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" I'm not sure if you've ever experienced this, but there have been times when I honestly have not been able to read or digest the Bible. I mean, there are times when I can kind of work my way through reading the Bible, but nothing is sticking"
Mike,I think this is a huge testimony....I'm sure so many people who joined the blog (like me)have been through this and from time to time still do.Yet studying together keeps us keeping on.
God bless you(so you can keep blessing us:)

28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh....
I don't know why today it just hit me....For most people,courtship and marriage are a really beautiful period.The guy leaves his house with excitement to pick his intended up for a date...Yet for Jesus,it was different.Like we sometimes go through a painful treatment to get rid of a disease...he gave his earthly body to be tortured.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him [d]—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
and his form marred beyond human likeness...
That was I guess the courtship for Jesus..preparing to pay the price so we be clean,so we could have the relationship we have today with him.
Yet many times we come to Jesus with the expectation that we'd never be sick,we'd never have any sorrows(cos he nailed them to the cross)we come because we realise we can't make it without him here.True.But our lives and choices will be paid for by us.Jesus died so we could have eternal life...our life here on earth will never be perfect.It sure is humbling for me today to remember,just how much the price was for my salvation...and I pray the hearts of the muslims,the jews,the "christians"who don't know Christ will be prepared to receive the gospel.I also pray today that the hearts of the missionaries that face persecution daily for the gospel be strengthened by He who knows what they're going through...cos He went that road Himself....
God bless you all

Mike your question regarding the New Testament reading, >>”Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do." I am wondering how often each of acts thoughtlessly?>> and, >> "For the LORD hears the cries of his needy ones; he does not despise his people who are oppressed." God hears the cries of his needy ones. Perhaps the question is then, do we hear the cries of God's needy ones?>> are both one and the same in action. If we are not acting thoughtlessly and getting our instruction from God, then we will hear the cry of the needy.

Where we error is in thinking that because God is leading us to do something specific with a group of people that means God is leading everyone else to do that same thing and we get caught up in trying, through guilt and any other means of manipulation, to bring everyone else along. We forget that the Body of Christ is like our own body, as per Paul; each one has a purpose and a call and when we work as one part of the many and do what we have been called and purposed to do, even if it is not what the most vocal and persuasive of person is doing, than the job will get done. In fact, there would be no need to put a call out for help because the job would be done by everyone sticking to their purpose and call.

Isaiah 51:1-53:12


The verses that have spoken to me today are in the 51st chapter, “WOW”!

Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation. (Isaiah 51:7-8 KJV)

I have noticed for the first time that throughout Isaiah, God speaks in the present about things that had yet to come to past in the element of time. Of course God is eternal and to Him everything is in The Now, the Right Now. God calls thins that, “Be Not” in our human experience “As though they were,” (Romans 4:17) because in eternantiy they have already happened. [And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8 KJV)]

God in verses 7 and 8 is still giving us the information to intelligently decide between choosing life or death; blessings or curses. This was the option given to the people by Moses (Deut. 30:19 & Joshua 24:15-22).
[I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
(Deuteronomy 30:19 KJVR)]

For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation.

Choose righteousness and not the righteousness of self-righteousness that comes with doing the works of the flesh, but the Righteousness that comes from God, God’s Right Way of Doing and Being.

I love that we are part of the line of Abraham. Just as he was one and God blessed him and Sarah and made them many, we too can believe God to make us fruitful as we seek to enrich the lives of others with the beautiful gospel. "The Lord blessed Abraham and from that one man came many descendants." Isaiah 51:2
What is exciting is that Paul connects Gentiles together with Abraham in Galatians "And because of what Jesus Christ has done, the blessing that was promised to Abraham was taken to the Gentiles (you and me too)..." Gal 3:14 And then again in Galatians 4:29 that wonderful promise, "So if you belong to Christ, you are now part of Abraham's family, and you will be given what God has promised." Is that not exciting to be in the flow of history and connected to 'father Abraham', imperfect man that he was, but saved by the gospel (see Gal 3:6-9) He says, in Gal 3:8 'This means that everyone who has faith will share in the blessings that were given to Abraham because of his faith." Now if we are to imitate our forefather we are also called to be a 'blessing to all the families in the earth." What a great mission focus for us all!!!

These verses stood out and looked like they complimented one another.

Ephesians 5

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.

Psalm 69
30 I will praise God's name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the LORD more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.
32 The poor will see and be glad—
you who seek God, may your hearts live!

