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Mike, Thanks for your comments on worry and prayer around Phil 4:6-7. Very applicable.

God's Plan (Isaiah wrapup)

After two and a half years of being a Christian and studying His word (for most of that time), I have become more and more enthralled with the intricacy of God's plan.

How every little thing fits in and interlocks like a massive jigsaw puzzle that has yet to be completed. How our God is a personal God; a soverign God whose Will shall not be thwarted.

I am amazed that it took 48+ years for me to recognize and see God's fingerprints in the Bible. Whether it is Christ fulfilling the Law's requirements for a sacrifice, the relationship of Christ's ministry to the feast days, to the symbolism of the temple, to the prophets and the fulfillment of their prophecies, etc. - anyone who looks closely and wants to see the truth can see God's plan is marching forward. The signs are throughout the Bible and much like a hunter tracks an animal by footprints, bent branches, left behind spores - so it is with the Bible and God's plan - it can be tracked.

So what is his plan?

It is not just about fixing something or a people, I believe it is about restoring relationships. God does not just want to reconcile what happened between Himself and mankind. He wants to restore relationships and things to the way they were in the beginning.
======================================================
Some examples from the last chapters of Isaiah

Is 62:8 The LORD has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
"Never again will I give your grain
as food for your enemies,
and never again will foreigners drink the new wine
for which you have toiled;

The curse(s) of Deut 28:

30b "You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit"...33a "A people that you do not know will eat what your land and labor produce," NIV

Will not just be lifted, but the remnant of Israel will never again suffer those curses - they will be restored as the chosen people of God to live in a perfect land ruled by God.

Is65:17 "Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind."

The world will not be just fixed but the heavens and earth will be made anew (restored), just like they were in the time of Adam - 'good in the Lord's site'.

[Note: I often chide Christian evolutionists with the question: "Do you think it will take God billions of years to create anew or restore the heavens and earth?"]

Believers will have glorified bodies (be completely sanctified)perfect and sinless and will walk and commune with God just as Adam did before the fall. The animals will be restored back to their former peacable ways - all except for the "serpent".

Is 65:25a "The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent's food..." NIV

If you doubt these things will happen remember this:

Is 66:9 Do I bring to the moment of birth
and not give delivery?" says the LORD.
"Do I close up the womb
when I bring to delivery?" says your God.

God keeps his Word. He always has, and He always will.
======================================================
So why doesn't God just restore everybody?

Because He doesn't! There is a dividing line, a criterion for being restored in full relationship with God.

John 6:29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." NIV

The difference between those who will inhabit the new heavens and new earth, and those who will inhabit Gehenna (hell) is not about "sin". We are all sinners.

The difference is one of belief. Belief in the Greek is a concept of acknowledging, believing, and trusting in something.

The work or plan of God is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, to trust him to be in control of your life.

Those who do will be with God for eternity. Those who don't will also spend an eternity in separation from God.

Is 66:24 "And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind."

An allusion to this separation from God in the future using terms of Isaiah's "present" points to this unpleasant eternity.

It is your choice. Do you stand with the world, or do you stand with God?



Jeremiah 1:1-2:30

Jeremiah is one of my very favorite books. I have rejoiced over it, cried over it, celebrated in it, been confused over who is speaking and to whom while reading it. I have probably read this book more times than all the other books in the Bible carving out months where I read one chapter a day or weeks, where I covered all 52. Is God speaking only to Jeremiah or is He speaking to Jeremiah a message to give to the people? Is this Jeremiah’s lament regarding Israel and Judah, God’s people, or is this God lamenting the choices His people have made?

Jeremiah began hearing from God during the reign of Josiah. Like Isaiah, Jeremiah prophases during periods of religious reform and times of apostasy; good kings and horrible kings, yet God’s message is the same. I wonder with us on this site and within our church’s do we think all our religious activities, all our doing stuff, things for God, exempts us from the messages and warnings of God? Do we have a sense of false security, like those who attended the Temple that we are not idolaters as we bow down to our idols? Do we think we are not blasphemous because we do not blaspheme by our definitions while we blaspheme by God’s point of view?


As we enter into the Words of God through the prophet Jeremiah may our hearts and minds be open for conviction, may they be open for correction, instruction and encouragement when we fall into despair. In Jesus’ Mighty and Glorious Name—Amen and Amen.


Sinners will sin because by nature they sin, but it is God’s people to whom much as been given and thus, much is required. We are without excuse. I think Jeremiah is a very dangerous book to read when one is a Believer but refused to believe the message God give is Jeremiah.

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 AMP)


Grace and peace,
Ramona

Jeremiah 1 (NKJV)
4
Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
5
“ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
6
Then said I: “ Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
7
But the LORD said to me: “ Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

11
Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
12
Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”

NOTE:
God has a plan for us, and He calls us to what His will is. His word and His work cannot be denied, and His Word must come true.

Note verse 11: “I see a branch of an almond tree”.

I like this note of explanation in Matthew Henry’s commentary: “The almond-tree, which is more forward in the spring than any other, represented the speedy approach of judgments.”

