Picture of eagle's head with text, "Bible studies"

Part 1

(Newest ones are last)
Abiding Abiding
God's will God's Will
Abide in Jesus Abide in Jesus
Let God direct your path Let God Direct Your Path
Experience the real God Experience the Real God
Bring your thoughts captive Bring Your Thoughts Captive
God is not far away God Is Not Far Away
Be a child again Be a Child Again!
Now that's a house! Now THAT'S a House!!
Seeking God's face Seeking God's Face
Fear God Fear God
My Sun and Shield My Sun and Shield
Set high goals Set High Goals
Looking for God Looking for God
Trust God every day Trust God Every Day
Taste Him for yourself Taste Him for Yourself
Forsaking God Forsaking God
Is that Jesus in my mirror? Is That Jesus in My Mirror?
Riches in God Riches in God
Dead or alive? Dead or Alive?
Walking in the Spirit Walking in the Spirit
The voice of God The Voice of God
Draw near to God Draw Near to God
Spiritual understanding Spiritual Understanding
Things That Distract Us Things That Distract Us
Hiding Behind Rituals Hiding Behind Rituals
Experiencing God Experiencing God
Turn to God Turn to God
God is SO Big! God is So BIG!
Part 2:  Bible Studies on a Closer Walk With God Part 2:  Bible Studies on a Closer Walk With God


11/10/97 Abiding
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."
John 15:4-5
COMMENTS: Abide means live in. What a wonderful thought - - living in Jesus and Jesus living in me. If I live in Jesus then I keep my thoughts focused on him. If I live in him I am doing all things through him and am only doing things of which he would approve. It is hard to keep my mind focused on him. The human side of me gets sidetracked by worldly things. The worldly things take priority over Jesus in my mind. That is not what I want to happen, but it happens continuously! What is the answer? Lots of prayer and diving into the Word. The more I commune with him, the closer I am to him.
OOPS!  I neglected to save the November 1997 welcome messages.


12/27/97 God's Will
"Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord: giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"
Ephesians 5:17-20
COMMENTS: How do you find out what the will of the Lord is? He speaks to us through His Word, through the Bible. He also speaks to us in our hearts and minds. We become more familiar with His will through what we read in the Bible. We need to ask what He wants for us and wait upon the answer. The Bible says He lives in our praises, so praising Him is also important.

Like the scripture says, give thanks always for all things. Continuously thanking God for the things we have, the things we see, the abilities we have, and for everything else is what He wants. He wants us to keep Him in the forefront of our mind. When that is where we place Him then we will know that we are doing His will!
Link to 12/27/97 welcome message


5/26/98 Abide in Jesus
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."
John 15:4-5
COMMENTS: Yes, I did a Bible study on abiding already. Yes, I used this same exact scripture. It deserves repeating.

Abiding in something means to live there, to dwell there. In order to abide in Jesus we need to spend time thinking about Him. When you are thinking about Him then you are conscious of the fact that He exists. You will be less likely to make wrong decisions. You will be more likely to think the way He thinks and act the way He would.

We have things facing us throughout the day. We have decisions to make, places to go, work to do. We have to decide what to have for breakfast and what to wear. We have to think about whether or not the car needs gas, what appointments we have today, what assignments or jobs should be handled, whether it is time for a dental appointment, and lots lots more. How can we possibly take the time to abide in Christ?

He is always with you in the form of the Holy Spirit. Think about that every once in a while until it is a thought that is continuously with you. Sing praises to Him (silently or out loud) off and on throughout the day. Scripture tells us God lives in the praises of His people, you know! Just say, "Praise you," every once in a while.

There are many ways to cause your mind to think about Him. It does take a conscious effort on your part. If you do it often enough and for a long enough time then it just becomes second nature. Then you know you are not alone. You are aware that you have an observer constantly with you. You are thinking about Him throughout the day. Congratulations! You are abiding!
Link to 5/26/98 welcome message


7/13/98 Let God Direct Your Path
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6
COMMENTS: Most people are brought up to be self-sufficient. They are expected to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" and move on when they have encountered failure. It is no wonder that most people are concentrating on making the right decisions. They feel stressed because their success or failure in this world will be totally in their own hands.

One year when I was camping I encountered a skunk. This particular skunk had gotten his head stuck in a yogurt cup. The poor thing was wandering in circles and bumping into things. His field of vision was limited to the inside of the yogurt cup. That skunk with the limited vision represents us with our limited knowledge. Our knowledge is only as extensive as our education and experiences. If we make a mistake it is as if we bumped into something and we just move on, trying not to bump into that same thing. Soon we bump into something else.

To whom do you go if you have a legal question? To whom do you go if you have a mechanical repair question? To whom do you go if you have a health question? Naturally you go to someone who specializes in that area. If God knows and has seen and sees everything, would that make him an expert in every aspect of your life? Hmmmmm. . . .methinks that answer would be a big YES!

God is ready, willing, and able to guide you into the right decisions and paths. He is waiting for you to allow Him to do so. Put your faith in Him. Seek Him and acknowledge Him. You can't go wrong.

If you're curious as to what happened to the skunk, a brave camper grabbed the end of the yogurt cup and pulled. The cup was stuck on the skunk's head with a strong suction and at first the camper was pulling the skunk along the ground. The cup finally gave way and came off the skunk's head with a loud "kissing" sound. The skunk stood still for a second and turned and walked away. As he was walking away he lifted his tail and sprayed toward all of us as if to say, "Take that you humans-who-tempt-skunks-with-yogurt-cups!" Fortunately for us, he had used up most of his spray on all the objects he had been bumping into!
Link to 7/13/98 welcome message


9/14/98 Experience the Real God
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power."
Ephesians 1:17-19
COMMENTS: Most people put God in a box. They, unconsciously, decide what God can and cannot do and what He will and will not do. Since we are humans and have had to deal with other humans all of our lives, we tend to think in a human pattern. We place human characteristics on God.

We read in the Bible about the things God has done. We know that God created the entire universe. Yet, we confine Him to our human perception of who He is and what He can and will do.

Does our limited vision change God's ability to do things? No! What happens is we end up placing ourselves inside that very same box we built for God. We are the ones who limit our own understanding of God. We do not ask for things because we have decided God won't answer that prayer. We don't step forward in faith because we have already decided that God won't do a particular thing.

