Bible

Digging Disciples – John the Baptist

For the month of December we will be focusing on preparing for the birth of Jesus.  We will do this by focusing on certain key people surrounding the birth of Jesus.

This week we will look at John the Baptist.

 

Digging Disciples – Defilement of the Heart

This week at Digging Disciples we talk about what defiles a heart, and how to keep yours pure.

Watch this episode of Digging Disciples here

 

Digging Disciples – Thanksgiving

Thankful for Thanksgiving week!  From time off work, cooking, eating, spending time with family, getting into the woods and praising Jesus – this is a great week!

The Thanksgiving edition of Digging Disciples covers the beheading of John the Baptist in Matthew 14.  The lessons we took away were:

  • Followers of Jesus are not immune to hard times.  Matter of fact we will have very tough times in this life.  Prepare for them and don’t be blown away when you are down.
  • When you are disappointed, discouraged or beat down – get alone with God.  Others will help, but only God will be there at all times with truth.

 

Peace All Around Us

After the rain today I was reminded that in spite of all the chaos in our country right now – the seasons will change, just as He has ordained.  Not everything has been upended!

The rain falls, sun shines, the moon reflects and the ground is starting to awake with new colors.

We have to turn the TV off and find peace around us.  Where do I find peace you ask?

  • By listening to the birds chirping outside in the trees
  • Watching the grass as it is starting to grow
  • Watching as my grandbaby as she smiles when she sees my face
  • Music excites and soothes me – just depends on the music
  • My Bible is full of truths, some I still haven’t discovered and some I am still trying to obey – so much to be learned
  • My wife still kisses me at night
  • Friends and family laugh when we talk

Yes there is peace to be found all around us – seek it…….

If you can’t find peace right now, reach out to me – I will be glad to share with you some of mine!

“When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him? You made him little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭8:3-6‬ ‭

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baby’s breath blooming
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Grape hyacinth

Thinking of LOVE

LOVE – it has been the topic of many songs, books, poetry, plays and movies.  We all talk about it, but do we really understand what is love?

I love my wife.  I love my mom.  I love blackberries.  I love my guys in our Bible study group.  I love to sleep in on Saturday mornings.

Tina Turner sang about love….

What’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion

-Tina Turner

Can all of these be using the word love in the same context with the same meaning?  I don’t think so.  I understand love to be more than just an emotion it is an action we do for someone.

We show our love by actions – not by words.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary love has the following definitions:

  1. strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
  2. attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers
    After all these years, they are still very much in love.
  3. affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
    love for his old schoolmates
  4. warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion  ::love of the sea
    the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration :: baseball was his first love
  5. a beloved person : DARLING —often used as a term of endearment
  6. unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: such as
    1. the fatherly concern of God for humankind
    2. brotherly concern for others
  7. a person’s adoration of God
  8. a god (such as Cupid or Eros) or personification of love
  9. an amorous episode : LOVE AFFAIR
  10. the sexual embrace : COPULATION
  11. a score of zero (as in tennis)

These definitions do describe how we understand love in modern day America.

However, in studying my Bible I read in the New Testament that there are several Greek definitions of the word love which give the word a deeper personal attachment.

Eros – represents the idea of sexual passion and desire.  It was not always used in a positive way either.  Eros had the idea of a dangerous and irrational form of love that could take hold and possess you.

Phila – was considered a friendship that developed between brothers in arms who had fought side by side on the battlefield. It was about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them.

Storge – is the love and affection that is naturally shared between parents and children, and to other siblings.  It is a family love.

Ludas – is a playful love.  This can be seen in childlike love or the early stages of a relationship.

Pragma – is a longstanding love.  A love that is considered in making compromises over a long period of time for the good of the relationship.

Philautia – is self love – what we would consider on one hand a narcissist, but on the other hand a satisfaction of loving who you are and where you are.

Agape – is the most radical of love in that is unconditional.  God has an unconditional love for humans.  We can’t earn it and we can get away from it.  He loves us no matter what we do!

From what I read and understand about love I like to think of love as an action – something you do for somebody.  Yes I know that I still love blackberries, but I have no other way of saying that.  Other than I really like the taste of blackberries.  Correct it is, but not as short of a way to say it.

I found this quote somewhere and I use it often.  Love always does what is best for others.

Think about that.  When you say you love someone, do you do something for them that is best for them – sometimes over even your own comfort or desires?  To me that is love.

In John 15:13 Jesus said “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.”  Then He went on to demonstrate that love toward us – He set the perfect example of love.  In our world today, to me the ultimate display  is to give the very core of who you are right now – your life – for someone else.  That is the ultimate high bar setting that we can only look to achieve.

So when you think of love, I hope you think that there has been a high bar set and that love is more than an emotion it is an action word.

Go love!

 

Completely Obedient

This past week we had our men’s Bible study from Genesis 22.  I wanted to share with you the lesson that I learned from this passage.

This is the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac by God.  Abraham finally got the son he had asked for.  Abraham was 100 years old, and his wife Sarah was 90!  Talk about waiting till the last minute for a great gift!

So the most precious gift that God could give Abraham was in the form of this son Isaac.  Not cattle, not land, not money or fame – no the most precious gift was a son.

So one day God asks Abraham to sacrifice this precious non-renewable gift in his son.  I have one son in Austin, and I tell you – I would struggle greatly if I was asked to sacrifice my precious gift.  I can only imagine the thoughts that went through Abraham’s mind.

