When You Pray, Pray This Way – Part III

Matthew 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Let’s continue on from Part II to look at the SPIRIT of “The Lord’s Prayer”:

And Forgive us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors —– In other words, forgive us from those things, those circumstances, those instances where we have actually indebted ourselves to others because of transgressions, mistakes and outright sin. Our overall forgiveness comes from our faith in the Redemptive payment through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus and the Grace that pours forth in our acceptance, individually and personally for our own accountability.

But – what Jesus is saying here, are the day to day circumstances that demonstrate our individual transgressions toward others that we come into contact with or have influence over. We become indebted to others when we allow our will and desires to take selfish precedent over others needs and concerns. We need to DAILY ask the Lord to forgive us of these transgressions, but with one very important proviso; that while we are asking for our own forgiveness from these transgressions, we also hold no one else in debt to us for their transgressions. We hold no bitterness or accountability, but release their “indebted to us” back to the Lord!

The condition of our forgiveness depends on our ability to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter the circumstance!! I bring the importance of this up because years ago (and it still crops up its head from time to time) my wife and I were actively involved in a teaching/preaching ministry at a church in Globe, Arizona. The pastor there actually got to a point, where he started teaching from behind the pulpit and the Sunday School lectern that you DO NOT have to forgive another, unless they come to you and personally ask forgiveness!

They completely ignored the Biblical teachings of Jesus directly, as well as so many other Scriptures that the writers of the Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit, instructed us to follow concerning the NECESSITY to our spiritual well-being for forgiving others, no matter what!! For those wondering, no, we didn’t stay much longer after this, though we tried so hard to correct their teaching. I am not exaggerating when I tell you today that this particular church has no more than a handful of people attending today. So sad.

The one thing that has been impressed upon my spirit time and time again is this; if we are truly forgiven ourselves, washed in the Saving Blood of Christ Jesus, our hearts and spirits are reborn to the point where we couldn’t hold back forgiveness from another if we wanted too!! I will ALWAYS remember the instance in the Bible where the sinful woman anointed the feet of Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee and this is what Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” – Luke 7:47.

We have all sinned, and we all still transgress daily, whether it is through deed or thought and we ALL have to ask the Lord to forgive us as we forgive others. Yes our sins ARE forgiven, but we are not yet perfect and won’t be until He Who IS perfect comes for us to take us home and we must NEVER forget that fact!

Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

And Do Not Lead Us Into Temptation, —– This is NOT speaking of the same types of temptations that James speaks about his Epistle: “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” – James 1:13. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to not just read your Bible, but to study it, to meditate on what it says. The Bible DOES NOT contradict itself, despite what some may say, but rather it is in our interpretation and/or understanding of it that causes conflict. When these situations arise, ASK the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you and HE most assuredly will!!

This part of our daily prayer is simply this; just as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane as stated earlier, asking His Father to remove the “cup of suffering” from Him, we ask the Lord to remove the tests and trials of our daily lives as well. BUT – remember this; we ALWAYS qualify it with, “nevertheless, not my will, but THINE (Yours, Heavenly Father) be done!”

Why do we even pray this way? It is a further acknowledgment of our total and complete dependence upon our Heavenly Father as well as the total and complete surrender of our will to His! We recognize our own weaknesses in coping with the day to day trials that come our way. A person who does not recognize God Almighty as their Heavenly Father does not understand the humility in recognizing our limitations. We need to remember that this all ties back to the Father’s “will on earth as it is in Heaven”; meaning specifically His will be accomplished in our individual lives, just as His will is accomplished completely in Heaven, this very moment!

There is a part of the “Christian” church that today does not believe that God “tests” us so that we may recognize our limitations and weaknesses. The truth of the matter is that the Lord does ALLOW testing in our lives even if He is not the One actually “testing” us for the Bible tells us that “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:2-4.

This falls into line with this part of our daily prayer. James was truly reiterating what the Savior was teaching to the disciples gathered around, and — this leads us into the second part of that prayer guideline:

But Deliver Us From the Evil One. —– We can ask for relief from daily testing and trials, but even though we may not avoid them, we can further ask, out of acknowledged weakness and limitations that our Heavenly Father, AS A FATHER, provide us with protection and strength from the very one, the devil, who is the very enemy of not just our soul but of our very existence. There is and there should be NO shame in crying out on a daily basis for protection from the very same adversary that TRIED to tempt Jesus in the wilderness!