God is not a human and does not do things in a way that we can understand. We are not meant to understand the why and how of what God does and can do. We are, however, supposed to take the things that are in the Bible very seriously. When the Bible says we can move mountains if we have enough faith, it means it! When it says we are healed by the stripes Jesus took, it means it! When it says we are given gifts to use for edification of the body, it means it! Everything in the Bible is there for a reason!

Pray for wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him! Pray that your eyes of understanding would be enlightened. You will find out what He has for you. Experience the REAL God, not the God of your imagination!
Link to 9/14/98 welcome message


11/2/98 Bring Your Thoughts Captive
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
2Corinthians 10:5
COMMENTS: I've worked most of my life to turn knowledge and experience into my opinions. I'm what you might call an intellectual. Show me the proof. I understand what Thomas was thinking when he said in John 20:25, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."

I generally do not take anyone's word on what is the truth unless I have good reason to believe that person is totally honest. Even then, that person might have been deceived and honestly feels what they are saying is the truth when it isn't.

I've discovered that many of the things I felt I knew and the opinions I felt were based on facts are empty and worthless. The important thing is what I think means nothing if it goes against what God thinks. I know I used to think God couldn't or wouldn't do certain things. What I thought meant absolutely nothing to God and didn't limit Him in the least.

My thoughts don't want to be brought into captivity. They want to wander hither and yon as they please. It takes effort to bring my thoughts into captitivity to the obedience of Christ. If I keep thinking about the Lord then my thoughts are being brought into captivity. If my mind strays off of Him then they aren't. Most things take practice and effort. This is no different. I need to keep trying. I need to remind myself I've got a goal I've set and need to work toward achieving it.

Once I am able to continuously bring my thoughts captive to Christ then my thoughts will be worth something. My opinions will be worth something. I will be better able to be used by the Lord.

I need to continue finding out about God. I need to continue reading my Bible and praying that I understand the things God has for me there. I need to continue learning how to listen to God's voice. We're talking about the God who created the universe. Is anything impossible for Him? (Hint- -the answer to the question is, "No.")

Link to 11/2/98 welcome message


2/1/99 God Is Not Far Away
"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
1Thessalonians 2:13
COMMENTS: So many times I've heard people complain that they feel that God is far away from them. They don't feel like He cares about what is happening to them. They feel like they are all alone. Sometimes people go into depression, or try to escape from day to day problems in other ways such as drugs or drinking too much. They feel hopeless and helpless.

This scripture tells us that the Word of God works in us. The hindrance to that statement would be GETTING THE WORD IN US IN THE FIRST PLACE! If the Word isn't in us then it can't work. It is like a pitcher with water in it. If the pitcher does not have water poured into it then when you tip it to get a drink nothing will come out! The water can't do the work of quenching your thirst if you didn't put any water in it in the first place!

Lets see what are some of the things the Bible says about the Word of God: Luke 4:4, "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."

Luke 11:28, "But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."

Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Ephesians 6:17, "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Hebrews 11:3, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."

The Word of God is powerful, so powerful that it was what God used to create the universe. It works in those who believe. It works miracles, healing, strength, faith, love, and much much more. Read the Word! Read it over and over! Devour it! Fill yourself full of it!

It is not up to God to fill you full of Him. He won't force Himself on you. It is up to you to fill yourself with Him. Don't complain that God is far from you. Don't complain that God won't listen to you. Fill yourself with Him. READ YOUR BIBLE!

Link to 2/1/99 welcome message


5/3/99 Be a Child Again!

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1

COMMENTS: Life is hard. It seems like every day something unpleasant comes along. There are times when I would like to be a child again. I want someone else to make decisions for me. I want someone else to be responsible for my welfare.

When I start thinking along those lines I have to thump myself over the head for being SO STUPID! I AM a child! I am a child of God!! He will help me with my decisions and He is able to watch over me. DUH! I just have to ask. If that is the hardest part, why don't I do it all the time??

Society places emphasis on being responsible for your own actions. It tells us that we have to be knowledgeable enough to make good decisions. We are taught to be tough and do everything to the best of our ability. The fact is that our abilities are only a one on a scale of one to ten (ten being the best). Our abilities (ALL OF THEM) are God-given. Without Him in the picture they are only a fraction of what they could be.

If we put God in a place of importance then we will remember to ask His help and advice. We will remember that He is protecting us and wanting to guide us. We will be able to live without fear. We will never despair. We will never give up.

There is no scripture in the Bible that says, "God helps those who help themselves." It is just not true. Psalm 50:15 says, "And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."  It does not say do the best you can and then I will help you with the rest!!

He says, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye," in Psalm 32:8. He is willing to be with us throughout our entire life. Every step we take, He is there. It is up to us to realize it. It is up to us to accept His help, strength, and refuge He is offering. Do you need those things? That's a silly question, of course you do! He is there beside you. He is holding out His hand. Take it.

Link to 5/3/99 welcome message


11/2/99 Now THAT'S a House!!
"Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress."
Psalm 71:3
COMMENTS: Have you ever been reading your Bible through a chapter you've read many times before and find a new verse that wasn't there before?? Isn't that strange how that happens? This verse was one of those for me. I knew of other scriptures that mention rock and fortress, but this one is "new." I didn't even have it underlined! That's how I know it is new. Har har har.

Let's take a look at this one carefully. This is a scripture that you need to have tattooed on your brain and in your heart. This is about a house, or dwelling place. The main purpose of a dwelling place is for protection. A good one protects you from the heat, cold, rain, snow, etc. It also provides you comfort and a place to relax.

This verse describes the perfect house. It is God. He wants us to live in Him. He wants us to continually dwell in Him. He is a strong habitation. He is a Rock and a Fortress. The Rock would be the foundation. The Fortress would be the rest of it. If you were standing on a rock and surrounded by a fortress would you feel safe? I know I would! Well, if we have our faith in God that is exactly where we are standing!!

We want to have a strong habitation and we have one. There is something that is left up to us, however. We have to stay in it continually. God is not going to force us to accept His protection, His peace, His love, His comfort, or anything else. He leaves that choice up to us.

How can we continually live in Him?? Spend time in the Bible. That's where you learn more about God. You begin to get a feel for what He thinks and how He does things. Spend time in prayer. That's where you get to personally meet Him. Find out His thoughts toward you. Find out His love for you and for everyone else. Then we need to live in His thoughts. Make His thoughts our thoughts. Think about Him all the time. Then we need to rest in Him. Allow Him to have our worries, our problems, and anything else that causes you to not be able to rest. Now you are continually dwelling in the best house ever built! Enjoy!!
Link to 11/2/99 welcome message


11/8/99 Seeking God's Face
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
2Chronicles 7:14
COMMENTS: This is one of the main scriptures used in the beginning portion of the book The God Chasers. Read it again and think about it for a moment.

