Bible Study on Change

Bible Study based on an article from Philadelphia Church of God webpage named, I Need to Change This! (Hilliker, 2007)

God follows through with His plans but we often do not, yet we are to become perfect like Him according to the gospel of Matthew 5:48.

Isaiah 14:24 The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have 

 The LORD of hosts hath swornsayingSurely as I have thoughtso shall
it come to passand as I have purposedso shall it stand 

Hilliker cites:  Herbert W. Armstrong explained the essence of God’s righteousness this way: “Why is it impossible for God to sin? No greater power exists that will prevent Him—but God has simply by His own power—supreme and above all power—set Himself that He will not!” (The Incredible Human Potential, emphasis added throughout).

We can trust God to keep his word because of this truth.I need to change this!

God is the potter we are the clay says the bible. When God is moulding us do we stay where he puts us?

Do we determine to know what is right and do what is right no matter what the outcome?

Do we surrender to Gods’ perfect way according to His Word?

Hilliker quotes Romans 7:22-23 and translates it as, what God decides to do, He does; what He decides not to do, He doesn’t. What we decide to do, we don’t; what we decide not to do, we end up doing anyway! And the degree to which we fail to overcome that weakness of will is the degree to which we continue to suffer the curses and troubles associated with sin.

We need to set our wills as God does His will. We need to let out Yes be yes and our No be no.

37Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.g.

 

How are we to do this as we are not of course God but human vessels made of clay with a need to understand what is right and what is wrong and then to make the choice to do right and set our  wills to do it and follow it through even under pressure?

The Apostle Paul thanked God for he knew God could help him. He wrote:

1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.a 2For the law of the Spirit of life has set youb free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,c he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.6For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

How can this be explained?  The Spirit of life is God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Jesus took our punishment for sin when He was sent by God His Father to earth in human flesh to become sin for us.  He did this by choosing to be obedient to God and die a horrible death on a wooden cross, which was the practice of the Romans at the time. The religious people of His day may have hung him there but He came once for us all throughout the ages. Being fully man yet fully God as well He could have took himself off the cross or not even gone there in the first place. However the bible tells us:

16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

It was His choice to obey God and take all the sins of the whole world throughout time upon His own human form.  Can you imagine what it must have been like to experience every human emotion, thought, regret, feeling of guilt and pain that we ourselves suffer when we do wrong or others wrong us? Even our own individual sin can bring us to the depths of despair.

The good news is that’s not the end of the story. God caused Jesus Christ to rise from the dead, speak with His disciples, and as it tells us in the book of Mark his disciple 19so then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Romans 10: 9-11 tells us 9…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11For the Scripture say, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

When we recognise that we have all sinned in one way or another even when we don’t mean to at times, and realise we don’t have to go it alone through this difficult life but can receive forgiveness and strength from Him, the creator of all things seen and unseen throughout the ages, we can have a new start, a new beginning.

The bible says we become new creations. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. bThe old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

God promises us He will send His Holy Spirit to help us. All we have to do is call on the name of Jesus and we can receive His wisdom and His strength . We can hold on to His promises in the bible because He is faithful and keeps His word.  We can believe what He says about us in His word over and above what anyone else says or even over the negative beliefs we’ve held in the past. It’s His truth that sets us free to be the people of God He created us to be and it’s through Him that we can reach out full potential.

We will always have free will as God will never take that away from us. We are made in His image and just as He has free will so do we. Once we have a true relationship with the living God through Jesus we can call on Him to help us set out will to do right and do it in His strength rather than our own human efforts and trust Him with the outcome. Why do I say this? Because it has been my experience that He loves me and wants me to live a full and blessed life but the only way I can do this is to put my trust in Him and His word. He promises to never leave me and whatever I’ve gone through He has always been there with me showing me the way.  I have learnt and continue to learn to trust Him rather than myself or circumstances. He has always brought good out of everything I go through even if I have not recognised it until after the event, even when I’ve been angry and unfaithful myself.

When you pray ask God to help you recognise temptation to sin and to help you stand in his strength to do what is right. If you don’t get it right first time don’t berate your humanness. Take it to God who forgives all our sin. He will give you another chance, trust me I know. It will come about in life again and again until you do get it right, and you will know you got it right.

