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Author Topic: SHARING BIBLE VERSES  (Read 151011 times)
Joe Sperling

« Reply #330 on: April 08, 2009, 12:48:00 am »

"My soul is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; 
I tell myself my future is lost, all that I hoped for from the LORD.
The thought of my homeless poverty is wormwood and gall; 
Remembering it over and over leaves my soul downcast within me.

But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope:
The favors of the LORD are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; 
They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness".
(Lam. 3:18-22)

It's interesting to see how the prophet Jeremiah states:  "I tell myself my future
is lost".  And no doubt his emotions were very real. The verses are a statement of
a very depressed and afflicted person. His natural tendency is to drift into negative and
hopeless thinking. He tells himself every thing is worthless and lost.

But then he states:  "I WILL call this to mind, as my reason to have hope".  He does what
we see David do so much in the Psalms.  He literally forces himself, due to his downcast
heart, to REMEMBER the Lord and HIS MERCIFUL CHARACTER. He combats the negative
feelings that overwhelm him with the remembrance of who God is, and meditates on that in-

Our natural tendency is to drift into a downcast heart due to our circumstances.  And we are
ALL like that (some more than others of course). And The Lord knows that. Praise God that his mercies are new every morning---ever willing to forgive, ever willing to cheer us on, ever willing to lift us up!  Great is His faithfulness to us!  Often, we just need to get up, shake ourselves off, and start over again. And the Lord is right there cleansing us, and interceding for us.  "There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother".
« Last Edit: April 08, 2009, 01:22:41 am by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #331 on: April 22, 2009, 05:04:40 am »

"Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them". (Hebrews 7:25)

I mentioned this verse just recently, but it has really stuck with me since then.  The verse
mentions "us" and it mentions "Jesus".  And what can a stumbling, mumbling, grumbling person
like me do to be saved?  Absolutely nothing. All I can do is "come to God through Jesus" and admit my sinfulness, weakness, pride, and inability to do anything. And what will God do? He is "able to save me completely" (The KJV says "to the uttermost") as a result.

And why?  Because of my faithfulness and moral character? Because of my striving and good works? No.  It's because Jesus "always lives to intercede for me".  I mentioned Peter before. Peter denied the Lord.  Why did he repent and return?  Because Peter was a very moral person? Because Peter was a good-hearted guy who saw how wrong he was? No.  Peter repented and returned because "Jesus prayed for him that his faith would not fail". Jesus KNEW Peter was going to deny him----but because Jesus prayed for him he did not utterly fall like Judas did.

Sometimes we are tempted after a particularly long streak of being really "good"   Grin  to think God is looking down and saying "Boy, that Joe sure is a faithful, good guy. Look how he strives, look how hard he works. Because he is doing such a good job, I'll continue to love him". But then, as we are all prone to do at times, we fall.  Now, we are tempted to think God is looking down and thinking "Boy, that Joe used to be a faithful, good guy. He used to strive, and work really hard at being good. When he gets back to being a good person again, I'll love him more also".

Sounds stupid---but some of us are prone to think that way.  Smiley  We need to remember that Jesus prayed for Peter BEFORE he even denied him.  Satan wanted to "sift Peter" and Jesus said "I HAVE prayed for you that your faith fail not".  That is important to see.  Jesus ALREADY KNOWS how and when we are going to fail. He saved us DESPITE what he already knew about us, and what we were going to do.

The Father doesn't love us because of what we do, or how faithful we are-----He loves us because of WHO WE ARE IN JESUS.  It's hard sometimes to see that and remember it--we are so prone to self-condemnation. That is why God gave us Romans 8:1 "There is therefore NO CONDEMNATION to them who ARE IN CHRIST JESUS".  We may "feel" condemned, but God assures us WE ARE NOT.  The Father looks to the Son, and the Son is interceding for us weak, stumbling sheep---and because of that alone----WE CANNOT FAIL. If it were left to me I'd run headlong into hell, and I know it.  But I CANNOT FAIL, because Jesus is "always interceding for me". Like Peter, I may stumble and fall.  But I can be assured, because Jesus prays, I will get up again, and finally reach my final destination.

