“Are You Under God’s Umbrella of Protection?” October 28

 

Are you under God's umbrella of protection? - What is God’s "umbrella of protection" and how do we stay under it? How, also, do we put ourselves outside His protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection for its members?What is God’s “umbrella of protection” and how do we stay under it in the home, in the workplace, and in other areas of life? How, also, do we put ourselves outside His protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection for its members?  Continue reading

“Could Guilt Lead to Paranoia?” October 27

 

Could Guilt Lead to Paranoia?Could guilt lead to paranoia? Could those feelings of guilt and anxiety be God’s early warning system to keep us from experiencing deeper emotional issues? And what happens when we ignore those warnings?

Also read about God’s faithfulness in hard times and a biblical view of authority.  Continue reading

“True Worship = Obedience” August 14

 

True Worship = Obedience -

True worship is more than a time of music and singing. True worship involves how we live our lives, whether we obey God or respond by hardening our hearts to His commands.

Also, God is a God of order and He has ordained authority as part of that order. No matter what we think, we are not living obediently if we aren’t fully submitted to the authority He has placed in our lives.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 19 & 20
Psalm 95.6-11
Proverbs 23.4-5
Romans 13.1-14

 

True Worship = Obedience

 

Psalm 95.6-11:

For He Is Our God

 

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

Today, if you will hear His voice:
“Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.

listening ear

True worship is more than merely showing up at church to sing and raise our hands. It is submitting our hearts and lives to God in obedience and realizing that “He is God.” It’s then that we “will hear His voice.”

No matter how often we attend church or what kind of outward religious activity we perform, if we’re not submitted to God in our hearts, which is demonstrated by our obedience, we are no different from those who hardened their hearts, rebelled, and tested God.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 19 & 20:

My Redeemer Lives

 

In spite of all his miseries, Job could still say, “For I know that my Redeemer lives …” That should put most of us to shame! He went on to say, “… I shall see God.” So no matter what, he was sure of his eternal destiny.  Continue reading

“Fearing God in an Anti-Christian Culture” July 21

 

Fearing God in an Anti-Christian Culture

 

With recent decisions in the courts, the temptation to just “go along because it’s the law” will never be stronger, but we must choose whether to fear God or fear man in the increasingly anti-Christian culture we live in.

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 3 & 4
Psalm 86.11-17
Proverbs 21.17-18
Acts 22.1-30

 

Fearing God in an Anti-Christian Culture

 

Ezra 3 & 4:

Fearing God or Man?

 

In chapter 3, even though the people who returned to Jerusalem had the authority of the king behind them, there was still opposition from the people already living in the land.

Verse 3 says, “… fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries …” But in spite of their feelings they determined to do what was right and to worship God as Moses had instructed them to do.

Even though there is a move to restrict our rights as believers, we still have a great deal of freedom under the laws of our land. And while Romans 13 instructs us to obey those who rule over us, even that has limitations. Anytime someone in authority asks us to sin, we have a higher authority—that is God and His Word.

With recent decisions in the courts, the temptation to just “go along because it’s the law” will never be stronger. There will be times on the job (even when we are within our rights), with our friends, or in our families where we will feel fear—fear of being ridiculed, fear of being rejected, fear of what people will think, fear of being labeled unloving or intolerant, even in some cases, fear of losing our jobs or our businesses. But, we too, can do what’s right in spite of our feelings.  Continue reading

“When Is It Right to Disobey?” June 19

 

When is it right to disobey? - God places a high priority on authority. He commands us to respect authority and to live obediently under the authority of our government, our work structure, our church leadership, and within the family. So is it ever right to disobey authority? If so, when?God places a high priority on respect for authority. He commands us to live obediently under the authority of our government, our work structure, our church leadership, and within the family. So is it ever right to disobey someone in authority? If so, when? That is a question more and more believers are forced to consider.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 1 & 2
Psalm 76.1-6
Proverbs 19.6-7
Acts 4.1-22

 

When Is It Right to Disobey?

 

Sharing the Truth

Acts 4.1-22:

 

Until recently, I worked full time at our church, so I have had great freedom to talk about Christ and the Gospel. Even now, as a volunteer counselor, I’m free to share the gospel with those who don’t have a personal relationship with God and speak the truth to those who want answers for the issues in their lives.

However, I have many friends who work in secular jobs. Some are teachers with students from broken homes and other difficult environments. Others are office workers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, law enforcement personal, and dozens of other occupations. They are surrounded by people with great needs and a variety of beliefs and they are often limited in the freedom to share their faith openly.

