Friday, February 17, 2012

"Out of this world!"

THE BIBLE: It tops the best seller lists every year. Nothing beats it. Even though the bible is illegal in parts of the world, sales are more than 100 million every year.

I came across this break down of the Holy Book, it’s so interesting and very amazing how the Bible came together.

The Bible is not just one book, but a whole collection! There are 66 books split into two sections. 39 in the first largest part, called the OLD TESTAMENT. And the second part, the NEW TESTAMENT has 27.
The OLD TESTAMENT covers a sweep of history, from the creation of the world, to about 400 BC. Its books include poetry and history, prophecy and law. But they all tell the story of God's relationship with his people.
The NEW TESTAMENT covers the amazing life of Jesus, and what followed on. There are four accounts
of Jesus' life, called the 'Gospels', written by those who knew Him. Then, in the book called 'Acts' there is the story of how His followers carried His message around the world. Letters to Christian groups follow, many of them written from prison. Finally, some amazing, often frightening, predictions about the end of the world. And the start of something better.
The Bible is unique. Why?
It was written over a period of 1600 years.
Written by more than 40 authors of every sort - kings, poor people, fishermen, poets, government officials, teachers, prophets.
Written in three languages.
Written on three continents - Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Is there any other book in daily use by millions of people, around the world, parts of which were written over 3000 years ago, yet which still speaks to us today? There are other writings as old as this, but they are all in museums, and have no relevance to the world today!There are about 6,800 distinct languages in the world, the Bible has been translated (at least in part) into around 3000 of those languages?

Reading the bible is challenging for me, I find it complicated to understand. I presume that is why it’s called bible study. Pastor Paul’s emails are a big help to me. Some of them are complicated as well but one thing I’ve learned is each time I read a passage it can speak to me differently from the time before. This depends on many things. What I’m going through at that moment, that day, that week and if I’m thinking of a certain person(s) or a certain situation and so on. This book was definitely not intended to be read once.

Following our prayer for this week is one of Pastor Paul’s emails. I found some clarity receiving it. I find it amazing how over six different authors at different points of time are all sharing the same meaning. I thank God for this because it takes all of them for me to find understanding in that one message.

Prayer for the week: Lord every one of us is looking for hope. Hope that there is reason for this life and reason to continue to do our best with what this life hands us. We pray that though our daily lives distract us and take up most of our attention that we are making our lives count for eternity. To know we can and should come to you for everything. To understand the deepest love of the entire world is not of this world but from He who created it. We fall to our knees in thanksgiving for your mercy on us and that grace is with us all. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen


A Few Minutes in the Word of God with Pastor Paul:
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV) 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
All of us look for what is real.
- We want real evidence for real truth in the real world.
- We want what is dependable and sure.
Real faith is not just something we feel.
- “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, `Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15‑16).
- The Apostle John speaks of this too... “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (I John 3:17).
- Emotions are not equal to faith.
... Real faith is practical and acts.
... Real faith is generous.
(*) Real faith is not just something we think.
Real faith is not just something we believe.
- “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder!” (James 2:19).
- To “shudder” is to bristle or have our hair stand on end.
- The old question holds true today: “Would there be enough evidence to arrest us for being a Christian?” – As a child, I used to sing “If you’re saved and you know it then your life will surely show it!”
Real faith is something we do.
- Real faith is not developed by what we do... Real faith is demonstrated by what we do.
- The Apostle Paul writes: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves!” (II Corinthians 13:5).
- The Bible says that God is in control of the seasons of our lives ‑ we’re not.
... If we will accept that, life will be better understood and easier to adapt.
... If we chose to reject that, life can and does get bitter with a history of questions and un-fulfillment.
- Many folk fall prey to the notion that life is just too much and struggle to find hope. – The writer of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon of old, and one of the wisest men anyone will meet observed: “What does the worker gain from his toil, I have seen the burden God has laid on men” (Ecclesiastes 3:9).
(*) Secondly, we should live trusting God with the outcome (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
- God can make every season of life beautiful and fulfilling, in its own time. – He handles everything with the end in mind.
... “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
... “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
... “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
... “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11b).
- Give serious thought to this statement: “Eternal desires can only be satisfied by Eternal God.”
- A spiritually minded person will conclude that life here on earth is not about getting ahead but getting prepared for eternity.
(*) So then, we choose to live abundantly within God’s boundaries.
- “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil ‑ this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13).
... “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
... “Let your light shine before Me, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
... “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).
- When Jesus is at the center of our lives, He changes the way we think and act.
- In taking this position in our earthly life, we don’t waste our time living outside the boundaries that God has set for us to live successfully here, even if it is finding success over a God-mandated trial.
- If we find ourselves living a mundane, boring and dull life, or a very frustrating, agitated and always on edge kind of life, then something or someone else is at the center of our life-style because, as God’s Word says, Jesus came that we may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
(*) Then fourthly, we are found living with the future in mind” (Ecclesiastes 3:15).
- “... God will call the past to account (Ecclesiastes 3:15).
- “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).
- “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation…” (II Corinthians 6:2).
Our Final Thoughts:
(*) In all reality, we have 60, 70, 80, or perhaps 90 years here on earth and then we move into oblivion or eternity.
- The Bible indicates we are not given this eternal life by faith and our works, but we are given eternal life by a faith that works.
- May we make our lives count for eternity!
(*) The best use of our time is to deepen our devotion to Jesus the Christ, and to point others
to His free gift to all who desire to receive it. – The reward is “out of this world!”

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