Category Archives: Bible

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The Unchangeable Nature of God

By Peter Amsterdam

free-bible-studies-online-anchorThe immutability of God—or His unchangeableness or constancy—is part of His divine nature. It means that God doesn’t change in His being, His perfections, His purposes, and promises. He doesn’t change in His nature or character.

The universe and all that is in it changes. There is transition, movement from one state to the next. People, for example, age; and as they do, they change. They grow or diminish in size, as well as intellectually and emotionally. Someone can also change morally, going from being a bad person to being a good one, or vice versa. Someone can study and practice a skill, and in the course of doing so, learn and eventually become proficient in what they have studied. These are all examples of change, which is part of life within creation.

However, God transcends creation. He doesn’t change. If He did, He would become either better or worse. He’d either grow in His intelligence and knowledge or diminish in it. He’d become more loving or less loving, more holy or less holy. But as God, He is infinite in all of these things. He therefore doesn’t improve or deteriorate in them. If He did, He wouldn’t be God.

All of creation is “becoming”—it’s becoming something different than what it presently is. God, in contrast to this, is “being.” He is. Always. He doesn’t change. (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17)

God’s character, His attributes or perfections, don’t change. He is always good, loving, just, righteous, holy, all-knowing, all-powerful, etc. There is never any varying in these things. He is constant.

If God’s character varied, then we couldn’t be certain that the God we know to be good and loving would remain that way. If God was subject to change, then at some point He could start thinking that sin isn’t so bad after all; He could eventually degenerate to the point where He would begin to do evil things Himself, and even eventually become an all-powerful evil being. But His character and attributes do not and cannot change. They are constant; there is no variation.

God doesn’t change in His purpose, His will, and His plan. Once He has decided that He will bring something about, He does it. His plan of salvation is something that He determined before the foundations of the world, and He carried out His plan as promised. Prophecies, predictions, and judgments throughout the Old Testament were fulfilled. His purposes of saving people through Jesus, of Jesus’ return, of eternal life for believers, of judgment, of heaven, don’t change; they remain firm. (Ephesians 1:11 ESV)

God doesn’t change in regard to His Word and His promises. If He stopped honoring His promises, if He acted contrary to His Word, then He couldn’t be trusted. The promise of salvation, of eternal life, and His willingness to answer prayer, would all be in question. If God could change, then these bedrock foundations of our faith could change. But His promises and Word remain forever. “Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89 NIV)

 
Does God change His mind?

When God’s unchangeableness is presented, the question often arises about the times God seems to have changed His mind, such as when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to announce that in forty days the city would be destroyed. (See Jonah 3:3–10) Another example was when He gave the ailing king Hezekiah fifteen more years of life, after having told him he was going to die. (Isaiah 38:1–5)

When considering these examples where it looks as if God changed His mind, we must remember that God is a personal being who interacts with humanity. Within this interaction, God responds to man’s choices and decisions. When someone is doing evil, God is displeased with that person’s actions, but if the person repents and changes, then God’s relationship with that person changes. His overall love for the person never changes, but there is a response from God depending on the choices made by the person or people. In the case of Nineveh, because they were wicked, God’s response was that He rightly was going to destroy them. He told Jonah to tell them so. When Jonah did, the people repented, and God’s response to their repentance was mercy.

With Hezekiah, God declared he was going to die, yet when Hezekiah prayed and wept, God responded to his prayer and healed him.

In these cases, God was responding in mercy and love to changes made and prayers prayed by the people involved. In neither example did God change His character or nature, nor His overall purpose and plan. God didn’t change, but the people changed, and God responded in accordance with His divine nature.

Author and theologian Wayne Grudem explains it this way:

These instances should all be understood as true expressions of God’s present attitude or intention with respect to the situation as it exists at that moment. If the situation changes, then of course God’s attitude or expression of intention will also change. This is just saying that God responds differently to different situations. The example of Jonah preaching to Nineveh is helpful here. God sees the wickedness of Nineveh and sends Jonah to proclaim, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” The possibility that God would withhold judgment if the people repented is not explicitly mentioned in Jonah’s proclamation as recorded in Scripture, but it is of course implicit in that warning: the purpose for proclaiming a warning is to bring about repentance. Once the people repented, the situation was different, and God responded differently to that changed situation. (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 165)

Another factor to keep in mind regarding the scenarios above is that the Bible uses anthropomorphic descriptions of God, such as the mention of God having “relented” in the story of Jonah. These are best understood as descriptive language within human comprehension.

On this matter of anthropomorphic language, William Lane Craig says:

It’s vital that we understand the literary genre, or type, of most of these biblical stories. The Bible is in the form of narratives—they’re stories about God told from the human point of view. So a good storyteller will tell his story with all of the vivacity and color that he wants, to enhance his narratives. And so you’ll find stories in the Bible about God told from a human perspective, where God not only lacks knowledge of the future, but even lacks knowledge of what is going on presently. God comes down to Abraham and says, “I’ve heard the outcry in Sodom and Gomorrah. I’m going to go see if what I’ve heard is really happening there.” (Genesis 18:20–33) Well, that would deny not only God’s foreknowledge but His knowledge of the present. And there are other passages where God is spoken of in other anthropomorphic terms as having nostrils and eyes, arms and other sorts of bodily parts, wings, and if you take all these literally, God would be a fire-breathing monster. These are anthropomorphisms. They are literary devices that are part of the storyteller’s art and shouldn’t be read like a philosophy of religion or systematic theology textbook. (Video transcript excerpts from interview “Can God Change?” PBS “Closer to Truth” show)

In each of these situations, God didn’t change in His nature, character, purpose, or promises. In fact, He was constant in all of these by being just, loving, righteous, and personal, and acting within His overall purpose.

God’s immutability—His constancy and unchangeableness—is central to our faith in Him. If He was inconsistent, if His nature or character was regularly changing, if He improved or deteriorated, then we couldn’t trust Him. We couldn’t trust His Word or His promises.

But God doesn’t change in His Being, nature, character, purposes, promises or plan. He can be counted on, for He is faithful and true. He is the rock that we can build on, the one we can trust in this ever-changing world, because He is the unchangeable God.

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

The Secret to Child-Training: Love!

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It’s true, almost everyone loves their own children. After all, the Lord made them so precious, so sweet and beautiful! Even the hardest of hearts are touched by a child’s loving little hugs, kisses and warm smiles, which certainly brighten our lives and cause us to respond to them with love and affection also. But besides this natural affection that parents feel for their children, there is an even GREATER and more precious and lasting Love that we as Christians can give our children. A SUPERNATURAL Love that will help them to be truly happy, fulfilled and well-behaved: GOD’S LOVE in JESUS!

To explain more about how we give God’s Love to our children, we’d like to now share some practical, tried-and-proven ways of “training up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6), that have been a great help to us in raising our little ones. We hope that you will find these tips a help and blessing to you and YOUR children also!

 
FIRST AND FOREMOST: EVERY CHILD NEEDS TO RECEIVE JESUS, and the sooner the better! Receiving Jesus is so simple that even a TWO-YEAR-OLD can do it! It’s our RESPONSIBILITY as Christian parents to see to it that our children, WHATEVER age they are, come to know and receive the Lord and His wonderful Gift of Eternal Salvation!

You can constantly point a child towards the Lord, even from the time he’s born, just by your example and your love, even before he learns to talk, by talking to him about Jesus. As any parent will attest, you can hardly find anybody more sincere than a small child. We have found that two years old is an ideal age to actually lead your child to receive Christ, because that’s usually when he’s learned to talk and he understands the words you’re saying and he will be happy to follow you in a simple prayer.