What a comforting, wonderful reality---Jesus is interceding for us.  Even at this very moment we are all in his prayers. "Know ye not that it is the goodness of God that leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4)
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 07:59:37 pm by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #332 on: April 30, 2009, 02:20:39 am »

"There was reclining on Jesus' breast one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved". (NASB) John 13:23

"As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.  She had a sister named Mary (who) sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak". (Luke 10:38,39)

Take a moment today and kneel down beside your bed if you can, or simply bow your head. Lay aside the cares and worries of the world for a couple of minutes. Think about Jesus on the shoreline, calling out to his disciples in the boat to "come and dine", or calming the wind and the sea.  Think of who Jesus is, and how much he really loves you.  It is that fellowship with Jesus that really makes us Christians. Do we desire to BE WITH HIM?

If we do, we can know that desire did not originate with us.  "We love him because he first loved us".

Imagine, John the Apostle, "reclining on Jesus' breast". Jesus is very God of God and very man of man. He is the infinite Creator of the Universe, the Word of God, the King of Heaven. Yet he allows a lowly fisherman to lean on his breast!

It is truly an amazing thought!  And what is even more amazing?  He asks us and yearns for us to do the same.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 02:24:41 am by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #333 on: May 08, 2009, 04:23:51 am »

"Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in kindness.
God does not always rebuke, nurses no lasting anger,   
Has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our deeds deserve.
As the heavens tower over the earth, so God's love towers over the faithful.
As far as the east is from the west, so far have our sins been removed from us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on the faithful.
For he knows how we are formed, remembers that we are dust"
. (Ps. 103 ESV)

The above verses are very beautiful and SO comforting!  But I also have to laugh because I can remember at times in "condemnation mode" where I could find things even in these verses that would actually bring me down! Unbelievable, but true.  Smiley  But when you're on a mission of self-condemnation, you can find something negative in just about any verse!  Cheesy

I say "condemnation mode" because many gracious hearts suffer from time to time with that type of thinking. And when I say "gracious hearts" I mean a sincere believer in Jesus Christ, who knows Grace, but somehow can't seem to grasp it's real meaning and teaching ---and these hearts are sometimes prone to think the VERY WORST about themselves and their spiritual condition.  The Puritans often called the true believer in Christ a "gracious heart" because the Holy Spirit lives within the believer.

We read "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion..." and so far so good, but then we see the last three words "..on the faithful" (The KJV says "has pity on them "that fear Him") and we cringe.  We think "Yes--the Lord has compassion, but "on the faithful"  and alas, we conclude, "but I'm not faithful".  But that is one thing about the gracious heart-----it NEVER feels it has been faithful ENOUGH to God.

I can remember collapsing in prayer and saying "I want to say I love you Lord, but I CAN'T----how could someone who fails constantly, and does the stuff I do LOVE YOU??"  For a long period of time I would never say "I love you Lord" because I would judge my own actions and think there was no way I could REALLY LOVE GOD if I DID the things I did.   Because Jesus said "He who loves me keeps my commandments", I was SURE I didn't love Jesus because I constantly seemed to be breaking them!  I remember this so clearly and wanted to share it in case anyone else might feel that way. I'm sure it will ring a bell with some.   Grin

Then one time in the midst of all of this inner complaining at my worthlessness and failures the thought came to mind clearly:  "If you don't love Me, then why are you so grieved about your lack of love for me?  If you don't fear me, then why does that apparent lack of fear distress you so much? If you didn't love me or fear me you wouldn't even care if you did or not.  The very fact you do care so deeply about what you lack spiritually shows you do love and fear me." (paraphrase)

I began to realize that when it says that he has compassion "on the faithful", or "them that fear him", he isn't talking about a list of "faithful things" someone has done that makes them "faithful"----but upon a heart he himself  has entered and changed. Who are the "faithful"?   A person can be very "religious" and perform many "duties" and not be "faithful" at all. Why? Because "faithfulness" is the intent of the heart. Faithfulness is an attitude of heart, which can actually appear at times in a heart so unhappy about it's spiritual failures that all it can do is cry.  Not that it is good to stay there in that condition, but the point is, faithfulness is a desire and an intent of heart far more than a list of things someone has "accomplished for God" in their legalistic endeavors.

