Studying God's Word

Be Still and Know That I Am God- Finding Peace in Scripture

Do you ever look at others and wonder how they can have so much peace when the circumstances they are going through seems so daunting?  

I had the pleasure of spending time with a good friend this week and she mentioned to me how transforming it was for her to meditate on God’s Word.  Then she shared specifically how she meditates on Psalm 46:10 and the peace it brings her.  


Here’s the order that she thinks and prays about this verse:

First, begin by saying/thinking/praying: “Be still and know that I am God.”   

Then begin dropping off the last word as you go through it, so it would look like this:


Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I AM. (‘I AM’ is a name that God gives Himself in the Bible)

Be still and know

Be still

Be



Isaiah 26:3

I shared with her how Julie & I will often get so much additional insight about a verse by putting exaggerated emphasis on different words each time we say a verse in our mind or aloud.  

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am God …

until you have deeply thought about and pondered/meditated on each word in the verse.  You can do these exercises with almost any verse and find additional insights and the exercise will help you to keep your focus on God.  God promises that He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is fixed on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)

Let us know what God reveals to you through His Word as you implement these techniques!

Written by Jamie Shaver



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Should We ‘Unhitch’ the Old Testament from Our Faith in Jesus?

Since the Garden of Eden, Satan has used the same strategy to separate man from God: he creates doubt in the mind of mankind regarding whether God really said what He did, whether His Word is trustworthy, and whether God is truly good. Satan longs for us to question—and ultimately to disavow and disobey--God’s life-giving Word. He appeals to our pride that leads us to think that we, the creation, know more or better than God, our Creator. Satan would have us believe that if we don’t understand or don’t agree with what is in God’s Word, then the fault must lie with God rather than in our inability to comprehend His thoughts and His ways, which are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). The truth is that if we have a problem believing in God’s Word or juxtaposing it with His Loving Character, the problem lies with us, not with God.

We expect skepticism regarding God’s Word, His Sovereignty, and His goodness from those outside of the Church; however, increasingly doubt is being stirred up from within the Church regarding whether we can really trust the reliability of all of Scripture. Recently, and regrettably, well-known and influential pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Ministries, the second largest church in the United States, preached a three sermon series called ‘Aftermath’ that casts doubt regarding the validity and power of God’s Word. It also elevates his opinion above the Word of God. Most notably, Andy states in the series that we must “unhitch the Old Testament from our faith in Jesus”. He stated further: “[First century] Church leaders unhitched the church from the worldview, value system, and regulations of the Jewish scriptures…Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well."

After listening intently to all three of the sermons in the series I was deeply grieved because of my love for the Lord and His Word, which God says is to be exalted along with His name and above all things (Psalm 138:2). I recognize that Andy has a large following not only in the Atlanta area, but across our nation, and even worldwide.  I have spent much time in prayer for Him as well as for those who are influenced by his teaching. I pray that the eyes of their hearts may be opened to comprehend the treasure that is found in ALL of God's Word!  In this post I am going to give a brief synopsis of the sermon series, and then focus on why the Old Testament is God’s reliable Word and  therefore important to our faith as Christians. In future posts, I will address other statements that Andy made during the series and why they also do not align with the teaching of Scripture.

The basic premise of Andy’s series is that the Church needs to move away from the belief in ‘sola Scriptura’—the belief since the Protestant Reformation that Scriptures are authoritative and the basis for our faith-- because there are those who find the Scriptures, especially the Old Testament, to be a stumbling block to belief in Jesus. He builds the case for making the foundation of our faith an event, the resurrection of Jesus, because there were eyewitnesses to it. Because of those eyewitnesses, he maintains that the resurrection is indisputable, whereas he seems to believe the Scriptures are not defendable as the inspired Word of God. He further rationalizes his contention that we move away from the authority of Scripture as the foundation of our faith because people now have the ability to go onto the Internet where they can be exposed to persuasive arguments against the validity of Scriptures, and those arguments will deter people from believing in Jesus. In fact, Andy stated that “the ‘Achilles heel of our modern faith is the bible.” He further stated:

Because many have lost faith…many have lost faith… because of something about the Bible, or in the Bible, the Old Testament in particular, once they can no longer accept all the historicity of the Old Testament, once they couldn’t go along with all of the miracles, once somebody poked a hole in the Genesis creation, you know myth… once all that went away, suddenly their house of cards faith came tumbling down. Because they were taught it’s all true, it’s all God’s Word, and if you find one part that’s not true, ‘Ough-oh’, the whole thing comes tumbling down. Not Christianity.  The Bible did not create Christianity. The resurrection of Jesus created and launched Christianity. Your whole house of Old Testament cards can come tumbling down. The question is: Did Jesus rise from the dead? And eyewitnesses said he did.” Andy Stanley, from the ‘Aftermath’ series, April 2018