When we ARE tested with trials and tribulations in our daily routine of life, the Father’s purpose in allowing it, is to make us stronger in spirit, a well-grounded heir to His Kingdom. But through the trials and such, it can and often does take a toll on our physical being, our natural self. It is during this time of weariness when the enemy tries to take advantage. It is for this very reason why we pray for deliverance from the evil one and this has the added advantage of also protecting us from falling into the trap of wronging others and becoming indebted to them as stated earlier.

For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever. Amen. —– Again, we are acknowledging the fact that our Heavenly Father is the Ruler, the King of a vast Kingdom and that in the natural scheme of things it surpasses and dominates anything that our minds can fathom! We acknowledge once again through the power of PRAISE that all that we have “prayed” and asked for to this point is in recognition of His Majesty, Power, Glory and Bountiful, Eternal Love!

This ending is not found in some of the older manuscripts and is omitted in SOME Protestant and the Catholic Bible and yet, here again, while we are looking at the SPIRIT of the Living Word and not just the text, it is fitting that while we start our prayer to our Heavenly Father in praise and adoration, we should, after asking all from Him, end with the same, giving Him praise and adoration!

We can remember through the structured guideline of this prayer “form” that He truly is the Alpha and Omega of our lives! Remember what John wrote in his Gospel, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24.

Our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS seeking those who WILL worship Him. He desires and WANTS communion with His creation for it was by His Eternal, Unconditional Love that we were created and it was FOR that Love that He has made a way in which we can, once again, walk daily, with Him until that time when He calls us to our TRUE Home!


Jesus gave us further guidelines as found in Matthew and Luke. True intimacy isn’t in the constant repetition, it isn’t in the loud, boisterous proclamations that draw attention to oneself, but rather it is the simple, private, personal and individual communication that takes place between two Loved ones!

Remember, this prayer guideline, often referred to as the “Lord’s Prayer,” was not meant to be just repeated, but rather to be used as what I have often referred to as a guide, a pattern in which we can direct our innermost thoughts. True intimacy, true adoration, worship and love happens not just in the darkened recesses of our homes, but constantly, throughout our day; no matter what our activity, once our spirit has been reawakened, reignited anew, Christ Jesus draws us to the Father through Him, empowered by His Holy Spirit and we begin to realize that our real lives are not seen (for they are spiritual) and not of this natural world, but are ready to be lived in something much more precious, something much more grand!!!

This is all because God Almighty, the Creator of all that is, all that ever was and all that ever will be, chose us to be His children, and we have a home that is beyond explaining, with a Heavenly Father who loves us beyond condition!

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When You Pray, Pray This Way – Part II

Matthew 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Let’s continue on from Part I to look at the SPIRIT of “The Lord’s Prayer”:

Your Kingdom Come —– Your Kingdom Come, denotes the place where You have personal rule and have supreme domain, the place where Your Law, Your edicts, Your plans, Your Will not just reside, but emanate from. This is the place where You and You alone as God Almighty are the ultimate Ruler, ultimate King, without question having total and absolute authority! Let them advance or proceed from Your Throne where You govern, and allow them to advance to/towards us. By remembering this, we acknowledge His rule, His Lordship, but we also remember in this acknowledgment that we are a part of that very Kingdom, for in truth, His Kingdom is everywhere that He resides and He DOES reside everywhere! Therefore, His absolute authority is everywhere and we are subject to that authority. He IS our authority as Father, but even though we are His children, we are his subjects as well.

Your Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven —– When we ask the Lord, out of our Love for Him and not out of obligation, as future heirs and present-day children of God Almighty, to let His Will be done where we now reside, in the natural realm, because we KNOW that is how His Will operates in Heaven, in the Eternal, we are SURRENDERING our wills, desires, plans, wishes, etc., to the One that we KNOW is more loving, more intelligent, more wise and we acknowledge that He has our best interest in mind, because He IS our Heavenly Father!

For too long man’s will has taken precedent over the Lord’s will and we are just shy of completely destroying this island we call earth! Man’s will has not advanced our position in the Eternal even momentarily. It is only by totally surrendering our will and acknowledging that our Heavenly Father, God Almighty is wiser and has our BEST interests at heart that we actually can become the “heirs to the Kingdom” that our Heavenly Father wants for each of us!

It has been stated in many articles recently that when we ask the Lord to “let His will be done,” in relation to prayer and communion, that it is because we lack faith, or we do not know His plans or “will” for our future or His desires concerning certain events taking place in our lives.