What does it mean to seek God's face? What is in a face? If you pay close attention to someone's face you can see a lot of things. In their eyes you can see if they are at peace. In their countenance you can see if they are happy, sad, mad, scared, or indifferent. You can tell what they think about you. When you are seeking God's face you are seeking His heart and His mind. You are interested in what He is thinking.

Most people that are seeking God are seeking His hands. They are seeking what God can do for them. Their prayers to Him [conversation with Him] consist(s) of please heal, please give, please fix.....

In order to seek God's face we need to step way out of our comfort zone. We have to be ready to set aside any ideas and thoughts we already have about God. We have to be ready to accept anything that God reveals to us. We need to let go of everything. We have to let go of everything that is near and dear to us. As long as we are holding on to earthly things we will never ascend to the level of stepping into heavenly things.

We can't come face to face with God unless we are repentant of our sins. Not only do we need to be repentant, we need to be AWARE of our sins. We need to find out from Him what things in our lives are displeasing to Him. Then we need to get rid of them. We can't hang on to things that He tells you are bad and expect to meet Him eye to eye. It just isn't going to happen.

We have to humble ourselves. In humbling ourselves we have to let go of those things that are important to us. We have to face the fact that everything we are and everything we have are because of Him. In ourselves, we have nothing that is of any value. We have done nothing in ourselves that will withstand the test of time. NOTHING!

We are in a society that is self-oriented. Everything is me, me, me. Most people are not willing to help others because it doesn't benefit them directly. We are not going to find God with that attitude. We have to let go. We have to hit bottom and admit that we are nothing but a speck of sand on a very large beach. We have to find out what we do that is wicked in God's eyes and remove that from our lives. We have to repent of those things that are a stench in His nostrils. We know what those things are. He tells us. Galatians 6:2-10 says,

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden."

"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

Are you hungry for more? Are you hungry for a close relationship with Him? Let go of yourself because you have nothing to offer Him that He needs. Find out what He is telling you. Seek His face. Don't be looking for His blessings. . .they will find you as you humbly seek Him!

Link to 11/8/99 welcome message


1/11/00 Fear God
"God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him."
Psalm 89:7
COMMENTS: Jeremiah 5:21-29 says, "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?

But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.

For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?"

What is being said here? What nation(s) do you think could be the one(s) spoken to here? Most people do not fear God. Many look at him as a jovial, hugging kind of Santa Claus figure. When they pray they ask for things for themselves and for others and wait for God to give. They don't even consider that God may want them to be doing something for Him. They just think He is here to give, give, give.

There are way too many people that just ignore Him. They know in their hearts there is a God, but they choose to let Him do His thing while they do theirs. They have no fear, nor even respect for Him.

Then there are the evil people who feel that if they aren't caught by the police then they have gotten away with something. Oh, dear, they really need to come to the realization that God sees everything. Like it says in Galatians 6:7, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Most people categorize God in a category with which they feel comfortable. For example: God is Love. Absolutely! You get no argument from me! However, God is more than that. He is the Creator, the Light, the Rock, the Alpha and Omega, Heavenly Father, and much more. He is to be feared, reverenced, worshipped, praised, thanked, and much more. God cannot be categorized or boxed. He cannot be limited nor explained in human terms.

We should be trembling in His presence. Well, I guess the first order of business is to seek His presence. Once we are truly in His presence I would imagine we would have no say over whether we tremble or not!

Think about it this way. . .what would you think, what would you do, and what would you say if you heard someone announce, "God has entered the room?"

Link to 1/11/00 welcome message


2/21/00 My Sun and Shield
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee."
Psalm 84:11-12
COMMENTS: God is a sun and shield. What is so great about the sun? It gives light. Without it we would be totally dependent on artificial light. Light shows things as they truly are. Without God, the Light, we are not seeing things as they truly are. Even today, with dark and gloomy rain clouds obscuring the sky, it is still light outside. The sun gives warmth. Our air would be freezing outside without the warmth from the sun. God's love is better than warmth. He loves us unconditionally. He loves us as much when we are messing up as when we were cute little rosebud-lipped babies!

What's so great about a shield? Silly! You know the answer to that question. From what does God shield you? Whatever you want! Are you being attacked by mean people, fear, anger, illness, or money problems? Is there anything else from which you need to be shielded? That's what God can do for you! He is THE Ultimate Shield! There are no holes in that shield! There are no weak spots in that shield! It is available to you.

God will give you grace and glory. Grace: favor, kindness. Glory: honor, esteem. Want to be shown favor and kindness from and be honored and esteemed by the One who created the universe? He can treat you nicer than you can treat yourself! You interested? It is available to you.

NO GOOD THING will He withold from you if you walk uprightly. Upright: with honesty and integrity. Ah, there's the rub! How can we do that? The next sentence is the answer. Trust in Him to help you. If you put your trust and faith in Him and allow Him to have control over your life then you will walk uprightly. You will do better than that. You will begin to ooze the love of God out of your life. You will begin to have the attributes of God.

Once you develop a close relationship with God you will automatically begin wanting to do the things He wants you to do and saying the things He wants you to say. As a result, He blesses you abundantly. You can't even name all the blessings, but you feel totally blessed. It is a hard thing to describe but I can try to sum it up in just one word. It is GLORIOUS!

Try it...I know you will like it!

Link to 2/21/00 welcome message


5/15/00 Set High Goals
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you."
Philippians 3:13-15
COMMENTS: Paul was someone we truly admire. He sure did a lot to spread the gospel around the world! He suffered all sorts of things and still pressed on! Yet, as we read this, we see he still knew there was more. He was not able to say he had arrived at the place the Lord wanted him to be, but he had to keep reaching out for more!

By "perfect" Paul is referring to someone who is full grown, or no longer a "babe in Christ." So, he is telling people who have grown spiritually to keep reaching for more. He also tells us that God will reveal the things to us that keep us from being full grown in Him.

There are things in our lives that hinder our walk with the Lord and with our spiritual growth. God will reveal those things to us. It is up to us to get rid of them. If they are long-time habits or learned behaviors then we will need His help to get rid of them.

In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." For what purpose is the cross used? It is for dying. We need to die to the things that hinder our relationship with God. We need to die to our "self" which is our pride, our self-esteem, our "what's in it for me?" attitudes.

