Saturday, September 8, 2012

It started back in Sunday School

I had one very special Sunday school teacher I shall never forget. I can't pinpoint what exactly it was, but I never wanted her Sunday school class to end.  I was happy right where I was. I don't remember her name, or even her face, but I do remember it was in her class I first learned the names of the books of the Bible. She made it fun and interesting to learn them. It would be many, many years later when I would come across another Sunday school class where I again learned so many exciting things in the Bible. Just like a child again, I never wanted that class to end.

Memorizing the names and placement of the books of the Bible has come in handy when I listen to any Bible teacher or preacher. When they reference to a certain scripture in the Bible I could flip to that book and scripture pretty quickly. I've never needed page labels to locate Leviticus or 1Timothy or Micah.

The Bible is God's written Word

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As I grew slowly in knowledge of what the Bible was about as a whole, it all started to come together and make sense. My Bible knowledge came over a period of almost twenty years, so I might be called a slow learner, but I'm eager and ready for the Holy Spirit to reveal to me so much more.

To me, it has been thrilling learning more in depth of the importance about the stories of Noah and the Ark; Abraham and Sarah; Joseph; Moses and the parting of the Red Sea and the Ten Commandments;  Samson and Delilah;  Jonah and the Whale; David; Solomon; Esther; Ruth; John the Baptist; Jesus walking on water,  feeding thousands of people with just 5 loaves of bread and 5 fish; Jesus being born in a manger with animals and shepherds around; Jesus nailed to a cross, are just to name a few. These stories and people tell of how God worked in the lives of people to fulfill his purpose no matter the mistakes they made. And that's true even today.  And the one who made no mistake and whom God was well pleased, whom was and is his Son, Jesus, the Christ.

A lamb

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From memorizing the books of the Bible to learning more of what's written within the books, I've become more enlightened and knowledgeable of the significance of these stories and God's Word for us and His wonderful plan of salvation for man.

 Here are the 18+ major highlights I've learned since being a student of the Lord.

*The Bible is no ordinary book. It has been sustained through the ages and penned by different men over centuries by the tempting of the Holy Spirit.  All the books together tell of a continuation of stories of God's people, leading up to the birth of the long awaited Messiah, (every book in the old testament tells of something about the Messiah), then, the miraculous birth of Jesus, then his life
and ministry, and after Jesus ascended into the heavens, the Bible tells the story of the spread of
 'the church' throughout the world.

*God chose many men to pen the books of the Bible over many centuries. There couldn't possibly
be one person to witness and write all that the Bible tells.  To make a testimony more believable,
the more people to collaborate a story, the more a testimony or story is believable. The scriptures were guided by the Holy Spirit working through the authors who wrote the books. We have a
written account from more than one man, written and recorded over centuries of time of the stories God wants us to know of his people, his faithfulness, his love and his statutes.

Mt. Sinai at sunset

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*The Old Testament gives history of the beginning and how man became full of pride and drifted away from God. God placed the Hebrew tribe of Levi as those to carry out the taking of offerings to be sacrificed that God demanded to purge sin- the shedding of blood for forgiveness. This was of a blemish-less animal for the time being. This was necessary, but only until the Messiah was to come
to free God's people.  God's law was impossible to live up to- for no man or woman could ever be perfect or be sinless. Some interpreted it too strictly and forgot that God did not want that, He
wants man to depend upon Him, not try to be perfect. Man can't be perfect due the sin nature
passed down to all humans from the first man and woman's disobedience. Adam and Eve were deceived and chose to disobey God when they chose to do something that was prideful, selfish,
and in direct disobedience to God's word to them.

How sin entered into the world

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*The Old Testament books tell of prophets and stories of people who were faithful and of those
who were unfaithful, selfish and greedy and did not listen to the prophets. Within each book, the stories and each subsequent generation from Adam leading up Abraham, then Isaac, Jacob and
down through the line of David and so forth. God wanted his people to trust Him, rely upon him
and worship him. God remained faithful, but the Hebrew people wined a lot and forgot the
wondrous things God did and his promises and instead wanted to go back into bondage and even worship man-made images and idols.  Every time the Jewish people cried to God for help, God
saved them. God never failed them. They failed God.
But a few always remained faithful and God blessed them richly.

a replica of the Ark of the Covenant

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*God takes ordinary people who are faithful and willing, and uses them to do extraordinary things.

*Man, unknowledgable to the things of the Spirit, would rather listen to the evil one, just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden. But still, the devil couldn't keep 'The One' who was to come and bruise
 his head from being born, or be killed, nor could he get Jesus to succumb to temptation and sin, or from being the one whom God was well-pleased.

