DebCorner

an ordinary blog

Category: Bible Study

I am the Bowl

I loved this sermon message!

I am the bowl, and the fruits of the spirit are put into me by God. Gifts!

The fruits of the spirit are not goals to reach for, they are evidence of God’s spirit in you. If you’re focusing on these qualities as goals, you are seeing where you fall short – your failures. If you are seeing them as evidence of God’s grace… well, that’s a whole different ball game.

Have a listen!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
– Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

God’s Weapon

Jesus could have struck down Satan any way He chose. After all, He was the Son of God with an endless arsenal. But, instead, He engaged the enemy with the only weapon that guarantees victory: the sword of the Spirit, or the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

What would Jesus do? Use the Word of God!

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17 (NASB)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of weapons and battlefields in everyday life. That is unless I get trapped into yet again arguing with a strong-willed child. That definitely feels like a battlefield!

There is no weapon more powerful than God’s Word.

So, if you find yourself on a battlefield feeling alone, don’t lose heart and don’t reach for the wrong weapon. You are not alone, and you have the best weapon ever! God’s Word is the weapon that will bring you victory, comfort, and provision.

What weapons do I normally reach for? Overeating, yelling, running away (me time!), or drinking. Yeah – those don’t work so well at all! What about when I lecture the kids on what is right? What about when I am right!? Those never really work so well either.

I really need to do a better job of using God’s Word in my daily life rather than only having it as something I read and study. Lord, help me do that better.

If you don’t follow Jennifer Rothschild’s blog, you should! Her writings often encourage while convicting me. These excerpts are from her article The One Weapon You Need to Fight Any Battle.

Interesting Bible Study

I’m reading my Chronological plan in ESV, and my “real” Bible is NIV. This really isn’t a big deal, but I’ve grown to love the ESV translation. So, I decided it was time to buy an ESV Bible. I got a lovely purple ESV Bible with only one column and no red letters to distract – it is all God’s Word, after all.

It is odd to have a Bible without any notes and highlights in it! I decided to go through my old Bible page by page and transfer my notes over. This turned out to be an odd little Bible Study:

  • Why did I highlight that passage?
  • What does that note mean?
  • What is that reference that I wrote down?

It has been very, very interesting! I finished this little project yesterday. It took me all week!

I knew I had some Bibles from when I first became Christian hiding around somewhere. I decided to dig them out, and go through those as well. My first Bible is interesting – I highlighted the gist of the stories – not really significant scriptures for growth or understanding. I was just learning the story back then. Now, my notes take apart the stories, include original language notes, and life application notes. I never really realized my growth like that before – kind of cool.

My favorite notes to come across are the hearts, stars and letter P’s I drew in. I didn’t know I hearted so many verses! The stars I drew were verses that impacted me in some way. The P’s are promises of God. It is such a joy to find and re-read these verses.

My new Bible is already becoming a rich landscape of all my learning thus far, and there’s so much more in there!
I just love it.

Whether you get a new Bible or not, pull your trusty companion out sometime, and go through it page by page seeing again all that you marked, learned, and loved. You’ll be blessed by it.

The Inefficiency Commandment

Leviticus 19:9-10
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.


These verses immediately bring the story of Ruth to mind, and both show immense value in being less than efficient. Efficiency is a prized goal for many people… including me! However, God shows us that being deliberately inefficient will bless others in significant ways. This idea can bless you as well.

I recently learned a “trick” of shifting priorities. If I intentionally became less efficient in certain daily activities, I will burn more calories. The extra activity is not exactly exercise, but burning calories is burning calories, right?

For example, I bring only one or two bags of groceries into the house at a time. The “efficient me” wants to bring them all in with one or two trips to get the job done quicker and with less overall effort. The “inefficient me” puts a higher priority on burning calories and takes several trips. It’s better for me, and I’ve since learned it gives my family more time and opportunity to help me on their own, and they usually do! That’s a blessing for all of us.

Try being deliberately inefficient in some activity. You’ll be glad you did.

