Strong Because

Zechariah 12:5“The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord God Almighty is their God.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We should never forget our source of strength. Serve Him and be strong and successful. Turn our back on Him and see just how weak and vulnerable we become.

My Advice – As you gain success in life, give God the glory, praise and thanks. Do not think “look at all I have done.” What you are able to do, you do because God has enabled you and granted you success.

Yet In Distant Lands

Zechariah 10:6-10 – “I will restore them because I have compassion on them. They will be as though I had not rejected them. Though I scatter them among the peoples, yet in distant lands they will remember me. They and their children will survive, and they will return. I will bring them back.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Sometimes (often) we go our own way. We wander among the worldly (distant lands) and forget the ways of God. God will allow us this freedom, but He remains in our hearts (we survive). Eventually we remember Him and desire to leave our worldly lifestyle. Out of His great compassion He brings us back and restores us.

My Advice – There will likely be times when you wander in “distant lands” and do not walk with God. Always remember that you cannot wander so far that His arms cannot reach you to welcome you back. You will find that the first step of the return journey may be real hard. But once you take that first step, demonstrating your willingness to turn back, God will carry you the rest of the way.

In Your Hearts

Zechariah 7:9 – This is what the Lord Almighty says, “Administer true justice, show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – This is living a transformed life. This is living the life of Christ. This is what God saved us for. He saved us by grace, to transform our lives so that we would do good works.

My Advice – I have little advice in this, because you have a tender heart already. My only advice is to continue being this way. You have left childhood behind and are leaving adolescence behind. You are entering the adult world of work, obligation and struggle. Do not let your heart grow calloused by the things you see, hear or experience. Rise above them and continue to have the heart of Christ.

Involved In Evangelism

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Acts 1:8“You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – God has commissioned us to share the Gospel, so that others may know the way they can inherit eternal life. We should view this as a privilege, for that is what it really is. Not so much a command as it is an opportunity to share the best news anyone could ever hear. People usually cannot wait to share a piece of good news with others or to introduce new friends to old friends. In the same way, we should be very eager to share the Gospel and to introduce others to the Savior. To play whatever part we can in rescuing them from eternal separation from God.

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Yet all too often we are hesitant to do so. Perhaps this is because we fear rejection and ridicule. Whatever the reason, we sometimes let our burden over these fears overcome our burden for the lost. But it is not just failing to speak out when we should that prevents us from being the witnesses that we should be. It is also the way that we live our lives. Our external behavior is not always as consistent as it should be with the internal change that has taken place in us. So, if we dared to speak up to share our faith, would our testimony be credible based upon the evidence of how we live our lives day-to-day? The sad reality is that when we fail to speak out when we should, or when our conduct is inconsistent with our professed faith in Christ, we are actually being a witness – a poor one. This is certainly not the legacy we want to leave with our friends and family.

My Advice – We must be prepared to testify (witness) when called to the “stand.” In the meantime, we need to make sure that the lives we are living will be consistent with the truth that we proclaim (evidence).  We must not only “talk the talk,” we must “walk the walk.”

Coming Soon – An updated version of my Bible study “Got Spiritual Milk?” will soon be available in the Store link on my home page. What you see above is a short excerpt the chapter dealing with the eleventh of twelve “steps” discussed in the study.

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Inhabitants of the Earth

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THE INHABITANTS OF THE EARTHWith [the woman/prostitute] the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries … I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. (Revelation 17:2, 6, 8)

Kings and People Intoxicated by the Woman – The figure of a harlot committing fornication with kings and peoples occurs frequently in the prophets. It represents the defection of God’s people and their attachment to another god. See Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; 3:1, 6, 8; Ezekiel 16:15, 16, 28, 31, 35, 41; 23:5, 19, 44; Hosea 2:5; 3:3; 4:14. The word is also applied to heathen cities, but only in three places: to Tyre (Isaiah 23:15 – 17), to Nineveh (Nahum 3:4), and here.(1) In other words, they had become a part of the religious system which she symbolized (Revelation14:8),(2) and yet later turn against her and “bring her to ruin.” As we see the people of the United States gradually turning away from, or redefining the Christian faith upon which it was built, we can perhaps see how easily this might happen when Satan has freer rein and the Holy Spirit is withdrawn.

Fornication may refer to religious infidelity, the sexual indiscretion involved in pagan ritual, or both (Revelation 2:21). Revelation 18 (next chapter) suggests that this immorality also represents the commercial and political dealings with the kings and merchants of the earth,(3) as in the end times commerce, politics and religion all become strange bedfellows.

The Woman Drunk on the Blood of the Saints – This is an explicit reference to the intense persecution inflicted on believers by the woman.

Up Next – Babylon’s fall is proclaimed.

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References

  1. Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  2. Walvoord, John F., & Zuck, R. B., Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  3. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Busy With Our Own House

Haggai 1:2, 9“Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but you are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. Why? Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – While we are busy building a life, we often neglect God’s temple – the condition of our heart, where the Holy spirit resides. Building a life is not bad, but it should not be done at the expense of not developing our relationship with Christ, being transformed into His image.

My Advice – You’ve put a lot into your education (planted much) so you can build a successful career, earn a comfortable living and enjoy the finer things of life. Just make sure that you do not look solely to these things to satisfy you (have your fill). Do not neglect God. Do not become too distracted by the accumulation of these other things. In the end, they mean little without God (harvest is little).

He Is and He Will

Zephaniah 3:17 –  The Lord God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – These are all things that God desires for us. His might saves us so He can delight in us, love us and rejoice over us.

My Advice – God has richly blessed your life. Show your gratitude to Him by continuing to live a life that He delights in and rejoices over.