But here is the thing; we can and should be communing with our Heavenly Father on a daily basis already, but just because we are, doesn’t mean that He will be divulging all His plans for us in specific detail, or that if we don’t know what tomorrow holds for us, it is a lack of faith. The very fact that we still need to TRUST in Him for tomorrow and the very fact that we can still say in our prayers, “thy will be done,” is the act of faith that the writer of Hebrews states allows us to “please God,” for as it is written, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6.

This is speaking directly about communing with God Almighty in that it states those who “diligently seek Him.” We do that in communication and ESPECIALLY when we believe that our answers, (whether yea or nay) and our rewards come FROM Him and that He is indeed God, and they (the answers and rewards) are His will and His will alone! If you take away our reliance upon what He holds for us in the future, and the TRUST needed to believe that He has our best ETERNAL consequences at heart, then we can NO LONGER please Him because faith would not and is not any longer needed.

When God appeared to Abraham and told him that his wife Sarah would bear children, God divulged to Abraham his general plan for his life. BUT – God did NOT divulge specifics because if He had, Abraham would not have to “practice” faith in God’s Word, all he would have to do would mark off the calendar until the specific time arrived! We see in the news today, just what happens when we don’t move in the direction of “thy will be done,” but take it upon ourselves because we THINK we know God’s plan for the moments still in front of us. Abraham’s rush to fulfill God’s promise out of God’s time has created a centuries old feud that will NOT disappear until Christ Jesus returns!!!

Jesus Christ Himself put His very own words into practice at the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked His Father to take away the “cup” that He would soon partake of. Jesus KNEW His mission, (His job, to put it crudely) and KNEW that He HAD to go voluntarily to the Cross until the very end, yet, because as a man, He wanted to avoid the suffering and pain, etc., He asked if it were at all possible, crying out to His Father “saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” – Luke 22:42.

He had faith in His Father’s ability to remove the pain and suffering, yet He subjected His own will as the suffering man to that of His Heavenly Father’s will! IF IT IS YOUR WILL!!! He knew it was the Father’s will for He had been about His Father’s business since He could BE about His Father’s business!

So, when you pray, you are making a statement of faith concerning your acknowledgement of God’s greater will over yours, you are asserting His Kingdom to be accomplished here on earth, and you are subjecting yourself under Him as your Father and you are letting Him take the reins of your life trusting that He WILL fulfill His promises and that He WILL illuminate your footsteps and direction!

Do NOT get trapped in these New Age fads that turn simple, God pleasing faith into some “magic” formula where you will receive what YOU want despite God’s Wise and Eternal Will! This type of religious fad has infiltrated the organized church establishment and has only led to confusion, heartache and disbelief; ALL tools of the enemy of your soul! Not everything that SEEMS or sounds right, IS right, and you NEED to discern the truth from the lie and deception and especially in the age we live in right now!

Wheat.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread —– We have a right, as acknowledged heirs, of our Heavenly Father Who created us and also created the means for our survival and existence, to ask individually and personally for those necessities that determine that very existence and survival for the here and now and to do so on a day by day basis. Jesus shows us this is not selfishness, but rather this also is another expression of our faith, for what child would ask something of their Father and NOT expect to receive? This is another area in which we are pleasing our Heavenly Father, because we are asking in faith, not just believing, but KNOWING that His promises include our daily sustenance, etc.

Luke 11:11, “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?”

Notice also that Jesus is not telling us to ask for tomorrow’s bread! The following is Jesus actually explaining further to the disciples WHY we do not have to worry about what we ask of the Father in His (Jesus’) own words:

Matthew 6:25-33, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”


END OF PART II

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When You Pray, Pray This Way – Part I

1 Corinthians 3:1-4, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?”

Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”


Matthew 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

There has been so much talk lately on social media and in the news (yes in the news!) about prayer, and so many articles written about different ways to pray and prayers that will bring miracle answers, and miraculous healings and so forth and so on that it has caused a “restlessness” in my spirit!

Last night, the Lord kept speaking to me over and over again in my mind and spirit about HIS Word, what has HE said, what has HE instructed! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against “praying” the Scriptures, reciting those things from long dead Prophets of God, especially when there are living truths in their recorded words as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

BUT ——- in all the things written about prayer and how to pray and what to pray and what you should and shouldn’t say in your prayers, teaching on WHY we pray to begin with has gone by the wayside and with that lack of teaching, HOW to pray and WHO to pray too has also suffered! This is the Churches fault; those like myself that have been called to SERVE others through teaching and exhortation, etc., gifts given from the Holy Spirit for ministry (service) to the very Church we are called to hold up and strengthen!