If you have faithfully shown and taught your child WHO Jesus is (Children’s Picture Bibles are a great help for this), when you simply explain to your two-year old, “If you pray this little prayer now with Mommy (or Daddy), Jesus will come into your heart and save you,” your child will believe YOU, and he’ll believe in JESUS. If he’ll simply pray after you: “Dear Jesus, please forgive me for being bad. I believe You died for me to take my spanking for me. Please come into my heart and help me to be good and to love You!”, and Jesus WILL come in!

“VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, WHOSOEVER SHALL NOT RECEIVE THE KINGDOM OF GOD AS A LITTLE CHILD, HE SHALL NOT ENTER THEREIN.” (MARK 10:15)

As long as any child or person, no matter WHAT age they are, simply believes and prays for Jesus to forgive him and come into his heart, Jesus surely WILL come in, just as surely as He has promised, “Ask and ye shall receive!” (Matthew 7:7). So lead your child to Jesus so he can be eternally saved, simply for the asking! There’s no greater gift of Love you could ever give your child than Eternal Life and Love in Jesus!

 
NEXT MOST IMPORTANT: FEED YOUR CHILD THE WORD OF GOD. What could be more valuable and vital and faith-building than feeding your children GOD’S OWN WORDS, giving them God’s answers to all of their questions and problems? “FAITH comes by hearing the Word of God!” (Romans 10:17). You can pass a knowledge of the Bible on to them by daily using Bible story books, Bible pictures and flannelgraphs, posters, readers, Bible-based songs and Scripture etc., and your children will soon be “ROOTED and BUILT UP in the Lord, ESTABLISHED in the FAITH!” (Colossians 2:6-8).

If you are faithful to give them the TRUTH, they won’t be fooled or deceived by this World’s false teachings or poisoned by the lies, violence and spiritual garbage found in so many books and on most TV programs! There will be no need for your child to wander around aimlessly searching for answers, Truth and satisfaction in life if you’ve directed him to GOD’S ANSWERS through His Own Word, the Bible!

We have found that just as we ADULTS need to read and feed on GOD’S WORD in order to GROW spiritually, so our children also must be fed the wonderful Word of God if they are to make spiritual progress. The WORD OF GOD is the MOST POWERFUL TRUTH on Earth and in God’s Word they can find the answer to EVERY question, EVERY problem that they will EVER have in life! If they know the Scriptures, they will have the answers for EVERYTHING!

“FROM A CHILD THOU HAST KNOWN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, WHICH ARE ABLE TO MAKE THEE WISE UNTO SALVATION THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS.” (2TIMOTHY 3:15)

The BIBLE gives us God’s principles and standard to live by, and having learned the Scriptures while very young, your children will grow up with solid Christian convictions, knowing what GOD has said and promised in HIS WORD! This is the key to true happiness for everyone, children and adults alike: To know JESUS, and to know what GOD says right there in HIS WORD! Be faithful to give these to your child, and you’re BOUND to get good results!

 
INSPIRE YOUR CHILD TO DO GOOD BY GIVING HIM A PURPOSE IN LIFE! If you’ve led your child to JESUS and you make it a point to faithfully teach him GOD’S WORD, he will learn and understand that Jesus is his very BEST and closest Friend Who is with him ALL the time. As he learns how much JESUS loves HIM, and how much Jesus has DONE for him by dying for him, so he can have a wonderful life in HEAVEN, your child will soon learn to want to please the Lord and do what HE can for JESUS.

This is one of the greatest rewards Christian parents can receive: To see their child begin to do things for JESUS, to actually SERVE the LORD! If your child is taught that this is what he is here FOR, to love and please the Lord, then from a very early age he can start living a genuine Christian life by learning to be loving, kind and considerate to OTHERS, praying for his family, friends and playmates etc., as well as coming to the Lord in PRAYER when he personally needs help.

“I HAVE NO GREATER JOY THAN TO HEAR THAT MY CHILDREN WALK IN TRUTH.” (3JOHN 4)

If your child learns to really LOVE THE LORD, knows the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD and has a genuine desire to please and serve Him, he will have the personal CONVICTION to withstand the many temptations he will encounter in school and from Worldly children who don’t know the Lord. So it certainly PAYS to do your best to teach your child to “LOVE THE LORD with all thy heart, and to LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

 
FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, STRIVE TO PROMOTE AN ATMOSPHERE OF HONEST, OPEN COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CHILDREN. Encourage each child to feel free to honestly share what is on his heart with you. Of course, it’s very important to avoid reacting in a critical, condemning or condescending way to a child who is pouring out his heart, confessing a mistake or sharing a fear etc. If your child meets such a negative reaction from you, he will probably have second thoughts before sharing his heart with you next time.

We have found that “SPECIAL TIMES” of open-hearted discussions, combined with lots of loving embraces, greatly assures young children of our love and genuine concern, as we strive to intently listen to and understand them! Your child will never forget such special times spent with you. In most cases, these are the moments that WE treasured most when we were children: When our parents invested their love in the form of PERSONAL TIME and attention with us, just TALKING about things together.

“TO DO GOOD AND TO COMMUNICATE, FORGET NOT: FOR WITH SUCH SACRIFICES GOD IS WELL PLEASED.” (HEBREWS 13:16)

Of course, before we can expect our children to be honest with us, WE must be HONEST with THEM. It greatly encourages children to know that their parents are not exactly perfect. (Besides, you can be sure they’ve noticed!) By your own honest admission of YOUR mistakes and weaknesses, you are setting a good example for them of what HONESTY and HUMILITY are all about, and your children will love you the more for it!

As in any kind of honest communication, it can’t be emphasised enough how important it is to be a GOOD LISTENER to the one who is talking. A good, listening parent is not busy reading the newspaper or making a cup of tea while his or her child is pouring out his heart about the loss of a best friend, or communicating his innermost worries and fears. As parents, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is our sincere INTEREST in them and their problems, as manifested by our UNDIVIDED ATTENTION and uninterrupted LISTENING whenever possible.

By the act of simply LISTENING, you are telling your child: “I want to understand and help you. I think you are WORTH listening to, and I want you to know that I have FAITH in you. You can always TALK to me because I LOVE you.”

ASK QUESTIONS. (Kids shouldn’t be the only inquisitive party!) When genuinely communicating with children–or with anyone for that matter–asking questions helps to draw them out and shows your concern and interest in them. Get THEM to talk.

And when they are asking YOU the questions, be careful not to philosophise or pretend to be something you’re not. Just stay SIMPLE! And don’t offer any advice that you wouldn’t want to practically apply yourself.

LEARN TO PRESENT YOUR ADVICE OR ANSWERS IN WAYS THAT ARE EASY FOR THEM TO ACCEPT. MAKE IT “EASY FOR THEM TO BE GOOD” by allowing them to think that it’s at least partly THEIR idea too. For example, “I liked your comment on needing to change things a bit. Let’s try your idea!”, or “What do you think about trying this idea?”, or, “Haven’t you found that this works better?”

WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, IT’S IMPORTANT NOT TO BE TOO QUICK TO JUDGE A MATTER. There are always at least TWO SIDES to every story, and it helps greatly to hear ALL SIDES from all those who are involved. Most of us have made the grave mistake of making a snap judgement or acting impulsively, resulting in a child being unjustly accused and deeply hurt. A mother could hear a crash in the room, and run in to find her young daughter in tears beside a shattered vase on the floor. To immediately whack the child with no explanation adds insult to injury, when by merely asking what happened first, the child could explain that she was attempting to stop the cat from climbing on the table, trying to shoo it away, when the CAT knocked the vase over, not she!

Remember, as Christian parents, we are trying to establish our child’s CONFIDENCE in both the Lord and ourselves. Jesus forgives US in love, and, thank God, does not spank us for every mistake or sin we commit. Likewise, we should forgive our children and be as fair and merciful with them as possible. But by continually passing quick harsh judgement on them, our children could easily lose such trust and confidence in us. And could wind up being AFRAID to confide in you and confess things that they really ARE guilty of or need help with!

