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Nehemiah

Neh 9:33 "In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong." NIV (NAS AND KJV have "wickedly" in place of "wrong").

Two points, the first is that ALL did wrong. None could uphold the high standard of God's LAW (that was the point). Before that none were righteous before God, but some were declared righteous by "faith".

This does not mean that "mankind" can not do good. Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, etc. all are able and often do good things from "mankind's" standpoint. Even though corrupted by the Garden, "mankind" still has the intrinsic attributes of God imprinted in us. Some more than others. From societies point of view "good" is done, more often then people think as "news" sources often do not report that part of humanity.

However, everyone (I think) will admit "mankind" and "man" in general is not perfect. God's standard is perfection. We can not be in his presence in any other state. So from God's viewpoint it is either "perfection" or "wickedness".

So just like the Israelites admitted in this verse that they ALL did wrong. We too must come to the realization that unless covered in the "blood" of Jesus, "man" (All mankind)is wicked in the eyes of God. Paul said it explicitly:

Rom 3:10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;
(Citing Psalm 14 and 53)

Knowing and understanding this concept is crucial for "coming to and accepting Christ" as your redeemer.
======================================================
Secondly, when I think of the Old Testament, I try to understand why it is part of our Bible.

I mean, if we are all Christians, and "one with Christ" - why isn't our Christian Bible just the New Testament? What does the Old Testament have to do with us (Christians)?

To me I have learned to appreciate the Old Testament:

-as testimony that our God is a personal God. He is not a distant Cosmic Creator.
(I have mentioned it before, but if you want goosebumps you need to get your hands on this DVD:"Mountain of Fire: The Search For the True Mount Sinai".)

-as testimony that God keeps his Word. He was faithful and just to Israel. Over and over again God did what He said He was going to do. Why should we doubt His revealed Word regarding Salvation and the Second coming of Christ?

- as a pointer and indicator of Christ. Each book of the Old Testament points to Christ. God promised Christ would be sent, and nothing is more personal than God himself coming to earth to redeem mankind.

Why did we need redeeming? Neh 9:33 and Rom3:10 because we ALL did "wrong".

Knowing and understanding that, all one has to do is:

John 1:12 "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" NIV

Rom 10:9 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." NIV

The rest is up to the individual - WHOMSOEVER WILL.

I Corinthians 9 (NKJV)
19
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more

27
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

NOTE:
We need to set aside regular times of prayer and praise. Praise allows us to be free of only thinking of ourselves, and prayer for others allows us to become like Christ. He gave Himself for others. I like what Andrew Murray writes in “With Christ in the School of Prayer”:

“Christ, who called us to specially pray [to secure servants for God’s work], will support our prayers offered in His name and interest. Let us set apart time and give ourselves to this part of our intercessory work.”

“It will lead us into the fellowship of that compassionate heart of His that led Him to call for our prayers. It will elevate us to the insight of our regal position, as those whose will counts for something with the great God in the advancement of His Kingdom.”

“It will make us feel how really we are God’s fellow-workers on earth, to whom a share in His work has in downright earnest been entrusted.”

“It will make us partakers in the soul travail, but also in the soul satisfaction of Jesus, as we know how, in answer to our prayer, blessing has been given that otherwise would not have come.”

I Corinthians 10 (NKJV)
12
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

NOTE:
Not these sins to avoid (not quoting each verse):

verse 6 – do not lust after evil things
verse 7 – do not drink too much, lost self-control and become idolaters
verse 8 – do not commit sexual immorality
verse 9 – do not tempt Christ
verse 10 – do not complain

It is interesting that “do not complain” is listed among the “more serious” sins. That is because it is very displeasing to God. It may seem to “small” to us; yet, it is a sin that has serious consequences in our lives.

At the very least, complaining blocks us from seeing and receiving from God—because we allow life’s difficulties to harden us. Instead of constantly going to the Lord, we ourselves become hard. Forgetting to praise and to be grateful is the beginning of the slide down towards atheism and godlessness (Romans 1).

There is the spiritual discipline of setting aside regular times to praise God. This takes our eyes off ourselves and enables us to draw from God. And it frees us from thinking too highly of ourselves.

Psalm 34 (NKJV)
1
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2
My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad.

7
The angel of the LORD [Or Angel of the LORD] encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.
8
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

NOTE:
The Angel of the Lord (i.e., many believe this to be Jesus before He came in the body as Savior) is there to camp around us and enable us to walk in deliverance.

Especially, if we spend regular time of praise and prayer for His Will.

Even when we sin, we can confess our sins, and receive forgiveness of our sins and cleansing from all unrighteousness.