You have not arrived at a place of full understanding about God and about what He wants for you. It is not possible. Do not be complacent with where you are now. Reach out, learn more, seek God's will, find out more about Him, and read your Bible. It is a daily process. Don't ever get comfortable and stop growing. You'll miss out on so very much!
Link to 5/15/00 welcome message


7/3/00 Looking for God
"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:13
COMMENTS: First let's get one thing clear. God is not lost. God is where He's always been and never has been and never will be lost and in need of that kind of finding.

If anyone feels they are separated from God then it is they, themselves that are lost. When there comes a time in a person's life when they feel they need to get closer to God then all they need to do is seek Him. Some people seek Him half-heartedly. They find Him, because He is never far, but they don't get to know Him. When life gets too distracting they wander away again. Maybe they never wander as far as they were before, but they wander.

When you seek Him with your whole heart you are seeking a personal relationship with Him. He can see your commitment to getting to know Him. He will allow Himself to be found by you. He desires your companionship. He desires to have a close relationship with you. He already knows your innermost thoughts. He already knows what you will say before you say it. He has taken the time to get to know you. All that is necessary for a relationship is your portion. Your portion is to seek God. Find out more about Him.

Many of His personality traits, desires, methods of operation, and other attributes are spelled out in the Bible. By reading it you learn more about Him. You can never get everything out of the Bible that is in there. Each time you read it you will learn more.

You also need to commune with Him. Talk to Him as if He were in the same room with you (because He is!) He wants to hear everything you have to say to Him. Be sure to take time to listen. Communication is a two way street. Ministers and pastors and priests are not the only ones who have a direct line to God.

Jesus died for everyone. He opened the lines of communication. He made provision for you to enter the throne room of God with your petitions and prayers. He would be the only middleman. He's not even a middleman because He told us how to pray. He told us to pray to our Father in Heaven. He didn't say to pray to Him and then He would pass on the messages!

Listen listen listen. Find out what personal things He has to say to you. He wants to tell you how much He loves you. He wants to tell you what to do and say. He wants to commune with you. Don't just keep talking to Him. That is not a conversation; that is a monologue.

Seek God. You will find Him if you seek Him with your whole heart. God said so and when God says so you can stake everything on it . . . GUARANTEED!
Link to 7/3/00 welcome message


9/11/00 Trust God Every Day
"Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee."
Psalm 143:8
COMMENTS: This is my prayer for me and for you. We need to start out every morning hearing the Lord. Oh, how wonderful each day would be after hearing Him tell us how much He loves us!

Every day we need to know what decisions to make. We don't know what each day is going to bring our way. We don't know what problems or disasters might befall us. We need to place our trust in the One who does know and who can help us. We need to do this each and every day. We need to give our day to Him and ask Him to help us through it.

We need to place our mind on Him the first thing in the morning and keep it on Him. The things we do we need to do for Him. We need to stay focused on Him so that we will be able to hear Him tell us what to do and what to say as each thing arises throughout the day.

He desires our thoughts. He desires to guide us. Think how foolish we are when we try to handle things on our own without including Him! How often do we know with absolute certainty that we are doing the right thing/making the right decision? I am way too foolish and prideful to even imagine that I know what is best! Yet, I frequently step out without Him! Somebody smack me upside the head! What is wrong with me??

I must lift my soul up to Him. I need to give myself to Him. I need to let go of any ideas I have of doing things without Him!

I have apologized to Him for pulling away from Him. The wonderful thing is that I know that He still loves me even though I've not been giving Him 100%.

It's not too late to place your life in the Lord's hands! Today can be the first day. This can be the very moment that you begin to draw closer to Him. It is a decision you have to make. I suggest you make it. After all, who has all the answers you need, you or God?
Link to 9/11/00 welcome message


1/2/01 Taste Him for Yourself
"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him."
Psalm 34:8
COMMENTS: If a waiter set a plate in front of you and there was a food item on that plate that you had never eaten before how would you know if you would like it or not? You could ask the waiter to describe how it tasted. The waiter would have to liken it to some other kind of food. If you liked the food to which it was compared then you might like it. You could smell it. If it smelled really bad you probably would guess that you wouldn't like it. If it looked unappetizing then you might make the assumption that you wouldn't like it.

There is only one way to really know if you would like that food item or not. You would have to taste it. You would actually have to put some of the food in your mouth. You would have to make yourself taste it.

Many people hear about God from other people and make decisions as to whether they will make the effort to get to know Him better. Some people decide that God is not worth knowing or even that God doesn't exist because they believe what they hear other people say about Him. Many people hear someone say that God is our Heavenly Father and decide that, since they had a bad relationship with their own human father, that they aren't interested in finding out more about God.

The only way that someone would be able to know how wonderful God truly is would be for them to make the effort to "taste" God. They would have to make themselves work on finding out more about God. They would have to, on purpose, read their Bible and spend time in communion with God. They would have to experience God for themselves in order to know for sure how wonderful He truly is!

Don't let someone else tell you how good God is. Don't be content to hear about the wonderful things that God is doing in other people's lives. Taste Him for yourself and see how much He loves you. Taste Him and find out why He created you. Taste Him and you will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He truly is GOOD! The entire chapter 34 in Psalms is full of some wonderful stuff. Why don't you pull out your Bible and read it? Read it a couple of times. See what jumps out at you.
Link to 1/2/01 welcome message


1/15/01 Forsaking God
"For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
Jeremiah 2:13
COMMENTS: God is the source for everything we need. He created us and He created everything else. Adam and Eve were the first humans to walk with God. Imagine how it was...it was just Adam, Eve, and God. They knew Him as their friend and as their Creator. They had daily communion with Him.

Look how far mankind has come from that time. Most people have forsaken God. They have chosen to turn their backs on Him. They have chosen to believe that they know what is right. If they do believe in God, then they probably believe they know what God does and doesn't like. They probably do not seek to find out what God wants them to do and to say.

What most people have done is create their own ideas and their own ways of doing things. What they have basically done is created "broken cisterns." You see, when man creates something in his own flesh it might seem good, but when it is compared to what God creates it is revealed for what it is, a puny effort. There is nothing that we can do in the flesh that we can take pride in when it is examined by God.

Make a list of your accomplishments. What skills do you have? What awards have you won? Look at that list and cross off all the things that you did not do all on your own. You could start by crossing off your talents because those were given to you by God. You did not create them yourself. Any awards you won because of athletic abilities or because of any other natural skills or talents would be because of what God gave you. If you do it honestly then you probably will cross off everything or almost everything.