We have become so split in our organizations that our doctrines and theocracy and what we believe has become more central and more important than what the BIBLE, the Living Word of God, tells us to do! We need to remember that when our Heavenly Father, God Almighty commands His Son to return for His children and when Christ Jesus, Himself breaks through the clouds, He is only coming for one Body, one Bride, one CHURCH!!!!

Do you not remember the implication (see Genesis 3) found in the beginning of the Book of Genesis, that God WALKED with Adam and Eve and communed with them intimately. Why did He do that, if not for His love of His creation and the desire for their love in return? Do you think that their sin stopped the Father’s willingness to continue in communion, for wasn’t it after their initial sin that the implication of God’s willingness to continue to commune with them is stated in the examples given? God CONTINUED to speak to mankind in a way that man COULD hear and understand Him for a long while after that initial fall into sin!

The whole point of the first chapters of Genesis is to show our Heavenly Father’s undying love AND desire to continue to commune with mankind. Our Heavenly Father, God Almighty, the Creator of everything that is and ever was, WANTS an intimate relationship with His Creation and it always came through communion or communication!!!

Remember that when you read man’s journey from his first sin until redemption that it was NEVER God who stopped talking to man, but rather it was man’s shame because of his sin that caused man to stop communing with God, his Heavenly Father! This is what prayer is all about, communion and communication with the ONE Who created us to be a part of Himself!!!

So why make “prayer” so hard? Why turn it into something that is so extravagant, so convoluted that even a person with average intelligence is afraid to tackle it or explain it, let alone a little child? Have you ever watched a little child truly pray? In their innocence and simplicity, it is one of the most precious events you can ever be privy too! Yet that is exactly what the Lord wants from us and Jesus Himself taught us through His disciples!

When we pray, when we “TALK” to our Heavenly Father, we approach Him like we truly are, HIS CHILDREN! Jesus taught it very simply, very straight-forward this way as found in the Gospel of Matthew, as well as the Gospel of Luke:

Matthew 6:7-8, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” —- Matthew 6:9-13.

NOW — let’s break down this prayer into the components that are important and why Jesus taught us to pray following this guideline. Remember also, this IS a guideline and not just some words to memorize. It comes back to what I repeat from the Scriptures again and again concerning HOW I should look at the Word of God:

2 Corinthians 3:6, “who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Let’s now look at the SPIRIT of this prayer:

Our Father in Heaven —– Jesus immediately starts off with WHO we are to pray too! Why is there so much confusion today? I don’t get it or understand it and especially so for those that say they read their Bibles daily! Jesus makes it perfectly clear that we are to pray to our FATHER in Heaven! It is God, our Father Who created us, it is God our Father from the very beginning that desired (and still desires) communion with us. Jesus came to pave the way so that the spiritual connection that was broken could be reignited!

John 14:4-11, “And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”

Our Father in Heaven denotes a personal, intimate relationship with the ONE Who looks upon each of us as more than a mere creation, but looks upon us as an individual, personal child of His! It denotes a belonging and an heir to the One Who loved us enough to bring us into existence. He IS a Father, but not just that, when we pray, we recognize Him as OUR Father. We recognize immediately that He is NOT as our or other earthly Fathers, but has a home in a spiritual realm that will one day, by virtue of our being His child and heir, be our home also. We are NOT orphaned, or abandoned, but rather are away “at school” as-it-were, to learn and to grow into the heirs that He wants us to be, for when we DO return Home!

Hallowed be Your Name —– Hallowed be Your Name meaning that not just You as our Heavenly Father, not just the Person that You are, but your very NAME is to be honored as holy, exalted, revered, praised as divine, worshipped and adored. It is not just Him as our Father, for truly He IS God Almighty and HE IS Holy and to be praised, etc., but His very Name is Holy for His Name cannot be separated from Who He IS! His Name also identifies who we are to Him and who IS His by the very fact that we ARE His progeny, His children having and identity with Him spiritually!

