Category Archives: Bible Studies

Let’s live it to give it.

Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

I love what one dear brother said, “Jesus didn’t come to live His life, He came to give His life.” And although His was the best life ever lived, the perfect life, the sinless life, the model life, exemplary in all ways – at the end of the day it wasn’t His life that ransomed us, it was His death. The Son of God was born to die for every person who’s ever lived, He gave His life “a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6).

What a contrast to the mentality most men have nowadays, even Christians. People throwing themselves pity parties because things aren’t going according to their script; cry-baby-Christians who refuse to follow the Lord – they won’t take up their cross and die to self.

It’s imperative to know that we will be tested as Christians, the question is, will we pass those tests? Will we deny ourselves as disciples of Christ, willing to follow the One who gave His life a ransom? Or will we merely be men who “ran some,” but didn’t give it all? Men who didn’t really finish the race we were called to run.

The Ransom was ultimately delivered when Mount Calvary was stained red with buckets of God’s blood, poured out as payment on our behalf (Acts 20:28; Revelation 1:5). We who had been taken captive by Satan, and were without a sliver of hope (Ephesians 2:2-4) were rescued, redeemed, liberated, and loved. Praise God – as Christians, we now belong to Him!

But now…what will we do?

The context of Mark 10:45 is Jesus calling His men to a mission of service – that we’d conform our will to His and be willing to suffer, and sacrifice, for the sake of the Gospel. Although we aren’t called to die meritoriously, we are called to live sacrificially – the question is, will we answer that call?

In all honesty I’ve been blessed with a good life, but I’ve come to realize that the best way to live it, is to give it – ALL – to my Lord.

“O Father please help me…please help us all, to answer Your call.

~ Manny

 

Some thoughts on Prayer

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Mark 14:35-38, “He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

We learn so much about prayer and submission through the wonderful example of Jesus.

Just the very fact that He earnestly brought His burden to the Father is a lesson in-and-of itself. How much toil and needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry all to God in prayer!

As Jesus prayed He brought His request (that the cup would pass), but He also brought a heart that was bound to do His Father’s will (such a beautiful balance between James 4:2b and 1 John 5:14 – look it up later). After 27 years of Christian life, this is finally beginning to sink in – God’s will is infinitely better than mine. We should always tag our prayer with that genuine request to God, “…nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

And then there are those guys we identify all to well with, the motley crew of disciples. Sleeping when they should have been praying. Have you ever done that? Jesus tells us why, “…the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The inner man longs to pray, even loves to pray, but the sinful nature within us, despises prayer, even hates to pray.

Let me encourage you to go to the “Garden,” stay awake and spend time in prayer; the devil is on his way, and trust me, you will need the help of no one less than God Almighty.

The Baptism & Filling of the Holy Spirit

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Acts 1:5 “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Jesus was speaking to His disciples and informed them that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in the very near future. But what exactly does it mean to be “baptized” with the Spirit and how is one “baptized” anyways?

Well, this is a very long discussion, but let me see if we can summarize this important part of the Christian life in a neat little nutshell.

Prior to becoming a Christian, the Holy Spirit is “with” you (the Greek word is “para”). He convicts you of your sin, and shows you your need for a Savior. We read in John 14:17a “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells WITH you…” (see also John 15:26; 16:8 on how the Holy Spirit’s job is to point you to Jesus when He is “with” you).

After becoming a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives “in” you (the Greek word is “en”). If you finish the above passage in John 14:17 “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be IN you.” When Jesus breathed on the disciples in John 20:22, they received the Holy Spirit, and He came to live “in” them. Paul mentions the fact that under the New Covenant, God lives “in” us Personally and Congregational – yes God lives in His people (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19).

But that’s not all, there is one more Greek preposition and that is “upon” (the Greek word is “epi”). This is subsequent to salvation when the Holy Spirit comes “upon” the people to empower them for service and sanctification. We read Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come UPON you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

As you read through the book of Acts you will see the way the Holy Spirit came upon the people the first time (when they were baptized), and then He came and empowered them again and again, as they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9, 52). It’s for that reason Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:18 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation {wasted life}; but be filled with the Spirit.”

How about you? Are you walking in the power of the Holy Spirit? Is He upon you with power – to the point that you’re walking under His influence? How can we receive that power?

Two words stand out to me – pray and obey! Don’t quench the Spirit through doubt, and don’t grieve the Spirit through disobedience (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30).

Two Scriptures would be appropriate in closing:

Proverbs 1:23, “Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my Spirit on you…”

Luke 11:13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

 

 

Under the Sun?

Sun CrayonThe book of Ecclesiastes can be a very challenging book of the Bible, but it is also very rich and stirs up practical truths we can apply to our lives. Not too long ago I was reading through Ecclesiastes and I was asking the Lord to teach me the truths of His Word. I noticed a phrase repeated throughout the book, and that is the phrase, “Under the sun.” As a matter of fact, thirty-seven times the phrase, “under the sun” is found in Ecclesiastes, and in 1:14 Solomon writes, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.”

As I prayed, the Lord really spoke to me – you see, all that is done “under the sun,” really is in vain. “Under the sun” means just for this world, this temporary place, this puny planet. “Under the sun” is being engaged in the wrong things, or doing anything for the wrong reason. “Under the sun” is either earthly (wasteful), or ungodly (evil), and anything done “under the sun,” really is vanity.

How can this be remedied? Well, I’ve discover that the antidote from doing things, “Under the Sun,” is doing things, “Under the Son.” Notice what a difference one letter can make? To do things under the Son, means that we’re captured by Jesus, God’s Son, and therefore do things in submission to Jesus, and in service to Jesus.

Are you living life “Under the Son?” I pray you would. Please pray that I would.

The beautiful thing about this, is that when you live life “Under the Son,” nothing is in vain, as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

May God fill all of your days, with all of His ways – the Lord, with a labor, and a life that is never, ever in vain!

“A life spent in the service of God and communion with Him is the most pleasant life that anyone can live in this world.” – Matthew Henry on his deathbed