• BE SURE TO VISIT MY BLOG AND LEAVE A COMMENT, QUESTION, OR SUGGESTION. THANKS!
  • IF PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD GOD AS HE REALLY IS THEY'D FLOCK TO HIM IN DROVES...
  • JESUS CAME SO WE COULD KNOW WHAT GOD IS LIKE. IF YOU LIKE JESUS YOU'D LIKE GOD
  • THE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF ALL FALSE RELIGION IS THAT MAN CAN SAVE HIMSELF BY HIS OWN WORKS
  • AND GOD WILL WIPE AWAY EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES ... THERE SHALL BE NO MORE DEATH, NOR SORROW, NOR CRYING ...
  • NEITHER SHALL THERE BE ANY MORE PAIN,
  • FOR THE FORMER THINGS HAVE PASSED. REV 21:4
  • GOD SEES WHO AND WHAT YOU CAN BECOME IN 10,000 YEARS!
  • YOU ONLY LOVE GOD AS MUCH AS THE PERSON YOU LIKE THE LEAST
Browsing Category:

Bible Thoughts

The Bible is the ultimate guide to life, yet it’s one of the least consulted books we turn to when looking for guidance.

The Bible is one of the most widely sold books on the planet – 88% of U.S. households have at least one Bible in the home – yet it’s one of the least read books in America.

Bible Study Thoughts wants to help make the Bible the most prominent book in your life! Let’s share our Bible ideas, thoughts, and encouragement!

Bible Study Thoughts - Courthouse

Bible Authority and Moral Relativism

Bible Study Facts - LawDoes the Bible have authority over our lives?  If it does – is it absolute? Why, or why not?

These are  important questions, because people without a Biblical worldview don’t have a reason to subject their values to any higher power than themselves. This is why moral relativism is such a problem, i.e., if there is no higher authority, no absolute truth – who are you to impose your values on me? What gives you the right to tell me your morals are better or more important than mine?

Answer?

If there is no Governing Authority, and no Absolute Power – then I don’t have the right to assert my values are any more legitimate than yours. But if the values aren’t mine, but originate with One who DOES have absolute authority, then that’s a whole different ballgame.

Moral Relativism in History

Moral relativism has been developing for some time now. In fact, it started in the Garden of Eden when the serpent posed the question to our first parents – “Hath God said?” – and then went on to impugn God and His motives for daring to impose His values (His authority) above theirs. Adam and Eve chose their own values (self-exaltation) – when they chose to presume they could “be like God” by eating the forbidden fruit (an attempt to be more exalted than they were), and asserted their wills above God’s. We all know the result.

This spirit continued in Biblical times during the period of the Judges, when, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).  No King = no higher authority = no clear standard for everyone to live by.

It continued with Shakespeare, who was born in what is called the Elizabethan period, or the English Renaissance (1558-1603). One of Shakespeare’s most quoted lines is uttered by the character Polonius in the play Hamlet “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” While on the surface this looks correct, it leads to a problem when what is true to one man (self) finds itself in opposition to what is true to another. Everyone’s “own truth” doesn’t work. Because what happens when they conflict? Whose values matter most then? See what happens(?) – we’re back at square one again.

Bible study thoughts - hippiesThe spirit of “my will as supreme” continued with Aleister Crowley, an early 20th century British writer and ceremonial magician, who developed a religion called Thelema. Crowley’s writings played a major role in what was to transpire in music and culture throughout the rest of the century. His religions main theme was “Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law”. Crowley was revered by popular musical groups such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, et al. “Do what thou wilt soon morphed into the 1960′s saying “Do your own thing“.

This was followed by post-modernism, which is the dominant culture produced by public education in the latter 20th and early 21st century. Post-modernism’s mantra seems to be that there are no moral absolutes and everyone has their own reality. Since everyone has their own reality then it necessarily follows that no one has the right to claim their reality to be more correct or appropriate than anyone else’s.

The Bible Is Absolute

Which brings us to the Bible, or, more specifically – the God of the Bible.

You know, the Bible is a fascinating book. There is nothing else like it in all of human history. In fact, there’s nothing even close!

In my mind the single greatest thing which separates it from all other books is the claims it makes for itself. The Bible unequivocally  claims to be inspired by God – our Creator – the Creator of the entire universe.

Listen to the following verses where, if they are to be believed, God is speaking to us in the first person!!