Have you been working hard hewing out cisterns? You might find that you have been working hard creating houses made out of toothpicks. When we choose to forsake God then we can only flounder about, doing the best we can. Look at the newspaper. What do you see? How many of the stories about people and nations would be different if God had been made the center of the lives of those involved?

If God was returned to His rightful position of being the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End, the Creator, and God Almighty what would happen to the divorce rate? wars? gangs? jails? locks and keys? Think about it.

So, what can you do? You can only do one thing. You can't change the world. You can't force other people to return to Him. You need to give Him His rightful place in your life. He is the source of everything you need. He has every answer that you need. He has the wisdom you need. Focus on Him. Read about Him in your Bible. Get to know Him better. Find out if the things you are doing in your life are what He wants you to be doing. Begin to seek Him NOW!
Link to 1/15/01 welcome message


4/24/01 Is That Jesus in My Mirror?
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2Corinthians 3:18
COMMENTS: When you look in a glass (mirror) what do you see? You see what God sees, His beloved child. Now, look more closely. What do you see? Look deeply into your own eyes. What do you see?

You are the temple of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit lives inside you (1Cor 3:16). Let me place a little more emphasis on the last part:

Our scripture says we are changed into the same image from glory to glory. We are being changed into the image of Jesus! The closer we get to the Lord, the more we learn about Him, the more we learn about the things the Holy Spirit within us is capable of doing, the more we are looking like Jesus! This means that people can actually see Jesus when they look at us!

No, no, no that doesn't mean that we begin to have facial features like Jesus had. It means they can see attributes of Jesus in us. They will see His compassion, understanding, and love in our expressions.

The closer you get to the Lord the more you will find that people seek you out when they have a problem. You will find that people will trust you, even though they don't know you. They will feel that something is very different about you. They will be looking through you and seeing Jesus.

I hope that, when we are in heaven, we will be able to find out how many lives we have touched. So many Christians feel frustrated because they don't feel they are doing anything important for God. If you are allowing the Holy Spirit in you to work then you will have spoken exactly the right words, you will have prayed exactly the right prayers, you will have done exactly the right things over and over and over.

The closer you get to the Lord, the more you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. We are to walk in the Spirit. Rom 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Rom 8:4, "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

Gal 5:16, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

Gal 5:25, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Walking in the Spirit is a choice. We have to make that choice every single day. You can't walk in the Spirit if you don't know the heart of God. You won't know the heart of God if you don't read your Bible and spend time in communion (prayer) with Him. You can't walk in the Spirit if you don't stay in constant contact with God.

Link to 4/24/01 welcome message


5/7/01 Riches in God
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
Romans 11:33
COMMENTS: If I told you that there was a great deal of money buried in a certain spot in your yard would you begin digging for it? If, after you found it, I told you there was more in another spot would you dig there as well? What if you discovered there was lots of money scattered all throughout the soil in your yard?

There are riches in God that you have never experienced! There isn't just one valuable thing, there is an endless supply of valuable things buried in God! We could spend the rest of our lives seeking to know all there is to know about God and we will never reach that point. However, the journey in the search will uncover an untold amount of riches.

I can't tell you exactly what God has for you, because what He has for you is different than what He has for me. However, I can tell you with certainty that you DO want what He has to offer! I can tell you with certainty that you WILL NOT regret any decision you make to find out more about God!

I can't even tell you all the things that God has done in my life that are valuable! Every day with Him holds new treasure. He has protected me and my family an immeasurable number of times. He has given me both tiny and huge treasures of joy and peace every single day! He has provided me with strength and with wisdom when I needed them the most!

The things of God are not easily described with mere words. There are riches in God that are waiting for you to find them. I know that sounds vague and a bit corny, but it is true. You would dig for riches called money, why won't you dig for riches that are spiritual? There are more riches in God than you will ever find!

Let's take a quick look at more riches:

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
Romans 2:4

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."

Ephesians 1:7

 "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints."
Ephesians 1:18

 "That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 2:7

 "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man."
Ephesians 3:16

 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

 "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ."
Colossians 2:2

You have two shovels you were given. One is the Bible and the other is prayer. Start digging! Your riches await!

Link to 5/7/01 welcome message


5/22/01 Dead or Alive?
"And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." Revelation 3:1
COMMENTS: Jesus was sending a warning to us in his warnings to the seven churches in the book of Revelation. I have read in a few places where the use of the number seven in the Bible is significant. The number seven appears in many important places. The theory is that the number seven indicates completeness, totality. Now, be aware, that is not a proven fact, only a theory.

However, as I apply it to the times when I read "seven" in the Bible I find that it just might be true. IF it is true, then Jesus is referring to all churches, which would include all people in the churches (church refers to the actual people, not the building) all over the world. If that is true, then we need to see if we are being warned and reprimanded in these scriptures and change what we are doing wrong.

In this scripture, the people think they are alive, yet they are dead. It says they have a name. It sounds like they think they are alive and doing God's will just because they have a name. It sounds like they are content to think that the name, the reputation, will be enough. They think their affiliation with a respected church is enough.

Do you know people like that? I refer to them as pew-warmers. They come in to a church, looking to receive something for themselves, take what they can get, and they go home. They don't practice anything they've learned. Or, they go to church and think that, just because they are going to church, that is all God requires of them. They don't read their Bible on their own. They think they are alive, but they are dead. They are dead to what God wants them to be doing!

Verse two says to be watchful and strengthen the things which remain. We have to find out what things are the things God wants us to be doing. God has given us gifts and talents to use in the church, in the Body of Christ. What are we doing with those things?

Those people that are using excuses to get out of doing what God wants them to do will have a very hard lesson some day. What do you think God's response will be to the following?

"I didn't have time to pray or read my Bible. I needed time to relax, so I watched TV or read novels or read magazines.. I had to know what was happening in the world so I read the newspaper." "I went to church almost every Sunday. What more was I supposed to do?" "I didn't need to read my Bible because my teacher and pastor told me what was in the Bible. It's not my fault they told me things that weren't true." "I used my [artistic, musical, organizational, managerial, athletic, or whatever] talent to make money and support my family. Isn't that why you gave it to me?"

Some day you will have to answer for the decisions you have made. You will be responsible, even if you were tricked, fooled, lied to, or otherwise confused. Satan is in the business of tricking people into doing things that hinder their walk with God. He's good at what he does, so he can easily disguise things and make them appear to be good things.

