Monday, April 25, 2005

Galations 2

There are two main parts of this Chapter that I connect with.

“You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15“We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

You've all heard this before. You aren't Christian because you go to church, but because you are the church. If you make the conscious effort to bring the church out of that building on Sunday morning, you are Christian. Even if you never see the seeds you plant grow, you're helping. You're planting seeds in soil that would otherwise go unused. We must all remember to thank God and to use Him in everything we do. If we can do that, imagine how much better life would be.
When I do it, the little things don't matter. The distance between me and Krystal, it doesn't matter. We live in God, and he will provide the day for us to spend together forever. But for now, we are apart, and must live that way. If we put a little of God in everything that we do, we can't forget Him. Also, others will see us, and what we do. We may never know who's life we have touched, but the idea that we may have touched a life, led someone to wonder about God, that feeling can't be expressed.

17“If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
We too died on that cross. If you took a picture of the day Jesus died for us, in the background, you would see millions of crosses. Each one would hold our sinful life, the life that died when we turned our faces to God. When Jesus rose from the dead, the first thing he did was help us down from that cross, leaving our sins there, so that we may follow Him in our lives.
Verse 21 says "if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" Do not insult Jesus' suffering by thinking that you are saved only by your going to church. You are saved because God chose to save you, He put His Son on a cross, suffering in front of the entire world, so that you may live forever. Remember that. Your suffering is nothing. Go out of your way to show that God has control of your life. It may not be the easiest road (in fact, it will likely be the toughest), but God deserves recognition for what He has done. Paul tells us that he lives live in the body, he lives by faith in the Son of God, who loves us and have himself for us. That is how we each must live. Our faith will carry us through the hard times. Our faith will lead us through everything, and it will give others the example of how to live.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Corinthians 1 Chapter 2

How powerful is this?

1Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?
We are all mere infants. We are constantly falling, constantly tripping on our sins. We are still worldly. When we ascend to join God in Heaven, then we are no longer infants. Then we truly know God. But remember, you are always learning, just like a child. You will never know everything about God. Always keep an open mind about what you're reading or studying, especially if you're in a study group.
12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
God has already laid a foundation for you to build upon. It is up to you to build a home that will shelter you against the sins of this world. Not only you, but your spiritual family as well, as you are responsible for them, as they are for you. If fire (sin) comes, and your house burns down, then you are burnt, but you survive, with scars. Scars are permanent reminders of your failures.

Corinthians 1 Chapter 2

The first part of this is from Chapter 1, The next from Chapter 2;

God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
God tells us that he doesn't want us to try and be strong on our own. He knows that our strength is greater when it is His own. The hardest part of this is letting God have control of our lives.

15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16“For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?”But we have the mind of Christ.
This is very confusing. I think it means that a spiritual man makes judgements on what he does, and what he is, not on others. This also ties in with the next part. He is not subject to what other people think is good, but only what he knows, through God, is good. If we let God show us what is right, then we have good judgement, but if we use the values and morals of man, then we make flawed judgements.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Corinthians1 Chapter 1

Starting with Chapter 1.
The first part of this is addressing the Church, the second part is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a very important part of our relationship with Christ. We so often ask for things, that we forget to thank Him for what He has already given us. I, for one, am thankful for His work in my life in the past few days. In the words of Paul:

4I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge
The next part is Paul reminding the Church that it must remain unified. If the church is divided, then it cannot spread its message. How does a man whose hands do one thing while his mouth speaks another gain credibility? It doesn't.
13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
The same goes for your teachings. If you are trying to witness, do not claim to love the Spirit, then act against His will. Remember, everything you do, anything you do may be seen by someone who is open to the Lord. Do what is right by His Word, and they will remember that.
The next paragraph makes a very bold statement:
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Those who aren't blessed by the Holy Spirit will not understand these words. Those who choose to not know the Lord will be blind and deaf to whatever teachings you give them. Isn't this awesome? Even the most intelligent people will be stupid to the Lords word. They will not understand it, try as they might.
Also, remember that you are a member of Christ, but that doesn't make you higher. All men have the chance to know God. Do not look down upon those who do not believe. Will that help them see that they are wanted in God's Church? No. Do not judge, that is His duty, not your own.
I, as does almost everyone else, have a problem with this. It is so easy to judge, so easy to assign 'titles' to people. The girl in the short skirt may instantly be a 'slut,' the man on the corner, a bum, when he is in truth down on his luck. Paul leaves good words for us:
28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.
You are not God, you are a servant of God. Remember this, in all you do, for the servants actions reflect on the name of his Master.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Jeremiah 11, 12, 13