1 Peter 1:14-16, “as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

When we commune or communicate with our Heavenly Father Who Is God Almighty, we must remember that we are communing with a Loving Father, but a Father who is also Holy, Just, Perfect, Eternal, etc., and Who deserves by the very virtue of His Existence to be praised and exalted, magnified and LOVED above all other things! These are not things that should be done out of obligation, but rather out of the Love that SHOULD be reawakened in us spiritually by the very fact of His Spirit drawing us to Him!!


END OF PART I

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Those Who Mourn

Great thought from a dear Brother in the Lord; please visit for much, much more insight and inspiration!

The Life Project

Most of the time, we don’t associate blessing with mourning; maybe we should rethink this… Matthew didn’t actually say what those blessed ones are mourning; it could be the loss of a loved one, it could be the loss of their home or possessions, or it could be the sinful and rebellious state of this world. Maybe it doesn’t matter…

I think it is safe to say that for a person to truly mourn they first had to love; certainly this would be true in the loss of a loved one. It would also be true if a person is mourning the loss of possessions, for if they didn’t love the possession(s) lost, would they actually mourn?

It wouldn’t seem so.

If the person was mourning for the wickedness of this world, wouldn’t that show they loved God a whole lot?

Consider for a moment those who do not…

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Study To Show Yourself Approved

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2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (KJV)

2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (NKJV)

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NKJV)


In August of 2017, I will turn 65 years old and I surrendered my heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ, just before my 17th birthday, so I have a few years of immersing myself into the Living Word of God, the Holy Bible. Even before being “born again/saved” I used to try and read our big ornate Catholic Bible that used to sit on our living-room coffee table.

From a young age I truly wanted to learn its spiritual secrets, but until surrendering my heart and soul to the Lord, it was a mixture of mystery, mysticism and religion that I couldn’t quite fathom. 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

I am now all these years later (and have been for several decades) a teacher of the Word and I have learned several things along the way. Now, this is not an auto-biography of my life in the Word, but rather a setting forth of some tips, as it were, to help those who might want to get more out of their own study in the Word of God.

There are several legitimate ways in which to study and even teach the Word of God, but the two main ones I want to cover are probably your most basic. You might be asking at this point, why even put forth these “tips” as most everybody knows how to read. The truth of the matter is that in my many years of being a minister/servant of the Word of God, I have come across many, many individuals who actually do NOT read the Bible themselves, let alone study or even meditate on it, but rather rely totally upon their Pastor/Preacher/Teacher or some other expositor to tell them what the Bible has to say to them as individuals.

The sad circumstances of this practice is that without studying for yourselves you do not know if you are being given the whole truth, a partial truth or an outright false teaching and with have many pews and seats in our churches today filled with people suffering from this very sad state of events.

Our salvation is a very individual circumstance and we will NOT enter into eternity on the apron-strings of anyone else, teacher, preacher or otherwise! The Bible IS the Living Word of God because it has the ability to speak to each individual heart as well as a whole congregation of hearts. This is probably why, also, the Pastor/Preacher/Teacher has so much responsibility before the Lord for the very words that come forth from their mouths! We have not just been given a calling to express forth the TRUTH of the Word of God, but we have been given the responsibility of making sure we are teaching the truth and nothing but the truth!

As I stated earlier, there are several ways to approach a study in the Word of God. The two I am going to touch on is the Thematic and the Expository way, sometimes referred to as the Contextual way. Simply put, the Thematic is when you have an idea or a subject reference, for example, say you want to study on the Grace of God. You would reference and study different Scriptures and passages of Scripture that deal with that subject matter or theme.

By comparison the Expository or Contextual is when you start with a particular verse or paragraph and you go as the Prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 28:10, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.” When you read/study/teach this way, everything is in context, everything around a particular Scripture refers to or makes meaning to that central Scripture or paragraph.

Expository teaching forces you to keep your study and/or teaching in CONTEXT and doesn’t allow you to stray from the main theme of the subject being discussed. You can still reference NOT just the text, but the spirit of subject and you can still identify, commands to follow, examples put forth for demonstration, etc. Remember this is ALL of your study and/or teaching, it is NOT just the words you are trying to convey for the words are NOT what brings forth life, but you are pursuing the SPIRIT of the subject; what is really hidden behind the text!

Paul wrote this principle clearly for ALL of us in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Thematic study/teaching is different and especially so in its discipline of the actual study/teaching! One of the main reasons why we have so many false teachings in the church-world today and so many religious fads that people follow “hook, line and sinker,” is because of the lack of discipline in Thematic study and especially from the pulpit or Sunday School Teacher in the classroom.

