A Gift to You ~~~

I love the Bible Studies found on the computer of LWF (Love Worth Finding.). they are a part of the ministries of Adrian Rogers and what I like so much about them is there are plenty of places to write in answers but it is not someone else’s thoughts or yours that you are writing in, it is the Word of God – always.

I am attaching this one Study which I am doing myself in January.  It is called, “Wisdom’s Final Call”.  My gift to you in January!! I hope you will grab your Bible and notepad and pencil and study with me.  Perhaps you will find others you will enjoy doing when you finish this one.  May you be richly blest with this Study.  Marge

Wisdom’s Final Call

Proverbs 1:20-32

If you are a born-again Christian—if you have given your life to the Lord Jesus Christ—then you want to live a life that’s a success in God’s eyes, a life that counts for something and matters for the Kingdom. You don’t want to wander aimlessly, hoping something good will happen somewhere…and you’ll get direction.

You’re wasting a lot of time, friend, when God has struck a match and lit the lantern, inviting you to walk in wisdom. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

The most important collection of godly wisdom for life, captured in one book, is the book of Proverbs, and this month on our radio broadcasts we’re focusing on the series “God’s Way to Health, Wealth, and Wisdom.”

Notice I didn’t say, “God’s way to Wealth—Name It and Claim It.” Health, Wealth and Wisdom go hand-in-hand for the child of God who lives by godly principles, and it doesn’t necessarily mean physical health—just ask the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 2:3, 2 Cor. 12:7), or his disciple Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20).

It does not always mean financial wealth. Just ask the widow Jesus praised in Luke 21:1-4. It does not mean worldly wisdom (See 1 Corinthians 3:18 and 2 Corinthians 1:12). We want to make certain it’s God’s health, God’s wealth and God’s wisdom we’re seeking. We get them not through the latest self-help best-seller, but through His Word.

This month’s study focuses on the most important wisdom you can have. Early in the book, Wisdom is described as a person and makes what may be for some a “Last Call.”

The book of Proverbs pours out wisdom upon wisdom, so it’s interesting that the book begins with a “last call.” If you do not have what wisdom is calling you to first, the rest of the book’s wisdom will likely be wasted on you. Let’s look at this “Last Call” wisdom makes.

1. Turn to Proverbs chapter one and begin in verse 20.

20 Wisdom _________ without; she uttereth her voice in the _________, 21 she _______ in the chief place of concourse, in the ______________ of the _______, in the _______ she uttereth her words, saying, 22 “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning and fools hate knowledge? 23 _________ you at my reproof. Behold I will pour out my spirit unto you. I will ________   ___________my words unto you.
24 Because I called and ye refuse, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regard it, 25 but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 when your fear cometh as desolation and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me but I will not answer. They shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. 29 For that they hateth knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. 30 They would none of my counsel, they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso _________________unto me shall dwell _____________ and shall be quiet from _______ of _______.

In this passage of Scripture, wisdom is portrayed as a person. The voice of wisdom is the voice of God.

When wisdom speaks, God speaks.
The authority of wisdom is the authority of God.
The invitation of wisdom is the invitation of God.
The warning of wisdom is the warning of God,
To neglect wisdom is to neglect God,
To honor wisdom is to honor God,
The blessings of wisdom are the blessings of God.
As wisdom speaks to you today, it is God speaking to you today.

First, a personal story:

Awhile back I was in a hurry to get to the airport to catch a flight. I wanted to be certain to be there before the plane took off. Does it seem to you that we always tend to get there a little later than we think we are? Once in the terminal, I had a long way to go. I was jogging carrying my heavy bags.  I put them through baggage check, got my boarding pass, looked up and saw I had plenty of time.

“Well, after this,” I said, “I’m going to relax.” I went down and bought a cup of hot tea, a newspaper, sat down in the waiting area at the gate, read the newspaper and drank my hot tea.

After a while I looked around—and the waiting room was empty! I thought to myself, “Where did everyone go?” I went up and asked the gate agent, “When are you going to call this flight?” He said, “I’ve already called it.” I said, “When is it going to leave?” He said, “It’s already left,” and I thought to myself, “That’s about the dumbest thing a man ever did—to sit at the gate reading a newspaper, drinking hot tea while the airplane took off. I mean sitting right there.”

Now, folks, that’s dumb to sit right there, so oblivious to that final call, sitting there drinking tea, reading a newspaper while his airplane left. You say, “Right preacher, pretty dumb, pretty dumb.” But there’s something more foolish than that: for you to sit in this study, with your Bible open, sitting here at the very gate to glory, and have the last flight to Heaven take off without you.
One of these days, listen to me, God is going to issue His final call to you. There’s a deadline in front of everyone, a final call, a last call. We will study it here in this passage of scripture. We’re going to look at Wisdom’s Invitation, Indoctrination, and Indignation.

WISDOM’S INVITATION

Wisdom’s last call is a PUBLIC invitation.

“20 Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets, she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates, in the city she uttereth her words.”

2. Turn to Matthew 10:27

27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that ___________ ye upon the _________________.

If wisdom is crying out in the streets, in the chief place of concourse, at the gates, in the city, preached from the housetops, it doesn’t get more public than that.

3. Does this passage indicate that the cry going out to a select few?

Jesus said in John 18:20, “I have done nothing in secret.”  I’m so grateful the Lord God loves the whole world, and Wisdom’s invitation is a public invitation.

Wisdom speaks to all people.  The voice of the Bible is, “Whosoever willmay come.”

