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Bible Study

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5 important truths

Here is the message we have heard from Christ and now announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. So if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars and do not follow the truth. But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin. If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done. If we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and we do not accept God’s teaching.-1 John 1:5-10 NCV

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Truth #1 God is perfect in every way. High and holy. He is compared here to pure light, with no speck of darkness. He is the standard of good; of righteousness; of justice; of perfection in every way.

Truth # 2 To know God and share in his glory, we must be willing to allow his light to penetrate every corner of our life. Only then can the blood of Jesus wash away all our dirt.

Truth # 3 To enjoy the joy of living in brotherly love with others who walk with God, we must walk with God in his exposing light. Those who live in sin; in darkness, not confessing them remain disconnected from God and his Body. Life is a dark evil deceptive lie for them, resulting in ultimate decay and death.

Truth # 4 The blood of Christ will continue to wash us clean as we confess our wrongs; every time... not because we are pure ourselves, but because God is faithful and keeps his word.

Truth #  5 Jesus makes us pure, even though we sin at times, but humbly fight to walk in the Light and believe God, that he always speaks absolute trustworthy truth.

application: Keep walking in the light. Every time you fail God, humbly confess, repent and accept his provision (you not accepting and allowing his forgiveness to wash over you is not of faith, but continued sin). Then  carry on and serve God and others in love. No dirt you have is too filthy for the everlasting blood payment of Christ to clean. It was the blood of God spilled for you!

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The Milk of God

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. - 1 Peter 2:2-3 Peter just cited Isaiah 40:6 that speaks of the Word of God remaining forever and so in this context he urges us to put away any evil living and to long for the nourishment of knowing God through his Word just like a baby craves his mommies milk. In craving and actually feeding in God's Word, we mature and grown up in our salvation....this is the natural progression of what the Holy Spirit does in us. Then he qualifies it saying if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good...quoting from Psalm 34:8. image

God is not telling us to remain as spiritual babies, but to desire him like a baby desires its mother's milk. This is a deep basic instinctive desire.  Is this how you desire God and crave his Word? Have you really 'tasted' of the goodness of God in your own life? Often tears come to my eyes as I meditate upon the magnificent grace of God and his loving kindness to me in spite of my own sins.  How can such a holy God love me so much? I deserve none of him, yet he gave me all of him.

For this the 'taste buds' of my soul relish and soak in his goodness. Yes, I want to drink in this God; this Jesus Christ who came to us to redeem us; this Holy Spirit who makes his home inside me.  He did this! God alone made me what I am today. I who was once his enemy, not his own, have been made an object of his affection and loved, and adopted into his forever family! I have been made his!    Come with me and drink in the this milk of God.... This living water of Christ and enjoy the Shalom of God. The Peace of Christ that surpasses all comprehension and explanation. He is the reason for my existence and for yours.

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You and I are so blessed!

God planned long ago to choose you by making you his holy people, which is the Spirit’s work. God wanted you to obey him and to be made clean by the blood of the death of Jesus Christ. Grace and peace be yours more and more. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In God’s great mercy he has caused us to be born again into a living hope, because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. - 1 Peter 1:2-3 NCV image

  I like the way the New Century Version (NCV) expounds the thoughts into modern English and brings new light to me on even some of the most overlooked of verses such as Peter's greeting here at the start of his letters. While I don't recommend this English translation as a primary study Bible, because it's dynamic translation method is leans a bit too far off the literal and becomes more of a paraphrase than a translation, in association with a good more literal translation like the ESV, NKJV, or NASB it works very nicely to help me see truths spoken that I may have for years simply skimmed over. This is one. Just look at the way it was written compared to the ESV, which is more literal.

1 Peter 1:2-3 ESV

"according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,"

What the NCV has done is reduce down more complex Biblical terms like Foreknowledge of God, and Sanctification of the Spirit, and translated them into everday English at a more elementary level.   "Dumbed it down" to a 5th grade reading level .I think the New Living Bible does likewise. But don't take offense at that, even for us more educated or well read, if still is useful if you will be humble.  Yes it is more accurate and correct to use the terms of the ESV, but if a translation is using words and terms that have little common day usage, then the meanings often escape us, unless we sit down and take the time to dissect them ourselves. So for everyday casual reading and even in Bible study it can be a very helpful thing to read a "dumbed down" version of English translation which uses less of the "big" words so that we don't miss the message being conveyed. But in study, do this with both a more dynamic dumbed down version and a more literal and accurate version. After all, no translation is perfect, and the point is for us to get the truths of what God wants us to know and apply to our lives.  We shouldn't let pride get in our way to not use a Good News Bible or New Century Version or New Living or BBE, just because we are more educated and a 5 th grade reading level is beneath us. Sometimes the simpler things speak louder than the complex. Buy yourself a simpler every day version of the Bible also. Use multiple translations, and where you may see discrepancies of thought in a translation over a more accurate one, go online and look up a interlinear Lexicon like http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm that shows you the original Greek words, transliterations and English meanings. This makes for great and fun Bible study, and along the way you gain deeper knowledge of Gods truths and more clarirty of his will and purpose for your daily life. In conclusion, we who read and speak English are so immensely blessed to have so many great translations and paraphrases of the Bible from which to choose and read. And today all you need is a smartphone and YouVersion Bible app to cross study various translations with no extra cost. But if able, buy a couple different translations of print versions also. There's still nothing like reading and studying your Bible in paper print media and it never requires  battery power and is not as complex to highlight or make margin notes. :)

Bible study should be the delight of every true Christians soul. Sweeter than honey on our lips. Let us utilize all our vast blessings to be children who really know our Heavenly Father and Jesus our Savior, through his Spirit inspired Word.