I could not go back to the life I had and would never want to. I know that even when times are tough I am living the blessed life because Jesus is my firm foundation.

6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(Hilliker, 2007)

(BibleGateway)

(Bible Hub)

The Trespasser

It was dark with only the stars and a faint moon peeping from behind the clouds. The boy stepped carefully over the dim object in front of him and on towards the door. The old shed was dilapidated with a big hole in the roof and broken glass scattered around it from an old window that had long since been smashed and boarded up again but the rumours of what lay inside had captured his heart and he just had to find out if they were true.

The air seemed heavy with an eerie silence and the boy looked back towards the house to check that the lights were still off. He saw no movement and strained to hear anything that might mean he’d been rumbled. Turning back towards the shed he stepped forward but just then a dog barked and the boy’s heart leaped in his chest. As he began to run he tripped falling headlong. He put his hands out in front but kept falling down, down, down thenhe landed with a thud knocking wind out of him and gasped. Suddenly a sharp pain seared through his left hand and he let out a cry.  

Light shone from above him somewhere and he heard a voice.

“Sean, are you ok.”

What does it mean to trespass?

A trespasser  passes over, or passes across, coming from Old French and Medieval Latin transpassare meaning to pass beyond.

The word  trespasser normally conjures an image of someone entering someone’s land or property without permission like the boy in the passage above. It can also bring thoughts of the consequences of such action or the anger or rage of being the victim of trespass.

I was thinking of the Lord’s prayer and what trespassing against someone could mean.The word trespass varies in bible translations where it is often replaced with the word sin. So how do we trespass or sin against another?

If you think about the meaning of trespasser of passing over or passing across or beyond then you have to think of some sort of object or limit or boundary that can be passed over, across or beyond. So in the case of the Lord’s prayer what can this mean when we trespass against someone?

The dictionary says a boundary is a line marking the limits of an area and a bounder is a dishonourable man.

So lets take it from there and look at what relationship with one another looks like and what it would look like from the Bible’s perspective, or my perception of it anyway.

The dictionary defines it as the way in which two or more people or things are connected or relate to each other, the state of being connected, the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other, and emotional and sexual association between two people.between two people. So what does the bible say about it?

In the words of Jesus we need to be like little children, trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving. So how can we know what our boundaries are meant to be as human beings and how can we know when we’ve crossed over someone’s boundaries or when they have crossed over ours.  Is it easy to recognise these things when they happen?

In the passage above the trespass, or crossing over is obvious, this boundary was about crossing over the boundary of someones property without permission. What about when it’s not so obvious? What about when someone gets angry with you and shouts or calls you names. What about if they treat you unfairly, leave you out or punish you for something you haven’t done?

What about when people form intimate relationships and then one abandons,rejects or abuse the other? Have boundaries been crossed that shouldn’t have been and caused hurt and harm? Is this what is meant by forgiving others their trespasses against you and asking forgiveness for your own? What is forgiveness anyway, what does it mean?

The dictionary defines to forgive as  to stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw  or  mistake.

The words of Jesus in the bible tell us to forgive.  Can we forgive trespass? Have we trespassed? Should we forgive and why forgive?

 

Writing

Writing! What is it? Is it better to speak it than write it?

Is it an expression to get what’s on the inside out of us? Is it an expression of the soul and it’s ability and desire to create? Can we express more through writing than through speaking?

I have heard it said that its great therapy and can help us to reflect on life and what we’ve learned. Is this true?

Is it a way of making sense of things we do know and what we don’t know. Is  it the exploration of who we are and why we are here? Could it be a way of problem solving or inventing?  In its own way does it makes life more real or make more sense? Is it the expression of recall and memory?

Is it truthful?  How often do you find yourself writing something you remember and by the next day or even an hour later remember it differently to your initial memory. Does your memory play tricks on you or get you in trouble?

Do others remember things differently to you even though they were there with you at the time?

So what is writing and does it help us in any way to write things down and if it does, how? Is there a difference between typing and writing? Do they affect our thoughts and persona in different ways?