And that’s another point: NEVER LOSE FAITH IN YOUR CHILDREN! If you can’t determine what’s right or wrong when a child claims innocence in some situation, and there’s no way to prove otherwise, it is almost always the wisest thing to let it pass, rather than risk punishing or judging unjustly for something. Try taking your child’s word for it! Such love will prove your faith in them and will inspire them not to disappoint your trust. Showing a child that you TRUST and BELIEVE in him shows him that you LOVE him.

 
TRY PUTTING YOURSELF IN YOUR CHILD’S PLACE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. This will give you a much better understanding of him. Make it a habit to try to see things through THEIR eyes and understanding. Ask yourself, “What if this were I? How would I want to be treated in this situation if I were in his shoes? If I were only 5 years old and were the one being laughed at by the adults, how would I feel?”

What may seem cute or funny to US, may be very embarrassing and humiliating to a CHILD. Most of us know what it’s like to be embarrassed, hurt or slighted by others. Realising that such unpleasant experiences can be much more traumatic and painful to a small inexperienced child should cause us to do our best to spare them from such incidents.

“THEREFORE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER YE WOULD THAT MEN SHOULD DO TO YOU, DO YE EVEN SO TO THEM!” (MATTHEW 7:12)

By putting yourself in as close a situation as you can think of to your CHILD’S situation, imagining how YOU would feel, you will gain a much better understanding of him and his feelings.

 
TRY TO SET A GOOD EXAMPLE. Not of some kind of a perfect, sinless saint which your child may feel he could never measure up to, but of an honest, happy, humble example of a friend and loving parent, someone whom kids can look up to and trust. YOU have to try to be what you want your CHILDREN to be.

“THOSE THINGS WHICH YE HAVE BOTH LEARNED, AND RECEIVED, AND HEARD, AND SEEN IN ME, DO: AND THE GOD OF PEACE SHALL BE WITH YOU.” (PHILIPPIANS 4:9)

Children are great mimics, and this is largely how they learn, by imitation. Children seldom forget what they SEE. They go more by what they SEE than by what they HEAR, more by your ACTIONS than just your WORDS. Children will learn more from your ACTIONS and even your ATTITUDES than they will from what you SAY! THINK of what you would like to be in the eyes of your child and BE that parent!

Likewise, if you need to leave your child in the care of SOMEONE ELSE, you should do your best to find someone who will be the kind of GODLY EXAMPLE that you would want your CHILD to follow. As a parent, YOU are responsible to make SURE that your child is left in good TRUSTWORTHY HANDS when you are not with him. So it’s important that you have good honest communication with those who help care for your little ones, and that they understand and agree to uphold the CHRISTIAN principles and guidelines which you follow.

It’s also very important to try to reach and relate to children on THEIR OWN level, and not expect TOO MUCH of them. After all, a child is a child. But if you make an effort to make your lessons easily understood, so they can easily be learned by your child–you’ll be surprised at how quickly your child will learn and grow!

 
LOVE IS ALSO DISCIPLINE. Children are happiest when they know the boundaries and limitations that adults have set for them, not when they are totally free to go wild, and thus end up in big trouble! A spoiled and demanding child becomes a spoiled and demanding adult, so the importance of teaching a young child obedience, submission, yieldedness and unselfishness is evident. Failure to instill these virtues in a child will result in his failure in these same areas later on in school, business and the social world.

It’s best to start when your children are quite young, and practice consistent, loving discipline by setting limits and boundaries for them to follow for their own good. There’s never been a child yet who didn’t need it, because, as the Bible says, “We are ALL sinners”. (Romans 3:23). Parents need to make it very clear exactly what the rules are, and one of the best methods of establishing the rules is to get the children to help make them, or at least to agree to them with you.

The best kind of so-called punishment should be what the Bible calls “chastening”, which literally means “CHILD-TRAINING”, something that will TEACH them something, train them and help them to learn the lesson so they’ll not want to make the same mistake again. Of course, to win and lovingly PERSUADE children to obey out of LOVE may seem to take a lot of time and patience, but they’ll turn out to be far better children and much more obedient in the long run if they are persuaded to OBEY through LOVE, rather than by trying to break their will and FORCE them to obey merely for FEAR of punishment.

This is another reason why it’s so important to first of all lead your children to JESUS and fill them with HIS WORD, because a child who loves the Lord will WANT to obey his parents out of LOVE for you and JESUS.

Discipline is a form of Love that is very, very Scriptural. Even God Himself disciplines His children when they need it! He says, “Whom the Lord LOVES He CHASTENS, and disciplines every son whom He receives!” (Hebrews 12:6). In learning obedience and submission to their ELDERS, our children receive and see a visible example of their own relationship with the LORD. Children who benefit from such Scriptural training grow to be happier and better behaved individuals.

“FOOLISHNESS IS BOUND IN THE HEART OF A CHILD; BUT THE ROD OF CORRECTION SHALL DRIVE IT FAR FROM HIM. THE ROD AND REPROOF BRING WISDOM: BUT A CHILD LEFT TO HIMSELF BRINGETH HIS MOTHER TO SHAME.” (PROVERBS 22:15; 29:15)

Earthly parents are an EXAMPLE, a picture, to a child of how GOD, our HEAVENLY FATHER, is with US, HIS children. If a child learns good Godly disciplinary standards of behaviour when YOUNG, he’ll find it much easier to submit to the LORD as he grows up and eventually is on his own.

Even if it hurts you, the parent, to have to sometimes spank or punish your child, you’ll benefit from obeying this Scriptural commandment, and be rewarded by seeing your child’s improved behaviour.

 
PRAISE AND ENCOURAGEMENT ARE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF CHILD TRAINING. Be generous with praise and APPRECIATE your child’s good intentions and strong points. For example, if your son makes a failing grade on his school work, you can still find something to commend him for, his neat handwriting, perhaps. There’s always SOME good to be praised and appreciated.

“FINALLY, BRETHREN, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE TRUE, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE HONEST, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE JUST, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE PURE, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE LOVELY, WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE OF GOOD REPORT; IF THERE BE ANY VIRTUE, AND IF THERE BE ANY PRAISE, THINK ON THESE THINGS.” (PHILIPPIANS 4:8)

All children thrive on praise. It’s more important to PRAISE a child for his GOOD deeds and his good behaviour than it is to SCOLD him for his BAD behaviour. Try to always accentuate the POSITIVE!

Of course, it’s important when giving praise and appreciation to remain HONEST and SINCERE, and it must relate to him or her. For example, YOU may consider your pre-teen daughter to be beautiful, but if she perhaps doesn’t compare favourably to many others her age, in spite of YOUR opinion and feeling on the matter, she could think that you are being insincere or falsely flattering if you are constantly telling her how beautiful she is. So why not commend her in some OTHER positive area in which she excels and shines: Her eloquence of speech or her good grades or her loving, sweet character and spirit–which the Bible says is one of the most beautiful virtues a woman can have. “The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price.” (1Peter 3:4).

Be outspoken with praise for your children. Just about everyone loves kids, but it’s extremely important that the children know this by hearing you SAY it and seeing you SHOW it.

 
CONCLUSION: All these suggestions and pointers are ways to put LOVE into ACTION! Love is not “real” or practically applied without a living EXAMPLE by you and me, today’s parents who are molding the future! The World of tomorrow is what the mothers and fathers of today make it, according to the way we raise our children!

So try LOVE, it NEVER fails! Do you show YOUR children the genuine Love of JESUS? Will they grow up learning to love the Lord and share His Love with others? God BLESS and help you to be a loving parent and example to your little ones! We LOVE you!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Questions From You!