There are many to choose from but to me there is no better section to gleam texts of God speaking than in Isaiah chapters 40-46. In fact I HIGHLY recommend you read those chapters if you aren’t familiar with them … Here’s a few quotes claiming to be God Himself speaking:

  • “Thus says the Lord who made you, And formed you from the womb …” Isa 44:2
  • “Thus says the Lord , the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts; I am the First and the Last; Besides Me there is no God” Isa 44:6,7
  • “I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another …” Isa 42:8
  • “I have made the earth, and created man on it. I – My hands – stretched out the heavens, and all their host I have commanded.” Isa 45:12
  • “Look to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness and shall not return (i.e., shall not return “void” – see Isa 55:11), that to Me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess” Isa 45:22,23

Do you see why I enjoy this section of scripture so much? I just pulled out a few. Texts like these go on and on with God claiming exclusivity in the “ultimate authority” department.

QUESTION …

What If It’s True?

What if it’s true? What if the Bible really is a communication to us from our Creator? Wouldn’t that have profound implications?

I believe it would!

For one thing if the Bible really is a book of messages to us from our Creator, that would mean there is an authority greater than my own that I am accountable to. To say otherwise is to say God doesn’t have the right to be God. How absurd is that, if He made us?

Profound Implications

Bible Study Thoughts - Star ClustersIf God is God His rightful place is to be the center of the universe – around Whom everything – animate and inanimate, revolves. This should be obvious because without the Creator nothing even exists.

“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Rev 4:11

The Bible says that only God has immortality (see 1 Tim 6:16), meaning we were not only created by Him, but we are also dependent upon Him to continue living.

Because we are His creation God gets to decide how the creatures He has created are to live. God’s commandment is that we love each other. And the Bible says we will be judged for what we did with the life we were given, and that one day we’ll stand before God and give an account. And guess what that amounts to?

Moral absolutes!

Jesus said it perfectly when He was tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread to satisfy His hunger after He’d fasted 40 days and nights.

What did Jesus say?

“It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Mt 4:4

Living by every word that proceeds out of someone’s mouth is a definition of submission to an absolute authority – is it not? So my answer to the original question I posed is “YES!” … the Bible DOES have ABSOLUTE authority!

                                           ——————————————————————————————————————————————–

THE NEXT QUESTION to ask would be – How does God use authority? Is He fair or abusive? And, can God be trusted with absolute authority?

That, my friends, is the subject for another post!

But meanwhile … tell me your thoughts in the comment section below. Do you agree with what I’ve written here? Disagree? Do you have any questions or anything to add?

 

NOTE:  Have you seen my new book? Check out the introduction here: http://biblestudythoughts.com/romans-7-14-25

 

 facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Thoughts About Jesus

The Entire Bible Is About Jesus

BibleOne of my favorite methods of Bible study is the topical method.  And my favorite topic to study is Jesus – because He is the central figure of all Scripture.

In fact, if it hadn’t have been for Jesus there wouldn’t even be a Bible. How do I know that? Easy. Just listen to Jesus Himself …

Jesus said to the Jews of His day  (before there was a New Testament), “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (see John 5:39).

Jesus is also speaking to us in this passage. And what He’s telling us is the old testament Scriptures testify of Him. Were you aware of that?

Thoughts About Jesus in the Old Testament

This leads us to an important question … have you found Jesus in the Old Testament?

Remember on the road to Emmaus when Jesus joined Cleopas and his friend, two believers who were walking home from Jerusalem after the crucifixion. They were extremely discouraged, and had given up hope for the future, because they (like everyone else) thought when Christ was crucified His ministry was over.

But what did Jesus do?

Thoughts About Jesus the ShepherdThe Bible says, “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” Luke 24:27

Did you catch that?

Beginning at Moses.

That’s Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy for sure, and possibly Job which were written by Moses.

So beginning there, “and all the prophets” – he “expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself“.  All the prophets would be Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah, Joel, Zechariah et al.

And what about the Psalmist? Psalms 22,23 & 24 have been called the crucifixion, burial and resurrection Psalms.

Psalm 22, the crucifixion Psalm – “My God, My God – why have You forsaken Me?” (vs 1) “They pierced My hands and My feet” (verse 16), “They divide My garments among them and for My clothing they cast lots”. (verse 18) … [NOTE: actually the whole chapter but you get the point]

Psalm 23, the burial: “Yeah though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death I will fear no evil”.

Psalm 24, the resurrection and inaugural in heaven when He ascended to the Father, “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, ye everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.” (verse 7)

And we haven’t even scratched the surface!

We’ve got the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53; the prophecies of His birth and mission Isa. 9:6,7 and 61:1-3.

We could go on and on with Micah, the sanctuary in the wilderness, Solomon’s temple, the cloud by day and pillar of smoke at night, the Creator in Genesis – etc., etc., etc.