When one cries out to God for what they lack in sincerity or love, and cry out to God to "create in me a clean heart", the Holy Spirit Himself has created that desire.  When we sing the song "Oh come all ye faithful" is it  referring to those who went to 4 different studies during the week, a prayer meeting, passed out 5 gospel tracts, and fed the homeless at a shelter?   Grin   If someone has done all of those things in great thankfulness and joy, great!  Wink

But there are some though who see the "faithful" in that hymn, as some separate, higher, group of Christians, and they like to sing it this way: (sing to the tune of "Oh come all ye faithful):

"Oh come Elite faithful
We're not like other Christians
We suffer, while they do almost nothing at all.

Come and adore us, we are all so bro-o-ken.
Oh come ye and adore us, oh come ye and adore us,
Oh come ye and adore u-us, the fai-aith-ful ones".             Grin

But in reality---it is a call to those whom God himself has "touched"--even the most miserable, self-condemning, self-loathing failure in their own eyes, may be considered "faithful" to God! Because the sorrow for sin and desire to be more faithful has been planted by the Spirit Himself. None of us can be "faithful" to God on our own!  As God said to Samuel  "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart". 
« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 08:04:42 pm by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #334 on: May 15, 2009, 12:38:17 am »

"Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned" (Rom. 5:12)

I wanted to share something I was thinking about, and hope I can explain it clearly.  One argument many use when resisting the Gospel is to say that not everyone can be guilty just because one man sinned (Adam). "How can I be guilty for something Adam did?" they ask.  And I have to admit I have struggled with that concept at times, as I am sure everyone has also.  In the verse above it says "inasmuch as all sinned".  "Sinned" is in past tense, equating ALL OF US with what Adam did (read the verse carefully above).

But a thought came to me I'd like to share----perhaps others have shared similar things--I don't know, because this thought came clearly to mind just recently.  Imagine if you will a RUBIKS CUBE (I use this as an example because one can easily picture it in one's mind---a large cube made up up many smaller cubes of different colors).  This CUBE is actually a cube made up of many other cubes. It cannot be a CUBE unless all of the other smaller cubes fit together to complete it. If one of the smaller ones is missing, it is not a total CUBE. It is not a RUBIKS CUBE unless ALL of the smaller cubes are in place.

Now----imagine Adam, freshly created.  When God created Adam he saw also several billion other "adams" that made up the larger Adam--just as the cube mentioned above.  He saw billions of "adams"(both men and women of course--adam desginating "mankind") within him---that would come from out of him, generation after generation, as Adam followed the command to "be fruitful and multiply".  Adam was Adam---just as a Rubik's Cube is a full Cube--but just as the CUBE is made up of many smaller cubes, so was Adam made up of all men that would ever come out of him during the duration of time.

God has a purpose.  We do not know how MANY men and women God considered COMPLETE in Adam.  Perhaps before he fell it was infinite--we just don't know.  But after he fell it is obvious God limited the number of sinful men that would come forth from Adam to a SPECIFIC NUMBER only He knows.  And when that number of men is reached, and also the number who will be saved, then Christ will return.