I won’t have you turn to each one, but if you question this, see Mark 8:34-35, Luke 6:47, Luke 9:24, John 12:46, Acts 2:21, and Revelation 22:17.

A CLOSER LOOK AT “PUBLIC”

Let the whole world know that Jesus saves. The invitation of wisdom is public. Don’t just “keep the faith”—give it away. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t want to give it away, you ought to give it up, because what you have is not real. You’ll never convince me that you know the real thing and the joy of the Lord Jesus if you do not want to share it.

Wisdom’s last call is a PRESSING invitation.

Wisdom is not lackadaisical about this. It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it attitude but a sense of urgency.

20 Wisdom crieth without. 21She crieth in the chief place of concourse.

Wisdom is pressing her invitation. She’s lifting up her voice.

Some people don’t like to go to a church where there’s a public invitation. They say, “I just don’t believe in urging people to get right with God.” Well, I do.

4. Turn to 2 Corinthians 5:11. The apostle Paul says

Therefore, knowing the _________ of the LORD We _______________ men.”

5. Turn to Genesis chapter 3:8-9

And they heard the __________ of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
And the Lord God __________unto Adam, and said unto him, “Where art thou?”

I’m so glad that God came seeking Adam there in the Garden with a tear in His voice: “Adam where art thou?” It wasn’t the voice of a detective; it was the voice of a broken-hearted Father.

Wisdom’s last call is a PATIENT invitation.

6.        22 How _______, oh simple one, will ye love simplicity and the scorners delight in their scorning and fools hate knowledge?

Thank God for the patience of our Lord. He is indeed a patient God. It’s amazing that He would stretch forth His hands patiently. Earnestly, tenderly, Wisdom is calling.

Wisdom’s invitation, public, pressing, and patient, is given to everyone today.

WISDOM’S INDOCTRINATION

Some people reading this might be saying to themselves,

“Well, Dr. Rogers, I can’t help it if I don’t understand your Bible. It’s not my fault if I don’t have this wisdom. I wasn’t born with it. Perhaps I don’t have the gift.”

Anyone who reads this study is without excuse, because if you want God’s wisdom you can have it. How? God will indoctrinate you with His wisdom if you get yourself in the place where God can speak to you.

7. Look at verse 23. Here is God’s challenge to you.

_______ you at My reproof. Behold, I will pour out My spirit unto you, I will make known My words unto you.

Do you want to know how to have the wisdom you need? It will come to you—and any person—in 3 steps:

STEP #1 The Sinner’s Repentance

First you turn.

23turn you at my reproach.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE TERM “REPENT”
Do you know what the word “turn” here means? It means repent. Repent means to change your mind. By changing your mind, you will change your course of action. You’re walking due east…you turn (repent) and start walking due west. It’s a 1800 reversal, in both thought and deed. That is repentance! Isaiah 55:7 describes it well:

8. Turn to Isaiah 55:7

Let the wicked ______________ his______, and the unrighteous man his __________________: and let him _______________ unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon Him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

Repentance is an in-depth change, from the inside out. It involves behavior—yes. But it reaches inside and makes a heart-change.

If we forsake our ways and our thoughts, then we’ll have God’s thoughts and God’s wisdom, but there must be a point of repentance.

You are not going to learn anything from God until you’re willing to repent. If God were to give you wisdom, it would be like pouring water on a rock. Don’t blame God if you don’t repent. Wisdom says you must turn. Even if God were to speak to you, you couldn’t hear him if you did not repent.

You must prepare your heart to hear the Word of God and there must be the repentance of the sinner that makes Jesus Christ Lord.

 STEP #2 The Spirit’s Revelation

Look again at what follows “turn” in verse 23:

Turn you at My reproof, behold, I will ______ out ___  ________ upon you.

This book is written by God, given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. You will never understand it until God pours His Spirit out upon you.

9. Turn to 1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural [unsaved] man ______________  ____ the things of the Spirit
of God: for they are foolishness unto him: ____________ can he ________ them, because they are _________________ discerned.

Why can’t an unsaved person understand God, His heart, His principles?

The only way you’re going to know the truth of God’s Word is for the Holy Spirit to turn the light on in your sin-darkened soul.
You can read the Bible and get the facts and the dates.
You can memorize the kings of Israel.
You can know the names of the twelve apostles.
But you will never know the wisdom and the truth of this book until God the Holy Spirit pours Himself out upon you. When the sinner repents, then God’s Holy Spirit immediately comes in and reveals the truth to you.

STEP #3 The Reliability of the Scripture

After repentance, you’re far from left on your own. The Scripture is available to support you in your walk with God.

10. The Bible you hold in your hands contains the Word of God. It is the Word of God. See Proverbs 1:23 again:

and I will pour out My Spirit unto you and _______ ___________  ____  _______ unto you.

Do you want wisdom? This is God’s wisdom book. When there’s repentance of the sinner, there will be the revelation of the Spirit, supported by the reliability of the scripture.

11. For you to have wisdom, how important is the Word of God in your life? Turn to Mathew 4:4. The Lord Jesus is speaking:

But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone but by __________  ________  that ________________ out of the ___________ of ______.

12. Turn back to Proverbs again—this time to chapter 2:6-9.

For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of  _____  __________ cometh knowledge and understanding.
7 He layeth up sound _____________  for the ______________________: He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and __________________ the way of His saints.
Then shalt thou _____________________ righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, __________  ________  ______.

You want to be walking wisely, successfully, on a good path? It comes from wisdom, which follows repentance, and is given by the Spirit in revelation when you study the Scriptures.

13. Turn to Psalm 119:130.

The entrance of Thy _________ giveth light; it giveth __________________ unto the simple.