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I treasure ALL of God’s Word which has been life changing for me! I have been in church virtually my entire life, but my faith and intimacy with the Lord did not grow and mature until I became a student of His Word, because ‘faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of God’ (Romans 10:17). I have read the Bible daily and cover- to- cover for the past 22 years, as well as taken and written many in-depth Bible studies; His Word has 'cleansed' and 'renewed' my mind as it states it will do. (Ephesians 5:27; Romans 12:2) I have found what David describes in Psalm 119:104-105 to be true:

Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ESV

I believe that the entirety of the Bible, including the Old Testament, is the inspired, infallible Word of God and is therefore essential for teaching righteousness, truth, purposeful living as well as instruction regarding the character and ways of God. As critical as the resurrection is to our faith-- which we learn about through reading the very Scriptures whose reliability Andy questions-- neither it, nor even the written word alone is the foundation of our faith. The foundation of our faith is the ‘Word that became flesh’ (John 1:14), the person of Jesus Christ.

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11 ESV

Even more specifically, Jesus is the Cornerstone of the Foundation, a foundation that we learn is also comprised of the apostles and prophets.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 ESV

We come to know Jesus, the Cornerstone and Foundation of our Faith, through the inspired words of the prophets written down in the Old Testament, as well as the writings of the apostles recorded in the New Testament. Since we know from Scripture that God and Jesus are one and were together since the beginning (John 1:1-2; John 10:30), we can trust that the Old Testament as well as the New Testament gives us knowledge of Jesus Who is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (John 14:6). We come to know the Truth, the Way, and to receive abundant and eternal Life through a relationship with Jesus, the Living Word, Who is revealed to us through the written word in both the Old and New Testaments, as well as through the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10; John 6:44-45)

On the road to Emmaus, while walking alongside two men who were grieved because of his death and the empty tomb, Jesus explained that the scriptures—the part we know as the Old Testament--referred to Himself, the Christ. It seems clear that he expected them to know the scriptures, which Jewish men-- and even women—in that day learned from the time they were young because they were taught in the synagogue to read, to write, and to memorize the Old Testament writings, especially the Pentateuch. Scriptures were interwoven into discussions that were held in every Jewish home and within the greater community. That is also in contrast to a statement that Andy made in his series that the disciples were ignorant of the Old Testament writings because they were fishermen and did not have a copy of the Bible in their homes; the disciples--like the two walking to Emmaus--would have known the scriptures well. Jesus made it clear to the two men with whom He walked on the road to Emmaus that the Old Testament testified to Who He was.

Then Jesus said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to trust and believe in everything that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and [only then to] enter His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and [throughout] all the [writings of the] prophets, He explained and interpreted for them the things referring to Himself [found] in all the Scriptures. Luke 24:25-27 AMP

Maybe he started by explaining to them that He was the promised seed of woman that would destroy the Serpent, as taught in Genesis, or that just as Adam was the first of the human race, so He was the first of those who would be raised from the dead to eternal life.   I imagine He would have talked about how in the book of Exodus the Passover lamb foreshadowed Him, the Unblemished Lamb of God Whose blood would atone once and for all time for the sin of man and destroy the power of sin and its penalty, death. Maybe He explained how the Levitical priests are a picture of Him, our High Priest Who sacrifices on our behalf and makes intercession for us. Or that Boaz in the book of Ruth is a picture of Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer. Or that Jonah's 3 days in the belly of the fish foreshadowed Jesus' being in the grave for 3 days. Maybe He explained that due to His crucifixion He is the 'Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief', as foretold in Isaiah 53, yet, their hope in Him was not in vain because He was also the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace of Isaiah 6:9. Or maybe He showed them that He is the Judge of all Nations as mentioned in the book of Amos. Or perhaps Jesus referenced one or more of the Messianic Psalms that foretold and referred to Him. (Psalms 2, 8, 16, 22, 23, 24, 40, 41, 45, 68,69, 87,89, 102, 110, 118) I am sure that their minds and hearts were spellbound as Jesus illuminated the scriptures to them, for EVERY book in the Old Testament--as well as those in the New Testament which would be written after His ascension-- testifies to and points to Jesus! After listening to Jesus share, I think the two men would have readily agreed with Bible scholar and teacher Chuck Missler's often repeated phrase, ‘The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.