And God does place a high priority on respect for authority. He commands us to live obediently under the authority of our government, our work structure, our church leadership, and within the family. So is it ever right to disobey someone in authority? If so, when? That is a question more and more believers are forced to consider. Continue reading

“Living Based on the Hope that is within Us” June 9

 

Living Based on the Hope that is within Us - What if God called you or I to suffer for our faith or to live under some kind of oppression? Would we trust Him and choose to live righteously and show His love to those around us? On the other hand, even under the best of circumstances, sinful thoughts like discontent, envy, criticism and bitterness can cause us to justify all kinds of sinful behaviors. Those sins we think we harbor in our hearts and minds can send us into a downward slide into things we never could have imagined, as we'll see in 2 Kings 6.

 

What if God called you or I to suffer for our faith or to live under some kind of oppression? Would we trust Him and choose to live righteously and show His love to those around us?

On the other hand, even under the best of circumstances, sinful thoughts like discontent, envy, criticism and bitterness can cause us to justify all kinds of sinful behaviors. Those sins we think we harbor in our hearts and minds can send us into a downward slide into things we never could have imagined, as we’ll see in 2 Kings 6.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 5 & 6
Psalm 72.1-7
Proverbs 18.10-11
John 18.1-18

 

Living Based on the Hope that is within Us

 

2 Kings 5 & 6:

Serving God in Whatever Circumstances

 

Chapter 5.2-3 really amazes me and has a great message for us.

“And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, ‘If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.'”

Here’s a young girl who had been ripped away from her family and life as she knew it, forced to work as a slave, and yet, look at her heart attitude—one of loyalty and concern for the people under whose authority God had placed her.

Why would God allow that to happen to her in the first place?

For the same reason He allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery and carried off to a foreign land—to fulfill His plans and purposes AND to bless those He uses. We need to remember that our good and His glory are always connected.

13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Pet. 3.13-17).

Because of this little servant girl, who lived her life out of “the hope that [was] in [her],” Naaman would come to know the One True God.

 

The Joys and Sorrows of Discipling Others

 

discipleship Bible studyAnother passage that spoke to me was 2 Kings 5.25-26. After Naaman had gone to the Prophet and been healed, he offered Elisha gifts of silver and clothing, but Elisha had refused them. After he left, Elisha’s servant Gehazi followed him, told him that the Prophet had changed his mind, and had greedily taken the gifts.

“Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, ‘Where did you go, Gehazi?’ And he said, ‘Your servant did not go anywhere.’ Then he said to him, ‘Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you?’ …”

“Did not my heart go with you …” It’s such a blessing to see those you have led to the Lord or discipled grow and walk in the truth, but painful to see them walk away from the truth.

How Elisha’s heart must have been broken to see Gehazi, who had seen so many of God’s miracles, turn his back on God for monetary gain!

How easily we can get on a downward slide into sin. We first need to realize that we can’t play around with sinful thoughts. Thoughts of discontent, envy and criticism can easily cause us to justify taking what we think we deserve or some other sinful behavior or response.

If not repented of and forsaken one sin leads to another and to another (Rom. 6.19) as we see in 2 Kings 6.

 

Without Shame

 

Chapter 6 recounts a very disturbing story of how the Northern Kingdom’s descent into sin and idolatry had brought them to the depths of human depravity. Samaria was under siege and food had become so scarce that the people were starving. Verses 26-29:

“Then, as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, ‘Help, my lord, O king!’ And he said, ‘If the LORD does not help you, where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or from the winepress?’ Then the king said to her, ‘What is troubling you?’ And she answered, ‘This woman said to me, “Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.” So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, “Give your son, that we may eat him”; but she has hidden her son.'”

Can you imagine this, even under starvation conditions? The first thing that struck me was the woman’s lack of shame! She didn’t mind telling the king what they had done!

But as I thought about this passage and how shocking it is, is it that different from women today who allow their boyfriends to abuse or even kill their babies or children. And others who do so themselves.

Neither should we lose sight of the fact that there is a message in this for us, too. It’s so tempting to get self-righteous and think:  Continue reading

“Housewives & Kingdom Rewards” May 27

 

Housewife & Kingdom Rewards - Have you ever wanted to go out into the mission field? or record a Christian hit song? or be a great Bible teacher? And instead, you find yourself cooking and cleaning and teaching Bible verses to preschoolers. What does God have to say about housewives and kingdom rewards?Have you ever wanted to go out into the mission field? or record a Christian hit song? or be a great Bible teacher? And instead, you find yourself cooking and cleaning and teaching Bible verses to preschoolers.  What does God have to say about housewives and kingdom rewards?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 1 & 2
Psalm 68.11-14
Proverbs 17.7-9
John 9.24-41

 

Housewives & Kingdom Rewards

 

Psalm 68.11-14:

She Who Remains at Home

 

Psalm 68 is a psalm of prayer, praise and thanksgiving to God for His care over His people and for giving them victory.

But before we pass by too quickly, there’s a sweet phrase tucked into verse 12. It says, “and she who remains at home divides the spoil.”