In Thematic study/teaching you STILL have to take things in context as you do with Expository, BUT, the big difference is, with Thematic, the studier or teacher can pull Scriptures from this part of the Bible and that part of the Bible and without the context of the Scripture(s) used, you can actually make the Bible say whatever you want it to say! It is for this reason that so many will say that the Scriptures contradict themselves or the Scriptures only apply to life in general!

The Word of God as a whole is definitely many-faceted and I/you can read one Scripture today and be really impacted by it and a week from now, see or perceive a meaning far deeper than first realized. This is one of the spiritual aspects that truly DOES make the Word of God, a LIVING force! This is what makes the Word of God, the textual/spiritual embodiment of Christ Jesus, Himself who is referred to as The Word of God! (John 1:1, 14). But – the Scriptures NEVER stray from the context in which they were given and when discerned by the inner spiritual man, they never stray from the context in which they are meant for the individual studying it!

One of the Scriptures I love to use when referring to those studying the Word of God and especially to those who value the TRUTH in the Word, AND equally special to those who might repeat a teaching, is found in the Book of Acts.

Acts 17:10-11, “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

What made the Bereans so noble when it came to the Word of God, is not that they were looking to find FAULT with Paul’s teaching, but rather, they were seeking to confirm and verify the TRUTH of his teachings for their own spiritual welfare! Too many in our churches today, do NOT seek to verify whether the person behind the pulpit is telling you the WHOLE truth, a partial truth or even a fable!! The rely solely on the charisma of the individual, how many others believe what they teach and so on and so forth!

When we stand before the Lord on Judgment Day, He isn’t going to ask us if we believed in everything we heard and who we heard it from. He is either going to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25), or He is going to say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7).

We truly need to take responsibility on how we apply the Living Word of God to our own lives. Teaching from others is important; if it weren’t so important, people like myself and my peers in Teaching Ministries wouldn’t have this type of calling on our lives. But, before any of us can teach, can be a “workman” who is equipped to do the work called too, we HAVE to study, as the New King James Version of the Bible says, we have to be DILIGENT in our study, we have to use the spiritual gift, given freely to all who are renewed in the spirit (born-again), that discernment, which IS a gift, to be able to delve into the treasure that IS the Word of God!

I want you to consider this; the beloved, Apostle John states this in 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” The word prosper also means to profit, which confirms and verifies what the Apostle Paul wrote Timothy in the Scripture listed at the start of this article. The Living Word of God “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped…..”


It, the Word of God, is PROFITABLE, you gain more from it than what you put into it! You come out ahead, you PROSPER, by taking into yourself, the Word of God!! When you read/study the Living Word of God, and you apply the spiritual gift of discernment and you LEARN the truth of that Word, your soul/spirit and yes even human nature prospers from it. For one thing, you GAIN (profit, prosper) wisdom, a commodity that is sadly in very, very short supply today! You GAIN (profit, prosper) in TRUTH! You actually strengthen yourself against falsehoods, both naturally and especially spiritually! BUT – this all comes to you by being “diligent,” or “studying to show YOURSELF approved to God,” and able to walk in this world of spiritual landmines by being equipped in truth and integrity!

The Word of God, when made to be a part of who you are in Christ, by the systematic study of its contents, changes you into a better person in the natural, yes, but more importantly it works an ETERNAL transformation in the spiritual!

Study to show YOURSELF approved to God, study to prove the truth of what others are teaching you, study to profit and prosper in your spirit and soul, for that is where the REAL gain is, and study to be equipped that you might help others who need a steady and sure spiritual hand! Remember what Paul wrote Timothy, the Word of God is profitable, it earns dividends, “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness!” You CAN be equipped in all these areas, through the study, meditation and contemplation of the Word of God!

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Take the Plunge!

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This was shared by Brother Bruce Mills, but Written and published by Sister Patricia Hall. She has some great insights on her blog site, be blessed and visit for more inspiration!!