HOW CAN I KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS?

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Every one of us has countless decisions which we must face every day of our lives. Every time of conflict, of testing and trial is a time of DECISION. But the point is, HOW do you make your decisions? How can you KNOW you are making the right ones, those which will bring the best results and help you achieve your goals?

Putting it simply, for true Christians, MAKING A DECISION IS ACTUALLY FINDING OUT WHAT GOD’S WILL IS; what God knows will be best according to how HE sees the situation. After all, only GOD is way out there in FRONT, and only He knows what is going to happen, and only He is able to lead us.

But the worst thing in the World to do is to keep going ahead when you don’t know what to do. That was the tragic mistake of so many of history’s failures who thought they didn’t need the Lord’s direction. Sooner or later it always proves true that those who SUCCEED in God’s Kingdom are those who look to God’s WORD to lead them, and the ones who fail are those who go without it.

Unfortunately, there are many Christians who haven’t yet discovered that Jesus was serious when He said, “Ask and it SHALL be given you, seek and you SHALL find, knock and the door SHALL be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7). God means just what He says! It’s a PROMISE!

The following 7 points will help you to more clearly and easily discover the Will of God for your life. As you read them, think about them and APPLY these basic guidelines to ANY DECISION you are faced with. The Lord will NOT fail to show you the ANSWER you need! It is so comforting to know that whatever GOD shows you ALWAYS works out!

 
THE SEVEN WAYS TO KNOW GOD’S WILL!

NO.1 THE WORD is the FIRST place we look to find the Will of God! And when God speaks to you right through HIS Word, then you KNOW it’s right! The Bible is the SURE Word of God and it NEVER fails! In God’s Word you can find the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. When you ask God for answers, let Him speak to you through His Word!

NO.2 THE VOICE OF GOD’S WORD is when the Lord brings to mind a certain verse or passage from the Scriptures, or as you are reading, all of a sudden a verse seems to jump at you as if it were written just for YOU! It’s as if the Lord had whispered it in your ear. It begins to apply to you personally, and suddenly it becomes REAL! It’s no longer just mere words, but you finally get the point of what God is trying to show you!

NO.3 DIRECT REVELATION! Sometimes God uses a dream or vision, a voice or prophetic message to show you what to do. You KNOW it is from God if it AGREES with and DOESN’T CONTRADICT His WORD. It’s so wonderful to get the answers straight from the Lord! When you’ve got the concrete evidence from Him, His WORD on the subject, then you know you’re on the right track & you can go ahead & ACT with CONVICTION–& WITHOUT HESITATION! That settles it! You’ve heard from Heaven!

NO.4 GODLY COUNSELLORS! When finding God’s Will in a decision, it is often wise to ask others for their opinion. However, it is important to WEIGH the counsel you receive, and to prayerfully consider the SOURCE that it comes from! How RELIABLE are their leadings from the Lord? Do they bear GOOD FRUIT themselves and produce good results from their own actions and decisions? “By their fruits,” Jesus says, “you will know them!” (Matthew 7:20).

NO.5 OPEN AND CLOSED DOORS! If something is God’s Will, He’ll usually open the door and make it possible! Which direction is God providing or opening the way and the means to do it? That is one way to find out the direction God is leading. Of course circumstances and conditions are not always the final criteria for finding the Will of God, but they can sometimes be an indication.

Often by closing one door and opening another, the Lord leads and directs us. God has certain set-ups and situations which suddenly become golden opportunities. At times like these we should take decisive ACTION and not miss the Lord’s timing, otherwise what was a golden opportunity could become a LOST opportunity! So after you’ve prayed about any door that opens and perhaps have discussed it with others, and checked it with His Word, then GO ahead.

NO.6 BURDENS, strong impressions or feelings can sometimes be an indication of God’s leading. It isn’t always wise to go by feelings, but if something is really of God you’ll have an inner CONVICTION, what many Christians call the “Witness of the Holy Spirit”! It can be a still small Voice in your heart! In your heart you feel you just have the FAITH. You just KNOW that’s the Will of God and that’s what you’re supposed to do, or not do. His Word says, “You will hear a voice beside you saying, this is the way; walk ye in it.” (Isaiah 30:21).

NO.7 A FLEECE is the term given to a system of CHECK AND DOUBLECHECK with God. It’s like an agreement with God to show you if you are on the right track or not. And if you ask Him whole-heartedly, you won’t be disappointed! Sometimes you can actually specify the kind of revelation you’d like God to give you like the Prophet Gideon did in the Bible. (See Judges 6:36-40.) Gideon laid a fleece (sheepskin) on the ground and said, “Now Lord, if the fleece is wet with dew in the morning, but the ground is dry, then I’ll KNOW it is You talking to me!” But then he wanted to be doubly sure, so the next day he said, “If the fleece is dry and the ground is wet, I’ll believe it!”, and that is just what the Lord did each time! Then Gideon knew that God was with him. If the Lord hadn’t done the miracle, Gideon might have quit entirely and lost heart!

Regarding fleeces: Although they seem like an easy and supernatural way, they are the LEAST RELIABLE of the 7 ways to discover God’s Will, only to be used in conjunction with the other more dependable points shared above. In fact, the more ways you employ in making decisions, the greater the assurance will be that your decision is right.

* * *

What a comfort it is when you know that you’re in God’s Will! It’s the SAFEST PLACE to be in the whole World! No matter if war is breaking out all about you and there is darkness and storm, you’ll be safe in the hands of God as you follow Him to victory.

Just be sure it’s RIGHT, then GO ahead. To the right place, at the right time, with the right people and God will bless it! He will lead you if you’ll follow. But don’t run off on your own just because something LOOKS good to you; be sure to keep in line with His WORD and with His blessings. Any combination of two or three or more of these little guidelines can help to CONFIRM God’s Will for YOUR life.

And that is why we wanted to share with you these guidelines to help you to keep in touch with your Heavenly Commander-in-Chief at all times. That’s one line of communication that can NEVER be broken. You’ll always have a hotline to Heaven and you can get your orders straight from the Lord Himself as He guides you through the many difficult situations you will face. Even when you seem to be all alone, God will always be there by your side to direct your every move. All you have to do is ASK Him, and the answer will come! Whether it be in public, at home or in any situation, God is EVERYWHERE! “He knows, He loves, He cares, nothing His truth can dim! He gives His very best to those who leave the choices up to Him!”

This is actually the FIRST requirement in finding GOD’S Will: Having no will of your OWN! His Word says, “Offer your bodies as LIVING SACRIFICES, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be NOT conformed to THIS World, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that you may KNOW what is the good and acceptable and perfect Will of God!” (Romans 12:1,2). SURRENDER your will, your body, your mind to the Lord and let HIM make the decisions, and you will never be disappointed!

Our prayers are with you as you follow God to GREATER VICTORIES, both in your personal life, and as you stand up for His Truth and witness His Love to others! God bless you! And He will as you DO His Will and follow Him!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anchor

Sharing Absolute Truths in a Changing World

A compilation

free-bible-studies-online-anchorThe popular world view today is that there is no absolute truth; there are only opinions. If there are only opinions, then one person’s opinion is no more valid than another person’s. Most discussions about Christ will simply be an exchange of opinions. The idea that there is truth has become alien to much of our thinking, with the criteria being if it seems to be good for me, then it must be true. And whether it is true or not, we then measure the benefit of a religion by the good it does its followers.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Peter said, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Jesus Christ is superior to all that preceded Him, not because what He said was better or more complete, though it was, but because He is Himself the message and has absolute unmatched supremacy in God’s revelation.

