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Friday, January 19, 2018

I Am Expecting to...

Have you ever noticed how the members of the Democrat and Republican political parties in our country seem to talk about current events from two totally different viewpoints?  I’ve gotten to the point that I can almost tell you what a representative of either party will say when asked a question by a reporter.  I even tend to not shake my head anymore when certain retorts seem to completely miss the point of the question being discussed, or their reply seems totally out of step with any logical solution!

I did have to laugh last week when I saw an interview with former President Obama when he made the comment that the people who watch Fox News “are ‘living on a different planet’ than people who consume mainstream media.” (http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/01/12/obama-rips-fox-news-viewers-are-living-on-different-planet.html)  What made me laugh was the thought that Fox News continues to be the most watched cable news network. 

A national report from 2017 declared that the “FOX News Channel hit a ratings milestone in cable news by marking 15 years as the most-watched news channel, Nielsen data revealed. In January, FOX News Channel garnered an average of 2.8 million viewers, up 35 percent from the previous year.” (www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/01/31/fox-news-channel-marks-ratings-milestone.html)  So my thought was something like… “just who is living on another planet?”

I clearly remember that when some of the false accusations were made against me as I set out to follow what I believed the Lord was instructing me to do (and time has proven this true…) in the initial days of our all-out fight against the attack of Alzheimer’s in my wife, that I could only shake my head in wonderment thinking where in the world did those things come from?  I remember telling someone I trusted that it was like these folks were living in an alternate universe… seeing things from a totally different and false perspective!

With all that in mind, it is important when one sits down to study God’s Word that you see things from the same perspective as the Author of the book!  That is why I mentioned the two prayers from the book of Ephesians in our last post. (“Jump In… Get Wet!” 1/17/18)  In these prayers we preface any study time with a request to God to open up the eyes and ears of our understanding to His point of view.  Unlocking the doors in us to His wisdom, knowledge and understanding!

You see, as a Christian, when you asked Jesus Christ into your life as personal Savior and Lord, your spirit was reborn and the Holy Spirit took up residence in you!*  Then by praying these prayers you are giving the Holy Spirit the go-ahead to lead and instruct you through whatever parts of the Word you are studying that day!  Maybe even more importantly, when you pray these prays you are yielding to Him and in effect, placing your understanding in the same universe or place as His!

Jesus spoke of the soon coming Holy Spirit to His disciples in John 14 and 15 saying: “However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.” (John 14:26 God’s Word © - see also John 15:26)  So the excuse of not understanding the Bible kind of goes up in smoke when you yield yourself to the counsel of “The Helper” whose job it is to “declare the truth about Me (Jesus).” (John 15:26 God’s Word ©)

I remember many years ago in the first area I worked in at Hewlett Packard, having a discussion with another supervisor about the Bible.  His first comment was, “Well, I read the Bible once” and then went into detail of how it didn’t make any sense to him.  I replied with many of the same discussion points I wrote of above and he just kind of shrugged his shoulders and nodded!  We worked together for many years and Piper and I became friends with him and his fiancĂ©.  In fact we drove to her hometown in Sunnyvale, California and shot their wedding pictures for them.  It was quite a fun day for us all!

I’m not sure if my friend and his wife ever became Christians as we lost contact when they moved back to the South Bay area (south of San Francisco) but we had many more discussions around this subject up until they moved!  I believe a seed was planted though!

Like I mentioned in the last post, the more you study the Word the better you get at it and the more in-tune to God’s way of thinking you’ll become… and the hunger for more of the knowledge of His will for you will begin to burn in you!

So what do you think?  Have I stirred up a desire to find God’s will for your life?  It is all in His book… Written within its pages is His will for you!  Ah… Go ahead!  Take the plunge!

For beginners I would suggest that you start within the epistle letters that start following the book of Acts as these letters were specifically written to the church.  I might also encourage you to take a look at the preface to each of the books that most study bibles have (again – download eSword where you can get free Bible downloads, concordances that explain many of the words, phrases, and some historical context to the book you are going to read, biblical time maps and much more!  http://www.e-sword.net/).  The preface will give you some background to the writer of the book, the approximate time of the writing, and some history of the times and places mentioned in the book.

I would also suggest that when you read the scriptures that you read it like it is being spoken to you.  As you get into each book you’ll become more aware of the context of the message being shared.  But most of all… Depend on the Holy Spirit to guide you whenever you sit down to study God’s Word!  After praying the two Ephesians prayers, go into your reading with the idea that your understanding has been opened up and that you will receive whatever God wants to teach you that day!

So… have an enjoyable time in the Word!  It is one of my favorite places to spend time first thing in the morning with smaller doses throughout the day and then it’s the last thing my eyes see before I turn the light out each night!  Have fun, and as you do, keep telling yourselfI am expecting to receive Godly understanding, wisdom and knowledge every time I study my Bible!”

*PS:  Remember, this all begins when you accept Jesus and His Spirit comes to live in you… So if you’ve never asked Jesus to become your personal Savor and Lord, I invite you to pray this prayer aloud… and then rejoice at your new life!

“God, I know that, in my lifetime, I have not always lived for you, and I have sinned in ways I probably don't even know yet are sins. I know that you have plans for me, and I want to live in those plans. I pray to you for forgiveness for the ways in which I have sinned.

I am choosing now to accept you, Jesus, into my heart as Savor and Lord. I am eternally grateful for your sacrifice on the cross and how you died so I can have eternal life. I pray that I will be filled with the Holy Spirit and that I continue to live as you desire for me to live. I put myself--my life and my future--in your hands. I pray that you work in my life and guide my steps so that I continue to live for you for the rest of this life.

In your name, I pray. Amen.”

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