To complete the picture----imagine this RUBIKS CUBE as a living entity, tested, and then failing, "sinning" and falling.  That would mean that EVERY smaller cube within the larger Cube had sinned also---the FULL CUBE had sinned.  It is the same with Adam.  When Adam sinned and fell, EVERYONE who was "part" of him sinned also.  When one thinks of it (not to get too mystical) every smaller cube within the RUBIKS CUBE can be considered the CUBE ITSELF---because EVERY PART is needed to make the FULL CUBE.   So with Adam---EVERY ONE of us is in a sense "Adam" as we ALL make up Adam, as we ALL came from him. So, literally, when Adam fell, I fell too--because I was IN ADAM (just as the smaller cubes all make up the larger Cube).  And because Adam failed the test, there is NO WAY ANY OF US could have ever passed the test he went through.  We ALL failed the test when Adam failed the test. Therefore we ALL have "sinned" when Adam sinned.  Thank God that we can now be "IN CHRIST"!

I have most likely not explained my concept very well-----I can see it, and it helps me to understand it a bit better.  I don't mean to sound to mystlcal or cosmic, but if it helps queue the Twilight Zone music while reading the above.   Wink
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 12:47:01 am by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #335 on: May 20, 2009, 12:41:40 am »

"Philip said to him, "Master, show us the Father,  and that will be enough for us."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?"
(John 14:8,9)

" He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power". (Heb. 1:3)

Recently I have been watching some ministries on television.  There is one church, founded in the Philippines, which has intrigued me.  I have watched about (5) of their TV programs and in NONE OF THEM did they center on Jesus Christ himself.  Even more conspicuous was the absence of any teaching regarding THE CROSS.  They speak a lot about their church being the "correct church" to attend, and also talk a lot about good works, and dedication to God.  They focus on their importance as a church, but almost never mention the work of Jesus Christ on the cross . These people are sincere in their "efforts" to be good people however, they are MISSING the only way to salvation---and that is through Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross. It intrigues me how they can be "christians" but mention so little about Jesus or the cross!

I mention this, because this example serves as a reminder of where our FOCUS should be as Christians. The main attack of our enemy is the Person and Finished Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He always seeks to ADD to the finished work of the cross, or to SUBTRACT from it.  That is his main goal.  Because he knows that the cross is the only way to salvation.  He will even get us to focus on OUR OWN CROSS instead of the finished work of Christ ON the cross. He will seek to get us to look at what WE NEED TO DO, rather than what JESUS HAS ALREADY DONE, in an attempt to get us to look anywhere but at the cross, and the completeness found there.

He seeks to distract our focus away from Jesus.  The two verses above tell us that when we see Jesus, WE SEE WHO GOD THE FATHER IS. When our vision is blurred we may see God as a God of LAW--the God of Mount Sinai, exacting, judgmental, and demanding perfection. We forget that Jesus said that when we observe Him we observe the Father. When we remember who JESUS IS and turn our focus to Him, we remember the great forgiveness, love and mercy available to us THROUGH HIM.  When we see Jesus the SON we see the EXACT IMAGE of the FATHER (Heb. 1:3)

"If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1)

"...while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God". (Heb. 12:2)

If we see ourselves in our Christian walk focusing on our own faithfulness, a higher walk, steps to a more spiritual life, our church, etc., etc., rather than on Jesus himself, we need to get back on the right path.  For that other road will only lead to self-righteousness, self-judgment, or self-condemnation. For if we focus on Jesus alone all those other issues will fall into place. As we "lay aside every weight" and "look away unto Jesus" we remember that it is Grace alone that saved us, and Grace alone that will keep us.  One entangled in legalism, when refocusing on Jesus, heaves a great sigh of relief, and wonders how they ever got off the right path in the first place!  And when we look to the cross alone for salvation, and Jesus' finished work there, we cannot help but sing for joy, and erupt in thanksgiving!

We always need to keep a watchful eye---our adversary and his legions are always trying to get our focus off of the BREAD OF LIFE, THE TRUE VINE, THE GOOD SHEPHERD, THE WATER OF LIFE, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, and THE DOOR to salvation.  He seeks to warp who God is in our eyes, leading our focus away from Jesus, who is the exact representation of the Father.  He seeks to distract us into being good-hearted, hard-working "religious folk", concerned with ourselves, rather than joyful Christians saved by Grace, whose full focus is on Jesus and the work He has already done for us.  If he can get you to focus on what YOU NEED TO DO FOR GOD rather than what GOD HAS ALREADY DONE FOR YOU, he has accomplished his goal.  If he can warp your view of God, and get you to view the character of God as anything different than who Jesus is, he has accomplished his goal.   