What an encouragement this should be to you precious stay-at-home moms to know that God sees what you do as just as valuable and important to kingdom work as any other responsibility (more so, really, because you are raising the next generation for God). It’s also a reminder that you will share in kingdom rewards just as fully!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

1 Kings 1 & 2:

Solomon Becomes King

 

In chapter 1 King David is dying. (Those of us who are married and getting older can be thankful for electric blankets, none of that “virgin heating” for our husbands! You’ll just have to read the passage! 1 Kings 1.1-4) Continue reading

“How to Respond to Imperfect Authority” May 15

 

How to Respond to Imperfect Authority - How should we respond to imperfect authority? Are we to obey no matter what? Are we to refuse? And, if so, is there a right way and a wrong way?How should we respond to imperfect authority? Are we to obey no matter what? Are we to refuse? And, if so, is there a right way and a wrong way?

Also, what’s wrong with living together? Many people today argue that a marriage license is “just a piece of paper”! What does the Bible really say?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 1 & 2
Psalm 62.1-4
Proverbs 16.10-12
John 4.1-30

 

How to Respond to Imperfect Authority

 

2 Samuel 1 & 2:

Well, we have passed another milestone, another Old Testament book under our belts. Now we are on to 2 Samuel.

 

Proper Respect for Authority

 

In chapter 1 David mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, especially Jonathan with whom David had a special covenant relationship. I believe it was Jonathan’s faith in God and sensitivity to what God was doing that led him to make a covenant with David.

We also see Jonathan’s loyalty to his father, although he didn’t allow that loyalty to cause him to sin. Instead, he kept his covenant to protect David. He warned David of the threat against him and spoke the truth to his father, telling him what he was doing was wrong. But in the end he refused to desert his father, even though it cost him his life.

What a beautiful picture of how we should respond to those God has placed in authority over us.

salute authorityAll of us are under authority. Wives are under their husbands’ authority. Children under their parents. Students are under the authority of teachers and administrators. Employees under their bosses and supervisors. We are all under the civil authorities: police men and women, judges, governors, all three branches of our federal government and others. Christians are under the authority of their pastors and elders. And we are all under God’s authority.

The only perfect authority is God’s.

All other authority is imperfect.

That doesn’t let us off the hook.

Ephesians 5 instructs wives: Continue reading

“Bored with the Things of God?” April 3

 

Bored with the Things of God? - Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we're no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become "ho-hum" about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?Could it be that God is at work all around us in incredible ways, yet we’re no longer excited about what He is doing? No longer seeking Him? Have we become “ho-hum” about God and His Word? What could our attitude be costing us?

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 29 & 30
Psalm 40.1-5
Proverbs 13.9-10
Luke 7.1-30

 

Bored with the Things of God?

 

Deuteronomy 29 & 30:

When We Fail to Seek Understanding

 

In chapter 29.2-9 Moses was recounting what God did for them those 40 years in the desert:

“You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land—the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.”

In his Daily Bible, John MacArthur says, “The Lord had not given them an understanding heart, simply because the people had not penitently sought it.”

Perhaps, they took God’s work in their lives for granted. Perhaps, they found trying to understand and know Him too difficult or too much trouble. Perhaps they were bored with the things of God and found life in the pagan nations around them more exciting.

Marilee Bible study Scripture memory cardWhat have you not “seen” because you have not sought it? God desires to show us more and more, to take us deeper and deeper into His truth, for us to know Him better and better, but we must want it, seek it, and ask Him for it. Do you study God’s Word with that attitude?

In Matthew 7.7-8 Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

But on the other hand verse 29.29 reminds us that there are things God has not yet revealed to us and, while we can pray for answers and understanding, we’re not to seek to know things apart from the Him. You can read my post from a few days ago about fortune telling and witchcraftContinue reading

“Vows, Authority & Soul Winning” March 16

 

What does God say about our vows?

How does the ancient “Law of Vows” apply to us today? And what does it have to do with a right view of authority?

 

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 29 & 30
Psalm 34.15-22
Proverbs 11.30-31
Mark 14.27-54

 

Vows, Authority & Soul Winning

 

Numbers 29 & 30:

The “Law of Vows” & a Right View of Authority

 

Chapter 30 covers the “Law of Vows.” God takes truth and honoring our word seriously. Jesus said, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” (Matt. 5.37a”]).

God not only takes truth seriously, but He also takes authority seriously. Part of the “Law of Vows” addressed that fact. It said if a woman still lived in her father’s house or if she was married, her father or husband could overrule what she vowed.

Authority is still very important to God whether in our marriages, in the workplace, or in other areas of life.

We need to teach our children the importance of respect for authority, too. That means teaching them to respect their teachers, the police and other civil authorities, and even the other parent where divorce has taken place.

We should teach them both by instruction and by example. That means we must show respect to our spouses (& ex-spouses), their teachers and school officials, civil authorities, and our bosses.

Authority, however, stops when the other person asks us to sin. Sin would include Continue reading