A Topical Study of Christ

While we can easily find Jesus’s footprints all through the Bible (and should) there’s no better source for learning about Jesus than from Jesus Himself!

One of my favorite ideas of how to systematically study about Jesus is to use the 4 gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Did you know there are 89 chapters on the 4 gospels? That makes for a beautiful way to study the life of Christ 4 times a year.

rsz_bible_readerIf a person read one chapter a day they’d go through the gospels once each quarter. If they started over each quarter they’d go through the entire life of Jesus and all He taught 4 times a year.

A way to help retain what was read would be to read a chapter each morning, and then at night before bed to write in their own words what they got out of that chapter.

Obviously this is just one technique – what are some thoughts about Jesus and how to study His life you’ve found?

Share your ideas in the comment section below …

 

 

 

 facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Cross

A Huge Drop in Status

Iraqi Army In the mid 1990′s I drove a taxicab in Lincoln, NE and had a very interesting passenger one day.  He was a former General in the Iraqi Army and he’d basically been in exile since the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.  You could also say he was a very unhappy man.

Here was his dilemma …

He told me that while he was in Iraq he had the respect of everyone he came in contact with. Being an Army General carries a certain amount of status, perhaps even more than in the U.S.

His problem was no one knew about his importance, and even after learning he’d been a General, it got no more of a response here in the U.S. than if he’d said he owned a donut shop down the street. This was because his accomplishments from his former life meant nothing here.  Americans aren’t in awe of the Iraqi Army like the average Iraqi citizen is.

Your Wish, My Command

I mean think about the changes.

As a General you’d be accustomed to:

  • People standing at attention whenever you walked into a room
  • People obeying your every word
  • Fear and trembling from anyone you wanted to confront
  • Being automatically given priority seating everywhere you went
  • Other gifts and perks

Here in America?

No more respect than if you were a nobody – because in a sense – now you would be. No more importance than that of a stranger.

This man was depressed. He was having difficulty accepting his new found lack of status. He didn’t like being ordinary.

The Mind of Christ

Jesus and ChildrenContrast that with the servant attitude of Jesus.

Of all the depictions of Christ in Scripture you’d be hard pressed to find a more eloquent portrayal of Christ’s humility than a passage in the book of Phillipians, the second chapter (although Isa. 53 just came to mind). Here’s how it reads:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phil 2:5-8

What a wonderful glimpse these verses give us into the heart and character of God!

The Condescension of Christ

Isn’t it an amazing contrast, when you put the attitude of the General and the attitude of Christ side by side?

Jesus, our Creator (see Eph 3:9) had an exact opposite take on His ‘exile’.

In heaven, Jesus enjoyed the adoration and willing obedience of angels. And He was the ultimate ‘Head of State’, towering over any General . In Revelation we’re told Jesus will soon return as “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords” (Rev. 19:16). It doesn’t get more exalted than that.

Yet this same Jesus was made “a little lower than the angels” for you and me, that He might “taste death for everyone”. (Heb 2:9)

And how did Jesus view His lowered status while here on earth?

  • He never sought the highest place
  • He never used force or compulsion
  • He had compassion for all
  • He was a servant to all
  • He died for all

Cross And the above doesn’t even scratch the surface. Words cannot express the amazing love of a God who “came unto His own, and His own did not receive Him”. John 1:11 He was “despised and rejected of men”, yet He “opened not His mouth”. Isa 53:3,7

And when we nailed the Son of God, (and the Son of man) to a cross, He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Luke 23:34

I only have one question …

Can You Love a God Like That?

 

As always, your thoughts and ideas are welcome in the comments section.facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Sowing_seed

How To Witness – 3 Things NOT To Do

 

#1. When witnessing don’t lie!

PinocchioLie?  That’s self-evident … why suggest not lying?

Because lying takes so many forms, some so subtle you can engage in them and never even know you’re doing it.

  • We lie when we care more about what our friends will think because we’ve given a Bible study, or brought someone new into the church, than we care about the person we’re ‘witnessing’ to.
  • We lie when we answer a question we don’t really know the answer to, either because we’re afraid our new friend will think less of us, or we don’t want to admit we don’t know.
  • We lie when we pretend to be perfect, or try to project an image of who we think we should be rather than who we really are. Who are we? We’re sinners saved by grace. That’s it. The good news is about Jesus – not us.

Can you think of other ways a Christian can lie when witnessing? If so, share your comment below!

 

#2. When witnessing don’t try to do too much.