How wonderful it is when God the Holy Spirit takes the repentant sinner, pours Himself upon that sinner, opens the Word of God and gives the knowledge from the Word of God. We then have God’s knowledge.

Don’t tell me, friend, you can’t have wisdom. Don’t tell me God cannot give you wisdom. He can, He does, He will.

First, there is the invitation of the Spirit: God calls. Then the indoctrination of the Spirit, for where God calls, God enables. Lastly, the indignation of the Spirit— if you reject His free offer of salvation.

WISDOM’S INDIGNATION

Have you ever thought that God may become indignant? I did a Scripture search the other day and was overwhelmed with passages that deal with the fact that the great God of Heaven, when His holiness and majesty are insulted, may become indignant.

Let’s look at just two of them.

14. a. Turn to Nahum 1:6. You will find it among the shorter prophetic books, just two doors down from Jonah and right before Habakkuk.

Who can stand before His _______________? and who can abide in the ________________ of His __________?”

The answer is obvious. No one can.

b. Turn to Hebrews 10:27. We’re going to go back and forth between Proverbs 1 and Hebrews 10, so keep both passages open as we compare and see how Scripture is the best commentary on Scripture.

27 But a certain fearful looking for of _______________ and fiery ________________, which shall devour the _______________.

c. Who are the adversaries? What brought God—and them—to this point of being His adversaries? Look back in this chapter (Hebrews 10) to verse 19.

19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Enter into the holiest” is a reference to the Old Testament “holy of holies”—that place in the tabernacle where God’s presence rested upon the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest could enter there—and he only once a year. And that was only after multiple preparations to make him clean/purified enough to come unto God’s presence.

What does the “holiest” represent for us now, in the New Testament?

e. Under the New Covenant, how are we able to enter His presence? with “_____________________.”

f. What (v. 19) makes that entrance possible?

15.
20 By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;

a. What is this “new and living way” to God?

21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

b. Who now serves as our High Priest?

Exodus 30:9-10 and Leviticus 16:14 tell us how, under the Old Covenant, the high priest, in addition to many other steps of purification, had to wash in pure water at the bronze laver, then took with him into the holy of holies the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled it upon the Ark of the Covenant. This area was so holy, so sacred, that he could “draw near”only one time each year, on the Day of Atonement.

Compare that with what Hebrews says here: (continuing chapter 10)

22 Let us draw near[to God] with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

c. Now under the New Covenant, what did Jesus, our high priest, do for us like Aaron the high priest did under the Old Covenant?

d. How (v. 22) are our hearts like the Holy of Holies?

e. In the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant, God’s presence rested upon the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle. Today, under the New Covenant, where does God’s presence reside?

f. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without ________________; (for He is faithful that promised;)

What helps keep us from wavering?

16. Move on in Hebrews 10 to verses 26 and 27. First, verse 26:

26 For if we sin _____________ after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

a. Does 10:26 mean you can lose your salvation? No. The Ryrie Study Bible clarifies for us verse 26:

“26 there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. If a person rejects the truth of Christ’s death for sin, there is no other sacrifice for sin available and no other way to come to God. Only judgment remains.” Jesus suffered in agony and blood upon the cross to provide atonement for your—and every person’s—sins. The person who rejects his atoning, suffering sacrifice has no way to come to God. No wonder God is indignant. Wisdom cries out in its final call (Proverbs 1:23) “23 Turn at My reproof. Behold, I will pour out My Sprit upon you.”

b. Continuing—verse 27 of Hebrews 10:

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery _________________, which shall devour the adversaries.

Why would a fiery indignation devour God’s adversaries?

Go back to the focus passage of our study, Proverbs 1:20-32, where verses 24-25 of this chapter hit it right on the mark.

Proverbs 1:24-25—

24 Because I called and ye refuse, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regard it, 25 but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof

Why does wisdom become indignant?

c. Hebrews 10:26-27 confirms it. Verse 28 goes on to say,

28 He that _____________ Moses’ law died ____________ mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Wisdom is indignant because the call of wisdom, that public, pressing, patient invitation of wisdom, time and time and time again, is swept aside by those who refuse to accept God’s provision, and there comes a time when invitation turns to indignation.

A CLOSER LOOK AT REFUSING THE CALL VS. HYPER- CALVINISM
I’ve dealt with this before, but I want to say while I’m in the area, you can refuse the call of God. There is a theology today out, hyper-Calvinism, which says Jesus only died for a certain few—just for the elect. And that certain people are destined to be saved and certain destined to be lost, and if you’re one of those destined to be saved, you’re going to be saved no matter what. But if you’re one of those destined to be lost, you’re going to be lost, no matter what.

They call that “limited atonement” and “irresistible grace.” That is, Jesus died only for a certain few. But when He calls those few, they will come. It’s absolutely irresistible. You can’t help yourself. When He calls, you’ll come, and if He doesn’t call you, you can’t come. So therefore, some are born to go to Heaven and some are born to go to Hell.

Don’t you believe it. It’s a lie. “The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” There is not an “irresistible call.” A person may resist if they want. Look again at Proverbs 1:24—“Because I have called and he refused, I have stretched out my hand and no man regardeth.” God calls. He wants everyone saved. The Lord is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). “Christ is that life that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” “He Himselfis the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world,” (1 John 2:2). and I’m infinitely, everlastingly glad I can say “Whosoever will may come,” God loves you, Christ died for you, and you can be saved today.

But not only, my dear friend, can you choose Him today, you can refuse him today. He can call and you can refuse. You can say no.

