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Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

At Christmas time, we’re used to reading the story of a birth. Just maybe not this birth.

“When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said,“So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.– Genesis 38:27-30

What a bizarre story found in this tucked away corner of the Scripture. One son waves hello, gets a scarlet thread tied around his wrist, and then disappears. The other son… (continue reading at www.treasuretheordinary.blogspot.com)

 

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In honor of all of our Daddies, I have compiled a list of the top 12 Bible verses for Father’s Day.  If you are a Dad, or if you ever had a dad, I pray these verses will be a source of encouragement for you this week!

  1. Genesis 18:19 – “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”(NIV)
  2. Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”(NIV)
  3. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 – “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”(NIV)
  4. Joshua 24:15 – “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”(NIV)
  5. Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; (NIV)
  6. Psalms 127:3-5 – “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”(NIV)
  7. Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke,because the LORD disciplines those he loves,as a father the son he delights in.(NIV)
  8. Proverbs 14:26 – “Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.”(NIV)
  9. Proverbs 23:24 The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. (NIV)
  10. Malachi 4:6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. (NIV)
  11. Ephesians 6:1-2 – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise”(NIV)
  12. Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV)

May your Father’s Day and every day be filled with delight and honor in your family!

Links

Looking for Bible verses about God as our Father?  Click here for the Top 10 Bible Verses About Our Heavenly Father.

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Just in case there is anyone out there looking for some good tips on how to stagnate, how to maintain a shallow sense of spiritual immaturity, or even how to regress in their journey of faith, I have compiled “Pastor Eric’s Top Six Tools to Not Grow!”

1.     Don’t read your Bible.

Only bring it to church on Sundays.  And then only use it to hold your coffee steady in your seat.  The Bible is God’s primary tool to develop maturity in your life.  It contains the very words of God.  It is a record of God’s amazing love for you and His amazing purpose for your life.  Living your life according to God’s Word is the means by which we live in purity, prosperity, and peace.  Do not open your Bible if you do not want to grow.

2.     Don’t pray.

God is already pretty busy and you don’t want to bother Him any more than necessary.  If you pray you might begin to discover the heart of God — and it may open doors of breakthrough and blessing in your life.  To avoid growth, it is always best to just keep your problems to yourself.

3.     Don’t grow with someone.

Christianity blossoms in relationships.  If you don’t want to grow, don’t find a friend to pray with or talk about life from a Biblical perspective with.  Accountability and encouragement can really mess with the status quo.  Remember: To keep your life small, keep your circle of relationships even smaller.

4.     Don’t tithe.

Generosity is a Biblically guaranteed tool that brings spiritual growth to believers’ lives.  The Bible says that as we honor God with our tithe, He promises to open the storehouses of Heaven and rain down blessings upon us.  You absolutely cannot honor God with your tithe and maintain a small life.  If you want to keep it small, then don’t even think about being generous toward God.

5.     Don’t serve.

Service is like soil to the seeds of our growth.  It provides a place for our roots to take hold and begins to nourish our spiritual walk.  Just remember: “If I no wanna grow, then I no wanna go and serve.”

It is very possible at this point you may be very disappointed because you know that you have already taken some of these growth steps and are afraid you may begin growing.  Don’t worry!  It is still possible to sabotage any potential growth you may have started.  If you happen to accidentally find yourself doing any of these things then:

6.      Don’t be consistent.

Consistency is like a growth hormone.  It multiplies the effects of growth activities and causes them to mature faster.  But inconsistency can quickly uproot any growth before it has a chance to positively impact your life.

So, if you have finished reading the list and think it is the worst advice you have ever heard in your life, then DON’T FOLLOW IT!  Cross out the don’ts, get consistent in your own personal walk with Jesus, and start growing!

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There is a special place in God’s heart for widows.  Widows, orphans, and foreigners represent a vulnerable demographic of both ancient and modern culture.  Without a steady source of income or strong representation in business and legal affairs, they can easily find themselves exploited.

It is interesting that over and again God chooses the vulnerability of widows to demonstrate the principles of His kingdom.  Throughout the lineage of Jesus, we see widows taking their place in God’s unfolding story of redemption through the lives of women such as Tamar, Ruth, Bathsheeba, and even Mary.

It is a widow who provides for the prophet Elijah.  It is a widow who recognizes Jesus as Messiah when He is presented in the temple and only eight days old.  It is a widow who is commended by Jesus for her generosity when she offers her two mites.  And it is the story of a persistent widow Jesus uses to teach his disciples to always pray and not give up.

There are powerful lessons to be learned from those who would appear to be helpless among us.  Little is much when it is held in faith-filled hands.

The following is a collection of sixteen verses in the Bible that tell us of God’s heart for widows.

  1. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan.  Exodus 22:22 (NIV)
  2. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.  Deuteronomy 10:18 (NIV)
  3. When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.  Deuteronomy 24:19 (NIV)
  4. Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow. Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”  Deuteronomy 27:19 (NIV)
  5. Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.  1 Kings 17:9 (NIV)
  6. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  Psalm 68:5 (NIV)
  7. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.  Psalm 146:9 (NIV)
  8. The Lord tears down the proud man’s house, but he keeps the widow’s boundaries intact.  Proverbs 15:25 (NIV)
  9. …learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.  Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)
  10. Leave your orphans; I will protect their lives.  Your widows too can trust in me.  Jeremiah 49:11 (NIV)
  11. Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)
  12. There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.  Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.  Luke 2:36-38 (NIV)
  13. Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.  As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.  When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”  Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”  The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.  Luke 7:11-15 (NIV)
  14. Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’  “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ ” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)
  15. Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 1 Timothy 5:3 (NIV)
  16. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27 (NIV)

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This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.  — Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NIV)

“Can I not do with you as the potter does?” declares the Lord.

“Yes, Lord, you can,” I reply.

How about you?

 

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I’ve never been accused of being a vegetarian, but I have been eating a lot more salad since studying the book of Hebrews.  The primary ingredient of this spiritual feast has been the “let us” that can be harvested from virtually every page of Hebrews.

The author of Hebrews did two things amazingly well.  First, he or she brought glory to our King Jesus through the powerful comparisons that prove Jesus to be superior to anything in all creation.  Second, he or she knew how to inspire readers to action.

Over and again we are confronted with challenges of how to live our lives in light of the glorious King we serve and the marvelous covenant we have with God.

Below, I present to you a Hebrews Salad, which is a collection of the “let us” gleaned from the letter of Hebrews.

  • Hebrews 4:1 (NIV) Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
  • Hebrews 4:11 (NIV) Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
  • Hebrews 4:14 (NIV)  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
  • Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
  • Hebrews 6:1-3 (NIV)  Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
  • Hebrews 10:22 (NIV)  Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
  • Hebrews 10:23 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
  • Hebrews 10:24 (NIV) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
  • Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
  • Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Hebrews 12:28 (NIV) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
  • Hebrews 13:12-14 (NIV) And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
  • Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.

 

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Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.  Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. – Romans 4:16-5:5 (NIV)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13 (NIV)

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. – Colossians 1:27 (NIV)

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (NIV)

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope. – Hosea 2:15 (NIV)

 

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