… That is why the writer of Hebrews says, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus,” (Hebrews 3:1) and “fix our eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2) Truth is decapitated when we sever it from Christ, which is what the Pharisees did, and consequently, knew nothing of spiritual life.

We can know the Scriptures inside out, but detached from Christ, it becomes a dead book. It would be like having a manual on a new car we have bought. We do not read the manual for the sake of reading. Rather, we want to get to know the car and be able to use it to its full potential. We are given the Bible so that we can know Christ and all that is made available to us in Him. There is an old hymn, “Break Thou the Bread of Life,” which has the great line, “Beyond the sacred page, I seek thee, Lord.” From Genesis to Revelation, every verse ultimately leads to Christ, and it is knowing Him that matters.

—Charles Price

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There are absolute truths that you can know, contrary to modern teachings that there are no absolutes. The modern teachers of that kind of non-absolutism philosophy would say, “You think that’s a hand, but you don’t really know it’s a hand; you’ve just always been taught it’s a hand!” They’d try to prove to you that it’s not possible to know anything with certainty, trying to tear down accepted truths of human existence and learning and religion. But we know and we believe that’s a hand, and almost anybody with common sense, even a little child, knows that’s his or her hand. So why try to tell them differently? You could say, “It’s actually an accumulation of 75% water and a lot of calcium and bone, and various kinds of minerals and substances, etc.” But it’s still a hand!

There are some things which you must accept as absolutely accepted truth, proven facts! Don’t let the theorists of non-absolutism try to tell you differently. The greatest absolute of all is God, which is why this doctrine against absolutism is a philosophy of Satan. By teaching that there are no absolutes, then they can say, “There’s also no God, no Bible, no morality. You don’t have to obey anything or anybody or keep laws. You don’t have to let anybody tell you what’s right or wrong; you can just do as you please!” And you wind up with chaos, anarchy, and confusion.

We as Christians and children of the Lord have to accept that there are certain things which we can know with certainty, which are proven from the Bible and from human experience for thousands of years, both spiritual truths and the ordinary everyday things of normal human life and existence.

—David Brandt Berg

*

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
—C. S. Lewis

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Truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
—Sir Winston Churchill

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It is a central heresy of our culture to say that all truth is relative; that one thing may be true for me and quite another may be true for you. This absurdity destroys the very notion of truth … and is the result of muddled thinking. No one can seriously believe that a belief which contradicts his or her own is just as true. The expression “It is true for me” is self-confuting. Either a thing is true or it is not. … Can we imagine saying, “Well, the earth is round to me; but it may be flat to you”? The earth is either round or flat; it cannot be both; and what you or I think about it is irrelevant. You may claim that religion and ethics is not a matter of truth at all. Very well, do not use the word “true”; but if you use it, do not render it unintelligible by adding that empty phrase, “for me.”
—Keith Ward

*

Relativism is a revolt against the objective reality of God. The sheer existence of God creates the possibility of truth. God is the ultimate and final standard for all claims to truth—who he is, what he wills, what he says is the external, objective standard for measuring all things. When relativism says that there is no standard of truth and falsehood that is valid for everyone, it speaks like an atheist. It commits treason against God.
—John Piper

*

Moral practice has always been difficult for fallen humanity, but at least there was always the lighthouse of moral principles, no matter how stormy the sea of moral practice got. But today, with the majority of our mind-molders, in formal education, or informal education—that is, media—the light is gone. Morality is a fog of feelings. That is why to them, as Chesterton said, “Morality is always dreadfully complicated to a man who has lost all his principles.” Principles mean moral absolutes. Unchanging rocks beneath the changing waves of feelings and practices. … How important is this issue? After all, it’s just philosophy, and philosophy is just ideas. But ideas have consequences. Sometimes these consequences are as momentous as a holocaust, or a Hiroshima. Sometimes even more momentous. Philosophy is just thought, but sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. This is just as true for societies as it is for individuals.
—Peter Kreeft

*

It has been said that truth, by definition, will always be exclusive. Jesus claimed to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Historically we know that Jesus claimed such exclusivity. Had He not made that statement, Jesus would have been unreasonably implying that truth is all-inclusive, which is an impossibility.
—Kim Triller

 
 

Copyright © 2017 The Family International.

Proof That Jesus Is the Messiah!

free-bible-studies-online-proof-that-jesus-is-the-messiah

Hundreds and even thousands of years BEFORE Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Old Testament Prophets predicted His coming. Their predictions were not just general ones that “a Messiah, a Saviour, will come” etc., but SPECIFIC prophecies about places, times and events that have been fulfilled in only ONE person who has ever lived–JESUS of Nazareth! In this brief lesson we have chronologically arranged several of the most outstanding Old Testament Messianic prophecies in the actual verbatim text of the Scriptures and followed them with their New Testament fulfilments.

 
HIS BIRTH

PROPHECY: Nearly 750 years before Christ’s birth, the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah prophesied: “The Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a VIRGIN shall CONCEIVE, and bear a SON, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14).

FULFILMENT: In exact fulfilment of this prophecy, Mary was a young VIRGIN engaged to be married to Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her saying that she would bear a child. “Then Mary said to the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I have not laid with a man?’ And the Angel answered, The HOLY GHOST shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you! Therefore that holy One which shall be born of you shall be called the SON of GOD.” (Luke 1:26-35). (Immanuel means “God with us”, and for those of us who have received Jesus into our hearts, that’s Who He IS: God is WITH us!)

PROPHECY: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: And the government shall be upon His shoulder: And His NAME shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the MIGHTY GOD, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!” (Isaiah 9:6). (Prophecy given 740 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: This shows that the ancient Jews, unlike most modern ones, believed that God had a SON–Who was to be born in the flesh and Whom the prophecy said was to be called “The Mighty GOD”.

PROPHECY: Micah, prophesying in the eighth century B.C., predicted the exact village where the Messiah would be born: “You, BETHLEHEM, though you are small among the clans of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth unto Me that is to be RULER over ISRAEL; Whose existence has been of old, from EVERLASTING.” (Micah 5:2). (Prophecy given 710 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: The Gospel says “Jesus was born in BETHLEHEM of JUDEA.” (Matthew 2:1). Although the Jews knew that their Messiah was to be born there (Matthew 2:4-6), they didn’t, as a nation, accept Jesus as their ruler. Nonetheless, the prophecy says that He “IS to BE ruler”. This takes place spiritually now for those who voluntarily accept His Messiahship, and will SOON take place LITERALLY by FORCE at His Second Coming!

Jesus’ existence, as the prophecy says, “has been of OLD, from EVERLASTING”. Jesus said, “Before Abraham was (around 2,000 B.C.), I AM.” (John 8:58). He was here referring to Himself as the eternal God Who revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush as: “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14), the eternal Son of God! (See also John 1:13,14.)

 
TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM

PROPHECY: The Prophet Zechariah commanded the people by the Spirit of the Lord to: “REJOICE GREATLY, O daughter of Zion! SHOUT, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your KING comes unto you: RIGHTEOUS, and having SALVATION; meek, and riding upon a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9). (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: Five days before His crucifixion, as Jesus neared Jerusalem, He told His disciples, “Go into the village ahead of you, and at once you shall find a donkey tied there, and her colt with her: Untie them, and bring them to Me. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the donkey and the colt…and Jesus sat on them…and the multitudes that went ahead, and those that followed, SHOUTED, saying, `Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!'” (Matthew 21:2-10).

Imagine!–The King of kings, God in the flesh, came riding into Jerusalem, meekly sitting on the lowly colt of a donkey, just as God’s Prophet, Zechariah, had predicted over 500 years earlier! And not only did JESUS fulfil this part of the prophecy, but the MULTITUDES of Jerusalem who “REJOICED GREATLY” and “SHOUTED” praises to Him as He entered the city were further proof that indeed, Jesus of Nazareth was “the KING” of whom Zechariah had prophesied!