You can so spurn His offer of love and so trample beneath your feet His precious blood, God’s invitation will turn to indignation because He says, “24 Because I called and ye refuse, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regard it, 25 but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof…” (back to our original passage in Proverbs 1.)

I see the Lord Jesus in Matthew chapter 23 on the Mount of Olives, looking down over the city of Jerusalem, great tears coursing down His cheeks, His hands outstretched, saying “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how oft would I have gathered thee even as a hen gathereth her chicks, but ye would not. Therefore your house is left to you desolate.”  “I would, but you would not.”

Today He stretches out His hands to you, calls you and invites you. But God has given you the privilege to choose Him or to refuse Him. One day invitation will turn to indignation.

17. Look again at Proverbs 1:26.

26 I also will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 when your fear cometh as desolation and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

a. What happens when invitation turns to indignation?

You see, people have laughed at God and mocked His wisdom. You see it every day in the news and on television. But there’s coming a time when the mocker will be mocked, when the scorner will be scorned.

b. Turn to Galatians 6:7

Be not ____________; God is not ___________: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also _______.

c. Turn to Psalm 2:4

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall __________: the Lord shall have them
  in _______________.

Why does God laugh at their calamity? Why does it come to the point where God mocks the recalcitrant sinner? Because they’re reaping what they’ve sown.

A CLOSER LOOK AT PSALM 2:4—WHY WOULD GOD MOCK ANYONE?
It’s not because God thinks it’s funny. There’s no humor here, none whatsoever. This is the laughter of absurdity, of irony. Tragically, it is the fool receiving back upon his head that which is his just and due consequence.

Today. we see God mocked every day. But that’s only temporary; that’s only as we count earthly time. Remember, God lives outside of the limitations of time and space. He is infinite as regards time and space. Mocking, in earthly time, is only for an instant, compared to eternity, when His name will be lifted high and glorified forevermore.

If in this little expanse of earthly time you choose to mock God and refuse his patient, public, pressing invitation, you will for eternity reap what you have sown.

If you sow mocking you’ll reap mocking, if you sow derision, you will reap derision, if you mock wisdom, wisdom will mock you.

18. Another consequence of the sinner’s refusal of this invitation.
a. See v. 27.

27 When your fear cometh as _______________

That word is one of the saddest words in the Bible. It means simply to be left alone.

Did you know that the time may come when God will leave you alone? The time may come that you can be so oblivious to His call that you can be sitting there in the waiting room at the gate and the airplane will take off without you. You’ll be sitting right there, and no one will speak to you, no one will tap you on the shoulder and say, “The plane just left.” It’s over, the last call has been heard and issued, and there will be no other call. You’re desolate.

b. Turn to Luke 13:35

Behold, your house is left unto you _______________: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall _____  _____ Me, until the time come when ye shall say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

You ask, “Could that ever happen?” Yes. Genesis 6:3 says, “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man.

God loves you. God is patient. But there comes an end to the patience of God. One day you may say “no” once to often to God and He no longer will stretch out His hands, no longer will He lift up His voice, no longer will you hear the invitation of wisdom.

19. A third consequence: See again v. 27.

27 when your fear cometh as desolation and your _______________ cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

Who can argue with a devastating whirlwind? Who can stand against a tornado? Right at the tip is unbelievable destructive power. God has used that as an illustration of His righteous judgment: destruction as the simple, the scorner, and the fool are swept away and judgment falls upon them.

20. A fourth consequence: See v. 28.

28 Then shall they call upon Me, but I will ____ answer. They shall seek Me early, but they shall ____ find Me. 29 For that they___________ knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. 30 They would none of My counsel, they despised all My reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

There’s coming a time when lost sinners will stand before the judgment bar of God and cry out, “Oh God, have mercy!’ but it will be too late.

SUMMARY

If you want mercy, you may have it; if you want forgiveness, you may have it; if you want grace, you may have it.  But now is the day of grace, now is the day of mercy, now is the day of forgiveness

There is a deadline when wisdom makes her final call. If you say no to the God of grace, one day the God of judgment will say no to you.

It’s not that God is not forgiving. It’s not that God will not call upon those who call upon him. He will. But you must do it while you still have time. When the judgment of God has come, when the tornado of destruction has touched down, then it is too late to call upon Him.

One day He’s going to make His last call, He’s going to cry His last tear, the last invitation will be given. Then righteousness, mercy and forgiveness will give way to wrath and judgment of God, who is indignant over His love that has been spurned so many times.  People cannot continue to trample beneath their feet the blood of Jesus and do so with impunity. Remember what Hebrews 10:29 said,

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

The fiery indignation of God is going to consume them.

You say, “Well, I just don’t see how a God of love can do that.” Friend, a God of love doesn’t do that.

For You~~~~

A few posts back I had one (or two) for my unsaved readers.  NOW…….I have one for my saved readers.

I want you to read it – then think about it for a few moments.

 

I AM >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Rom. 8:16…..A Child of God

Col. 1:13,14..Forgiven

Eph. 2:8……..Saved by grace through faith

Rom. 5:1…….Justified

2 Cor. 5:17…A new creature

Rom. 8:14….Led by the Spirit of God

Psa.91:11…..Kept in safety wherever I go

1 Peter 5:7…Casting all my cares on Jesus

Phil. 4:13……Doing all things through Christ

2 Cor. 10:5….Bringing every thought into captivity

Rom. 12:1,2…Being transformed by a renewed mind

2 Cor. 5:21…..The righteousness of God

Eph. 5:1……….An imitator of Jesus

Job. 8:21………Filled with laughter and rejoicing

 

WOW!  “IN CHRIST”…. these are what you and I are, dear Christian reader.  Now. Let’s thank Him for all that He has made possible for you and me.

