Bible Study Blog

FIGHTING DISCOURAGEMENT

Life can be discouraging sometimes. Do you ever feel that way? 

As we approach the fall holydays, a lot of strange things can start to happen. It seems that Satan becomes more active, stirring things up, causing problems, and creating difficulties for us; sickness, family problems, financial problems, car problems, and spiritual problems too. I am not just talking about “things” not going well. I am talking about deeply rooted personal problems as well. Maybe we are still struggling with a sin we have had for…well, way too long. 

 

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Don’t be a Stumbling Block

Are we showing the world the benefits of being a Christian or are we giving them reasons to dislike us? I have been wondering for a while why it seems that to the outside, Christians aren’t very loving. Isn’t that one of the major requirements of being a Christian? Are we actually our worst enemies when it comes to spreading God’s Word and light to others? What if we are stumbling blocks by our actions, reactions, and condemnations of others? We are told in Leviticus 19:14 not to “curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind.”

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TRUSTING GOD’S JUDGMENT

“This is what God is asking of me right now, Babe. He says He will not give us more than we can handle, so I must be able to handle this. I trust His judgment.” As my wife paraphrased 1 Corinthians 10:13 to me, I was stunned, deeply moved, and humbled by her words of surrender, tears streaming down her face.

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True Happiness, Priceless

We have all heard the saying, “Money can’t buy happiness.” I have also heard the statement, “Well, I have heard that theory, but may I have a chance to try it out please?” The temptation to have more is all around us, especially here in the United States. I also think, in large part due to social media, the whole world now sees others that seem to have “more,” thus causing a rise in the temptation of desiring more stuff.

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FAREWELL, J.R. — ’TIL WE MEET AGAIN

I would not normally use this space for personal thoughts, but on this occasion I will ask you to indulge me as I honor the passing of a true Christian. Having just performed the memorial service for him this past Sabbath, my thoughts are weighing heavy on my mind. On that day we put to rest one of the truest, most precious Christians I have ever known. His name was Jess Rodney (known to all as just “J.R.”) Hamilton

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Climb Every Mountain

I think I listen to music too much, but I was trying to figure out the title for my blog and this title came in my head. Immediately, I had the song from Sound of Music looping in my mind over and over again. I must stop coming up with titles that are also titles of songs. My original title, though, would have been way too long, which was The Mountain May be High but the View is Great Once on Top. 

Obviously, I am using the term “mountain” as a metaphor for trials. It seems lately that a lot of people I know and my family are going through a variety of various trials. I find that sometimes an overflow of trials usually seems to happen around God’s Holy Days but maybe that is a coincidence.

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RESPECT

Every time I hear the word respect, I hear Aretha Franklin singing her version of the song “Respect.” However, I’m not going to talk about wanting people to respect me. I know everyone wants to be respected, but what I want to talk about is how respectful are we towards others?

There seems to be a lot of disrespect out there in the world, and don’t worry, I’m not saying that I see a lot in the churches. I know there is some between different XYZ COGs, but I do hope that the majority of us have grown to respect each other regardless of what group we go to.

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REVIEWING GOD’S MASTER PLAN FOR MANKIND

As we approach the fall holy days our minds turn to the final steps in God’s master plan for mankind. It is hard to believe that in just under six weeks we will kick off the fall holy day season with the Feast of Trumpets. As we look to the future events represented by the fall festivals, it is always good to briefly look back and review where we have been in order to accurately see where we are going. 

When we look into the rearview mirror of our own personal life, we should see a time when God started to rescue us as He did the children of Israel while being held captive in the land of Egypt (Exodus 3:6-7). 

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Which Way Will You Swim?

I was recently listening to a motivational speaker, and she said something that goes with the Christian struggle. The speaker said, “Any dead fish can float down stream with the current, but it takes a live fish to swim upstream against the current!” Where are you in your Christian life? Are you just going along with the crowd doing what’s popular and ignoring what God commands us to do (Proverbs 4:2)? Many times in our nation we see those who claim to be Christian going completely against what the Holy Bible and God have to say regarding what is right and wrong. We can look back in our nation’s history and see the many times Christians should have taken a stand and spoken out against the evils of society, but they didn’t. Instead, they allowed it to happen or even took part in things they knew were wrong (Proverbs 9:6).

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Lighthouse

I want to be a lighthouse. I want to be a vessel for the Holy Spirit to dwell in and shine brightly in this dark world. I want God’s Spirit to become a beacon within me that guides others away from the rocky shores of life and into still waters. I want the beacon to be lit all the time. I want to guide people out of “storms.” 

