Jul 27

Stay Sunny When Other Turn Their Backs

Black-eyed Susan’s lined both sides of the gravel road. It almost looked like God has poured out golden sidewalks. It was mid-morning and I was driving  west so all these sunny faces were looking in my direction. But there was a noteworthy exception. One stalk had three blooms but only one was looking in my direction toward sun. The other two had turned their backs. Only the one decided to stay sunny.

That one sunny flower made a great impression on me. I could not get the image out of my mind. About a mile later later I turned around and took its picture. People who stay sunny when others turn their backs stand out on the crowded highway of life.

1 flower chose to stay sunny two turned their backsThis flower’s example made me ask. “Do I stay sunny when other turn their backs on me?” The Apostle Paul did when he was on trial. See 2 Timothy 4:16.

Never let anyone dull your sparkle.

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/stay-sunny/

Jul 25

Small Group Discipleship Bible Study

Not long ago I got good tips on small group discipleship from the book Miraculous Movements by Trousdale. I love their suggestions on doing small group (house church)  discipleship as a Bible study. Below is a simplified version of their suggestions that get to the core of the method.

When you go through a passage (the best thing) or a topic (second best) ask three questions.

  1. What is God saying to us right now in light of what we have just seen in God’s Book?
  2. What are we going to do about it? (You may need to ask “How?” to get to a practical (executable) application.)
  3. With whom do we need to share these things?

If these questions do not seem to fit, then change how you are sharing this scripture. You may be just transferring technical facts. We need to approach God’s Book with a “life change,” or “character change” perspective.

When you meet next time start by asking

  1. What did we see in God’s Book last time?
  2. How did it go with doing the things we said we would do based on what we saw in God book? (answers to questions 2 and 3 asked last week)
  3. Now let us learn new lessons from God’s Book.

Easy method. Profound results in people’s’ lives.  (The method is close to the one given in the Miraculous Movements book. The book calls it Discover Bible Study.) What do you think?

 

Small group discipleship network

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/small-group-discipleship-bible-study/

Jul 24

Too soon I too will die

Too soon I too will die

That fact ought to influence how I live. The details of how I live.. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says  it is good to go a house of mourning so that I take to heart the fact that too soon I too will die,

So why am I collecting books, clothing, money, furniture, fame etc. when all too soon I too will die. Life is all about how I mirror Jesus’ love to others. What have I done in the past 24 hours that directly reflects the love of Jesus to others? What can I do in the next 24 hours to directly show Jesus’ love to others? Notice the word “directly”. This mean what I do must be one on one with the other person. Giving money to a charity is not directly sharing the love of Jesus.

I know that sounds like a real drag, a real kill joy. However I have found in these past 70 years that more I focus on loving others the greater my own freedom and joy. Loving others is the fastest path to personal peace and happiness.

Try it for a month and see what happens.

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/too-soon-i-too-will-die/

Sep 22

Bible Study Folders for Computers

Are you looking for a way to organize your Bible study folders on your computer?

[I do not normally post this sort of computer geek stuff but some have found this tip helpful. I am working on a post about transforming Bible study in to real life Biblical action for today.]

Our computers sort in alphabetical order which is not the order the books occur in our English Bible. Many or most of us would like them to show up in directory lists in order they occur in our current English Bibles. . Here is a naming system you can use to keep your documents or folders in order.

Sequence Numbers for Bible Study Folders or Files

The link below will give you a Word document. It suggests a two digit prefix for each book of the Bible. I suggest putting a space between the prefix number and the book name. There are also prefix number for some standard groupings of Bible books. Modify these suggested prefix numbers to build your own system.

Notice that you can add entries for other groups of books. At least on my computer it is best to leave a space between the prefix numbers that define the range of books. For some a hyphen will work.

DO NOT skip the zeros on the first ten entries! If you do they will sort where you do not want them to.

Bible Book Sequence Numbers
Bible Book Sequence Numbers
Sequence Numbers for Books of the Bible.docx
Version: 2012-11-17
21.2 KB
436 Downloads
Details...

Bible Study Folders

Here is a set of empty (well almost empty)  sub-folders that you can use. Copy to your own Bible study folder.

The comments above apply to these folders as well.