*Satan used to be a beautiful angel. But when Lucifer desired to be worshiped and be like god himself, God expelled him from the heavens and now Satan, the evil angel, the adversary, is
destined to the Lake of Fire. He reigns as the master of lies and deception, and makes it his job to deceive those who are not keen to his tricks to get them to turn from God, as he has.  He knows
your weaknesses and uses his powers to make you fall for his lies to lead you away from the truth
of God's Word. He wants to destroy your future and take you from all God has for you because he's
a sore loser. Before Jesus, because of sin, man's destiny was spiritual death . Jesus foiled Satan's
plan because Jesus now holds the keys to life and death, so, Jesus alone is the One whom belongs
all praise, honor and glory. Satan wants that and will try to get it by deception, lying and setting up his own makeshift kingdom to make himself a god. That's what he wants. But there is only one
God, and it is not Satan, aka, Lucifer. Jesus has won spiritual victory for us.

*The New Testament is about the coming of the Lord, the Messiah and his life and death and the church.  John the Baptist was a 'voice' telling of Jesus' forthcoming-he was a messenger who said, 'he's coming, he's coming'. Then when Jesus arrived, John the Baptist said, 'here he is'.

*Jesus was born supernaturally of the Holy Spirit to virgin woman, named Mary. Joseph married Mary and was Jesus' earthly father and he did what was told of him by angels to keep Jesus
protected from those wanting to kill him.

The Son of God, our Messiah was born in a manger

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*Jesus, at an early age, amazed the elders with his wisdom of Godly knowledge. Then he began
his amazing ministry which Paul and some of Jesus's disciples recorded for us to read.

The Middle East

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*The good news of the gospel spread by word of mouth of miraculous healings and miracles
Jesus performed, and later by his disciples, and by Saul, a devout Jew, who used to kill
Christians, but became a believer after his encounter with the Lord, and renamed Paul.

*In spite of all that was foretold of how the coming Messiah was going to come, etc. Jesus met
every prophesy, yet people doubted and they still doubt. These things about Jesus sounds unlikely
to have happened, but there are recorded eye-witnesses other than the authors of the Bible.  The
Jews wanted their Messiah to be a warrior or someone to free them from the Romans.  But the Messiah conquered more than that.  But the Jews and much of the world today have yet to
believe that. The Messiah came to save man from spiritual death. He was the perfect sacrificial
Lamb through which Man might be redeemed back into good graces with God. No more animal sacrifices. Jesus bridged the gap between God and Man separated by sin. Jesus was the Lamb of
 God- being part-human, part-God, the perfect sacrifice God accepted. Any person can accept
God's free gift by faith and be firmly assured their sins would be forgiven.

A Roman coin

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*God, the Word, the Holy Spirit, are all Spirit. God sent a part of himself to us to be our ransom
 so our 'dead spirits' could become 'alive' and have spiritual life forever. That spring of living
waters and everlasting life is found in and though Jesus, and Jesus alone.

*The Bible is full of jewels of wisdom and knowledge. You can read the words and it not make
any sense. That's because it's a holy book and not until your spirit is made 'alive', all you will see
 are printed words on paper. Once you ask Jesus into your heart and accept him as your Lord and Savior, your spirit becomes 'alive' and you will begin to see the Bible come alive and the stories
 begin to have rich meaning and wisdom. Each time you ask God to open your spiritual eyes a bit more, he reveals a bit more in his Word. Only God can do that, and only Jesus can stand in for
you, paying the price owed for your sins.

Flag of Israel

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*Bible stories tell of the grand story of God's unconditional love to us all. God does not force
anyone or make anyone do anything. The choice is yours to make- either you choose to be with
Him or against Him.  So you're either for God, or for the fallen angel called Satan, who is the
god of this world.  God could force you to make your choice, but that's not of his loving character.  God knows to be made to do something your heart isn't into is not loving. God wants you to freely choose to come and love him, not force you to.

*The Bible is for spiritual growth and knowledge and to know the mind of God through the life
of Jesus. No other book can do that. People can reference the Bible, but the Bible is a
one-of-a-kind special living book, a holy book. But to those whose spirit has not been awakened
by the Holy Spirit, mysteries and the wonders of the Bible are scrambled, and the Bible to them is nothing more than some old book on the shelf.


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*I've learned that God is a good God. I've learned faith has to be tested in order to grow. I've
learned that with Jesus, I have nothing to fear, for He is faithful. I've learned that the Holy Spirit
is my counselor and I need to spend time in the Word and be quiet to hear his gentle voice.

*And, lastly, I've learned that God is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscience, and Holy. He is Spirit.
He always has been, and always will be. He is not 'the man' upstairs. And, God loves you and I
so much that he sent his Son to die for us so we can have spiritual life for all times.

I know there so much more the Holy Spirit wants to teach me. I'm grateful to all my Sunday
school teachers, and all with the gift of teaching and are using their gifting to teach about the
many wonders found in the Bible.

I would like to hear from you of what you've taken specially to heart from the Bible, God's Holy Word.

Until next time,
I'm keeping on that straight and narrow path, with the Son as my guide.

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