We may not know exactly what Jesus shared along the Emmaus Road, but His life and ministry made it clear that He treasured and knew the power of the Old Testament Scriptures. When led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness following His baptism and tempted by Satan, Jesus did not offer His opinion nor did He flee in fear when Satan twisted and misconstrued the Word of God. He deftly used the Word of God from the Old Testament as the powerful sword that it is, and defeated Satan’s best attempt to tempt Him! (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:12: Ephesians 6:17)

On numerous occasions (see also Matthew 8:1712:40-42Luke. 4:18-2110:25-2815:29-3117:3224:25-45John. 5:39-47 ), Jesus substantiated the divine authority of the Old Testament, for instance when He stated the following recorded in Matthew 5:17-18: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. ESV

Jesus also affirmed the Genesis account of Creation—which Andy references as a ‘myth’-- when He said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6; Genesis 1:27; 5:2) Jesus directly quoted 78 times from the Old Testament—including 26 times from the Pentateuch, the first five books. He also quoted from Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Micah, and Malachi. Countless other times he made allusions to scriptures with which He knew His audience would be familiar. He referred to Old Testament writings as “The Scriptures,” “the Word of God,” and “the wisdom of God.”

Jesus chastised the false religious teachers of his day, the Pharisees, with these words:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me…For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of meBut if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words? John 5: 39,46-47 ESV (Boldness added)

My question to Andy and to anyone who thinks we can separate our Christian faith from the Old Testament is this: How can you believe the words of Jesus-- or the words of the eyewitnesses to the resurrection that we know about because they are recorded in the Bible-- if you do not believe Moses’ writings?

Based upon Jesus’ Words, do you think that Jesus would agree with Andy that we should ‘unhitch' the Old Testament from our faith in Jesus?

Andy said in his series that, “Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well." But is that statement true? Can it be substantiated?

The apostles quoted 209 times from the Old Testament and considered Old Testament writings to be “the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11) In fact, at least 25% of the New Testament writings are quotations from the Old Testament.

The apostle Paul, who was inspired by God to write the majority of the epistles found in the New Testament, wrote the following words to encourage his disciple Timothy. These words underscore the value he placed on studying the Scriptures, which at the time only included and referred to the Old Testament:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

Or what about Peter? Do you think he would agree that we should ‘unhitch’ the Old Testament from our faith since he clearly stated that the prophets spoke the Word of God?

…that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:20b-21 ESV

Besides the reasons Paul details to Timothy for studying Scripture, in his letter to the Romans he gives us another reason for us to study and to know the Old Testament: so that we might be encouraged and have hope.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4 ESV

I am full of hope knowing that since God accurately foretold in the Old Testament the  birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, that I can trust His promises written in the Old Testament--as well as those in the New Testament-- that tell of the second coming of Christ when He will judge and rule the nations, and assume His rightful position as ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords’! 

So, how important is all of God’s Word, including the Old Testament? God tells us His Word is equal to His Name, and along with His Name, to be exalted above all things!

 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. Psalm 138:2 ESV (highlight added for emphasis)

I agree with Chuck Missler who said: “Believing in Jesus Christ as the Messianic Saviour, as Christians do, is absurd without the foundation of the Old Testament.” I hope that the Word of God you have read in this post has convinced you of that as well.

I believe that all those who are willing to read through the entire Bible, including the Old Testament, and to study it, and most importantly of all to ask for the Holy Spirit to illuminate it, will come to know Jesus--the Cornerstone of our faith--more intimately, and it is in knowing Him that we have eternal life! (John 17:3)

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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3 Questions God Asks to Help You Discern Your Spiritual Condition

"Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part [of my heart] You will make me know wisdom." Psalm 51:6 AMP

 

God does desire truth deep within your heart.  He wants you to hide His Word in your heart and exchange the truth of a matter for any lies that you may be believing that hinders you from the abundant life He promises you will have in Him.  Below are the first 3 questions God asks in the Bible; ask yourself these questions and use them to assess your current spiritual condition.

God knows everything, so when He asks a question it is always for the benefit of someone else, the first question God asks is…“Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)  

Are you close to God?  Hiding from God?  Far away from God?  

The second question God asks in the Bible begins like this…Who told you?    Here God is asking who are you listening to?  Where are you getting your information?  Who do you believe?  God wants us to listen to Him and His Word for truth and guidance.  