And then, there was Jeremiah 11
The Lord announces that He will not listen to those who now cry out for His help, because they once chose not to obey His Word. They were once His chosen people, but no longer:

16 The LORD called you a thriving olive tree
with fruit beautiful in form.
But with the roar of a mighty storm
he will set it on fire,
and its branches will be broken.

Jeremiah then hears word of a plot against him.
"Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
that his name be remembered no more."

Interesting, but not surprising.

Jeremiah 12
Jeremiah has questions for God, good questions:
1 You are always righteous, O LORD ,
when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease?
2 You have planted them, and they have taken root;
they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
but far from their hearts.
3 Yet you know me, O LORD ;
you see me and test my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!
Set them apart for the day of slaughter!
4 How long will the land lie parched
and the grass in every field be withered?
Because those who live in it are wicked,
the animals and birds have perished.
Moreover, the people are saying,
"He will not see what happens to us."
Jeremiah brings good questions. He hears God speaking of the death of those who sin against Him, but sees nothing. Sometimes we wonder how people got to where they are, money, fame, everything. Or so it seems. If they do not have the Lord, what good are these things? They can gain them nothing in terms of true satisfaction. One day these people will get their due, but it is not up to us to judge them. If they do not know God, then they will surely know His wrath, according to His plan.
God answers Jeremiah thus:
5 "If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?
6 Your brothers, your own family-
even they have betrayed you;
they have raised a loud cry against you.
Do not trust them,
though they speak well of you.

7 "I will forsake my house,
abandon my inheritance;
I will give the one I love
into the hands of her enemies.
8 My inheritance has become to me
like a lion in the forest.
She roars at me;
therefore I hate her.
9 Has not my inheritance become to me
like a speckled bird of prey
that other birds of prey surround and attack?
Go and gather all the wild beasts;
bring them to devour.
10 Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard
and trample down my field;
they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland.
11 It will be made a wasteland,
parched and desolate before me;
the whole land will be laid waste
because there is no one who cares.
12 Over all the barren heights in the desert
destroyers will swarm,
for the sword of the LORD will devour
from one end of the land to the other;
no one will be safe.
13 They will sow wheat but reap thorns;
they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.
So bear the shame of your harvest
because of the LORD's fierce anger."
Jeremiah 13
The parable of the linen belt has Jeremiah buying a belt, burying it under rocks, then digging it up again many days later. The belt is useless.
God is like that belt. Tied to the waste of Juda, and necessary, but they have buried Him under the rocks of Sin. He is now worth nothing to them.

24 "I will scatter you like chaff
driven by the desert wind.

This is a popular phrase, because it shows the utter destruction of the Land of Judah.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Jeremiah 10

I'll be going over Jeremiah 10 now.

1 Hear what the LORD says to you, O house of Israel.

God will now outline His wishes and Law for His people.
"Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good."

Do not be scared of that which is earthly, the cultures and customs of people are not of God. The idols of these religions do not speak, and have no power.
Attribute everything that is to God, for it is His.
14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
every goldsmith is shamed by his idols.
His images are a fraud;
they have no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, the objects of mockery;
when their judgment comes, they will perish.

Here, we see the necessity of God. Without Him, we are senseless, without knowledge. It is only through Him that we know what we do. If we create false gods, we are doing nothing more than attributing God's power to inanimate objects.