If we persistently and consistently resist the Lord—and this would have be over a very long period of time—we will reap judgment if we keep on sinning.

But that is not God’s original plan, intention or design for us. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you.”

Exodus 34 (Amplified)
6
And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord! the Lord! a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth,
7
Keeping mercy and loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children, to the third and fourth generation.

God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth”.

God is “keeping mercy and loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin”.

The only way we can miss God’s Love and His will is if we persistently ignore the Lord and do not seek Him.

May we take the time to spend time in regular repentance, prayer, worship and learning to listen to the Lord of Love so we can know His will.
~~~

Jeremiah 2 (NKJV)
19
Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,” says the Lord GOD of hosts.

NOTE:
May this not be so for all who are willing. May we not be primarily taught by our habit of sinning. May we, instead, present ourselves to the Lord to be taught by Him.

Our “natural man” is infected with sin and “the sinful nature” (or “the flesh”) can never please God. God longs to meet us and to show us His way!

Psalm 25 (NKJV)
12
Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
13
He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.
14
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.
15
My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.
~~~

Philippians 4 (NKJV)
4
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Meditate on These Things
8
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
9
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

NOTE:
Amen and amen. Take time to be holy.

Take time to praise and worship the Lord, for He is worthy. He is God and we are not.

Planting seeds of obedience in thought, word and action will reap a rich harvest of solid and righteous peace and security.

Even if everything else is against us—we will know the peace of God if we make sure that our lives are planted in
Christ’s Love!

Vance

I so needed to read this passage in Phil. today because I am worrying myself sick over a particular situation. I know that "Worry doesn't prevent disaster, it prevents prayer" but I needed to hear that today. Thanks to God for being the source of our peace and caring about every detail of our lives and granting us peace, especially when we lay our burdens at his feet!

Philippians

In this epistle of Joy, why should we rejoice? Why should we not worry? Why should we be like Paul, content in all situations?

I too have found great comfort in Philippians, and its message. This book popped up in the readings at just the right time for me - as I have been struggling with understanding as to my role here on earth in the "church" and certain "ministries".
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Phil 3

Phil3:8a "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,.."

The loss here in Greek implies it was a loss of bad things. All the Pharisee training, the circumcision, all the ceremonies and rituals - are gone for Paul, and they were bad things (not inherantly), but because they were not of Christ. Knowing Christ is the goal. Knowing - Gk. "gnosis" - root "ginosko" - not just having intellectual knowledge, but a deep intimate knowledge of our Lord. The word is also used in talking about marriage relations - "being as one".

Phil3:12
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." NIV

Paul has not obtained this perfection in Christ. How then can we be discouraged when we feel inadequate or failing? We just need to be pressing on - striving for that perfection in and through Christ.

Phil 3:16
"Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

Wherever you are "in Christ" (in the Greek a completed action) stay in your lane ( a runner's metaphor) and keep moving forward. By staying in His Word and through consistent prayer, and by following the model of people who exhibit Christian maturity.

Phil3:20a
"But our citizenship is in heaven..."

Why do all this? Paul describes it in Ephesians1 but here it is a simple clause. Because we are ALREADY citizens of heaven. The Greek verb tense is present and ongoing.

"The word "citizenship," by the way, only used here, this particular word, means a colony of foreigners. It is used in a secular source to speak about a capital city that kept the names of its citizens on a register. In other words, we're registered citizens of another place. We are registered citizens of heaven. Our names are there, our father is there, our Savior is there, our home is there, our fellow saints are there, our inheritance is there," - John MacArthur
http://www.biblebb.com/files/mac/50-36.htm

Phillipians would understand this because they were of the colony of Philippi, but most were citizens of Rome.

We need to understand this - earth is a way station. Our home is heaven. That is why we should rejoice!
======================================================
Phil 4
Why rejoice?

Phil4:3b "and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life."

Because you are citizens of heaven, your names also are in the book of life.

The Book of Life, by the way, is the register where God keeps the names of the redeemed. Daniel 12:1, Malachi 3:16 and 17, and Revalation.

Phil4:6-7
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Why should we not worry? Because we have a resource non-believers do not. We can go to our God and pray with a THANKFUL attitude, and attain peace. How's that? Because we are not depending on ourselves, but depending on God - that is what pleases the Almighty. Instead of worrying about what you can do, how you can fix a situation - turn it over to God. We can then have peace - because if you truly believe in a soverign God - you have just turned the situation over to the one who has the power to address the situation - perfectly and completely. His Will be done, not ours.

Phil4:8
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

One of my new favorite verses. When things seem tough, when you are unhappy wuith a "brother/sister", when you seem bogged down in the world - it is a great verse to have in your memory list of Bible verses.

This statement is a command - it is something we need to do - whether it is in regard to a dispute with other Christians (look to the good in the other) or our daily lives in the "world" (protecting our mind).

As to the second thought:

"The point is, you've got to protect your mind because that is what determines what you want and what you desire and that's what determines how you react to the stimuli of life." - John MacArthur




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