works well in this series BUT Romans 6:11 is a pivotal part in truly believing in an Abiding Life.

A one verse lesson? Well yeah, look at the power in that single verse. From the moment of your baptism, your acknowledgement if Christ's sacrifice for you, you may consider yourself dead to sin....

Consider??? Doesn't that mean think?? As in you think you might possibly be?? Nope.. In this case the word consider has more depth. When you ask someone to do a favor a response could be "Consider it done". As in you can put the very possibility of it not being done right out of your mind. So it isn't a case of waffling between seeing it done and hopping maybe it's true. No, in this case, in God's case it's a matter of it's already done. Know it, believe it.

Sometimes it's hard because we get list in the translation. But when we remember that God doesn't deal in maybes. God deals in absolutes. He has declared us dead to sin and Alive to Christ. Embrace this...revel in it.

Shauni





*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Abiding Life: Part 5 Col 2:12-14

You may have noticed that I am going back and forth between this Abiding Life Series and my Daily Psalms Series. I am doing this because I want to follow our discussions in our Sunday class.

We are discussing first knowing our faith and the using our knowledge to live an abiding life in Jesus. Then finally how to use that knowledge of our faith to witness and share that faith.

Colossians 2:12-14 


12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions
 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Buried with Him - of course we were not physically wrapped in linens and buried in the tomb with Jesus but spiritually, that's a different matter. In His death, He gathered our tattered souls riddled with sin and took them with Him. Upon rising from His death He returned to us a new soul, cleansed of any sin and surrounded by the Holy Spirit.

With our baptism, we acknowledge His sacrifice. Thereby dying with Him and rising from the waters a new being.

Think About it -clean slate-  with a new spirit, alive in Christ.

ALL of our Sins have been forgiven. Not just the ones we are aware of, not just the ones we have committed, but ALL of them. Past, present and future.

Cancelled our certificate of debt.

Best analogy??
It's like a credit card, we accumulate debt and once a month we receive a statement. We can either pay a monthly amount, keeping us in debt, or we can pay off the entire bill.

God has paid our debt in full. Only we don't receive a monthly statement. We get that one time, when we stand before the throne. Fortunately for us, our bill will be stamped Paid in full.

All of our Sins have been forgiven. That doesn't mean we should run out and sin Willy, nilly. No, we need to continue to strive to live a Christ like life.

But.. when we stumble, when we fail, God has already created a way we can continue on.


1 John 1:9 


 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


We know that God has as already forgiven our Sins but we still need to acknowledge our unrighteousness. We need to confess these sins and allow God to show us His faithfulness.

We are a truly blessed people! All we need to do is grab a hold of the promises God has made us and we can live that abiding life in Christ.

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I Will Recount Your Wondrous Deeds

 Today all I can think of is how often God takes care of those who proclaim His name. Yes, life is hard and even with those words the devil is attempting to sway my thoughts. Life is hard, people suffer, sometimes even those who have committed their lives to God.
  But by remaining true to God, there is peace. A joy in the life we are living.

Psalms 9: 1-4
1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
 3 My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you.
4 For you have upheld my right and my cause; you have sat on your throne, judging righteously.

Oh Wow! Think About this. When we stand righteous before God, when we praise Him most High. He stands with us and our enemies will fall. I don't mean our enemies in war rather our enemies in spirit. The bullies, the mean spirited, the gossips. Those that would tear you down.

But beware, it works both ways! You must stand righteous with God or you might find yourself the enemy being torn down. I know in my arrogance I have been torn down until I am once again humble before God. Sadly, more than once.

Psalms 9: 9-10
9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 
10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

There are those who swear that "religion" is a crutch. While I don't consider my faith a "religion", rather a relationship with God, I do see the point. God becomes the staff we can lean on when times are hard. Why wouldn't we take advantage of something that will hold us up when we are in jeopardy of falling? I am through being too proud of leaning on the shoulder that God is providing for me. His shoulders are broad and able and willing to bear my burton.

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Abiding Life: Part 4 Romans 6: 3-4

Romans 6:3-4 

3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 

4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.


There is an interesting concept among believers, it started in the early church and in some ways continues to this day.

Concept: 
The more we sin, the better we show God's grace.. *snort* 

You have to give them credit.. that particular concept allows us to almost unaccountable for our sins. But people that's just not it!

If you want the full context you need to read vs 1-13. 

Sure we were born into sin but we died to sin in our baptism. We rose with new souls clean and pure. Why would we then choose to tarnish it with sin. Instead we should strive to remain dead to sin and show God's grace by our commitment to Him.

"Our victory over temptation begins by what we KNOW about ourselves" Tom Schoeneck

We have been baptized in Christ,
    Baptize- Immersed, signifies Change

So we KNOW:

  • we have been Baptized in Christ
  • we have risen with a new heart and a new spirit
  • that God has shared His spirit with us
So instead of sharing God's grace through sin we must walk in the newness of life.

Shauni

*remember these are my thoughts on this verse and what I took away from my Bible study.. feel free to add yours to the discussion.