Bible Book Folders
Bible Book Folders
Empty Bible Book Folders.zip
60.0 KB
84 Downloads
Details...

It also has some instructions and suggestions.

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/bible-study-folders-for-computers/

Nov 29

1 Samuel 30 – The Wicked and Worthless Appeal to as Brothers

From 1 Samuel 30 we learn that we should appeal to the wicked and worthless as brothers.

Background of 1 Samuel 30:22-23

David and his 600 men returned from the Philistines. Their city is burned. Their wives and children are captives. All their goods are spoil in the enemy’s hand. 200 of David’s men are tired and stay to protect the baggage. The 400 others go and bring everything back and more. Some of those 400 were wicked and worthless. They did not want to share the spoil with those who stayed to protect the baggage.

Application from 1 Samuel 30:22-23

When David appeals to these wicked and worthless he calls them “brothers”. And so should we.

The wicked and worthless
Appeal to as brothers

Think about it. Calling someone wicked, worthless, lazy, good for nothing, stupid, whacked, or some other negative thing is not good. It will not encourage them to improve. It may harden them. Speaking to them in a friendly way will encourage them to improve and do what is right.

Supporting Passages

These passages talk about dealing with an enemy. Are not the wicked and worthless in our groups really an enemy? If we are to treat outside enemies this way can we not call those in our own groups “brothers”?

  • 2 Kings 6:20-23 Elisha on how to deal with an enemy
  • Proverbs 25:21-22 Direct command to care for an enemy
  • Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount
  • Luke 6:27-38 Sermon on the Mount in Luke
  • Romans 12:17-21 Part of Paul’s application statement for the book of Romans

Years ago I assisted in a popular public speaking course. One of the textbooks had a helpful slogan. “Give a dog a bad name and you might as well hang him. But give him a good name and he will strive to live up to it.”

The NET Bible translation of 1 Samuel 30:21-23 is easy to read.

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/1-samuel-30-wicked-worthless-brothers/

Nov 22

Psalm 102 – Affliction and Restoration

Psalm 102 has three parts. In the first part the psalmist cries to the LORD in distress. In the second part he speaks of the LORD’s deliverance from distress. The third part speaks of the LORD’s actions as a testimony to others.

The LORD allows affliction – Psalm 102:1-11, 23-26

We do not want to hear this.  We do want to hear of His loving restoration and care.  However there are examples in the Bible of God allowing innocent people to be afflicted.  Here are just a few. I am sure you can think of more. When you do why not post them as a comment?  Hebrews 11:17 ff would be a good place to find other examples.

  1. God says Job is the most righteous man on earth. (Job 1:8; 2:3) Yet He allows Satan to afflict him. (Job 1:12; 2:7)
  2. Joseph does nothing wrong. He protects his purity.  Yet he is jailed for years.  His Egyptian master did it. (Genesis 39:6-20)
  3. Jesus the sinless Son of God and the promised Messiah is afflicted. The Jewish leaders and the Roman government did it. (Isaiah 53:1-10)

In each of these cases it is a godless person or group that afflicts.  Yet God allows it to happen. In these cases affliction is not a result of sin. Sin may also cause affliction, but not in these examples.

The LORD restores the afflicted – Psalm 102:12-17, 27-28

Those whom the LORD allows to be afflicted He restores.

  1. Job gains greater understanding of God (Job 42:1-6).  He also is granted twice as much as the affliction removed. (Job 42:10)
  2. Joseph the become ruler of Egypt. (Genesis 41:38-44)
  3. Jesus is exalted above all beings in heaven and earth.  He is to be worshiped by all. (Philippians 2:9-11)

How we should respond

  1. We may be the ones to carry out the LORD’s deliverance of others. (Psalm 102:18-22) God may have chosen us to serve Him in this way.
  2. We should not assume that all affliction is the result of sin. Job’s “friends” did this. God demanded they repent. (Job 42:7-9)
  3. We should see affliction as possibly a blessing. Maybe God deals with us as sons. (Hebrews 12:5-6; Proverbs 3:11-12)

Summary:

The LORD allows affliction
The LORD restores the afflicted


There are some other notes on Psalm 102 at Bible.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/psalm-102-affliction-restoration/

Nov 17

Luke 7 – Self-righteousness, Forgiveness and Love

Luke 7:40-48 records Jesus’ use of situation to teach. He is at dinner with pharisee who failed to show him common courtesies. These include washing to dust off Jesus’ feet, giving a greeting kiss, and giving him oil to brighten his hair and face. These failures show he has no love for Jesus. By way of contrast, a woman of bad reputation has more than made up for these. (Be sure to read the entire passage by clicking on one of the links. That will display the passage in Biblia.com.)