Choose wisely. If you choose not to take the time to develop a relationship with God then you will be easily fooled. You will not know what God's opinions are and what God's will is until it is too late. What excuses are you going to offer to God when He asks you, "What have you done with what I gave you?"

A series of related studies:  What is God's Will?

Link to 5/22/01 welcome message


6/12/01 Walking in the Spirit
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
Galatians 5:16
COMMENTS: A simple thought, yet so hard to do! Walk in the Spirit. Just walk in the Spirit. Uh huh! Sure! Let's look at it beginning with the end of the scripture. Think about trying not to fulfill the lust of the flesh. That would be harder to do. If you tried, on your own, to not do the things that you shouldn't, then you would most likely fail at most of it. We end up doing something we know we shouldn't and, at the very moment we are doing it, are thinking, "I shouldn't be doing this."

If we keep trying to do the right things and keep failing in our attempts we might give up trying. After all, how many times can you fail at something before you figure you can't do it? Once you get to the point where you decide you can't do it on your own, then it is easier to accept help.

God has the help that we need. If we begin filling ourselves with Him then He provides the assistance we need to modify our behavior, our vocabulary, or whatever we need. Walking in the Spirit means walking in the way the Lord desires. As I shared in the welcome message, it is easier for me if I do certain things. First, I make a decision every morning to think about Him. I tell Him I want to spend the day with Him. I tell Him I want to be doing and saying the things He wants.

Then, I imagine Him near me all day long. I imagine Him in the same room, in the car, and walking with me during the day. Then, when I say something I shouldn't, I apologize. Most of the time I end up not saying the things I shouldn't because I am aware of His presence. If someone is observing you, then you will probably act differently.

I have to keep refreshing my mind and reminding myself that I am in the presence of the Lord. So often, I get focused on the things I need to do, or the problems that I face and I am not thinking about the Lord. It is a continuous process to keep refreshing my mind and re-focusing back on the Lord.

Walking in the Spirit is something that the world doesn't teach us. This is something that is a heavenly thing. God doesn't tell us to do something that is impossible for us to do. He challenges us to do things that are difficult, and He will provide us with the help to do them.

Why walk in the Spirit? If we walk in the Spirit then God provides us with answers to questions, solutions to problems, comfort in difficult situations, and strength to endure. If we walk in the Spirit we can be a comfort to hurting people. We can be doing something important in the Kingdom of God every single day.

It isn't an easy thing to be focused on the things of God. We live in the world. We are influenced by the things of the world. We are taught to not believe in things we can't see, hear, taste, or touch. It takes a conscious decision on our part to walk in the Spirit. It is difficult because it is a concept known by God, but not known by man. The main thing is that it is a worthwhile thing to do. We don't know how worthwhile until we do it!

Link to 6/12/01 welcome message


7/23/01 The Voice of God
"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden."
Genesis 3:8
COMMENTS: God visited Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I wonder what it was actually like back then. Revelation 4:11 tells us that all things were created by God for HIS PLEASURE! He wanted to spend time talking with mankind! He created man in His image. He created us for Himself.

Look how far away we have gotten from what God wanted! Most of the world doesn't give Him the time of day. He wants to spend time with us. He wants to communicate with us. He wants to bless us. He wants us to bless Him.

If someone says, "I need to pray about it first," people think they are weak in the head or looking for an excuse to get out of doing something. If someone says, "God told me this or that," then people think they have lost their mind. If someone devoted their entire life to nothing but prayer and praise then the "world" would view them as useless and a non-functioning member of society.

Even within the church itself we are not allowing God to teach us His ways. We are not allowing Him to rule in all areas. People took "control" away from God and are very reluctant to give it back.

Each and every one of us is an individual in God's eyes. He assembled each of us in a unique way. Look around you at other people. How many different noses, mouths, chins, ears, and other parts are there? How many different ways have they been assembled? Each and every person was hand molded by God! He wants a relationship with each of us that is unique as we are! He has a different way of looking at you, talking with you, and loving you than He does with me!

"Walk" with Him today. "Meet" with Him throughout the day. Spend time with Him. Let's try to find out just how He wants things. Let's try to find out what His plan is. Let's not conform to what the world expects. The world is wrong!!! Don't let the world influence your personal relationship with God!!!

Link to 7/23/01 welcome message


9/4/01 Draw Near to God
"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men."
Isaiah 29:13
COMMENTS: Drawing near to God requires more than praise, more than reading our Bibles, and more than going to church every week.

We can be doing all those things regularly and still have our hearts far from God. If our heart is toward God, we have made Him our top priority. He is the love of our life. He is the One we long to spend time with. We will be thinking about Him at every opportunity. We will be wondering what He thinks about things. We will be asking His opinion on everything that happens. We will be taking every opportunity to tell Him we love Him.

What have you been taught about God by teachers and pastors? Is that the only information you have about who God really is and what He thinks and does? If so, then you are the one mentioned in the verse above as being taught by the precept of men. Find out for yourself about God. What does the Bible tell you about Him? What does He tell you about Himself during your prayer times?

If you aren't hearing from Him during your prayer times then there is something wrong with your prayer times. Of all the parts of prayer listening just might be the most important. Are you listening?

If you haven't visited it yet, go take a peek at the page I put together called Praying More Effectively.
Link to 9/4/01 welcome message


10/1/01 Spiritual Understanding
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding."
Colossians 1:9
COMMENTS: Probably the biggest roadblock when it comes to being used by God is lack of spiritual understanding. Most people prefer to try to understand the things of God with their own human understanding. Spiritual understanding means we have to allow God to do His thing without pre-determining the methods He will use or the outcome.

Many people try and try to understand God and the things that He does, and doesn't do, and they only get frustrated. The more frustrated they get, the farther away they push themselves from God. It usually gets to a point where they just shrug their shoulders and don't think about the things of God. They figure they won't understand them anyway, so they just let God do His thing unhindered.

There are an awful lot of churches that promote the lack of spiritual understanding. I've heard pastors say, "God will always....[do whatever]," and I've heard pastors say, "God won't ever...{do such and such]." Since they are the "learned" pastor the people in the congregation usually accept what is said as factual information about God and are satisfied.

If we have it set in our head that God won't do something, then we don't open our spiritual eyes to allow God to do that particular thing. Perhaps it is our job to pray for that particular thing to take place, which we won't do if we don't believe God will do it. Also, when someone comes along that has their eyes open to the spiritual things of God then that person's work is hindered by unbelief.