We always need to return to the cross.  We need to remember that Jesus said "IT IS FINISHED". There is nothing we can do to add or subtract from the salvation freely given to us! We can never lose it! We need to remember Jesus resurrected from the dead, and is RIGHT NOW AT THIS VERY MOMENT INTERCEDING FOR US (Hebrews 7:25).

If we've lost our focus we need to run to Him alone! He is our advocate with the Father.  And who is the Father?  Jesus said that he who sees him sees the Father!  The Father is just as merciful as Jesus is! The Triune God is filled with mercy, forgiveness and Grace!  We can run boldly to the throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16) for full forgiveness and cleansing. We can ALWAYS run to the Lord Jesus. If our focus is anywhere else in our Christian walk, we need to "remember the first works and repent---and "return to our first love"---Jesus Himself.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2009, 04:58:17 am by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #336 on: May 21, 2009, 11:04:18 pm »

I was reading a very funny, well written comedy post on another thread, which
mimicked a "character" we all know well, using some very "lofty, spiritual" oration.
And I thought to myself "Man, I hope I don't sound like that in my posts!"  Cheesy
because I really don't intend to. I realize it is very easy to attempt to sound very spiritual, as though one is walking in the clouds, speaking to those less fortunate on the ground.  Grin

In sincerity I want to say that for several years after my "Assembly stint" I did not
walk with the Lord. I fell into a legalistic spiral of condemnation and guilt.  I had for-
gotten what a great friend the Lord Jesus is.  I know that the Lord is both Lord and
Master, but he is also the closest friend I have ever had.  So, what I am trying to say
in my posts is to just stay close to Him. Remember how merciful and loving He is, and how he is always just a prayer away.

I guess because I have gone through all of it and come back, I want to point fervently to the Lord Jesus and say--"run to Him!!"  That is really the total message I am always trying to convey.  The Bible says that when we go through hard times we are comforted, and then we desire (and hopefully are able, though very weakly at times) to comfort others with the same comfort we have received. As lofty and spiritual as one might attempt to sound at times, the real "answer" to everything is the Lord Jesus. I received Him many, many years ago, and He has been a faithful friend through it all---even when I was straying far away.

The greatest day of my life was the day a friend gave me the Gospel of John, and I read it, and was "born-again".  That day I became one of the richest people on earth! And I can't help but want to share some of those riches! "Taste and see that the Lord is good" is not just some lofty statement-----it is true as day! I pray that anyone walking "far off" from the Lord Jesus will turn back to Him---because He is so willing to heal and forgive.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 11:36:36 pm by Joe S » Logged
Mark C.

« Reply #337 on: May 23, 2009, 09:06:31 pm »

 Hi Joe,

  You sound nothing like the "character" on the other thread when you post (nice work Dave!  Grin).  What comes through to me is someone who has found the blessedness of the forgiveness of sins though being deceived in the past via a distortion of the truth.

  Your joy comes through the liberating verses and comments you share and I find great comfort in reading them.

  I think some of us have a very sensitive conscience where we are very aware of how sinful we are.  Those who don't share this deep inner conflict may have difficulty understanding it.  I think every Christian who reads the bible with any kind of honesty must have this struggle to some degree-- unless, we develop the ability to harden our hearts against it.

  There are many verses that can afflict the conscience with the heavy demands to "live-up" to a higher standard of moral accomplishment.  How do we balance the fact that Jesus is "Lord and Master" and still our "best friend?"  Is there an either-or kind of choice we need to make here?

  What has helped me is to reverse the Assembly emphasis that made God's part in our life very limited and conditioned on our own best efforts---- this most certainly is a prescription for either depression or hypocrisy.