The third question is: “Have you… (eaten from the tree) of which I commanded you that you should not (eat)?” in other words, Have you disobeyed me?  When you are not living in accordance to God's ways there are always undesirable and negative consequences that accompany those decisions & God longs for you to obey Him.

God also shares with us what to do if we find ourselves “off” His path for our lives in James 4:7-10…

James 4:7–10 gives us: 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.  KJV

This passage lists several action words that reveal a God who longs for us to know Him, love Him & obey Him. We are told to do these things:

 

• submit to God,

• resist Satan,

• draw near to God,

• cleanse our lives of evil actions,

let Jesus purify our hearts, and humble ourselves before God.

I'm praying that these questions will offer you an assessment of your heart that will draw you closer to God.

Blessings~

Written by Jamie Shaver

 

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Make Your Resolution to Invest In What Pays the Biggest Dividend

Last month I packed up the belongings that my 89-year old father-in-law had accumulated over his lifetime because he was moving out of the home he’d lived in for over 20 years to live with a friend. My husband and brother-in-law took many trips to the donation center where they gave away furniture and other items that my in-laws had spent considerable money on to decorate their lovely home. The consignment shops had no room as they were burgeoning with items from other elderly Floridians who were also transitioning from single-family dwellings to live with family members or go into assisted living.

During the same month, I visited my parents who are in their 90’s and as I looked around their house at all of their belongings—they love artwork and have collected paintings and sculptures throughout their almost 70 years of marriage—I was keenly aware that most of what they possessed and treasured would sell for pennies on the dollar at an estate sale.

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Several other things have happened over the last several months to give me a necessary reality check in our materialistic world-- in which I can so easily get caught up-- of the foolishness of focusing upon and investing an inordinate amount of time and money on the things of this world.

·      Between Christmas and New Years I purged my closet of clothes that at one time I thought I ‘had to have’ but now no longer fit me or are no longer in style.

·      The heater for our basement went out, a necessary and expensive piece of equipment, and one that I know will only last for a time before it too will have to be replaced.

·      After being out and about running all kinds of errands I came home and discovered that one of the sterling earrings that I had been wearing was gone. There was no point in trying to retrace all of my steps to find it, and having only one of a pair of earrings is useless.

·      An oriental rug of mine got a spill on it; while attempting to clean it, the color faded, and a spot remains that spoils the ‘perfection’ of that costly rug.

·      The ‘service engine’ light went on--always the indicator that even more money would need to be spent on-- what was once my shiny, 'luxury-line' car that at 12 years old with its outdated technology doesn't hold a candle to even today's economy cars.

·      The wrinkles on my face that I no longer can convince myself are just ‘laugh lines’-- coupled with the birth date on my driver’s license-- let me know that I am well past the days of my youth, and all too quickly approaching the ‘twilight’ years of my life.

·      The very unexpected death on Christmas Eve of a close friend of mine’s husband from an abdominal aneurism was a tragic and fresh reminder that even the people I know and love may not be around tomorrow. 

However, in the midst of all of these stark reminders of the reality that things on this earth will rust, rot, require repair, fade, go out of style, disappear, or die-- I could rejoice. Why? Because the transitory nature of everything else in this world highlighted to me the unchanging nature of God—the only One Who WILL NOT-- and even more importantly--CANNOT change! In referring to Himself, God told Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” (Exodus 3:14) He is the Alpha and the Omega, the God Who created and oversees time, the One Who was, Who is, and Who is to come (Revelation 1:8),  the only eternal Being. Therefore, He is the only one in the world on whom you can totally and truly depend! If you have put your trust in Him and His faithful promises, you can rest assured that He cannot fail you, and He will never leave you or forsake you. 

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8 ESV

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 ESV

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind. 1st Samuel 15:29NIV

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 ESV

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. Psalm 102:25-27 ESV

On what are you focusing your time and attention? Are you more consumed with the things of this world that are here today and gone tomorrow, or are you investing your time and energy focusing on studying the unchanging Word of God, so you can better know and be in the presence of our Eternal God? The Bible, His written Word, reveals to us the nature and ways of the 'Living Word' Jesus, Who is always ‘Faithful and True’ (Revelation 19:11). Investing your time each day in getting to know God better will pay abundant dividends for this life, as well as for the life to come. 'The One Year Bible' or other Bible reading plans are a great tool to help ensure that you invest daily in what matters most. I am starting my 22nd consecutive year of reading through the Bible and it's the single most important thing I have done to renew my mind and transform my heart. I encourage you to make reading God's unchanging Word your daily discipline so that your investment of time, effort and energy will yield eternal dividends that last forever and can never be taken away from you.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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Tell the Truth: Do You Really Know Jesus?