Today, I will close with:
Jeremiah's Prayer
23 I know, O LORD , that a man's life is not his own;
it is not for man to direct his steps.
24 Correct me, LORD , but only with justice-
not in your anger,
lest you reduce me to nothing.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations
that do not acknowledge you,
on the peoples who do not call on your name.
For they have devoured Jacob;
they have devoured him completely
and destroyed his homeland.

Jeremiah 9

Jeremiah 9 is on the plate for today.

"See, I will refine and test them,
for what else can I do
because of the sin of my people?
8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
it speaks with deceit.
With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbor,
but in his heart he sets a trap for him.
9 Should I not punish them for this?"
declares the LORD .
"Should I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?"

God is pondering our fate here. He knows we have sinned, disobeyed him, stung him deep. What would you do in His position?
Then, we hear of His decision;
16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have destroyed them."

22 Say, "This is what the LORD declares:

" 'The dead bodies of men will lie
like refuse on the open field,
like cut grain behind the reaper,
with no one to gather them.' "

23 This is what the LORD says:

"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
24 but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD , who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,"
declares the LORD .

25 "The days are coming," declares the LORD , "when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh- 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places. [4] For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart."

The Lord will show all of the sinners that He is the True God. He will flex his muscles. They will cower before Him.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Jeremiah 8

Hola. Hoy, vamos a estudiar Jeremiah 8.

" 'When men fall down, do they not get up?
When a man turns away, does he not return?

When you fall from the Lord, do you realize it? Do you beg forgiveness for your sins? When you turn your attention from His Will and Word, do you not know it? And when you realize it, do you not turn back, get back to Him?
This is the charge to us as human Christians. Being human, we are born into sin, it is our nature. But as Christians, we can be forgiven from these sins. When we promise our life to the Lord, we don't promise to be perfect, we promise to try, and to realize when we've done wrong.

No one repents of his wickedness,
saying, "What have I done?"
Each pursues his own course
like a horse charging into battle.
7 Even the stork in the sky
knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know
the requirements of the LORD .

Here, the Lord laments the fact that no one asks for forgiveness. No one even realizes that they've strayed from the Lord. Even animals, who have almost zero intelligence beyond instict, know their path in life, why can't we?
8 " 'How can you say, "We are wise,
for we have the law of the LORD ,"
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
has handled it falsely?

This raises an interesting question: Are the people at faulrt, or the scribes?
Should the people know that they are disobeying God? Or should the scribes be blamed, because they are the leaders?
Of course, the people. Even animals know their path in life, and humans are no different. Each person should have known that they weren't following their path.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Jeremiah 7

Today, I will work on Jeremiah 7

" 'Hear the word of the LORD , all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD . 3 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the LORD , the temple of the LORD , the temple of the LORD !" 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.
This demand for respect of the Lord's house doesn't mean only Temples and Churches. The Earth is the Lord's house, and we must treat each other fairly here. Do not oppress, and do not shed innocent blood. Most importantly, though, is this line:
do not follow other gods
Perhaps this doesn't mean actualy worship of other gods, but rather the ranking at which your religion lies within your life.
If you do everything for money, it is your god. If you do everything for fame, it is your god. If you do everything for your own advancement, you are your own god. If God takes precidence in your life, then you are following the One True God, and you have a place reserved for you in Heaven.

do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.

He is not saying that you should give up. He is saying that you should change. Become one of God's Children. Live, and Love, as God wishes, in His footsteps.
He doesn't want pleas and wailing prayers. He wants action. He wants you to live His plan, the only way to be Saved.

Then the carcasses of this people will become food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away. 34 I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate.

God uses strong imagery here. Not only does this talk about those who sinned in the time this was written, it speaks volumes about those who refuse the Lord today.
"The carcasses of these people will become food for the birds or the air and beasts of the earth..." Here, the Lord is speaking of what will happen to these people after death. Their bodies will rot, be eaten because they have no place for them, as their souls have no place in Heaven.
The "sounds of joy and gladness", or the life of sin that many live today will end. When the Lord calls, many will see that their way is harmful, and wrong. The Amazing Glory and Power of the Lord will quiet their reveling, and they will be stunned at His beauty.

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