   By seeing that the Gospel is a very, very large achievement that removes every single moral liability that not only I'm aware of, but that lives deep in my darkened humanity; I think this brings a correct balance into our soul.

  For those of us who feel our failures very deeply, and have a hard time just ignoring them, the damage from living under a "limited atonement" (not as Calvin taught this Wink) system are devastating.

  What of the danger of "easy believism" that can result in a lazy and shallow Christian kind of a life?

 It has been my personal experience that this refrain above is a means to divert my attention from the facts of what God actually did and is doing to bring me back to Him.

  It is not a "hard believism", where a believer is very disciplined and deep, that is the means to the Christian life but a simple faith in what God has done in Christ.  Any teaching that violates God's proclamation that "there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus", though it seems to appeal to a "higher" kind of life, is nothing more than a distortion of the truth.

                                                                                God Bless, Mark C.

Joe Sperling

« Reply #338 on: June 04, 2009, 09:14:21 pm »

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths
"(Prov. 3:5,6)

"O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it".
(Psalm 139:1-6)

Sometimes, whether we really realize it or not, we "fight" with God in our hearts. It's basically unbelief that we "allow" to have sway in our lives. "Where is the Lord?  Why doesn't he answer my prayers?"

We have all (especially mothers) had a time where we were dealing with a stubborn little 2 year old. They have a tendency to struggle against us when we go to pick them up during a 'tantrum', --they "go limp" in our arms, or lay down on the floor when you want to lift them up, or when you go to put them down they pull their legs up, and refuse to stay standing. They can be downright "ornery" or "cantankerous" at times! At the time it isn't funny at all, but we can laugh about it later.  Grin  Grin

Sometimes, we do the same when God is dealing with us. And what it comes down to many times is just a 'refusal' to ACKNOWLEDGE that God is really in control and intimately involved in our lives. We may not have any sensory or physical manifestation that God is "there", so we all have a tendency to doubt at times. But the very fact that we are questioning whether God is there or not should give us a clue that he does indeed have "his hand" upon our lives (as the psalmist says above). The reason God is so important to us, and so much in the forefront in our lives, is because his hand is upon us, and He is dealing with us as his own children.

We can struggle against him, go limp, or even refuse to stay standing, but he is still going to be there. So we might as well just "acknowledge" Him, and use the "gift of faith" he has given us (Eph. 2:8,9).  Smiley  As the psalmist says "you hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me" (v. 5 above). When you think of that it is really an amazing thing! God has laid his hand upon us--he has "hemmed us in" so to speak so that we can't travel too far away from Him.
He knows our thoughts and our ways. We struggle with faith at times, but that is when we need to stop for a moment and think "It may not FEEL like God is near right now--I may have no physical 'proof' of his existence--but the very fact I am questioning and struggling shows He is very present in my life--he has laid his hand upon me---and he's not going to let me go."

We have all heard that simple phrase "let Go and let God"----it is really a more contemporary  way of defining that familiar verse: "Be still and know that I am God".  But it is very true.  It is really the most simple lesson of the Christian walk----but in many ways the most difficult to maintain at times. Many times we just need to go back and simply "acknowledge" God--stop struggling and fussing--just acknowledge He is in control.  And He promises if we will just do that he "WILL direct our paths" (Prov. 3:6). 
« Last Edit: June 04, 2009, 09:54:09 pm by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #339 on: June 10, 2009, 08:34:49 pm »

"Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
He said, "Come." Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
(Matt. 14:28-31)

Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No."
So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. 
The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish
.(John 21:5-8)

A ancient manuscript was recently found that appears to be the original wording for the highlighted (bold) area above in John 21.  Apparently John had originally told the "tale" of Peter this way, then thought differently about it and changed it, as the below version is not found in the newer manuscripts:

"When Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his garment, and decided to take another shot at 'walking on water'. As he left the boat he sank immediately, and began flailing about. We other disciples did all the rowing, bringing the boat to shore. The boat was quite heavy due to the fish, but luckily the shore was only a hundred yards away. Peter washed up on shore a short while later". (John 21:7)

Of course, this translation does not really exist.  Wink  But I had to laugh while reading John 21----did Peter indeed think he might be able to walk on water once again, so he "jumped into the sea"? Was he recalling his earlier "attempt" at this as shown in Matthew above? First, Peter and the others tried to catch fish "themselves" and were unsuccessful, then Peter tries once again to walk on water "himself" and falls in.  It's actually a very funny sight when you think about it.  Cheesy

The reminder here in John 21 has to do with thinking we can do it all ourselves. They had "fished all night" and hadn't caught a thing.  Then Jesus tells them to cast the net to the other side of the boat and there are so many fish it is incredible!  It's a good example of what we see many times in Christian work.  Men come up with "ideas" of how to save souls, but hardly anyone comes to the Lord.  Because the Lord has to tell us where to cast the nets.  The Spirit Himself must be the guide--not us with our "efforts" and "ideas".  All of us at times think we can almost "walk on water" when we get hyped up enough about "serving God".  Grin   The Lord does want us to be "fishers of men"--we need to get in the boat and get out on the water-----but---The Lord needs to be the one who tells us where to cast the net!  Smiley  So we need to pray that the Lord will open the doors, and direct our paths (Prov. 3:5,6).

« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 09:01:18 pm by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #340 on: June 16, 2009, 09:03:57 pm »

"We love him, because he first loved us". (1 John 4:19)
"....but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and destitute elemental powers? Do you want to be slaves to them all over again?" (Galatians 4:9)

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own". (Phil. 3:12)
"Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy". (Heb. 10:23)

It's interesting how we always want to center on what WE "have to do" to love God more, or to know God more, or to move ahead victoriously in the Christian life.  Yet each of the verses above show that every action on our part is BECAUSE OF an action on GOD'S PART FIRST.  We can become so fearful at times that "we're not going to make it", or "we're going to fail or fall" and that's because we are relying on ourselves---our own faithfulness, our own victoriousness, etc. as a barmometer of acceptance with God---and when we do that we will ALWAYS come up short.

In the last verse listed above it says to "hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope"---and why?  Because if we don't we are failures? Or because if we do not waver we show how great and filled with faith we are? No-----we can walk without wavering only because "he who made the promise is trustworthy".  No matter how much we might fail---his promise will NEVER fail.  It's not how much we hold onto God that keeps us from wavering----it is realizing how much God is already holding onto us that keeps us from wavering. 

Sometimes we can forget what faith really is.  Is it our striving, and our effort, and our attempts at staying faithful? Is faith how much we hold onto God? Or is faith really the opposite?  Is it letting go and realizing  HOW POWERFUL GOD'S GRIP IS UPON US?  Is it "trying" not to waver in our walk, or is it realizing "He is faithful that promised"? Is faith based on something we DO, or on something God has already done for us? Faith is not really based on how much we trust, but on how faithful God and His promises are!!  It is always important to remember that.

"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand". (John 10:28,29)

Our hold on God is not what is important---it is His hold on us.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 12:03:31 am by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #341 on: July 11, 2009, 12:48:42 am »

"Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them". (Heb. 7:25)

This verse continually blesses me--I think about the verse a lot.  Should we ever be tempted to think that God doesn't care about us, or isn't concerned about us, we need to remember that He Himself placed his own Son in the heavens to represent us, and pray for us continually.  And often we are plagued by our own failures, and weaknesses. But Jesus is there immediately to pray for us----  "_________ (put your name here) failed badly today, but I died for them and love them. Forgive them Father as I have already paid the price for what they have done".  It is truly an amazing thing to consider and keep in your heart.  We have a High Priest continually praying for us and watching over us--when we think about this seriously and realize that it is indeed true, it brings a comfort that cannot be put into words.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 05:19:59 am by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #342 on: July 16, 2009, 12:52:49 am »

"For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out". (Ezek. 34:11)

This verse comes from an area of Ezekiel speaking of the restoration of Israel, but God is also talking
about his love for individual believers also.  It's funny how we believe many times we are searching and seeking for God and cannot seem to find Him.  But the very reason we are searching and seeking is becaue He has BEGUN that yearning in us by searching and seeking for us first.