There was a popular game show “To Tell the Truth” that aired from 1956-1968 in which three people stood before a celebrity panel and all claimed to be the same person who had accomplished something significant. The show began with a reading of the famous person’s credentials, after which each of the three people would claim they were that person by starting their statement with “I am…” and ending their statement with the name of the accomplished person. However, only one was telling the truth and the other two were imposters. The goal of the celebrity panel was to try to determine who was the truth teller and who were the imposters. Imposters throughout the ages have claimed to be the promised Messiah, and there will be others in the future who will also make that false claim. However, there is only one who claimed to be the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection proved He indeed was telling the truth. His name is Jesus. He alone fulfilled over 350 Old Testament prophesies.

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The following are reasons why Jesus came to earth, and He accomplished everything He was sent to do:

“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.” John 18:37 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1st John 3:8 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. “ John 3:17 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” 1st Timothy 1:15 “…so that by his death He (Jesus) might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—”Hebrews 2:14 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. “John 10: 17-18 "…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28 “…that He (Jesus) might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18 Jesus, Who is Truth, made the following “I am” statements about Himself, and past and current disciples attest that they are indeed true of Him:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I encourage you to take the time to read the gospel of John, which is all about the person of Jesus. Knowing Him will change your life! (Philippians 3: 7-14) It is my hope that as you celebrate Easter this year that you will reflect upon all that Jesus accomplished; consider Who He is and all that you have because of Him; and realize that He is the only Way to experience abundant life on earth and eternal life in Heaven!

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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Loving Our Jewish Neighbors and Using the Old Testament to Reveal the Truth of Jesus

When you look at how Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He did so by revealing prophecy written about Him in the Old Testament.  (Luke 24:27)  So here’s a question for us all…

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How often when you are witnessing to your family, friends, or neighbors do you use the Old Testament to do so?  

As one of my favorite bible teachers says “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”  ~ Dr. Chuck Missler

I created a list of my personal top 7 things from the Old Testament that I would use to witness to a Jewish friend.  

The genealogy that is listed in Matthew, Jesus was to be of David’s family.  I would do this first, because I think it’s exactly what God chose to reveal first by having the first gospel be written by a Jew, for a Jew and starting with the legal and promised line.  (2 Sam 7:12-16, Ps 89:3-4, 110:1, 132:11, Isa 9:6, 7; 11:1)

Would bring about the massacre of Bethlehem’s children (Gen 35:19-20; Jer 31:15)

Where it was also specified that He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)

His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Zech 9:9; Ps 118:26)   That is amazing, who else would announce their kingship riding on an ass!  Not many earthly kings I’m aware of! 

That He would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver. (Zech 11:1-13; Ps 41:9)

Rise from the dead on the 3rd day (Gen 22:4, Ps 16:10-11; Jonah 1:17)

His Resurrection would be followed by the destruction of Jerusalem (Dan 9:;26; 11:31; 12:1, 11)

I never considered how Jesus used the OT Scripture to reveal to the disciples who He was after His resurrection.  It would have been so simple for Jesus to just make Himself known to them immediately, but because He didn’t, I feel that we should take notice here.  Notice how He did not immediately reveal Himself, but instead revealed the Word to them until perhaps they were ready to receive Him and have their eyes be opened and the “veil” removed. The Truth of Scripture will reveal itself, by itself.  Let’s be faithful to share the Good News with someone today!  

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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4 Ways To Approach the Study of God's Word...

4 Ways To Approach the Study of God's Word

With…

  • Prayer, that He would give us a discerning Spirit, with eyes that see and ears that hear what He wants us to learn.
  • Humility, recognizing that we have so much to learn about God, and in some cases what we think we know may be incorrect.
  • Seriousness, This is eternal life that we might know Him!  John 17:3“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
  • Gratitude, “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”  Psalm 8:4   Thanking God for His Word that enables us to gain wisdom and His Spirit that guides us into all Truth!
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My favorite bible study materials include:

“Gems from the Greek”- By Rick Renner

The ESV Study Bible

The Apologetics Study Bible

John Maxwell Leadership Bible

Biblehub.com/Biblegateway.com/Gotquestions.org/Blueletterbible.com

Khouse.org

What are some of your favorite bible resources?  Please share!

Written by Jamie Shaver

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