Delighted in Jesus

FullSizeRender To take a plunge into something that surrounds or covers you is by definition, “to be immersed”. Understanding this concept has made it easier for me to understand the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. As a former director of operations for a non-profit organization, I knew that systems were key to successful operation of the business and if a system was in place long enough it would run productively. The implementation of a system required thoughtfulness, time, and patience. Before the new habits are formed, when things get busy, or panic sets in, there may be a temptation to revert back to the old system, but that will just bring confusion and chaos. To have a successful system you must have confidence in the system and a plan for implementation.  To change over to a new system three basic things are required: The awareness that the old system isn’t working, a decision to change, and the willingness to dive all the…

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His Will Is In The Word

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I was just talking with Susie, my wife about the sadness of those psychic commercials where people are looking for direction and purpose in their lives and I just mentioned if they would only turn to the WORD of God they wouldn’t be disappointed and it wouldn’t necessarily be by knowing what the future holds, but rather WHO holds the Future!!!
This is from a dear fellow Pastor whom I had the pleasure of meeting through online ministry many, many years ago. His writings are direct, truthful and full of the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Please check out his blog for inspiration and teaching!!

Pastorht's Blog

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His Will Is In The Word

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

In this prayer, Jesus prayed twice that the Father would keep His disciples from evil. Then He reveals the way that God will accomplish this – through His Word, the holy scriptures. Anyone who desires to live for God, reject the devil, and reject the world’s system, must know God’s Word.

We must study the scriptures, for they reveal the will of God for our actions and attitudes. To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, we must be filled with God’s Word. God’s Word is His will! Those who are ignorant of God’s Word will be ignorant of God’s will.

Knowledge of God’s will is foundational in developing Christian conduct and character. There is no way we can fulfill God’s will if we don’t know what it is. The starting point…

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Weapons Don’t Wield Themselves

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From my Sister in Christ, Bette Cox! This week many seem to be focusing on TRUTH and as stated in other posts, the TRUTH should never be a fearful thing to a disciple of Christ who is spiritual renewed, no matter what the source of that TRUTH. It’s time to STOP looking for our ears to be tickled, there ARE SOULS AT STAKE!!
Thanks, Sister Bette for this much needed post on action!

Esther's Petition

GodsWeaponsMadeForYou“The worst thing the enemy can do to a believer in Jesus is to send him home to heaven early.”

Why doesn’t God stop him in his tracks?

It’s obvious that the enemy of our faith is at work in the world, sometimes very close to where we live. We wonder why he seems to be getting away with so many murderous acts, causing so much chaos, turmoil and tragedy.

Reminders of several basic facts:

  • War is being waged for control of this planet, control of the people who live on the planet, and eradication of the people inhabited by the Creator of the planet.
  • God gave control of this planet to human beings. Stopping the enemy is our job. We’re not doing a very good job of it, but it’s still our responsibility.
  • It’s not an even fight, the sides aren’t even close to equal – but you’d never…

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Has the Church Become Empty Salt Shakers?

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A great article by Brother Patrick Hawthorne. Be sure to check his site for other posts, you will ALWAYS get the truth from him; and, we should NEVER be afraid of the truth no matter how it comes!!! Salt indeed!!!

SGM

By Patrick Hawthorne

salt

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should become-tasteless, with what will it be salted? It no longer has strength for anything except, having been thrown outside, to be trampled-underfoot by people. (Matthew 5:13 Disciples Literal New Testament).

Jesus had just begun His teaching in what we have come to know as the Beatitudes.  In carrying on the thought of, “Blessed are..,” He interjects – to those who are present for the message – that they are the salt of the earth; that WE are the salt of the earth.  He then tells them that they are lights meant to shine for all to see.

Of late, my thoughts have been toward the Body of Christ and how we have failed in so many ways.  As I read this particular verse, I could not help but think, “Have we become an army of empty…

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Treasure Hunting

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You know, for all of our “advanced” learning and education, and all of our technological achievements and advancements, it should be no surprise as to why the Bible, the Living Word of God is still so relevant for today. Human nature, never changes; at least without help from our Creator and Heavenly Father’s Hand in our lives.

Ever since mankind left the garden, he has always been pursuing treasure; to either increase his wealth among other men or status and power to appear to rise above others.

Yet the Bible tells us where true treasure lies and it is not in the ground or under a mountain.

Proverbs 8:10-11, “Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.”

Proverbs 16:16, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Proverbs 4:1-13, “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding; For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”
“Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble. Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.”

Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.”

Proverbs 13:10, “By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.”

Proverbs 15:21, “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly.”
22, “Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established.”

Proverbs 19:20, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.”
21, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’S counsel-that will stand.”

Proverbs 24:3-6, “Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”
7, “Wisdom is too lofty for a fool; He does not open his mouth in the gate.”

The Bible is a treasure trove and wisdom is the treasure that won’t be corrupted, as Jesus stated in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Just some spiritual “food for thought”!!

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