The Fall

Genesis 3 introduces us to humanity, Satan and God’s plan for redemption.

That Darn Tree

The methods employed by the snake (Satan) are interesting to take apart. First, he asks Eve a question. Questions beg to be answered, don’t they? Satan’s question especially so because he didn’t get it completely right. Eve needed to respond to set the record straight.

Eve’s response corrects Satan’s error but highlights the one negative Satan wanted her to focus on – the prohibition of eating from the tree of knowledge. Eve was thorough in her instruction and included that the Lord God said she would “surely die” when she did eat that fruit (2:16 & 3:2).

The Lord was primarily referring to spiritual death, not immediate physical death. However it is the lack of physical death that Satan used to bolster his argument. Satan also made eating the fruit very attractive by pointing out that “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.” (3:5)

Now, Eve is pondering this forbidden tree. (3:6)

DANGER! 

  1. Its fruit can be eaten – it won’t kill her, the snake said so!
  2. It is very pretty – always a consideration.
  3. The fruit will make her wise and make her more like God – wow.

WAIT!

Eve neglected two important points in her consideration about eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. I’m hearing Mater’s voice from Cars here…

What did God tell you about eating this knowledge fruit?
Tuh not to.

Secondly, knowledge isn’t wisdom. That’s a big idea that Eve may not have been able to conceptualize. You can know lots of stuff and still have no clue how to use that knowledge.

knowledge := acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles
wisdom := knowledge coupled with just judgment as to action; discernment or insight
(dictionary.com)

Well, you know how this story goes. Eve ate the fruit and gave some to Adam, who was with her during this conversation. They were removed from the Garden of Eden where God walks. They were separated from God, spiritually dead.

Salvation

After a brief game of blaming (3:11-13), the Lord gives hints of the plan for their salvation. They aren’t even booted from the Garden yet, and God has a plan. I find that pretty cool.


Genesis 3:15
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”


Verse 15 states that Eve’s offspring will bruise Satan’s head (implying a deadly injury) and that man would have a bruised heel (suffer but live). Christ Jesus was one of Eve’s descendants, and He delivered the death-blow to Satan through his death on the cross. Done.


Hebrews 2:14
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.


Prayer

Dear Lord, thank you for providing this record of how to recognize Satan for the liar that he is. Please continue to guide me in Your light and truth. Lord, thank you for being God. You are the ultimate planner! Thank you for the plan of salvation realized in your Son, Christ Jesus. Lord, thank you for the Bible, the living Word of knowledge and teacher of wisdom. Thank you also for the Internet with all the knowledge available through it. Please grant me your Spirit of wisdom in how to use and apply that knowledge to your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Making Plans

Guard your heart, avoid obstacles, plan ahead and stay the course!


Proverbs 4:23-27
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.


I love these verses because they so clearly outline what we must do and not do as we live our lives. I also find it interesting and hugely significant that 3 things come before you plan your steps.

  1. Guard your heart
  2. Avoid obstacles (perverse & corrupt speech)
  3. Look ahead “fixing your eyes” on Jesus
  4. Now you can make those plans.

Once you are done, don’t get sidetracked! Stay the course, and always keep Philippians 4:13 tucked away in your heart.


Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength. (NCV)

I Know that My Redeemer Lives

Reading through the misery of Job, I came to verse 19:25 and it was like a breath of fresh air!


Job 19:25-27
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. An after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!


Yes, Job was miserable. However, his hope rested unfailingly on his salvation and his resurrection, and this hope was not dimmed in the slightest by his suffering. I need to take a page from this book, for sure! My sufferings are nothing in the light of the knowledge of the life to come.

Here’s the part that boggles my mind a bit: I’m reading the Chronological Bible plan, and Job story comes right after the story of Noah. Jesus wasn’t born yet. Jesus hadn’t died on the cross yet. Jesus didn’t defeat sin, death and the devil yet. Jesus didn’t rise from the dead yet. STILL, Job KNEW that his “Redeemer lives, and at the last, he will stand upon the earth.” Wow.