 
HIS BETRAYAL

PROPHECY: Again Zechariah predicts: “And I said unto them, If you think good, give me my PRICE; and if not, keep it. So they paid me THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER.” (Zechariah 11:12). (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said to them, ‘What will you give me, if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out for him THIRTY pieces of SILVER.” (Matthew 26:14, 15).

PROPHECY: “And the Lord said unto me, `Cast it unto the POTTER! The handsome price at which they priced Me!’ And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and CAST them to the POTTER in the HOUSE of the LORD.” (Zechariah 11:13). (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: “Then Judas, which had betrayed Him (Jesus), when he saw that He was condemned, repented, and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders…And he CAST DOWN the pieces of silver in the TEMPLE, and went away and hanged himself. And the chief priests picked up the silver pieces, and said, It is against the law to put this into the treasury, because it is the price paid for blood. So they decided to use the money to buy the POTTER’S Field, to bury foreigners in.” (Matthew 27:3-6). The thirty pieces of silver WERE literally “CAST to the POTTER…IN the house of the Lord”!

 
HIS TRIAL

PROPHECY: “By arrest and judgement He was taken away: And who shall speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living: For the transgression of my people was He stricken.” (Isaiah 53:8). (Prophecy given 712 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: Jesus was ARRESTED by the soldiers of the High Priest. (Matthew 26:57). After judging Him in their religious court and condemning Him to death, they bound Him and handed Him over to Pilate, the Roman Governor. (Matthew 27:1-2). “While Pilate was sitting in judgement…the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowd…to have Jesus executed.” (Matthew 27:19-20). “Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified.” (John 19:16).

Pilate himself knew that Jesus was INNOCENT and had done nothing worthy of death, and that the Jewish religious leaders only wanted Jesus executed because of their religious jealousy, yet the religious leaders used their political leverage to force Pilate to have Him crucified anyway. (John 18:28-40;19:1-16; Luke 23:13-25; Matthew 27:18).

 
HIS CRUCIFIXION

PROPHECY: Around 1,000 B.C., King David prophesied: “Dogs have surrounded Me: A band of wicked men have encircled Me: They PIERCED My HANDS and My FEET. I can count all My bones. People stare and gloat over Me. They DIVIDE MY GARMENTS among them, and CAST LOTS upon My CLOTHING.” (Psalm 22:16-18). (Prophecy given around 1,000 B.C.) (See also Zechariah 12:10;13:6.)

FULFILMENT: That was written by King David, who died a natural death (recorded in 1Kings Chapter 1), so he wasn’t talking about himself. But being a Prophet, he predicted the type of death that CHRIST would die! As it says in the New Testament, “then the soldiers, when they had CRUCIFIED Jesus (pierced hands AND feet), took His GARMENTS, and divided them into four parts, a part to every soldier; His undergarment remained. Now this garment was without seam, woven in one piece from top to bottom. They said therefore to one another, Let us not tear it, but let us cast LOTS for it, to see whose it shall be.” (John 19:23,24).

Crucifixion, incidentally, was not practiced by the Jews of David’s time. (They killed criminals by STONING!) But David PREDICTED this type of death for the MESSIAH–a method of execution that was to become one of the principal means of execution by the Roman Empire ten centuries later!

PROPHECY: Here is another prophecy by David regarding “The Righteous”, or the Messiah: “Many are the afflictions of The Righteous, but…He (God) keeps ALL His BONES: Not one of them is broken.” (Psalm 34:19-20). (Prophecy given about 1,000 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: MANY of God’s righteous servants have had their bones broken, especially in their martyrdom. But Jesus was “THE righteous”, “My righteous Servant”, as God called Him, Who through His death would “justify many” or make them righteous. (Isaiah 53:11-12). And to PROVE that He was “THE Righteous” Who would “justify many”, God didn’t let ANY of His bones be broken!

Jesus was crucified on the eve of the feastday of the Passover. To ensure that the bodies of the two thieves and Jesus wouldn’t be hanging there on the cross during the Jews’ holy day (death by crucifixion sometimes took days), they BROKE the LEGS of the thieves, causing their bodies to sag, cutting off their respiration and bringing a quick death. “But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they did NOT break His legs.” (John 19:31-33).

Jesus was “the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the World” (John 1:29), and was crucified at the time of the Jewish Passover, a religious festival when all the Jewish households killed a lamb as a sacrificial sin offering. Right at that SAME time, Jesus, “THE Lamb of God”, died for the sins of Mankind. The Lord had commanded that NONE of the Passover lamb’s BONES were to be BROKEN (Exodus 12:46), and Jesus’ death fulfilled this specific point also!

 
HIS BURIAL

PROPHECY: “And He was given a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death.” (Isaiah 53:9).

FULFILMENT: In the eyes of His bitter religious enemies, Jesus was a criminal, a WICKED man, and as He died, there were “two ROBBERS crucified WITH Him”. (Matthew 27:38). After His death, “a RICH man…named Joseph…went to Pilate and pleaded for the body of Jesus. And when Joseph had taken the body, he…laid it in his own new tomb”–A GRAVE with the RICH!!! (Matthew 27:57-60).

 
HIS RESURRECTION

PROPHECY: “For You will not leave My soul in hell (the grave, death); neither will You allow Your Holy One to see CORRUPTION (decay). (Psalm 16:10). (Prophecy given around 1,000 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: King David, who gave the prophecy, died and was buried in a grave and his flesh saw corruption and decay. But Jesus was RAISED from the grave and hell THREE days AFTER His death, and “His soul was not LEFT in hell (or in the grave), neither (did) His flesh see corruption (decay).” (Acts 2:27-31). As the Angel said to the mourners who came to Jesus’ tomb, “He is not here, but is RISEN! Why do you seek the LIVING among the DEAD?” (Luke 24:6,5).

Jesus is ALIVE! The Scriptures show that He walked the Earth for 40 days after His Resurrection and was seen by HUNDREDS of followers! (Acts 1:3; 1Corinthians 15:4-6). He then ascended up to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the throne of God. (Mark 16:19).

 
EXACT YEAR OF HIS CRUCIFIXION

PROPHECY: “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem until the Messiah the Prince shall be seven sevens, and 62 sevens (or a TOTAL of 69): The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after 62 sevens shall the MESSIAH be CUT OFF, but not for Himself.” (Daniel 9:25,26). (Prophecy given 538 B.C.)

The city of Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the armies of Babylon when the Jews went into captivity and exile in 586 B.C. But 133 years later, in 453 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of the Persian Empire, gave the Jews the commandment to go forth (from captivity into the land of Israel), “to restore and to build Jerusalem”.

We know his decree was issued in 453 B.C., and that Jesus was “cut off” in 30 A.D. Therefore, if we add the 453 years B.C. to the 30 years A.D., it equals 483 YEARS. Let’s see now if Daniel’s specific time prophecy coincides with this:

The prophecy predicted that from the time of this decree until the death of the Messiah the Prince would be–HOW long?–“7 sevens plus 62 sevens”–or 69 SEVENS. 69 sevens would be 69 x 7, which equals 483. So Daniel predicted that 69 sevens of YEARS, or 483 YEARS, would pass between the issuing of the decree to build Jerusalem and the “cutting off” of the Messiah. And that’s EXACTLY how many years DID pass between 453 B.C. and Jesus’ death in 30 A.D.! What an amazing EXACT FULFILMENT of prophecy! And this astonishing prophecy was given in the year 538 B.C.–almost 600 years BEFORE Jesus the Messiah was crucified! It’s also interesting to note that this 483-year period was divided into two periods: First a period of 7 sevens (49 years), then a period of 62 sevens (434 years). History reveals that it did take the Jews 49 YEARS from the time the decree was issued to “rebuild the walls and streets of Jerusalem”. Once Jerusalem was rebuilt, it was exactly 434 years (62 sevens) later that Jesus the Messiah was crucified!