These are questions we all ask at some point, especially if we have grown up in the age of technology and resist paper and pen in favour of a keyboard or pad. Does it make a difference to you personally? Do you think using a keyboard is more helpful than pen and paper?

What is writing to you personally?

 

Stress, Life and the Heart

The beatless heart: Texas husband lives for five weeks without a pulse after doctors invent new artificial heart

This is the headline of an article about an artificial heart that is basically a pump. I read this article with great interest. Then I wondered about the implications of such a feat. Would an artificial heart of this kind be a good or a bad thing?

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2003956/Craig-Lewiss-beatless-heart-Texas-husband-lives-5-weeks-pulse.html#ixzz47bYGEytu
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After doing some research of my own I’m not so sure it is a good thing. Here is what I’ve found from both a scientific viewpoint and  from using a bible concordance to look up connotations for the word heart. In the bible we are told “guard you heart” Proverbs 4:23 so with that in mind lets begin with scientific discovery.

“An early editorial on the relationships between stress and the heart accepted the proposition that in about half of patients, strong emotional upsets precipitated heart failure. Unspecified negative emotional arousal, often described as stress, distress or upset, has been associated with a variety of pathological conditions, including hypertension,[26, 27] silent myocardial ischemia,[28] sudden cardiac death,[29] coronary disease,[30-32] cardiac arrhythmia,[33] sleep disorders,[34] metabolic syndrome,[35]diabetes,[36, 37] neurodegenerative diseases,[38] fatigue[39, 40] and many other disorders.[41] Stress and negative emotions have been shown to increase disease severity and worsen prognosis for individuals suffering from a number of different pathologies.[42, 43] On the other hand, positive emotions and effective emotion self-regulation skills have been shown to prolong health and significantly reduce premature mortality.[44-49] From a psychophysiological perspective, emotions are central to the experience of stress. It is the feelings of anxiety, irritation, frustration, lack of control, and hopelessness that are actually what we experience when we describe ourselves as stressed. Whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a major life change, situations are experienced as stressful to the extent that they trigger emotions such as annoyance, irritation, anxiety and overwhelm.[50] https://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/resilience-stress-and-emotions/

According to the book Science of the Heart from the HeartMath Institute the heart has its own  intrinsic cardiac nervous system (heart-brain), which has more influence on us than our brain does if my understanding is correct. This can be positive or negative according to our experiences. It seems to be saying our emotions come from our heart and affect our decision making process.

There is a long list of references in my bible for the word ‘heart’ so I decided to take the first three:

Genesis 43:4 tells us that Joseph’s heart yearned for his brother, Benjamin, his mother’s only other son. He wept in private.  Joseph was experiencing sorrow and longing for this brother, where?  In his heart.

Exodus 28: 30 tells us that Aaron as priest bore the names of sons of Israel in his breastplate of judgement in the Holy place before God. The amplified bible defines judgement as the rights and the judicial decisions for the people.

I thought about holding something against or for another. Where do we hold it? In our hearts. Although Aaron’s breastplate was symbolic I believe it represents where these things come from, not our heads but our hearts.

The last scripture I looked at was Exodus 35:5 which talks of having a willing and generous heart to offer God our material wealth for His purposes and our obedience to Him. Where do these things come from? This verse tells us they come from our heart.

To my mind just these three scriptures alone confirm what scientists are discovering about the heart. In conclusion it seems to be that our hearts which we often refer to as the seat of our emotions is are very literally  just that.

In Galatians 5:22 we are told that the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith. God’s promises His Spirit will fill us as believer’s in Jesus Christ and change us as we seek Him to bear this fruit in our lives. It may take time but surely this offers the hope and deliverance we need from the symptoms of stress in our lives.

In answer to my own question as to whether an artificial heart is a good or a bad thing, my thinking is that in removing a human heart and replacing it with just a pump surely we would be deprived of a vital part of our humanity. How could we be fully human with no emotional input to guide our decisions and judgement, good or bad?

 

You may like to read the whole of chapter’s 1 & 2 to see where my ideas and information came from for yourself to see if you agree or disagree with my opinion. Scriptures are taken from The Aplified Bible. I hope you enjoy the article!