  • When witnessing don’t try to do the Holy Spirits job. Our job is to lift up Christ.  That’s it.
  •  Jesus promised, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” ~ John 12:32 Realize all we can do is exalt Christ – and what an awesome privilege that is!
  • It’s easy to avoid witnessing when we’re afraid we’re not going to have the ‘perfect’ answer for everything. Being perfect’s not our job. Sharing our faith is.

 

#3. When witnessing don’t think negatively.

How? By:

  • Believing there’s no point in witnessing because no one will be interested or respond anyway. How people respond isn’t our job either. The Bible says,
  • Sowing_seed“In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike shall be good.” Eccl. 11:6  This is saying -
  • We won’t necessarily know how well our efforts have worked. The Scriptures say sow anyway.  Witness in the morning, and regardless of how it was received or how things appear, don’t hold back from witnessing in the evening.

There. Those are a few of my thoughts on the topic. Any you care to add?

Help your fellow believer and share any other ideas that have worked for you in the Comment Section below.

 

God bless you and keep coming back!

Pinocchio image courtesy of Polyvorefacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Girl Thinking

Romans 7:14-25 Shows Clearly Why It’s So Hard to Change

 

 Ever Asked God For Help – And STILL Kept Falling?

 

The introduction below will help you understand the problem when you keep asking God for help – but still aren’t able to change!

 

Intro:

 

BattlefieldofWillFNL

 

Rom 7:14 – “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold as a slave to sin.”

With these words Paul introduces his thoughts about a portion of scripture which has created a stimulating, ongoing debate, namely …

What is “the law of sin” Paul says is “in our members”?

Is the man described as struggling with a “law of sin” a Christian?

If so, does it describe someone who is converted or unconverted ?

What’s he talking about?

These questions and more are answered in my book, The Battlefield of the Will – Why We Keep Doing What We Don’t Want To Do .

It’s a verse by verse breakdown of this intriguing passage of scripture which, correctly understood, offers tremendous hope to the Christian who feels the weight of their never-ending battle with sin. It also helps them to understand why they keep doing things they don’t want to do!

See why Christians aren’t a whole lot different than non-believers, and, why they’re destined to react with the same passions (as non-believers) when they’re not being spirit led.

Jesus said, “… the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

Start your journey now.

 

Get The Battlefield of the Will!

 

The following post is a brief preview of the book, beginning with the Table of Contents:

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction: Christians, Ping Pong Balls, Character, and the Will ………

Prelude to Chapter 1: Who Was Paul? …………………………………….

Chapter 1: The Law of Sin and Death ………………………………………

Chapter 2: In Adam or in Christ? …………………………………………..

Chapter 3: Was Paul Making Excuses? ……………………………………

Chapter 4: Leopard Spots and Ethiopian Skin ………………………….

Chapter 5: The Flesh and Indwelling Sin …………………………………

Chapter 6: Carnal Christians? ……………………………………………….

Chapter 7: The Science of Salvation ………………………………………..

Chapter 8: Spiritual Laws and What They Do …………………………..

Chapter 9: The Battle of a Lifetime …………………………………………

Chapter 10: Christianity 101 ………………………………………………….

Chapter 11: How God Treats Sinners ………………………………………

Additional Resources …………………………………………………………..

 

The following excerpt is from the introduction

 

Christians, Ping Pong Balls, Character & The Will

Battlefield of the WillTo introduce our topic I’d like for you to imagine you’re out in your back yard on a warm summer day, relaxing in your swimming pool … just floating along daydreaming … when all of a sudden you notice that all around you are these little white things, bobbing up and down in the water.

Hmmm …

Not sure what to think you take a closer look to see what they are … and that’s when you make an unexpected discovery – the little white things bobbing up and down in the water are PING PONG BALLS!

Taking a closer look you notice that one of them has a big, black label on it. Curious, you reach over to pick it up, so you can read the label and see what it says. There in large print, in big black letters, you see the word “ENVY”.

Startled, you quickly put it back in the water and reach over to pick up another one. This one has a label too – it reads “SELFISHNESS”.

What could this mean?  You look left, then right, and begin to feel a little uneasy.  Although you can’t quite put your finger on it, you instinctively feel this has something to do with you. You quietly put the ball labeled “selfishness” back into the water,  hoping no one is around to see what you’re doing.

You’ve had enough drama, so you decide to gather up all the ping pong balls so you can get rid of them – and that’s when you notice – every single ping pong ball has a label on it.