I John 1 (Amplified Bible)
9
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

We only need to sincerely confess our sins once to receive forgiveness—for God is “just” to forgive our sins because Jesus already paid for all our sins on the Cross. He is, as the Amplified Bible explains “true to His own nature and promises”.

Immediately after confessing sin, we can begin to praise and worship God. And we need to mix the practice of confession of sin with the regular practice of praise and worship. This is not because we do not believe God did not forgive us when we asked for forgiveness based on the Cross of the Lord Jesus—which is unbelief.

No, regular confession makes sure we keep ourselves in proper perspective. Yes, we are called to be strong—and to know that we are strong—but in the Lord.

Ephesians 6 (NKJV)
10
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

I Corinthians 15 (NKJV)
58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
~~~

It is not wrong or sinful to want to be strong. It is wrong and foolish to believe we are strong in ourselves. We are called to be victors because of God’s Victory and Love in Christ.

Yet, because I have desired not to sin and to obey God and have failed, I know that my victory is only in Jesus. Jesus is absolutely correct: “for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NKJV)

Romans 5 (NKJV)
17
For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Praise and prayer together. Praising God and prayer for others are spiritual disciplines.

A small portion of each day in regular praise, prayer, and worship has more power than all that opposes God.

Praise lifts us up out of our weaknesses and into God’s Being—but we must persist in this.

The power is God’s. What a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with Jesus and become like Him!

Vance


Replying to a comment made by Amanda yesterday:

Amanda, thank you for sharing & I believe that many people find salvation/deliverance in prison & probably are more free than the people on the outside.

God knows what it will take to get our attention & that is what He does & as you can now see - you look back & thank Him for the experience - your salvation & deliverance.

Think of Joseph & many other very prominent Biblical characters/people that endured prison many times & it was God's will for sure.

jan

1Cor9

"...To the Jews I became like a Jew...

I never thought of these verses as a continuation of eating meat from an idol?????

Let's try that. The question, perhaps hypothetical is: Paul you say you would give up meat for a weaker brother - in fact you say you have given up rights of apostleship for the gospel. But you are not consistent. You have been seen eating meat with Gentiles, and abstaining with Jews.

1) Why the going back and forth?

Pauls response is: he is free man. But he will yield to everyone (in their cultural customs that do not violate God's will) to gain them for Christ. That he may be a partaker in the gospel with the new Christians. You can not be a partaker with others unless they come to Christ.

"Paul was willing to offend people over the gospel; but wanted to offend them only over the gospel." - David Guzik

There is no reason to offend non-believers over rituals and customs that do not mean anything. I believe long-term successful missionaries (sometimes???) employ this model. They go to the area and respect the customs and lifestyle of the people. They incorporate these things in their life to the extant they can practically do so. This lowers barriers of resistance to dialogue. 'They are like one of us - or - they respect us. But they are different in some way? How and why are they different?' (That sort of thing.)

So to a:
"Gentile" - Paul eats what is before him.
"Jew" - He ceremonially cleans and abstains from meat and other items.
"Weak brother" - If weak in faith, I will abstain from meat, and with love build him up in knowledge of the Gospel so that we can partake of it together in a "strong faith".
======================================================
2) Are you saying we need to bend over backward for others?

Sports analogy:
1Cor9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

The Isthmian Games were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were held at Corinth in two stadia every two years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isthmian_Games

So every two years for around a 1,000 years the Corinthians had hosted these gaimes (150 year exception when city was destroyed and before being rebuilt by Caeser.) It was a big deal.

The Corinthians had an understanding and had seen excellant athletes of their time. Their was training involved - things were given up.

If these guys give up a lot of things to gain a wreath from a "fir"(their victory crown), what should you give up to gain a crown (rewards) in heaven?

Paul gave up the right to church compensation and worked as a tent-maker. He yielded to others out of love so that they might come to Christ, or be built up to enjoy a "fuller" more mature Christianity.

I ask myself - what have I given up for others. What acts of self-denial have I submitted to for the sake of others? How have I taken up the cross?

Do I let the answering machine take the call, instead of talking to someone I don't really want to talk to at that time? After a hard day, do I blow off an opportunity to share the Gospel to a non-believer or "fellowship" with another Christian? Do I let my schedule dictate how I help minister (or not)in the church, or do I re-prioritize? Am I giving up the things of the world to follow Jesus? Do I not volunteer for some things because they are beneath me?

Paul is indicating to the Corinthians - yeah, you shoul forebear the eating of meat from an idol if called for, AND MORE. How serious are you about being a Christian? There are not only rewards in heaven to consider, but the command of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.




"Fear the LORD" Fearing the Lord is means repecting and honoring Him. He doesn't really want you to fear Him, He ask that you love Him. When you honor the Lord you will do what He wants you too. Have a blessed day! Peggy

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