Heavenly Father!  Thank You!  Thank You for all You have made possible for us.  May our lives shine forth with Your loveliness and may we become light that shines brightly for those who yet are in the dark.  Thank You for what You are going to do in our lives.  In Jesus’ Name……………………..Amen!

Christian reader(s) – rejoice in lieu of what you and I know we possess because of Christ and Calvary.

Mega Blessings right now.  Marge

 

Turning from Christmas to Easter

Well.  There were 33 years between Christmas and Easter. They were SOME 33 years, weren’t they!!

I look at some things in the Word and I wonder, how is it that those who spent so much time with the Lord could doubt so easily.  But you know, Jesus was One of a kind and what He said and did and what He was preparing for, was definitely awesome – out of this world – unbelievable.

Going back to Luke 1, I see a simple difference between Zechariah and Mary.

Zechariah:
“How can I be sure of this – I am an old man and my wife is well along in years”.

Mary:

“How will this be since I am a virgin?  I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said”.

What is the difference between the two of them?  Zechariah did not believe what the angel told him.

WOW!!  Zechariah, a priest, serving the Lord – – AND YET did not believe the angel.

Mary, a peasant,  probably uneducated – put her child-like faith into action.

Lord!  Help me – – help my reader – – Help us to be like MARY!!!!!!!!!!

 

Let’s drop over to Luke 2 for a few moments now and think about something else.

Luke dated the events he wrote about, i.e. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

1) Roman Census, Quirinius was governor of Syria.    2) Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant when the angel visited Mary.    3) Mary stayed with Elizabeth almost until John was born.    4) Anna was a Prophetess, married for 7 years, then a widow until she was 84.   5) After Feast of Passover – – Jesus was 12 years old.  Parents traveled ONE WHOLE DAY before missing him.  THREE DAYS LATER they found Him.

What do you think went through Mary and Joseph’s minds while they were looking for Him?

Did Luke interview Mary during his investigations into Jesus’ life?

 

Let’s slip over to Luke 24 now.

The disciples’ reactions to Jesus’ resurrection was one of puzzlement, unbelieving and excited.

When they were finally convinced and He stood among them, they were frightened.  BUTTTTTTTT……they believed Him – worshipped Him and praised God.

The Lord may be very near me/you and yet I/you may not know Him. Luke 24:16

It has always puzzled me though.  The disciples were always with Him, listened to Him, learned from Him, believed in Him.  YET!!!! They seemed to not know, or believe, or understand.

HOW CAN THAT BE WHEN THEY COULD SEE HIM IN BODILY FORM!!!!!!!

Believe/Faith. Believe/Faith.  Believe/Faith.    Believe/Faith.

Lord.  Give to us a keen mind to read, to study, to realize all that You have gone through and all You have made available to us and for us.  Simply Believe.  Teach us to simply have faith like it is going out of season any moment!!!!!!  Thank You for what You are going to do in each of our lives.  Amen!!

Question for each of us…. Is there enough going on in my life – – in your life – – for Satan and Jesus to talk about?

Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked for Him.  Luke 22:31.

God and Satan had a talk about Job.  Job 1:7,8, 12

How badly do I want to change?  How badly do you want to change?  Luke 7 (This is a very powerful chapter!!)

Mega Blessings! Marge

Heartstrings~~~~exercised and polished…first time in 2018!

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me;  Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  (Psalm 23 NKJV)

It has now been 30 years since my husband asked me if I knew the 23rd Psalm and we began to say it together each night, after devotions and before bed. It was difficult for me to pick it up by myself and yet the time came when the difficulty, the pain of doing it alone, seemed to leave. I was able to go solo with it.

When I have had hard days this part of God’s Word seems to have a well-worn path for me. It is comfort-food.  It is what is snatchable when you are in a fog-generated time, as I was this morning.

It is Saturday. The first Saturday of 2018.  I had my coffee mid-morning outside as I watched a pick-up truck remove furniture from JT’s.  I had forgotten. Years past there was a kind, or rather a “color” of furniture that was called “blonde furniture”.  You know.  Like Cherry wood, walnut wood or mahogany wood. I watched a bed, rocker/recliner, desk and chair, and a few other items of furniture being strapped in. Then the truck drove off.

Prior to an incident that happened to me in early December, I was having breakfast with three lovely little ladies – all in their mid 90’s.  I would get their coffee and water for them and help them from their walkers to their chairs and receive a hug from each one. There was Edna, Pauline and Rena.  Pauline had a g’son with whom she was very close.  When he and his wife had their baby in December, he called her while his wife was in labor to let her know they were en route to increasing their little family.  Pauline had had the bad bug that was/is going around and so they decided they would bring the baby girl for her to hold in a couple of weeks.  One time, yet at the hospital, the little girl developed the hiccups so he called his g’ma and told her to listen and so he held his phone close to her little mouth and Pauline tugged at her receiver to receive every bit the sound of those little hiccups. So blest.  So wonderful.  So excited about being able to hold the baby soon.

But it was not to be.  This past Thursday, Pauline passed away having fought the “bug” teeth and toenails but to no avail.  No. She did not get to know that she had held the baby girl, her little g/grand-daughter.  But her g/son will know that she did because before his g/ma is laid to rest, his little girl will lay close to her heart for a few moments in time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Then last night another “tug at my heartstrings”.  We have coyotes at night.  No one with a dog wants to go out either late or early for walks.  But.  There are dogs who are on their own and coyotes who know only too well when the prey is around.  Last night we heard the coyotes and we heard the dog crying out for help that was not there.  And soon, there was silence as the coyotes were only growling in between their “feast”.