A lesson from Luke 7:40-48

The self-righteous
Show no love

The pharisees were known for being self-righteous. This pharisee’s failure to show common respect means he has no love for Jesus This lack of love shows his self-righteousness.Plant this truth deep in your heart. When you sense a lack of love check to see if you are being self-righteous. Sometimes saying no to a request is the best way to show love. You do not want to enable others bad habits. Being an enabler would not be loving.

Another lesson from Luke 7:40-48

The forgiven love
The one who forgave

The woman’s sins were forgive in the past. (Jesus used the perfect tense in verse 28 to show that.) Her acts of love toward Jesus reflect that forgiveness. When I am forgiven how do I respond? If I do not think I need forgiveness am I just being self-righteous?

God is the one who ultimately forgives sins. How can I express my love to Him? Maybe the best way is to show love to others people. Especially others who have also repented to God. Doing this is to fulfill the new covenant as expressed in John 13:34.

We can combine these lessons

The self-righteous show no love
The forgiven love the forgiver

Today let us not be like the pharisee in Luke 7. Let us be like the woman by showing love. Let us show love to God by loving other believers. Those who have been forgiven.

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/luke-7-self-righteousness-forgiveness-and-love/

Nov 13

Psalm 101 – I Will Focus On Nothing Worthless

I am so taken by David’s ethical standards in Psalm 101 that I want to focus on another in Psalm 101:3

We can read the first line of that verse as

I will focus
On nothing worthless

On what do I focus? What occupies my mind? To what do I pay attention? With what do I become involved? That focus or involvement may be physical, or visual, or even mental.

How many of these things are “worthless”? Are they morally objectionable, wicked or sinful? Maybe they are not directly wrong, but if they do not advance what is good then maybe they are worthless.

As you ponder this truth the Holy Spirit will bring to mind some worthless things you need to remove from your focus. A way to ponder truths like this is to allow no other thoughts in your mind as you walk from place to place.

Technical Discussion of Psalm 101 3a

A word for word “translation” of the Hebrew might be “Not will I set before my eyes thing worthless.”

Much of what follows comes from the UBS Translators Handbook for Psalm 101

I will focus

The Holy Spirit has David use the Hebrew phrase “I will set before my eyes” three times in the book of Psalms (Psalm 26:3; Psalm 101:3; Psalm 101:7) “I will focus” rewords the Hebrew phrase “I will set my eyes.” It may mean to physically see. But can mean to focus upon, or pay attention to.

On nothing worthless

My moral code must come from Scripture. I may make this code stricter based on the communities in which I live. If I offend my brother-in-Christ by some liberty which scripture allows then I may limit that freedom to keep from offending my brother. 1 Corinthians 8:1-10:33 discuss this in detail.

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/psalm-101-i-focus-on-nothing-worthlessl/

Nov 12

Psalm 101 – The haughty and arrogant / Do not endure

Psalm 101 – Biblical royal ethics

In Psalm 101 David sets the ethical standards for his court. I have taken the one in Psalm 101:5 and worded it as a directive.

The haughty and arrogant
Do not endure

There are at least seven other ethical standards in this Psalm. Which one do you find most striking?

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/psalm-101-the-haughty-and-arrogant-do-not-endure/

Nov 11

Psalm 100 – God made us / We did not make ourselves

For many of us Psalm 100:3 is obvious

God made us
We did not make ourselves

But how often to we think through even a few of the ramifications?

  • Since God made me He owns me.
  • God can do to me what He pleases
  • God can do with me what He pleases
  • What I do affects God’s reputation
  • My purpose in life is to serve God
  • My purpose in life is to glorify God

Can you think of some more? If so why not leave them as a comment?

Permanent link to this article: http://edifymin.org/psa-100-god-made-us-we-did-not-make-ourselves/

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