Daniel’s prophecy continues with undeniable PROOF that this MESSIAH had to be JESUS:

 
DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AFTER HIS COMING

PROPHECY: “At the end of 62 sevens shall the Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: AND the people of the RULER that SHALL COME shall DESTROY the CITY (of Jerusalem) and the SANCTUARY (the Jewish Temple).” (Daniel 9:26). In other words, according to this prophecy, AFTER the Messiah’s death, the city of Jerusalem AND the Jews’ Temple would be DESTROYED! Was it? YES! Only 40 years later!

FULFILMENT: After Jesus was cut off (or crucified in 30 A.D.), “not for Himself”, but for the sins of the WORLD, do you know what happened to Jerusalem and to the Jews’ Temple? In 70 A.D., the Roman legions of the Emperor Vespasian (“the people of the ruler”), under his son, General Titus, marched in and burnt Jerusalem to the ground and so utterly destroyed their Sanctuary that not one stone was left upon another!

Jesus Himself, in a set of amazingly detailed prophecies given 40 years before these catastrophic events, predicted EXACTLY what would happen! (See Matthew 24:1-2; Luke 19:42-44;21:20-24.)

 
SHUTTING OF EAST GATE AFTER HIS COMING

PROPHECY: “Then he brought me back to the outer GATE of the SANCTUARY, the one facing toward the EAST; and it was SHUT. Then the Lord said unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and NO MAN shall enter in by it; because THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, HAS ENTERED IN BY IT, therefore it shall be SHUT.” (Ezekiel 44:1,2). (Prophecy given 572 B.C.)

FULFILMENT: When Jesus (“the Lord, the God of Israel”) made His TRIUMPHAL ENTRY into Jerusalem on the back of the colt of an ass, He came from the Mt. of Olives and entered into Jerusalem’s EAST Gate (Matthew 21:9-12), the gate which led into the TEMPLE COURTS, as it says here, “the OUTER gate of the SANCTUARY which faces toward the EAST.”

In 70 A.D., the city of Jerusalem was utterly destroyed and it remained in ruins for centuries after. But in 542, the Moslem Sultan Sulieman rebuilt the walls of the city. Because the Jews who had rejected Jesus believed their Messiah was STILL to come and was YET to make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Sulieman (who wanted to avoid the Jews rallying around a “Messiah” and rebelling) WALLED the “East Gate” completely SHUT, and thus unwittingly fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Ezekiel, “It shall be shut…because the Lord (Jesus), the God of Israel, HAS ENTERED in by it.” And the East Gate REMAINS sealed shut until this very day!

Most Jews believe that the Messiah has not yet come, but according to these two FULFILLED HISTORICAL FACTS: 1) The destruction of Jerusalem, and 2) The walling up of the East Gate, the Messiah has ALREADY come! And if it wasn’t JESUS of NAZARETH, who WAS it?

WHO ELSE was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, was called God, rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on an ass, was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, was proclaimed innocent yet condemned unjustly to be crucified while soldiers parted His garments, was associated with the wicked in his death, was buried in a rich man’s tomb and rose from the dead–all in FULFILMENT of Messianic PROPHECY! The answer, of course, is NO one else but JESUS CHRIST! And the prophecies that we have quoted here are only a FEW out of nearly 300 specific Old Testament prophecies which Jesus fulfilled!

 
WHY (did Jesus die on the cross)?

WHY did Jesus die on that cross? Because He LOVED you! He loved you enough to take your punishment, to die and be separated from His Father for a while so that He could bring YOU the LOVE of God and ETERNAL LIFE! As another prophecy says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; each of us have turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on HIM the iniquity of us all. There was no deceit in His mouth, yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer. HIS soul (Jesus’) shall be made an offering for SIN, and by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant JUSTIFY (make righteous) many; and HE shall bear THEIR INIQUITIES!” (Isaiah 53:6,9-11). (Prophecy given 750 B.C.)

Jesus died for YOU! And God gave all these prophecies and had them written down and preserved down through the centuries and millenniums so that your faith might be strengthened by them enough to BELIEVE that “God so LOVED the World, that He gave His only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). Do YOU?

God LOVES you and Jesus is just WAITING at your heart’s door for you to open to Him. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If ANY man hear My voice, and OPEN the door, I WILL come in to him and WILL sup with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20). Would YOU like to receive Jesus into your heart? If you would, sincerely pray from your heart this simple prayer:

Dear Jesus, I know that I’ve done wrong things and I’m sorry. I believe that You died for my sins and I ask You to please come into my heart and forgive me. And please help me to live for You and others by reading Your Word and telling others about Your Love! In Jesus’ name, amen.

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

The Power of a Touch!

Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 8:43-48

Based on the writings of David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-the-power-of-a-touch

As Jesus taught the multitudes by the Sea of Galilee, a prominent leader of the local synagogue named Jairus came pushing through the crowd, and falling down before Him, pleaded for Jesus to heal his little daughter. “She’s at the point of death!” he cried in desperation! “Please, come and TOUCH her and make her LIVE!”

Jesus, full of compassion, agreed to go with him, and the crowd pressed behind Him. In the midst of the throng was a woman who had been sick for 12 years with a terrible bleeding haemorrhage. All this time she had gone from one doctor to another, but never with any success. She’d spent every bit of her money on doctors’ bills and suffered much from all their treatments, but still the bleeding continued.

Desperate, the woman thought, “Oh, if I could only TOUCH Him, I KNOW I could be healed!” Then, seeing Jesus afar off, she began anxiously making her way towards Him. It wasn’t easy to get through the pushing, shoving mob of onlookers who were trying to get close to Jesus, but that one thought compelled her: She had to TOUCH Him, even if only the hem of His garment!

Finally she came within reach, and stretching out her hand she was able to barely TOUCH His robe with her fingertips. No sooner had she touched Him than the bleeding stopped completely! A warm and wonderful feeling of health and well-being swept through her body and she knew that after all these years of pain and suffering, she was healed at last! Jesus paused for a moment, having felt that healing POWER had gone out from Him. Turning to the crowd He asked, “Who touched Me?” His disciples looked at Him with astonishment, saying, “With all this great crowd pressing around You, You ask who TOUCHED You?” But Jesus, knowing already who had touched Him, smiled and silently, knowingly turned to look upon the astonished woman.

Still trembling at the realisation of what had happened, she came and fell at His feet, telling Him what had happened to her. And Jesus lovingly, tenderly as a father would speak to his child, said to her, “Daughter, thy FAITH has made thee WHOLE! Go in peace and be healed of your disease.” Jesus was making it clear to all the crowd that touching His clothes was not what had healed the woman, but it was “her FAITH in Him that had made her whole”!

That woman had put her tiny grain of faith into action, and the result has echoed throughout the centuries: “Thy FAITH hath made thee WHOLE!”

There is a lesson to be learned from this story which we can APPLY to OUR lives NOW, today. Though many people thronged about Jesus, why was it that only ONE received that powerful healing touch from God? Many had gone to see Jesus out of mere curiosity, they were more interested in the sight of the man. Yet this woman, as soon as she heard of Him, BELIEVED in her heart that He could really help her, when all else had failed. So she pressed toward Him, full of faith, never giving up until she made that divine CONTACT with the Lord!

What an illustration of how PRAYER works! It’s not how LONG you pray or how MUCH you pray, but how much you BELIEVE! It’s like tuning in a radio station on your receiver. When you finally make the right contact, the signal booms in loud and clear and strong! Prayer is making contact between our human needs and God’s divine resources. All we’re doing when we pray is presenting our need and BELIEVING that God will do it. And if you are doing your best to trust the Lord and follow His Word, He will help you in your hour of need!