My son and I were talking the other day about churches we've attended and he made the comment that he thought people were afraid of me and that was why we've been shunned by previous brothers and sisters in Christ from churches we used to attend. It startled me because it hit home in my spirit.

As I thought more about it I realized that when I began exercising the gifts the Lord has given me people backed away and some even got angry. They got uncomfortable thinking that God would use a regular person like me to speak to them. Rather than submit these things to the Lord and ask for verification, they would react in the flesh and close me out.

In order to allow God to use us to the fullest extent we have to look outside the box. That means we have to look outside of the things that are limits. We can't be closed to the fact that God has power over gravity. God CAN move a mountain and CAN part a sea! God did not decide to take a long nap after the Bible was written. God is still God. God still wants to work miracles. God has not changed. He did not stop wanting to communicate with us after the Bible was written.

In order to obtain spiritual understanding we have to let go of all understanding that we have in our heads. You see, spiritual understanding is actually not understanding at all. It isn't understanding the why's and the how's of God. Spiritual understanding is just understanding that God CAN and WILL do ANYTHING HE PLEASES if we allow Him to use us. Spiritual understanding is basically understanding that you cannot understand the things of God.

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5) "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Link to 10/1/01 welcome message


11/4/03 Things That Distract Us
"And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house."
Judges 8:27
COMMENTS:    This doesn't sound good at all, does it?  Shame on them!  We'd never do anything like that, would we?  Heck no!  We know better!!

Let's back up a little to verses 22 and 23:
"Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.  And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you."

Gideon's heart was in the right place.  From the experiences he had (see last week's Bible study if you missed it) he knew that God was ordering his steps and was the reason he had turned into such a good leader.  So, very wisely, he proclaimed what he had learned to all the people.  After all, that was the way God intended it all along.  He wanted to be their King and Ruler!

Then Gideon proceeded to do something to honor God.  He collected up a bunch of gold earrings that the people had collected off of their defeated enemy.  (Right off the bat this sounds bad.  It should have brought to someone's mind the story of the golden calf that the people had made while waiting for Moses at Mount Sinai.  That should have hinted that caution was necessary.)  Anyway, what started out as an honor to God turned into idol worship.  Instead of dedicating the ephod to God and worshipping God, their focus turned to the ephod, itself.

First of all, did God need another ephod?  The high priest already had one.  An ephod is part of what the high priest wore.  It makes me wonder where Gideon got the idea.  Perhaps he was doing as Moses did in Numbers 31:54.  However, there was a big difference.  Moses had the gold they offered up to God put into the tabernacle.  Gideon put the ephod in the city in which he lived.  It really wasn't given to God, but was made to admire.

The ephod was probably beautiful and probably very expensive.  People wanted to see it.  Perhaps some people wanted to have it for themselves, or imagined what it would be like to have it for themselves.  Anyway, the ephod's original purpose was to turn people's eyes to God.  They would see the ephod made of jewelry taken from their defeated enemy and praise God for helping them to arise out of the condition of being captives in their own land to being the conquerors.  Instead, they focused only on the ephod, itself.

Can you think of any examples today of things that should bring us to the throne of God but only serve to distract us from focusing in God?

Church buildings sometimes become way more important than they should.  I've seen where people fight with each other over what color of paint to use, what type of carpet to put in, and whether to use rooms for storage or classrooms.  I was in a Palm Sunday service at a church that, instead of any teaching or evangelizing, they did a presentation on the progress of the construction of their new building.

What about the "miraculous sightings of Mary" or "images of Jesus' face" seen in skyscraper windows or on a potato?  What is worshipped there, God or the miracle?

What about people planning church services and neglecting to let God choose what is done there?  What about the line drawn between clergy and laity?  What about what clothes people are told to wear at church?  What about a magnificent pipe organ?  Need I go on?

All things that we do for God, give to God, or are about God should be secondary.  If we don't see God first and foremost then perhaps the "ephod" should be removed or destroyed.

Link to 11/4/03 welcome message


11/12/03 Hiding Behind Rituals
"And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest."
Judges 17:5
COMMENTS:    I've been reading Judges for the past few weeks.  There are some very interesting and even some strange things in that book.  This will be the third week in a row that our Bible study comes from Judges.

It was hard to narrow this study down to just one verse because there is a kind of long story that goes with this man, Micah.  The main thing we need to look at is the fact that he had made items that were to be used in his worship of God. 

He also, apparently, was worshipping other gods as he had a "house of gods."  The Israelites did that a lot during the times of the judges and of the kings.  They would worship the gods of the land they occupied or the gods of the husbands and wives they took from other peoples. 

Anyway, he felt he needed certain things in order to properly worship God.  He decided he needed his own priest so he made one of his sons his priest.  Later he encountered a Levite passing through the land and hired him to be his own personal priest.  He even said in verse 13, "Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest."  Micah thought that God would pay special attention to him because of the priest and the ephod.

Back then God indicated that priests would be the middle men between the Israelites and Him.  The priests offered the sacrifices, took care of the tabernacle, etc.  Today we don't need any men to be our middle men.  Jesus is our priest.  Heb 4:14 tells us, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."

Last week's study mentioned another ephod, one that Gideon had made.  This week we are looking at the ephod that Micah made as well as the teraphim.  Teraphim is images, idols, masks, or other things that represented God or other gods.

Today we may have things that we use to help us to get closer to, worship, or pray to God.  Some people use a rosary.  Some people burn candles.  Some people have a certain chair.  Some people use a particular book, other than the Bible.

There are also rituals that people use.  Some people always begin with the same scripture, phrase, or song. Some repeat the same prayers over and over and over, like a chant.

There are particular objects that are used and there are particular methods that are used.  When we get into a routine with the things of God then we may very well miss God altogether.  He wants us to come to Him with nothing in between us.  We can become so focused on ritual and on idols we create to represent God that we don't improve our relationship with God, Himself.

God doesn't require pomp and circumstance from us.  He doesn't require us to wear certain clothes or to say certain things.  It isn't like it was in the Old Testament where there were rules about who could approach God and how they could approach Him.   Thanks to Jesus making the ultimate sacrifice He became the middle man between us and God. 

Heb 4:14-16, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

We can go straight to the throne of God.  We don't have to hide behind any rituals.  We can open our hearts up to Him.  We need to have a continually fresh relationship with Him.  Once again, we must remove and destroy any "ephods" that get in the way of a close relationship with God.  I'm going to ask God to reveal anything that I have put in a place of importance that interferes or hinders my relationship with Him.  How about you?