Isaiah 51 (NKJV)
1
“Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.
2
Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him.”
3
For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.

NOTE:
“Look to Me” says the Lord.

This reminds me of the beautiful song, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the Light of His Glory and Grace.”

Colossians 3 (NKJV)
1
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
2
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
3
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4
When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
~~~

Isaiah 52 (NKJV)
9
Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem.
10
The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
11
Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the LORD.
12
For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

NOTE:
“The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations”.

Christ is available for all to see. And where His Name is not heard, we are to pray and go so they may know that the Lord Jesus came, and died for them, and then raised and glorified as our substitute and representative.

Jesus has completed salvation. May we partake of His Word, His Presence, and His Mercy every day!

Romans 8 (Amplified Bible)
2
For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.
3
For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice],
4
So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].
~~~

As we persistently do this, seeking God by His grace cleansing us so we have pure hearts, we will be different from the world.

“Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the LORD.”

2 Timothy 2 (NKJV)
1
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
19
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ [the Lord] depart from iniquity.”
20
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.
21
Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
~~~

Isaiah 53 (NKJV)
5
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

NOTE:
The Lord Jesus was given as a loving gift from the Father to live, die, raise from death, and ascend at the right hand of the Father— as our substitute and our representative.

May we meditate on this and receive it into our beings by faith.

Ephesians 1 (Amplified Bible)
17
[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,
22
And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church],
23
Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].
~~~

Ephesians 5 (NKJV)
1
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
2
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
18
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit

NOTE:
May we drink daily of the Holy Spirit of Grace and Love. We love as we allow the Spirit within to lead us into loving God with all our hearts. Then, and only then, can we truly walk in the Love of Jesus to those around us.

Ephesians 5 (NKJV)
21
submitting to one another in the fear of God. [Christ]

31
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” [Genesis 2:24]
32
This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

NOTE:
May we all seek to serve our wives, husbands, and families.

May I, by Grace, be the husband God calls me to be so I can help my wife be the woman God calls her to be. In Jesus’ Name.

Vance


Ephesians 5
"1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

This is not the pantheistic cry of 'god is everywhere - we are all gods". It says be imitators of God, be Godlike, or be Godly. There is only one true God encompassed in the Trinity, and we are to try and be like Him, that is take on His characteristics. How do we do that?

First you have to accept and receive Christ - then you are children of God and co-heirs to heaven. Non-believers cannot be children of God - as John states later in Bible: If you do not believe - you are enemies of God.

As children we need to understand our relationship with God. He is the Father and we are His children. Just like a toddler who really has no real power on their own versus their earthly father, we are to rely on tust in, and depend on the Father. To do what? In a loving relationship, the Father will raise us, mold us, teach us, discipline us, comfort us, etc. with the goal being to eventually conform us into the image of Christ. Just as the toddler has no real power to raise himself here on earth, the "baby" Christian has no real power to imitate God in our Christian walk. It is the job of the Father to change us, not ours.

When we acknowledge that relationship with the Father, we can have a life of love. We can revel in the Father's love, and in turn He will provide the Spirit to guide our walk. We can love like Christ loved us, and like Christ and like Paul says in beginning of Rom 12, we can offer ourselves up to God as a living sacrifice, yielding to the Father and accessing the Holy spirit. That gives us the power by the richness of His grace to walk in the Spirit of love.
======================================================
Eph 5:5
"For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."

Another one of those verses when taken alone some say means you can lose salvation. However, Paul is saying the same thing John does in later books of Bible, and the Greek verb tense is important. In the Present active indicative, "is an idolater—has any inheritance" is now and and in the future or "continually". If you are acting in these ways in a habitual, continual manner you are not a believer. you will not be in heaven.

Look, Christians sin, we all fall short of the glory of God, but a true believer will not "habitually" commit the same sins over and over. Simply put, the Holy Spirit will not allow it - God will step in to the situation. If this is happening to you, and you are convicted - the solution is simple. Go to God, repent, admit you are a sinner, and with a "right heart" confess Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and submit your will to God.
======================================================
10and find out what pleases the Lord...18b Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

In summary, you must be in fellowship with the Father, acknowledging the Father-child role-yielding your will to His - then you will know what pleases the Lord because you will be filled with and accessing the Spirit.

This is the only way to consistently walk the obediant path Paul exhorts believers to follow- it is God's way, and anything else is man-driven rooted in pride.