This is what I want to be. This is my ultimate professional goal in life. I want my light to shine in such a way that others “may see [my] good works, and glorify [my] Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:16).

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Trust God not Politicians

I am not going to talk politics. I am not going to take one side or the other either. However, I do want to advise us all as Christians to not stoop to the level of the masses with their fear and hatred for one another because of their political views.

I am not very smart when it comes to prophecy, but I honestly do not think that God needs a certain person in the White House to start Armageddon. In fact, I don’t even know if America will be here when the end of the age happens.

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A Crisis in Leadership

In the United States we are facing yet another presidential election year. As I talk with most people about the election, they are of the same opinion that I am…there are no good leadership choices in this race. The statement I hear most is, “I am being forced to pick between the better of two evils, or pick no one at all.” OUCH! What an indictment on what is supposed to be the greatest leadership experiment in the history of mankind—democracy. 

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Sing Out Loud

Did you know that Judah’s army at one time was led by musicians and singers? I really love this story. It is found in 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, gets word that an army from Moab and Ammon are coming to attack Judah. Jehoshapat turns to God for help, and also has all of Judah to seek God’s help.

In verse 17, Jahaziel lets all of Judah know that they need not worry for they “will not need to fight this battle” because God was going to fight it for them.

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Comforting Scriptures

Several of my recent blog posts have dealt with rather heavy material that focused more on looking deeply into ourselves to find areas we can do better, change, and repent. That is all well and good, and it is vital that we look at those things. However, it is also important to take time to appreciate God from the perspective of who He is, what He does for us, and how He cares for us. 

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Don’t Judge a Book by It's Cover

Have you ever been in a place and automatically made assumptions as to the character of others based on how they looked? I hate to admit it, but I have. For instance, I took my daughter to a piercing studio because she wanted her cartilage pierced, and to be honest, I would rather go to a piercing studio than Claires to get piercings. It is just my personal preference. Well, while we were there a man came in that had piercings and tattoos. Honestly, I didn’t judge him at this point because I was in a piercing studio. However, the woman that was doing my daughter’s piercing knew him and, to make a long story short, they got to talking. She asked him what he had been doing that day. 

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Spiritual Honesty and Integrity

How honest are we with ourselves when it comes to our thinking? How many of Satan’s lies, thought systems, and belief systems do we buy into?

Recently I have been going through a period of deep introspection. I have been doing an inventory of the foundational thoughts that have shaped my belief system, analyzing what they are based in. Are my beliefs based in truth or are they based in lies? I have been asking myself whether I take 100 percent responsibility for my thoughts and actions or not. 

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Sacrifices of Thanksgiving

I was listening to the Bible, and something struck me as very interesting and inspiring. In Psalm 50, starting in verse 9, God points out that He has no need for meat sacrifices. In fact, everything is His already. However, what He really desires is that we offer to Him “the sacrifice of thanksgiving” (v. 14). Thanksgiving comes from the Hebrew word yadah and can mean “adoration, a choir of worshippers, confession, praise, thanks (-giving, offering)” (Strong’s Concordance).

At first, I asked myself, how is it a sacrifice to give God thanks? Well, the truth is, sometimes it isn’t easy. 

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Come As You Are, But Don't Stay That Way

This past July 4th weekend my wife and I travelled to spend time with family. I have a bit of a love/dislike (not hate) relationship with these visits. The reason is because my wife and I continue to follow the faith that we were raised in, while my siblings and their spouses have chosen another path. In fact, neither of my sibling’s mates was raised in the faith that all three of us grew up observing.

During these visits the conversation always seems to find its way to some variation of what is required for salvation, or in my words, what one must do to be saved and to make God happy, as opposed to what He finds acceptable.

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Your Precious Name

My family and I were blessed to go on a family vacation this summer to Belize. This was our first official family vacation ever. It was a spur of the moment decision. I termed it our “carpe diem” moment because life is unpredictable, and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Therefore, sometimes it is good to do something with your family when you have the opportunity.

Well, something really inspiring and surprising happened on our trip. To some it may not seem so awesome, but it was to my family and me. We got to witness how a good name is powerful and long lasting.

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CHICKEN-YARD POLITICS

When you live on a farm and have livestock, your animals become an endless source of “life lessons.” This morning I was doing one of my favorite chores (not!)—cleaning out the chicken house. We have 50 chickens, so this is a weekly event that is not the most pleasant. But suffice it to say that on a weekly basis, I get to spend some “quality time” with my chickens.

As I was doing this, I observed the chickens doing their usual “pecking order” routine. Since we have some well-established chickens and some newer, young chickens, the pecking order is in flux at the moment. 

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