Od was asleep but I got him up, gave him a treat and held him tightly.  He would never know what the background was for my interrupting his sleep, but he knew he was loved.  And he returned to his warm little mat, his blanket and the little eyes shut once again.

IMG_2122

“The Lord IS my Shepherd……………………………I shall not want” (Psa. 23:1).

The first week of January 2018 is now finished.

In His care.  Marge

 

Welcome!

Wow!  When I opened my screen, I had  four new followers.  Welcome!  One from Michigan. I have a g’son and his wife living in Grand Rapids. Not good weather right now is it.

Also ~~~~ INDONESIA ~~~~ I am so glad you are able to read some of my writings.  I welcome you!

It is a brand new year.  And there is much to be done for my Lord. My heart’s desire is to reach as many people as possible while there is still time for decision-making.

To that end – I will continue to write.  I leave you with one of my favorite verses in God’s Word.  Found in Jere. 17:7,8.

“Blessed is the man (woman) who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.  For he (she) will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”(parenthesis mine)

“will not fear”.  “will not be anxious”.  I am 82.  The last four words in verse 8 caught my eye this past week ~~~ “nor cease to yield fruit”.

Caleb went out to battle when he was 80. Abraham was 75 when he began the walk of faith. Noah wasn’t exactly a spring chicken either when the building of the Ark took place.  John was waaaaaay up in years when he was out in no-man’s-land (Patmos).  All the disciples had died one way or another.  Paul gone as well. But John  did not slink from the responsibility that was yet his to complete.  He took the pen ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ gave us JOHN.  The rest is history.

Heavenly Father:  Open our eyes – our hearts – – keep a hedge around us – make us your alive-and-willing servants without any reservations, letting You lead us onward , upward, inward and outward.  In the end Lord, may we see those golden gates open and You to walk us through them and be with You forever.  May we hear you say as You lead us in,  “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!!!!   Amen!!!!!  and Amen !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In His Hands and On His Road~~~~~

img_22351.jpgMarge

God’s leading is so Awesome!

I will share with you as much as I can.  The following is a magnificent article.  God is giving to us through so many avenues all that we “need” to know and have in order to “be Home”.

Happy, happy reading/learning/looking forward to.

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Heaven – What is it Like and Where is it?

“Heaven is a place, just as much a place as is New York or Chicago.” ~ Charles Ferguson Ball

Everyone wants to know about heaven and everyone wants to go there. Recent polls suggest that nearly 80% of all Americans believe there is a place called heaven. I find that statistic encouraging because it tells me that even in this skeptical age there is something deep inside the human heart that cries out, “There’s got to be something more. Something more than the pain and suffering of this life. Something more than 70 or 80 years on planet earth. Something more than being born, living, dying, and then being buried in the ground. Sometimes we talk about a “God-shaped vacuum” inside the human heart. I believe there is also a “heaven-shaped vacuum,” a sense that we were made for something more than this life. We were made to live forever somewhere. In a real sense we were made for heaven.

There is another fascinating statistic I should mention. Not only do most Americans believe in heaven, most people expect to go there when they die. If you took a microphone to the streets of Chicago and asked, “Do you think you will go to heaven when you die?” the vast majority of people would answer, “I hope so,” or “I think so,” or perhaps “I think I’ve got a good chance. Not very many people would say they aren’t going to heaven. Perhaps one modest point is in order. Whenever you talk about living forever somewhere, it would help to know for sure where you are going. After all, if you’re wrong about heaven, you’re going to be wrong for a long, long time.

With that as background, I turn now to consider some of the most frequently-asked questions about heaven. But before I jump in, I should make one preliminary point. The only things we can know for certain about heaven are the things revealed in the Bible. Everything else is just speculation and hearsay. The Bible tells us everything we need to know and I believe it also tells us everything we can know for certain about heaven.

Where is heaven?

There are three things I can tell you in answer to this question.

    1. The most important fact is that heaven is a real place. Listen to the words of Jesus on the night before he was crucified:
      • Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:1-3).
      • Twice in three verses Jesus calls heaven a place. He means that heaven (“my Father’s house”) is a real place, as real as New York, London or Chicago. The place called heaven is just as real as the place you call home. It’s a real place filled with real people, which is why the Bible sometimes compares heaven to a mansion with many rooms (John 14:1-3) and sometimes to an enormous city teeming with people (Revelation 21).
    1. The Bible also tells us that heaven is the dwelling place of God. His throne is there, the angels are there, and the Lord Jesus Christ is in heaven. Philippians 3:20says very plainly that “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s why Jesus told the thief on the Cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
  1. Third (and I find this fact fascinating), the Bible hints that heaven is not as far away as we might think. Because heaven is a real place, we sometimes think it must be outside our present universe – which would mean that it is billions and billions of light years away. However, it’s very clear that the early Christians understood that they would pass immediately from this life into the presence of Christ in heaven. How can that be possible if heaven is beyond the farthest galaxy? Hebrews 12:22-24 tells us something amazing about what the gospel has done for us:
    • But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

The writer is here comparing Mt. Sinai with Mt. Zion. Under the old covenant no one could come near God except under very strict conditions. That’s why the mountain shook with thunder and lightning. [Note: three times the writer of Hebrews uses a Greek word that means “to come near” or “to approach closely.] But now in Christ we have been brought near to heavenly realities. Think of what he is saying:

  • We’re not that far from heaven.
  • We’re not that far from the angels.
  • We’re not that far from our loved ones in heaven.
  • We’re not that far from God.
  • We’re not that far from Jesus himself.
  • Heaven is a real place, it’s where Jesus is right now, and it’s not far away from us.
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What is heaven like?