Link to 11/12/03 welcome message


3/25/04  Experiencing God
"If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."
1Peter 2:3
COMMENTS:  By reading the Bible and spending time in communion with God we don't just get to know Him, we get to EXPERIENCE Him!  We will experience Him with all our senses.  We experience Him in many different ways.

These things can't be described in human terms because the human mind can't comprehend things like tasting God.  However, if you have spent time with Him and have gotten to know more about Him by diving deeply into your Bible you have tasted Him.

"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him."
Psalm 34:8

The Psalms show that David had that kind of relationship with God.  He was experiencing God.

"He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
Psalm 91:4

"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
Psalm 18:2

The things of God are not the things of this world.  We must open our minds to those things He wants us to experience.  We must not place mental limitations on God and on what we will choose to believe about Him.

Here are some more things that only make sense in God's realm and not in our human realm:

"He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."
John 6:56

"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
1Peter 2:5

Let these things that you read in the Word be transformed within you by the Holy Spirit.  God wants you to receive things from His Word.  He wants you to experience Him.  Don't approach a relationship with God as you would a relationship with a person.  It isn't even close to being the same thing.  Just seek Him with an open mind and allow Him to build that relationship in His way.  You won't regret it!

Link to 3/25/04 welcome message


7/29/04  Turn to God
"Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:  and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil."
Joel 2:12-13
COMMENTS:  Don't assume that, just because something is in the Old Testament, it doesn't apply to us today.  Also, don't assume that, just because you see a future application or a past application for a scripture, it doesn't have a second or third application... one of which could be for us today.

Over and over there are places in the Old Testament that refer to something that happened back then and that also refer to something that was going to happen in the future.   Let's look at two examples.  In Daniel 9:27 he speaks of the temple becoming desolate.  The temple was destroyed after that prophecy.  The temple will be rebuilt and will be desecrated again during the end times, a second fulfillment.  Psalm 41:9 speaks of Daniel's betrayal by his friend as well as Jesus' betrayal by Judas, two fulfillments of the same prophecy.

Our scripture in Joel is viewed as something that will be coming in the future.  It is considered some of the things that will happen in the end times, when Jesus returns again.  Yet, if we examine the entire chapter we see that it refers to people who have gone away from giving God priority in their lives.

Could that be applicable to the world today?  Could that be applicable to you today?

The chance is probably very good that we are not where we should be in our relationship with God.  We are probably very very far from "loving our neighbor as ourselves" and from "being holy as He is holy" as well as from where God has shown us each personally where He wants us.

We should be weeping because of our disobedience.  We should be fasting so our minds are turned towards Him.  Rending our heart means we are totally serious and repentant for what we have and haven't done.  It is time to tear ourselves open in front of God and allow those things to be revealed that we keep hidden.

When we speak meanly to someone we are doing it to God.  When we refuse to do as we know God wants us to do then we are wounding God.  We are not just hurting ourselves by the things we do, we are hurting God.

It is time to stop PLAYING church and PLAYING Christian.  It is time to turn to God with ALL our heart.  Every moment of our lives belongs to Him.

I wonder what I will say when I am in front of the Lord and He asks me about things I did.  Over and over He may ask me, "Why?"  What will I answer?  I can only think of one answer and it is certainly not a good one, "I felt like it."

Things must change and they must change NOW!  Are you with me?  Shall we encourage each other?  Shall we throw off those dumb things that hold us back and begin to climb out of this pit of self-service?  Let's go!

Link to 7/29/04 welcome message


1/6/05  God is So BIG!
"Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."
1Chronicles 27:11
This morning, as I was spending time with God, I was telling Him how hard it is to be a human and to have a close relationship with Him.  All I could think of to explain myself was to tell Him,
"You're so BIG!" and "You're so GOD!" 

I'm used to talking with people.  With people you get an immediate reaction to the things you are discussing.  With God it is so very different.

I'm trying to think of a way to put this in words.  The things that God does are so "way out there" that there aren't always words that adequately describe them.  He let me know He understood what I was trying to say.  Then, it was as if He became solid, except it was only in my mind.   See, I told you it was hard to describe.  I felt like He became more "real" so I could see that He wasn't far away from me.

Gosh, it seems the more I try to explain the harder it gets.  Have I totally confused you?  I'm confusing me!

When I go about my day I am often too busy for God.  I push Him to the side in my mind a lot.  When I am zooming along in my mind at high speeds of concentration I am bypassing Him.  When He demonstrated His "solid existence" He was showing me that I must concentrate on Him being actually with me as a human would be with me.

I am a visual person and like to see a demonstration of what I am learning.  I am not very good at learning abstract things.  God has been very very patient in teaching me about Himself.  Maybe that is why I am able to teach other people what He has taught me.  He has had to show me things in many different ways so I understand and that allows me to have simple ways to pass it on.

I'm hoping that this will help somebody else in the same way it helps me.  (Boy, I hate it when the words feel awkward.)  As I am making this journey toward being in God's will every moment of every day I must focus on Him.  By focusing on Him I will know why it is important for me to become humble and to become nothing.  When I don't have the purpose for being "nothing" in front of me I don't have the motivation to keep silent or to do whatever it is that will cause me to be humble.

By feeling God's "real-ness" I can visualize Him being between me and other people.  He is the reason that I must be humble.  It is because I love Him that I am desiring to please Him.  I have been put into some very hard situations lately with other people where I was feeling used, taken advantage of, and treated badly.  Normally I would protest or provide a tongue lashing for the guilty party.  God wanted me to be silent, not only silent in my mouth but silent on my face -- no angry or hurt looks.

I have had a great deal of difficulty in forgetting what I wanted to do and doing what God wanted me to do.  I didn't want to ruin what God desired to do but I often just couldn't help myself.  Now He has given me a great helping tool.

Our scripture is about David blessing God in front of all the people.  He, too, was marveling at God's "Bigness" when he said, "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all." 

God is God and He is not able to fit inside my poor little brain.  I prayed this morning that the seams in my brain burst so I can hold more about God in my head.  Yet, no matter how BIG He is, no matter how GREAT He is, and no matter how POWERFUL He is... He loves me and He loves you.  He wants to have a close and intimate relationship with each of us.  He provides whatever we need to help us on our end of the relationship.

So, if you need to see Him or touch Him or hear Him or smell Him to be able to become closer to Him then He will take care of it.  Don't ask me how He does it.  He's God.  He has a way.

Whew!  This was a tough study.  Be sure to email me if you need me to try to explain a bit more what the heck it means.

Link to 1/6/05 welcome message

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