But Abraham was obedient, and got up early the next morning and let out with the sacrifice – his son.  They made their way to the place where God led them to and built an altar.  In obedience Abraham laid Isaac on the altar and was about to kill him when God intervened and provided a ram for an acceptable sacrifice.  Abraham did not stop in obedience – God stopped him after his obedience.

The lessons I learned this week from this passage are these:

  1. More important than the sacrifice God just wants me.  I have things to sacrifice and give to God (money and talents), but the real deal is those things are already His.  I am His also, but that is what He really wants (time).  Just like how I want my son spending time with me – that is what my Heavenly Father wants from me.  Spend time with Him.             I have been listening to a song that really brings this into focus.  Listen to CT and Becky Townsend sing “When I Lay My Isaac Down”.
  2. I got to thinking about what obstacles are keeping me from spending time with Him daily?  Work, wife, family, TV, yard work, selfish desires and social media.  All of these can be good things in my life, but they also play a hand in keeping me from giving Jesus the #1 slot in my life.  I have to focus on Jesus 1st thing in the morning, and the last thing at night.
  3. What is it that God really wants from me?  I believe He wants me to simply…
    • Read my Bible daily asking what Jesus wants to say to me
    • Pray asking what Jesus wants me to do today
    • Go out in my day and be obedient to what He has told me
    • Sleep – repeat the next day

When you read Genesis 22 – what does God say to you?

 

Yes – Jesus still heals!

Do you believe that Jesus still heals people?  I certainly do – because He healed me!

I had hurt my neck and shoulder from doing some yard work and was in some kind of pain.  I could not get comfortable to sleep at night and it hurt me during the day to the point of affecting my work.

The week after we happened to be in revival services at church and I was in our prayer room with a few good men.  After we prayed for the revival and for others, I asked if they would pray for my neck and shoulder.  They agreed and anointed me with oil and prayed for my healing from the great physician.

I went to bed that night already feeling better and prayed as I went to sleep that the Lord would continue to make my shoulder better.  He told me that He would heal me, and that I needed to do three things:

  1. do pushups in the morning
  2. thank the men who prayed for me giving credit to Jesus
  3. write this article

So here I am- thank you for reading.  And I do want give Jesus all the praise for healing – even if it didn’t happen to me.

About 5 months ago I was doing yard work of a different sort and I hurt my elbow.  It limited some movements that I do such as even picking up a coffee cup.  So I finally went to the orthopedic doctor and he gave me some meds and said that I had tennis elbow and it would eventually go away.  Actually the elbow was still hurting some when my neck and shoulder became aggravated.

So when I hurt my neck and shoulder I just knew I would be in for another body part that would be drawn out with ache and pain.  I just could not go through this kind of pain for very long I felt

You can imagine my excitement when just a few days after hurting my neck and shoulder it was actually feeling better from His healing.  I was for some reason surprised.

Then I got to thinking about why God chose to heal me.  Why did He give me three specific things to do in response.   And how did Jesus heal while He was in body form here on earth.

I believe that Jesus does heal.  Even today.  The examples we learn in the Bible show us that He heals and it is over, and sometimes He heals and expects the person to do something to accept the healing.

In Luke 22:51 we see that Peter cut off the ear of a soldier who had come after Jesus.  Jesus rebuked him for his retaliation and healed the soldier’s ear.  He just did it.  The soldier did not ask for it and neither did Peter – but Jesus healed.

Then we see plenty of examples where Jesus heals and tells the person to do something that I think make them accept the healing by asking for it or an action after the healing.  We see this in John 9:7 where Jesus heals the blind man, but tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  When was the man healed?  When Jesus put spit and mud on his eyes, or when we washed it away?

I know that Jesus doesn’t always heal either.  We don’t always understand why He does or doesn’t heal.  But I do think He expects us to demonstrate our faith in Him.

Are you in need of healing?  I suggest that you pray to Jesus asking for specific healing and then listen if He wants you to do something to receive that healing.  If we don’t listen and then respond I am not sure that He will heal as we have asked.

 

40 ways to Pray – Pray with the Sick

Day 6 – Pray with Someone who is Sick

The Bible teaches in Matthew 14:14 that Jesus had compassion on people in a crowd and healed their sick.

In Mark 6:13 Jesus sent His disciples out to drive out demons, anointing the sick with oil and healing them.

James 5:13-15 teaches us that if we are sick to call for the elders of the church, to anoint us with oil and pray for us.

Now compare those two scriptures to what I hear today – “I will be praying for you”.

I think people have good intentions to pray for the sick and hurting, but rarely do.  And let me make a clear distinction between praying for the sick and praying with the sick.  Notice the difference?  It is proximity.  Praying with the sick indicates you and the sick person are near each other.

When we pray for a sick person I am careful not to say that this person will be healed, because that just may not be the will of God.  Healing in this body and healing we will have in Heaven are two different things.  I believe God can and will heal everyone who puts their trust in Him – one day.  It just may not be the healing we are expecting.

But I do like to pray with the sick for the following reasons:

  1. To encourage them.
  2. To hear what God has to say about the situation.  He gives me a word sometimes about a situation, but if it is not encouraging I might not share with the individual.
  3. To be obedient to what the Bible says about praying for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
  4. Healing comes from prayer.  If I just wish it, or send my thoughts I am really not doing anything of significance.  Only by the prayers of the righteous and humble will God hear and heal.