Eph 5
Wives and Husbands

One of those passages that sometimes sets people's teeth on edge. What do you mean I have to submit to my husband says the wife. Some professing Christian husbands use this to browbeat their wives over their home life.

Just like their are two sides to any story, there are two sides here, and the important one to look at first is the husband's role. The husband is to:

-love his wife, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

This is "agape love" - It is an unconditional love and concern for others. Agape is a love that accepts everyone for who they are. This is the same love that God expressed for us through the death of Jesus Christ, His Son (1 John 4:9,10). It is a selfless love.

When you love your wife like that in a total selfless way that is not rooted in physical love - your wife will feel apreciated and totally loved.

-love his wife as he loves himself

To be able to love yourself, you must be in fellowship with the Father, if not you will be in a bad place and find it very hard to love who you are at that time. In fellowship with the Father, you will be walking in love by the power of the Holy Spirit, and then you can love your wife as you love yourself.

When a man is in this place and love his wife in a selfless way - then his relationship will not be about making the wife a servant, but someone much higher - an esteemed and loved partner in marriage.

When a woman sees this she will respect her husband and recognize the roles God has ordained for them, and submitting will not be as much an issue as the two will be in agreement over marital issues and life - because they are one in Christ.
======================================================
Eph 5:32
"This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church."

Paul is saying that it is not only two will become one flesh, as in physical union, but also spiritually in their submission to the Father's Will. And more importantly the marriage union ultimately is about Christ and the Church. That is the mystery - that Christ who loved us so much he gave himself up for us - will be joined with the Church in marriage and in recognition of the roles God has ordained - We submit to Christ.

So the picture here is about earthly marriage, but the bigger picture here is about Christ and the Church's marriage. We know Christ loves us selflessly, and we respect Christ and submit to His authoritative role.

Our earthly marriage should mirror and imitate Christ and His marriage to the Church.

I have been remiss -- if anyone needs to contact me:

[email protected]

Is 53:2-3
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Jesus did not have classic beauty, nor that intangible majestic "look" of royalty. There was nothing about His appearance that drew men to Him - but it was his inner beauty and His Word that was from the Father. A relationship with Jesus would not be based on the superficial aspects of His looks - but on His message and His compelling inner self.

[Note: Some want to see Jesus as a macho well built kind of guy, others see Him as a winsome beautiful man (a lot of artists in paintings and drawings), but I believe there was nothing compelling about Jesus' physical appearance.

Remember not only these things that Isaiah says about Jesus, but Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert - what effect did that have on His physical body? In Luke 4:23, I think Jesus reading their thoughts acknowledged that he did not appear well

"Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself!.....]

He was despised and reject by men, because there was no physical beauty to draw people to Him, and His message was one that the nation did not deem acceptable.

Jesus "a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering". Jesus knew why He was on earth, and He did not look forward to the Cross (from His man perspective). Additionaly, I believe he suffered because he constantly experianced rejection to what He knew was the Truth that came from the Father. He came, and was not accepted - that had to hurt (again from His man perspective).

"Why did Jesus appear ordinary? Because you think you’re ordinary. Jesus took on ordinary flesh and blood, came from an ordinary place and hung out with ordinary people in order to show you that God loves an ordinary person like you (Hebrews 2:14). When he appeared, he hung out with ordinary folks such as himself, not the high and mighty. He became thoroughly acquainted with ordinary human flesh." - Scott Grant
http://www.pbc.org/library/files/html/Is53-1-3.html


I agree, Isaiah 53 is not only perhaps the most powerful chapter in the Bible, but one of the most important. Its incredible to read...I have heard it read so many times during communion and have read it before, but its just sooo powerful each and every time! I can imagine when the disciples got their heads screwed back on after Jesus' resurrection, they must have read this and just been in awe! Each verse is soooo important and prophetic. It was ALL fulfilled! exactly!! Every T was crossed and i dotted. amazing amazing! I LOVE it!!!

I like to memorize. Words come alive to me when I place them in my head in some kind of order. Things make better sense to me when, instead of just looking at words on paper and trying to concentrate on their meaning they are arranged in my head with meaning and "what's next" follows some logical thinking.

I am motivated by your pastor, Mike, and his memorization of the entire Book of Ephesians. Right now I have a part pending for dramatic stage that needs developed and refined so I'm not setting the entire Book of Ephesians as a goal. I will, however, start learning Ephesians 1 and see how that goes. I'll let you know.

Thanks!

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