I would answer by saying that the Bible doesn’t give us a great deal of information. What we have are images and pictures of heaven and comparisons with life on earth.

What is heaven like? Here are 7 biblical facts about heaven. It is …

  1. God’s dwelling place (Psalms 33:13).
  2. Where Christ is today (Acts 1:11).
  3. Where Christians go when they die (Philippians 1:21-23).
  4. The Father’s house (John 14:2).
  5. A city designed and built by God (Hebrews 11:10).
  6. A better country (Hebrews 11:16).
  7. Paradise (Luke 23:43).

Most of us have heard that heaven is a place where the streets are paved with gold, the gates are made of pearl, and the walls made of precious jewels. Those images come from Revelation 21, which offers us the most extended picture of heaven in the entire Bible. If you ask me if I believe those things are literally true, the answer is yes and no. Yes, they are literally true but no, heaven won’t be anything like we imagine. It will be much greater.

Here’s a delightful legend that makes the point very well:

I love the old story of the rich man who, on his death bed, negotiated with God to allow him to bring his earthly treasures with him when he came to heaven. God’s reaction was that this was a most unusual request, but since this man had been exceptionally faithful, permission was granted to bring along just one suitcase. The time arrived, the man presented himself at the pearly gates, suitcase in hand- BOTH hands, actually, since he had stuffed it with as many bars of gold bullion as would fit. St. Peter said, “Sorry, you know the rules-you can’t take it with you.” But the man protested, “God said I could … one suitcase.” St. Peter checked, found out that this one would be an exception, prepared to let the man enter, then said, “OK, but I will have to examine the contents before you pass.” He took the suitcase, opened it, saw the gold bars and asked quizzically, “You brought PAVEMENT?” [Note: This story is from the sermon “Heaven” by Dr. David Leininger, March 30, 1997]

When John writes about a street paved with gold, I do not doubt his words. He simply reports what he saw in his vision. Thus his words are literally true. They are also meant to tell us that the things we value so highly in this life will be used to pave the roads in heaven.

Who is in heaven right now?

This question is not difficult to answer. God is in heaven because heaven is his dwelling place. The Lord Jesus has been in heaven ever since he ascended from the earth shortly after his resurrection (Acts 1:9-11). The Bible tells us that angels are in heaven. In fact there are myriads of angels-uncountable numbers of heavenly beings-all of them serving the Lord in various ways.

And the saints of God who died on this earth are in heaven. [Note: I mean by this that heaven includes the Old Testament Saints who by faith trusted in God’s Word and looked forward to God’s redemption at Calvary (which they did not fully understand). It also includes every true believer from every continent and every denomination. Everyone who has genuinely trusted in Christ as Lord and Savior will be there. I also think that children who died before the “age of accountability go to heaven and I would also include those born with such mental limitaitons that they cannot understand the gospel.] The Bible teaches that the moment we die we go directly into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul spoke of this in 2 Corinthians 5:7-8 and Philippians 1:21-23.

But I do not want to be ambiguous on this point. Not everyone is in heaven now. Some people won’t make it. The Bible speaks of the saved and the lost. The saved are those who trust Jesus Christ as their eternal Savior. The lost are those who do not trust Christ as Savior. This is the great dividing line of humanity-you are either saved or you are lost. And there is no middle category. You will either spend eternity in heaven or eternity in hell.

I simply want you to know what God has said about heaven and who will go there. The saved of all the ages will be there – and that vast throng will no doubt include many people who would surprise us if we knew it now. Certainly heaven will be more wonderful than our imagination and it’s population more diverse than we expect.

But I am sure of this one truth. No one will go to heaven except by the grace of God and through the merits of the blood of Jesus Christ. If a man says “No” to Jesus, he has no hope of heaven.

Will we know each other in heaven?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about heaven. I would like to share an answer given by a Bible teacher of another generation – a man named William Pettingill. [Note: see the book 1001 Bible Questions Answered, William Pettingill and R.A. Torrey, Inspirational Press, 1997, p. 157. This is a reprint in one volume of two books first published many years ago. I highly recommend it as a handy reference tool for Bible students and SundaySchool teachers.] He said, “We may be sure that we shall not know less in heaven than we know here.” In proof he quotes 1 Corinthians 13:12, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” How does God know us? Answer: He knows us completely, intimately, thoroughly, inside and out, with nothing hidden but everything seen as it really is (Psalms 139:1-4; Hebrews 4:12). When we get to heaven we’ll know each other as God knows us because all the imperfections of this life will be removed. In this life sin causes us to cover ourselves-not just physically but emotionally and spiritually. But when sin is finally lifted from us, then we can be ourselves with no shame, no pain, no embarrassment, and no covering up. Dr. Pettingill concludes that in heaven we will know every person in heaven and all of them will be friends and loved ones to us.

In his very helpful book on heaven, W.A. Criswell makes the additional point that individual personality survives into eternity. I’ll be the same person then that I am now-only with all the imperfections and limitations of sin finally removed. This is a wonderful thought-that the essence of who we are will remain throughout eternity-yet vastly improved by God’s grace. [Note: W.A. Criswell and Paige Patterson, Heaven, Tyndale House Publishers, 1991, pp. 33-38. He also says that in heaven we can eat all we want and not get fat. I certainly hope he’s right about that.]