Anything wonderful can happen in that little margin of time when you don’t give up, but keep on believing and keep on praying! That frail sickly woman had only enough strength to draw close to Jesus, but when she ACTED on her little seed of faith, she made contact with the Lord.

What a blessing it is when we learn to contact God’s power through prayer. It is a spiritual seeking of that contact with His Spirit through OBEDIENCE to the Word of God that gets results!

It’s a shame that so many Christians today find their faith stronger in the men of medicine than in the Great Physician Himself, Jesus Christ. Actually, they haven’t lost FAITH, but they’ve just TRANSFERRED that faith to the MEDICAL profession! It’s not that doctors are bad, but they are not always necessary, or cannot help.

So often one will run to the medicine cabinet for one little ailment, ache or pain, without even considering that a simple prayer of faith could save them all that trouble! Even for a little HEADACHE, just a little faith in God can HEAL you! There’s nothing wrong with taking an aspirin, but why not give God a chance? PRAY that you may be healed, and He can not only HEAL you, but He can even show you what CAUSED it and how to avoid it or correct it!

One of the greatest of healing factors is FAITH, to know that God LOVES you and is going to take care of you no matter what happens. And did you know that faith not only heals, but it eliminates one of the greatest causes of disease and ill health? And that is fear and tension!

God is very willing to HEAL you and HELP you WHENEVER you need it! All you have to do is ASK! He says, “I am the God of all flesh; is there ANYTHING too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:37) Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you can ask what you will and it shall be done unto you!” (John 15:7) Have you asked the Lord for His healing power in your life?

* * *

  • Prayer is not only CHEAPER than medicine, but it is SURER too!
  •  

  • TRUSTING GOD for your healing keeps you close to the LORD, but trusting the DOCTOR for healing keeps you close to the DOCTOR –and BROKE!
  •  

  • Jesus MADE us, so He can FIX us!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anchor

Integrity and Christian Ethics

Part 2

free-bible-studies-online-anchorPart one on this topic covered ethics, examples of integrity, one’s internal compass of right and wrong, and the Golden Rule. Ethics without a moral foundation is like having a compass without a true north. That would be useless. You need the “true north” of personal conviction and ethics, which comes from God’s Word, if you’re going to have a functioning moral compass.

In Ethics 101, John C. Maxwell warns us that, from his point of view, there are five factors that can tarnish the Golden Rule as it applies to our personal integrity. To understand the complete message, you’d want to read the author’s explanation in full, but the general concept can be explained as follows:

While it is possible for people to act ethically, no matter what their social or economic status is, several factors prevent many from doing so.

The first is pressure, especially the pressure to succeed, and to do so quickly. To fight this pressure, make yourself slow down and examine what you’re doing. Begin this self-examination by asking yourself questions. Are you acting on the spur of the moment? Or out of fear or pride? Will your actions compromise your ethical code? It also helps to display reminders of the reasons you would want to act ethically, such as pictures of your family or symbols of your faith.

Pleasure is the second threat to ethical action. Pleasure tempts everyone. But decisions based on pleasure are weak decisions. Discipline is your primary weapon against pleasure’s temptations. Train yourself to do what you should.

Power is the third threat. If you focus on how much power you can obtain, what you can achieve, and what you can get away with, rather than on what you should do, you’ll go astray.

Closely linked to power is pride. If you feel self-important, you will only focus on yourself and how wonderful what you’re doing is, rather than looking at your actions with clear focus to see if you’re doing what you should.

Finally, a lack of priorities can cause you to act unethically. If you haven’t clearly established your priorities, you’ll stumble. You’ll act on a lesser priority when you should act on a greater one. To avoid this obstacle, review your priorities daily and judge your actions against them.—John C. Maxwell

It would benefit each of us to allot some time to think about these five “enemies” of the Golden Rule and how they’ve impacted our lives.

When we have integrity, we know our values, and can communicate them to others. We act on our values and live according to our convictions. We take responsibility for our decisions.

As Christians, our ethics should be centered on God’s Word and the principles He has put forth for His children. Following the truth of God’s Word, being motivated by His love, and seeking to be an example of a sincere Christian are touchstones for the decisions we make.

If you are looking to clarify and strengthen your personal ethics, if you want to build personal integrity, you can study God’s Word, meditate on His precepts, listen to His still small voice speaking to your heart, and ask Him to speak to you.

Besides building your personal integrity through such spiritual steps, there are practical steps that can be helpful as well, such as:

  • Writing a personal mission statement.
  • Promising carefully and always honoring your promises. Under promising and over delivering is better than the reverse.
  • Being honest and avoiding exaggeration.
  • Thinking before you speak, and then speaking carefully and intentionally.
  • Following positive role models.
  • Weighing your decisions so that they consistently reflect your ethical values.
  • Drafting a personal Christian ethical code.—Robert L. Turknett and Carolyn N. Turknett

Here are some excerpts from real people’s ethical codes:

  • I will not promise confidentiality in situations where I know the law requires me to divulge information.
  • I will not knowingly profit from the ignorance of others.
  • I will not create incentives for others to act unethically.
  • I will stop bullies who are bullying someone, even if I don’t know them.
  • I will not drive under the influence of alcohol. If I feel even slightly light-headed, I will get a ride or take a taxi.—Ronald A. Howard and Clinton D. Korver

Other points that represent a good code of ethics for a personal mission statement are:

  • I will put the Lord first in my life and seek to please Him above all, even if this is not easy or convenient.
  • I will witness the truth and do my best to lead others to salvation and the knowledge of Jesus.
  • I will be an example of Jesus’ unconditional love and forgiveness to my spouse and children, even when I’m tempted to be impatient, angry, or judgmental.
  • I will give of my time and finances to help God’s work and the mission.
  • I will not abuse my body, the temple of God’s Spirit.
  • I will not gossip or speak ill of others.
  • I will not mislead others when promoting my business, charitable work, or projects.

There is the idea floating around these days that “nice guys finish last” or “nice girls don’t get the corner office.” But that’s not true. Not if “nice guys” or “nice girls” equal those who live good lives, who are kind and genuine, who know what they believe and stick to it; give of their time, service, and goods to others; sacrifice even to their own hurt when necessary, and put God and family first. Even if they don’t get the corner office in this world, they’ll finish first in God’s books and the race He has set before us.

There might be times when it looks like you’re losing or suffering because of your decisions to live according to godly principles and convictions, but that’s when the heavenly vision comes into the equation. You will never lose by putting Jesus and others first, and any sacrifice you make in this life will be more than repaid, not just in heaven but here and now. Jesus said:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?—Mark 8:35–37

We all have the opportunity to live a life of no regrets! “The time is always right to do what is right!”—Martin Luther King Jr.

Do you strive to live a life of integrity based on Christian morals? You define what kind of person you are. Your actions and choices will convince people that you are “the genuine article”… or not.

Will you choose to do the right thing instead of taking the easy way out? How much are you willing to sacrifice in order to keep your integrity intact?

As Christians, people expect a lot of us. It’s our duty to strive to be an example of how Jesus would act and live. Thus our standard of integrity should align with biblical standards and what Jesus would expect us to have in our interactions and business with others. If we stray from that standard or act in unethical ways, we risk hurting people’s faith or even causing someone to turn away from the Lord. On the other hand, if you have strong Christian ethics and your integrity is rock solid, people will trust you, your mission work or business will be more fruitful, and you’ll be an example of Jesus’ love and truth. That equals success in our lives as Christians.

 
 

From the Roadmap series
Copyright © The Family International.