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Dilemmas of loving my neighbors

But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. -James 2:8

This sums up the commands of God for us toward our fellow man. This is easy to do to those who love us, or when it doesn't demand any real sacrifice on our part. But real life doesn't always go that way. Sometimes your life is busy or demanding, or financially stressed with more needs than resources. Then someone you love dearly has a crisis, and you have immediate ability to meet that need, but it will put your wisely planned out resources and budget to get blown up and leave you in need, or unable to stay in a secure place. What do you do? Worse yet, someone you are not emotionally or lovingly close to has a need and you see it and can meet all or part of the immediate need, what do you do? Do we pass them by, because it may put us in debt and force us to work harder and longer to recover than we desire or planned? Do we pass over the need because it may impact our ability to fund our immediate or long term plans or retirement "properly"? Do we walk on by like the Jews of the good Samaritan story not helping the person in need because we don't want to be inconvenienced; or  we want a nicer car and can't afford a new car payment and sending an extra 10, 50, 100 or 300 dollars a month to help fund an orphanage or feed hungry and hurting Pastors,  or feed the poor people who need to see the love of Jesus in action before they can see his offer of Salvation? What do we do?   Needs abound, so do we just pass them by, or do we dig deeper, cut back more on self, and invest more in others and less in personal pursuits? What does loving you neighbor as yourself look like for you? Is it a life of giving mercy to others that takes from your own resource pool of mercy and provision?

We can choose to avoid seeing or acknowledging needs, turn a blind eye like those who passed the beaten and robbed man on the road way to Jerusalem, or we can stop and render what aid we can. We can all do something. It's better to do all you can to save a few, than nothing, and keep on walking. God has blessed you. What will you do?

God has blessed me more than I deserve. I really believe this, so I choose to prove it by giving more and more back to those in need, even when it hurts to do so. Not just talking about it, but doing it. This is why I invest much of my time and money in the poor and for the Gospel message of Christ, and have partnered with Jim Ball to make it easier for others to join us in doing exactly this. Loving our neighbors who are in the greatest of need around the world. Join me at http://www.aboutfacemissions.com or on our Facebook page and help us help more and reach more for Jesus.   https://www.facebook.com/AboutFaceMissions . Even as hard as the road may be at times dealing with the troubles and problems of others as well as your own, the resulting rewards and new life friendships and bonds of love that form from your efforts will last forever. Joy unspeakable will come though Christ to you, and have you saying, "why did I ever even hesitate?".   I know this, I struggle daily with these questions and find stepping out in faith for Jesus always has immense rewards beyond my human reason.

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The Constancy of God

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. -Heb 13:8 Here we see that Christ never Changes, speaking of his eternal qualities, certainly at some point the Son was without human form and the point of immaculate conception joined with human form, so we can see that some form of change occurred. So what is it the Hebrews passage is referring to? His attributes.  Hebrews is using a description of him only used of Yahweh (Jehovah) God. God's divine attributes never changes. God alone never changes and remains the same forever. This is how he describes himself. Even his name "I Am" implies this. He said "I am the LORD,  I do not change" in Malachi 3:6

Jesus being God the Son, is also called eternally unchanging, of course speaking of his divine attributes, since the Father, Son and Spirit are One God, all the same essence. I dislike inconsistency , I suppose because consistency is something about God that is so beautiful to me, and my hope is built on it. I myself have to work on being more consistently. So I am preaching much to myself here. Something we humans would do well to learn from God and to emulate, is his nature of consistent covenant love. We love to soak in the love of God and be it's benefactors, but God does not give us life and his deep love so that we keep it to ourselves. No, his Spirit is seen as a river of water; the water of life that is "flowing" from the throne, the very presence of God and reaching out to each one of us.

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We are designed to be Holy Spirit living reservoirs, to allow other people to drink of Jesus Christ.  This is what Jesus offered the woman at the well, and all who come to him. Now a dead stagnant lake has no outlet of what comes into it. But a living vibrant lake flows fresh water in and out. We must wisely learn to commit, out of love for God and others, to give and serve others like God does, as a covenant of love, that does not fail when the other party fails to keep up their expected part. True love is not just acting out of emotions and "flighty", but steadfastly gives. Emotional love is selfish, really to meet ones own feelings, but covenant love does what is right and keeps on giving with or without the fickle feelings. Let us be people of commitment to God and others faithfully month by month, day by day, serving like God serves us with consistency.  I see so many flighty inconsistent Christians wanting to serve God out of sporadic emotions and have little to no unchanging consistency. God is consistent and unchanging. Let us be like your heavenly Father, and make wise loving covenants to serve and do so consistently .  This changes lives here for eternity, as your reservoir of Holy Spirit living becomes pure as what God flows into you is consistently flowing life into others who need living water of God. The dead sea has nearly no life, because nothing is flowing out. Don't be like that, but Be alive for God. Have many outlets consistently flowing for his Spirit.   This is holy and pleasing to God, this is living faithfully.

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