Weakness is Strength

2 Corinthians 12:10
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This verse reminds me of the song “In Me” by Casting Crowns:

If you ask me to leap
Out of my boat on the crashing waves
If You ask me to go
Preach to the lost world that Jesus saves

I’ll go, but I cannot go alone
Cause I know I’m nothing on my own
But the power of Christ in me makes me strong
Makes me strong

Cause when I’m weak, You make me strong
When I’m blind, You shine Your light on me
Cause I’ll never get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to know You don’t need me
How amazing to find that you want me
So I’ll stand on Your truth, and I’ll fight with Your strength
Until You bring the victory, by the power of Christ in me

If You ask me to run
And carry Your light into foreign land
If You ask me to fight
Deliver Your people from Satan’s hand

To reach out with Your hands
To learn through Your eyes
To love with the love of a savior
To feel with Your heart
And to think with Your mind
I’d give my last breath for Your glory

After reading the lyrics, another verse comes to mind:

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Noah’s Progeny

Japheth
Of the sons mentioned, only Gomer and Javan are expanded on. Gomer’s and Javan’s sons are listed, and Javan’s sons are mentioned as being seafaring people.

Ham
We already know that Ham’s son Canaan is the ancestor of the Canaanites from Genesis 9. The specific Canaanite clans are listed out in Genesis 10. Ham’s son, Mizraim, is the ancestor of the Caphtorites, which is the ancestral clan of the Philistines. Cush is the ancestor of Nimrod – a mighty warrior who established the beginnings of Babylon and Assyria including Babel.

Tower of Babel
This short story is about mankind working together to build a monument to their own arrogance, and God stepping in to teach them that God is greater. Without the ability to communicate with each other, construction of the tower of Babel ceased, and the people scattered. This scattering was God’s plan from the beginning when “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.'” Genesis 9:1

Shem
Shem’s son, Arphaxad, is the most significant since his line flows down to Abram & Sarai. Stay with me here… Arphaxad had Shelah, who had Eber, who had Peleg, who had Reu, then Serug, then Nahor and finally Terah. Terah’s sons, Nahor, Abram and Haran, kick off the next significant sections of Genesis. Lot (whose wife later turns to a pillar of salt) is the son of Haran. Haran’s daughter, Milcah, married Haran’s brother, Nahor. This tells me that this family unit was very close. Abram married Sarai, who could not have children. Terah took Lot, Abram and Sarai away from the land of Ur (and their families) and headed towards Canaan. For some reason, they settled short of that goal and lived in Haran where Terah eventually died.

Life-Spans Shortening
In Genesis 6:3, “the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.'” After the days of Noah, the life-spans did start shortening significantly. At the beginning of Noah’s progeny, Shem’s life-span was 600 years. Terah lived only 205 years. Later we learn that Abram/Abraham dies at 175 (Genesis 25:7), and Sarai/Sarah died at 127 years (Genesis 23:1).

God always does what He says He will do!

Prayer
Dear Promise Keeper, Sovereign Lord, and Mighty King; thank you for the rich history within the pages of the Bible. Thank you for showing us real people in a real time trying to live after you, our real and living God. Lord, I ask that you continue to help me to not glance over the boring bits and learn a little something from every bit. Amen.

After the Flood

In Genesis 8, the flood waters recede. There’s a complicated process Noah utilizes to determine if the dry land has appeared. I don’t really get the reasoning behind this process. Eventually, God tells Noah it’s time to leave the Ark. The important part of chapter 8 is the promise God makes to Noah (and mankind).

God promises to never flood the whole Earth again (v21-22). I find it interesting that God adds “while the earth remains” into this promise. It reminds us that even the earth is temporary! We can see this idea better in Luke 21:33; “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

In chapter 9, Noah receives blessings and instructions from God. God also provides a sign of his promise to never flood the earth again.