Here’s one that says “JEALOUSY”, here’s another one which reads “ANGER”.   This one says “APPETITE”, the one over here “LUSTFUL THOUGHTS”, then “LAZINESS”, “PRESUMPTION”, “PRIDE” …. and on it goes, until -

 

Character Defects

That’s when you suddenly realize – the label on each ping pong ball represents one of your character defects! Anger, envy, appetite, selfishness and pride are just a few of the areas the Holy Spirit has recently been showing you are still in your life.

But … you’re a Christian … and you want to live for the LORD … so you don’t want all of these character defects. You don’t want a life of envy, or pride, or selfishness, or being controlled by appetite … so you decide you’re going to work on your character defects one at a time until you can get rid of them.

You start with the ping pong ball labeled ENVY and you push it under the water so no one can see it. Next, you decide to work on SELFISHNESS and you hold it under water. Next it’s APPETITE, then JEALOUSY, then LUST, until, just when it’s starting to look as though you’re getting everything under controlone pops up over here, and another one pops up over there.

And every time you reach over to get a hold of one so you can hold it under water – ANOTHER one pops up. Before long you discover that no matter how hard you try, and no matter how sincere you are … NOTHING YOU CAN DO … is going to keep all those ping pong balls under water. No matter what you try it’s an IMPOSSIBILITY.

Because they’re too quick, they’re too slippery … and they’re RELENTLESS.

They NEVER STOP trying to rise up out of the water. You may hold them under the surface for a little while, but sooner or later, as soon as you quit paying attention, or as soon as you get tired, or relax your grip … there they are again, bobbing up and down  in plain sight, where they can be seen again by one and all.   Order Here

 

Can you relate?

 

Girl Thinking “For the good that I will to do – I do not do. But the evil, I will NOT to do, that I practice.”  Rom 7:19 Have you ever felt that way?

Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you tried, no matter how hard you worked, and no matter how sincere you were, that,  just like those ping pong balls – your character defects keep popping back up all over again?

As soon as you grew tired, quit paying attention, or ‘relaxed your grip’?

Have you ever felt your character defects were RELENTLESS?

Have you ever made a promise to God, only to find you were too weak to carry it out?

And that your promises to God were no stronger than “ropes of sand”?

What is it that keeps you, and keeps me, from getting rid of our character defects – once and for all? What prevents us from becoming “super Christians”?

[NOTE: The term “super Christian” is one I got from a friend at church who was dying of cancer.  He’d been fighting his cancer for about a year and a half and he knew he was losing the battle and only had a short time to live.

One day he was reflecting on his failed attempts to conquer specific areas in his life which he felt were his character defects, and he was very discouraged. He said to me, “Virgil with what I’m facing (he knew his death was near) I don’t understand why I still have the problems I’ve got. It seems like I’d be a “super Christian” by now – but I’m not. I’m still the same person, with the same problems I’ve always had. I don’t get it”.

If only my friend  had understood what you’re about to discover in this book!]

 

The Bible has answers!

We’re going to answer that question – ‘what prevents us from being “super Christians” – by looking at a law which Paul talks about in Romans, the 7th chapter.

It’s what he refers to as “the law of sin”, which he says is “in our members”.  He also refers to it in chapter 8:2 as the “law of sin and death”.  (By the way, he also talks about the remedy, the “law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus”.  But that’s the topic of my next book , part 2 in the series).

But back to the subject at hand – do you ever get discouraged and feel like giving up? Do you ever wonder why it’s so difficult to be true to your beliefs? The Bible has answers! Are you ready to hear a Biblical explanation of why it’s such a struggle to live the Christian life?

Do you need relief from guilt?

Are you ready for some good news?

I believe you are! And if you’ve read this far I don’t think you’re here by accident. I believe you’re here by divine appointment.

So let’s get started, shall we?

We’ll begin in chapter 1 by looking at “the Law of Sin and Death” Paul identifies in Romans 7  … but first I’d like to begin with a discussion about Paul himself.

 

Prelude to Chapter 1: Who Was Paul?

 

I decided before getting into Paul’s excellent portrayal of the battle the Christian faces each day, that it would be a good idea to start with a discussion about Paul himself.

Why?

Pharisee

Because invariably when the subject of the man in Romans 7:14-24 comes up (which Paul writes in the first person) someone will always say,

“Yes, but that was Paul before he was converted”.

Why?

Because it’s hard for them to imagine a giant of the faith like Paul experiencing the same battle(s) mere mortals such as you and I face every day.

And while I can certainly understand the sentiment – because Paul was a giant – I contend that he was …

 

===================================================

Download ebook on Kindle

 

Read the rest in my book!

Comments?

What are your thoughts about the man in Romans 7:14-25 and your own Christian walk? Share them with us below …

 facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail