Bible Study Blog

Seek Ye First

Often, when I start to worry, the statement, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God,” pops into my head. I read a lot of different versions of the Bible, but when it comes to Christ’s words in Matthew 6:33, it is always the King James Version that comes to mind. However, it doesn’t matter what version that we remember, what matters is if we are doing what Christ told us to do.

The first step, though, is to figure out what He meant by seeking the Kingdom of God first in our lives instead of worrying. I will be honest; I have been asking myself for years what it really means to seek His Kingdom first. I have finally come up with my own ideas and thoughts. 

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From Pain to Praise

The other day, I was reading a thankfulness journal that I have. I am actually supposed to do it daily, but I forget sometimes. However, the other day, I remembered, and it asked, “When have you seen God use suffering for good?” It was in reference to Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (NAS).

I thought about the question for a while. I know that there are many circumstances in my life where a trial worked for good. I also know a few people that have taken a tragedy and turned it into something beautiful. 

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The Santa Meme

Memes are usually thought of as an image, usually of a celebrity or funny child, accompanied with a phrase of comedic or social value. They are spread via social media services, email, and texts generally for fun. Some of these memes become very popular and are known to spread virally. The term originates from a scientific theory Richard Dawkins proposed in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. It was a way to describe the evolution of ideas in society. The Wikipedia describes it as “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture—often with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme.” 

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A Legacy

When I think of leaving a legacy, I think of famous historical figures that made a splash on the world like a stone hitting the water leaving ripples that still affect societies long past their deaths. These people are the ones that we learn about in school. We read their histories, maybe even books written by them, and we think how awesome it would be to go back in time to meet them. In addition, some of us wish we could be like them, be it to imitate their bravery, intelligence, wit, or any other character trait that enthralls us. However, can we leave a “legacy” also? Maybe not one that is written in the secular books of the future, but one that still leaves ripples that last so long that generations after us do not even realize were made by our lives.

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Non-playable Characters

Video games have been a part of my life since I was very young. I remember playing pong on a television when I was five then later playing computer games and consoles as they technologically advanced through the decades. One of my most memorable game experiences was playing the Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo NES. This was one of the first games where the player could explore an open world and interact with various characters. These non-playable characters (NPCs) would have very simple preprogrammed dialogue. If you interacted with one more than once they usually would repeat the same phrases over and over. There was one unusual character that kept repeating the phrase “I AM ERROR.”

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Fret Not

It is that time of year that I honestly can’t wait until it is over, election time. I am not going to go political here at all, but I do want to point out some things that happen every time it is an election year. On all sides, there is a lot of anger, name calling, lying, extreme negativity, chaos, etc. The main thing that occurs is fear. Everyone is afraid that the person they think should win may not. It is the one common denominator for people no matter what party they belong to. Fear of who is going to win the election. What is sad is I see this fear even amongst Christians. 

Yet, I have to remind myself, why do we Christians become afraid during the elections? Don’t we know that God is in control? Or does our faith falter when it is election time? You may not agree with me, but in my opinion the Bible makes it clear that God is the one who allows whomever to be in power (Psalms 75:6-7 and Romans 13:1-2)

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Hearing God's Voice

Do a search about hearing God’s voice and you will find a number of things. First, there are numerous articles that offer advice from Scripture and opinion on how to hear His voice. I skimmed a few of these articles and found that many of them would ultimately include advice about hearing an inner voice speaking to us. A search will also find numerous people of varying degrees of popularity that believe they hear daily revelations from God. They are usually eager to share those messages and want you to hear them.

Hypothetically, if I were to tell you that I audibly hear God’s voice speak to me, you would most likely conclude that I was suffering from a mental disorder. There is no evidence that God is currently audibly speaking to His servants. But it is much easier to accept that God speaks to us and others internally. 

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The Added Law

In our weekly Bible Study in the Tyler church we have been discussing the Letter to the Galatians. Paul is pretty clear in this letter that we cannot earn our salvation from keeping God’s law. He explains that God’s promises were always a result of faith. It has never been God’s plan for man to receive justification from the law. He tells us “the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (Galatians 3:8-9).

Because of this emphasis, many have mistakenly believed that Paul was opposed to the law of God. Galatians is often used by some to say that Christians no longer have an obligation to keep the law. Others say that it shows that the law has been completely done away. 

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What is Sin?

What is sin to you? Is it possible to figure out this question without looking at God’s Word? Is it possible to fully understand sin without God’s law? The Bible states that sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). Transgression means to break or violate a law. So, if sin is the transgression of the law, yet supposedly the law of God was nailed to the cross, then how are Christians supposed to behave?

The truth is, Jesus didn’t do away with His law, and please destroy the misconception that the Law of God is somehow only for the Jews. It is never called the law of Judah. It is called the Law of God. God gave His law, His statutes, His commandments, His truth, to all of Israel and for all foreigners that wanted to live within Israel (Exodus 12:49).

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The Distinction Between God’s Mercy and Grace

We usually think of mercy and grace as the same thing, but there is an important distinction. I’ll give you a personal example to illustrate this. Several years ago I was pulled over for speeding. I was on a four lane divided highway early in the morning driving a very reasonable speed of 55 mph. Unfortunately for me the legal speed was 30 mph. There is a terrible feeling that accompanies the flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror. That feeling for me embodies the terror of paying several hundred dollars for a speeding ticket and thousands of dollars in increased car insurance premiums. A mistake like this could be very costly. I was pretty afraid.

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All-Inclusive

I want to share a theme that keeps going on in my head that started at the Feast of Tabernacles this year. It deals with the question of how welcoming are we to outsiders, new believers, or people we come into contact with that are not part of our circle of friends? Are the places that we fellowship welcoming/hospitable? How welcoming are our Feast sites if someone just happened to show up from off the street because they just so happened to either see a sign about it or an advertisement? Are we showing the world that we are all-inclusive? Are we ready for new people to come into our fellowships and circle of friends?

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False Witness

When we think of the Ninth Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” we usually put it in the context of not lying. Most of us agree that lying is an awful trait and that it usually leads to negative consequences in our life. I can attest from personal experience this is a fact. As could most of you reading this article. It is a universal value that we find in every culture and religion around the world. So what makes God’s commandment to “not bear false witness” unique? Is it just restating the obvious?

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Be Your Best

When I was a child I believed that I would live a long life. I believed that death happened mainly to old people, even though I knew that sometimes children died. My brother lost two great friends when he was a kid, but I thought that the death of children was few and rare. I would look at my parents, who at the time I thought were so old, which is very ironic because I am older than they were at that time, and I would say, surely I will live to be their age. I would also look at my grandparents and my great-grandparents and think; well, I definitely should live to their ages. Given I was very young and, yes, very naive.

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Negativity Epidemic

I doubt I’m the only one that has noticed how negative society is, at least here in the U.S. I understand that we all do not need to agree, but it is amazing how it seems that even positive stories on the news can take a negative spin because the newscaster may not like whatever or whoever they are covering. I do realize that the media is not a place to go if you want to hear good positive current events, but it would be nice if people would cease and desist from participating in the negativity epidemic.

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The Instruction Manual

Last year, I wrote the Feast lessons for CGI for both young kids and teens, and one of my favorite lessons was called Read the Manual. It has actually stuck with me. I have to give God credit because I believe He gave me the creativity and words to write those lessons. I had never undertaken a project like that from start to finish using just my imagination. So, let me give credit where credit is due because I am not at all going to brag about my writing. The lesson’s point was you can’t do things without reading the manual, reading the instructions. So, how do we expect to go through life without reading our “instruction manual”?

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Take A Break

Have you ever felt like you were constantly busy? I have been so busy that I can’t believe it is already the end of August, that the Feast is just four weeks away, and I need to get school started. Where did the summer go? 

I sometimes wonder why I am always so busy because sometimes it feels like I’m just running around in circles like a hamster on its wheel. I don’t like being busy all the time because it feels like I am missing out on so much in my life. 

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Work of Art

Here lately, I have been learning a lot of new skills. I am realizing that the only one who limits me is myself, and I have found that I am more capable of learning things than I ever imagined. It seems that the more I step out of my comfort zone, the more God helps me to accomplish. I imagine we all are more capable of more than we think because we serve a God that can give us the grace we need to succeed. He can do all things, even impossible things. We can’t do all things, but with Him we can. I think He enjoys stretching us, so that we realize what all He can do through us if we let Him.

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Get Up

Sometimes life can figuratively knock the breath out of you. Trials can come in an avalanche rolling you down the hill that you were just about to conquer, leaving you breathless, stunned, hurt, and bewildered at the bottom on the ground covered with piles of “snow” on top of you preventing you from standing back up. At this time, all you really want to do is ball up in a “fetal position” and give up trying.

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You See Me

I am rereading the Bible. It is fascinating how many times I have read Genesis, yet I always notice something “new.”  I am realizing that the Word of God is a living thing because of the fact that I can learn something no matter how many times I may have read the same scriptures. I am thinking that maybe I notice “new” things when I reread because they are then applicable to my life at that moment.

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