Sidebar:
The ESV says “bow” in the clouds. I’ve always read “rainbow” in the NIV version. I did some research on this, and found that Ezekiel 1:28 makes a similar reference to “the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain” or we can say “rainbow.” The Hebrew qesheth is used in both verses for “bow” or “my bow.” (Interestingly, this same word is used to describe a weapon – think bow and arrow – in Zechariah 9:13.)

Now, we are introduced to the sons of Noah. Ham brought a curse upon his descendants, the Canaanites, by his sinful actions (9:22). He sinned against Noah in two ways: Ham dishonored his father, and he gossiped about Noah’s shameful moment of weakness. I almost think there was a bit of pride there too. Didn’t Ham realize it could have been him? The flesh is weak! (Matthew 26:41) Additionally, we all fall short of God’s standards. (Romans 3:23)

There’s one lingering question to this story: Why were the Canaanites cursed for Ham’s sin? I don’t really know. I did find an interesting blog entry that helped, though. The curse is more of a prophecy than an actual curse, and anything Moses did say to Ham (“Why you little –!”) wasn’t recorded because it wasn’t relevant to the story that God needed outlining for His people.

Finally and perhaps oddly, I like the fact that even the great Noah, who “walked with God,” wasn’t perfect.  Ephesians 5:18 states that we better “not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” Yet, Noah fell into this sin passed out and naked. Nobody is perfect, save Jesus!

Prayer
Thank you, Lord, for your promises. You are my God, Sovereign and in control of every single detail! I trust in you, Lord. Thank you for leading me on this journey through your everlasting Word. I pray that the many questions I have will be answered — even if the answer is merely another question! I pray to never grow tired of searching and praying over your God-breathed messages to me.
Lord forgive me when I am weak. I’m a rotten sinner who falls regularly. If it is Your will, please provide more Shem and Japheth type people in my life than Ham-types… encouragers rather than destroyers. I love you, Lord. Amen.

Noah – The Flood

Genesis 6-7

The beginning of chapter 6 tells of “sons of God” marrying “daughters of man” and from what I can tell, there’s a lot of debate on just what these phrases actually mean. I found a great FAQ reading from the Blue Letter Bible that briefly outlines the different views. I don’t know which interpretation is right, but I do know that this bit of information is not a salvation issue. So, I move on.

The corruption increased throughout the Earth beyond God’s tolerable limits. Early man lived for hundreds of years, but God determined that it was time to shorten that timeline to 120 years. I don’t see this as a maximum age, but more of a reference. If you live to be 900, 120 is young! Today, you are very old if you are 100 years old, and you are expected to experience your natural death soon.

Shortening the life-span wasn’t enough, though. That’s where the flood came in. The flood cleansed the earth of both people and creatures (the giants/Nephilim) whose purpose on this earth was finished.

Genesis 6:6 states that “the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (ESV) This expression is worded to impact us on just how bad the situation was. Did God regret creating man? I don’t think so.

God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and ultimately sovereign. God knows everything. God is everywhere at all times at the same time. God is in control and has more power than can be imagined. My brain wants to explode thinking about these awesome qualities of God.

However, there is one more quality that must be mentioned! It is the quality of God that I rest on. Our God is a personal God. He is a God that desires and longs for a relationship with you. He speaks to us personally through the Word, and He is grieved by our disobedience and dishonoring of Him. Genesis 6:6 is a human expression to describe the indescribable. God knew all of this would happen, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t pained to see it through.

God’s plan included Noah, who walked with God. This walk is of faith, trust, and obedience. Noah built the ark and filled it exactly as God commanded and enabled. The floods came exactly as God said they would. God always does what He says he will do!

Prayer

Dear Lord, thank you for such an interesting story to read and explore. Lord help me where I don’t understand, and help me accept that I won’t understand the unknowable. Thank you, Lord, for being ultimately dependable – even when the reality of what is needed is a bit ugly. You are my God, and I pray to walk with You in faith, trust, and obedience. In Jesus’ mighty and holy name, Amen.

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