"And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you
". (Psalm 9:10)

The reason the Lord has not forsaken those who seek him is that the very reason THEY ARE
seeking Him in the first place is because HE IS SEEKING THEM.  No matter what state we are
in, if we have a desire towards God--we can know he is seeking us and loves us.
Joe Sperling

« Reply #343 on: July 18, 2009, 12:43:16 am »

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Phil. 3:20,21 ESV)

Imagine if you were an ambassador to another country, and you lived there as a representative of
the U.S.A. for 10 years?  Over time you might grow so accustomed to the other country that you
might have to remind yourself from time to time that you are an American, and you need to act like
one, and represent the country of your heritage as you are being asked to do.

The same thing happens to us as Christians for sure. We grow accustomed to the world, and at times
the world can totally consume us----we begin to forget that we were born-again and are no longer citizens of the world, but citizens of Heaven! And we are "occupying" here in what is really a fierce battle between good and evil, and awaiting the return of Jesus Christ from Heaven, who is not only returning, but will transform us, and give us  bodies like His own!

We are prone to get caught up with the world's worries, our doubts, etc. etc., and we forget where our citizenship lies, and that there really is a battle going on in the spiritual realm all around us. So we need to shake off the world, and take a cold shower so to speak---and wake up!   Grin Grace is literally being poured out upon us by God---we are His sons and daughters. Our citizenship is in Heaven.  Take fifteen minutes today and read Revelation 21 and 22. That's OUR future home!   Smiley

« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 12:45:16 am by Joe S » Logged
Joe Sperling

« Reply #344 on: July 22, 2009, 08:37:06 pm »

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:3 ESV)

In the mornings I usually get up, take a shower, and then iron my clothes for the day. I should
really do it the night before as it would save so much time, but I'm an idiot, so what can I say?

Anyway, this morning I started ironing.  It has been extremely hot here in southern California, and the sun was already beating on me through the window. The sweat literally began to drip off my forward and run into my eyes. I kept wiping it away, with drops falling onto the pants I was ironing. I began to get "perturbed" (to say the least LOL).  "Man, it's so $#%$#$  hot!!!" I said in a rather vocal manner. Of course, I immediately regretted it, but it just shows how irritated I had become. I'm normally so spiritual I don't say things like that---in fact, I hadn't sinned for 5 years before that outbreak.  Grin

Then it struck me.  About two steps away, in the same room, is a large adjustable fan, with several settings from "low" to "high".  I could have simply turned the thing on, set it on "high" and let it blow on me while I ironed.

"Where is he going with this utterly stupid story"? you may be asking.  Well--it struck me later that often as Christians we do the very same thing. We complain about our lives, events in our lives, feelings of frustration, our emotions, etc. etc.----yet God says he has ALREADY blessed us with everything we need spiritually!!  Like the stupid fan I mentioned,  we have PRAYER readily available, we have THE BIBLE readily available-filled with hundreds of wonderful promises. And we have the HOLY SPIRIT living within us.

It is all right there at our disposal, yet (as in my poor example) we choose to continue ironing with the sweat pouring into our eyes, rather than just turning a fan on!  Cheesy  We complain, and moan and groan, when we really don't need to at all. We just need to stop, remember what is ALREADY OURS IN CHRIST, and take advantage of it.  We can encourage ourselves in the Lord, pray, and put everything into his hands, knowing that he is faithful.

Comparing a fan with spiritual blessings in the heavenlies is kind of pushing it, but I thought I'd share it anyway.   Grin   
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 01:34:05 am by Joe S » Logged
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