That helps me think about a related question that people sometimes ask: How old will we be in heaven? I once heard a preacher say that we will all be 33 years old because that’s approximately how old Jesus was when he died. Of course there is no scriptural support for that statement. The truth is, there won’t be any age in heaven in the sense we speak of age on the earth. Growing old is a function of the decaying effects of sin. I do not believe that babies who die in infancy will be babies for eternity nor do I believe that people who waste away of cancer will appear emaciated in heaven. It will be something else entirely – which I can barely explain and certainly do not understand.

In heaven we will know each other intimately. That’s why Peter, James and John recognized Moses and Elijah, even though they had been dead for hundreds of years, on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9). I don’t think they had nametags on. I think there was something about those two men that made Peter, James and John recognize them even though they had never seen them before.

That’s why a wife whose husband died when she was young will be able to pick her husband out of a crowd of billions of people, even though she hasn’t seen him for 50 years since he died on the earth. In heaven she will say, “Sweetheart! I knew it was you.” And he will know her.

How this can be I do not know, but I believe it to be true. In heaven there will be no strangers.

What will we do in heaven?

Again, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything we would like to know, but of this we can be sure: Heaven won’t be boring and it will be more fun than the best party you ever attended.

So what will we do for all eternity? The answer is, we’re going to help God run the universe. Do you remember the story Jesus told about the man of noble birth who gave his servants money to invest? One servant had doubled his money so the man said, “You will rule over ten cities.” The next servant had seen a 50% increase so his master said, “Rule over five cities.” And the man who hid his money had even that amount taken from him in punishment (Luke 19:11-27). The story is a picture of what heaven will be like. We will use our gifts to administer the new heaven and the new earth. Bakers will bake, teachers will teach, singers will sing, and I suppose that preachers will preach. For all I know, soldiers may march off to battle and quarterbacks will throw passes. Think of the flowers the botanists will study. Gifted astronomers will go from galaxy to galaxy studying the wonders of God’s creation.

I can guarantee you this: No one will be sitting around on a cloud eating grapes and polishing his halo. No, we’ll all be too busy for that.

Here are five things that will occupy us in heaven. We will …

  1. Worship without distraction.
  2. Serve without exhaustion.
  3. Fellowship without fear.
  4. Learn without fatigue.
  5. Rest without boredom.

[Note: this is not original with me. I found this list in a sermon by David Burns, Minister at the Homer Church of Christ, called “Heaven is a Wonderful Place,” Feburary 25, 1996.]

The best part of heaven will be seeing Jesus himself face to face. We will worship the Son of God and celebrate his great victory over sin while the endless ages of eternity roll on and on. The best music you’ve ever heard will pale compared to the music of heaven. The most awesome worship you’ve experienced on earth is but a dim reflection of the praise we will render around the throne of God.

How can I be sure I am going to heaven?

This is the most important question of all. Here is a wonderful truth: God has made it easy for you to go to heaven. He did the hard part when he sent his Son to die on the Cross for you. He paid the price for your sins so that you could one day stand before God in heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He also said, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved” (John 10:9, NASB). Jesus is not only the way to heaven, he is also the door to heaven. If you want to go to heaven, you’ve got to go through the door marked “Jesus Christ.” There is no other entrance.

Suppose you were to die and found yourself standing at the door of heaven. If God were to say, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’ what answer would you give?

salvation is from the lord

Picture the scene. You are standing at the very gates of heaven. It’s more beautiful than you ever dreamed possible. This is where you want to spend eternity. This is where you belong. But before you enter, the Lord himself asks what possible reason you have to claim admission. You pause, knowing that all eternity hangs on your answer. What will you say?

Let me make this very personal. If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain that you would go to heaven? I’ve already said that this is too important to say “I think so” or “I hope so.” If you’re wrong, you’re going to be wrong for a long, long time.

What we need is solid ground on which to stand. And we have it in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our entire hope of heaven is wrapped up in what Jesus did when he died on the cross for the sins of the world and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday morning.

One of our most beloved hymns puts it this way:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

That says it all. If you want to go to heaven, you must base your hope on the solid rock of Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Are you standing on the Rock this morning? Are you wholly leaning on Jesus’ name?

No one goes to heaven by accident. Heaven is God’s prepared place for prepared people. We prepare for heaven and then God prepares heaven for us. I’ve already told you that most people believe in heaven and most people think they are going there. But are they on the right road? Are they building their lives on Jesus Christ-the solid rock? Too many, I fear, are standing on sinking sand and do not know it.

What is your hope for heaven? Mine is Jesus Christ. I’ve staked everything I have on him. If he can’t take me to heaven, then I’m not going there. What about you? When the dark night falls, the lights go out, and the waters of death swirl around you, what will happen to you then? If you know Jesus, you have nothing to fear. Put your trust in Jesus. Run to the Cross. Stand with your full weight on the Solid Rock of our salvation. May God help you to trust in Jesus Christ and him alone for your salvation. And may God grant that we will all meet one day in heaven.

Safe at home. In heaven at last. I’ll be there. What about you?

This article is part of our larger resource library of terms important to the Christian faith. From heaven and hell to baptism and communion, we want to provide easy to read and understand articles that answer your questions about theological words and their meaning.

Heaven – What is it Like, Where is it?
Hell – 10 Things You Should Know
Baptism – What Does it Mean and Why is it Important?
Communion – 10 Important Things to Remember
The Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit Explained
Predestination – Biblical Support and Facts
Armor of God – What is it and How to Us