Benefits of reading the bible. Why should I read the bible? Why should I study?

Someone asked me: “Why do you read the bible?” I didn’t know how to respond, the question got me off guard.  I’ve never been asked a question like that.   They laughed and thought it was funny that I bothered reading the bible.  I was silent, but in my mind were millions of reasons I read the bible but I just couldn’t put it into words.
How can I explain the wonders, the joy, and the power of the Word of God?   I decided I would search the scriptures so I would be ready next time someone asks- why do you bother reading the bible?

 “ Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” Eph 4:14

Why should we study the scriptures?
Why should we seek Him?

For I am always thinking of your laws. I meditate on them day and night. I write to you who are God’s children because you know the Father, I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you whoa re young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts and you have won your battle with the evil one. 1 John 2:14

 My Exhausting Study of why I study. 🙂

Taken from Scripture, here are just a few of the benefits of continuing to study, obey, and meditate on the Word of God

  1. Revives me Ps 119:50-52, Ps 19:7-11
  2. Brings me joy Ps 119:50-52
  3. Comforts me in my distress Isaiah 51:12, Ps 23. Ps 119
  4. Gives me Hope Luke 10:22
  5. Refines me Ps 52
  6. Gives me life Ps 119:28,  Job 4:3-6
  7. Teaches me tPs 119:36
  8. Encourages me he Lord’s will Eph 3
  9. It is the mirror to my life 1 James 23-25
  10. Keeps me standing firm and unshakable in my trials Luke 46:46, Jer 17:7. prov 1:33
  11. Blesses me as I live according to it (obedience) James 1:22
  12. Power to save my soul James 1:21
  13. Teaches me the fear of the Lord- which is the beginning of all wisdom Is66:2. Pr. 9:10. Pr. 111:10 Deut 17:19
  14. Leads me along the path that is true and right Hosea 14:9. Ps119:101
  15. shows me my sins- pierces my heart Act 2:37
  16. Always brings forth fruit and produces a great harvest in our life when we cling to His Word Luke 8:15, Is 55:10
  17. keeps me from stumbling Ps 119:65, Prov 6:21
  18. Helps us teach what is true 2 Tim 3:16, Hebrews 4:12
  19. Shows me all the great and precious promises He has given us. 2Peter 2:1-3
  20. Helps me escape the world’s corruption through His Promises which enable me to share His divine nature  2 Peter 1:4
  21. Shows me what is wrong in my life 2 Tim 3:15
  22. Corrects me when I am wrong and teaches me to do right 2 Tim 3:16
  23. Prepares and equips God’s people to every good work 2 Tim 3:17
  24. Keeps me from drifting away, keeps me from backsliding Heb 2:1
  25. keeps me from sinning ps119:11-15
  26. helps me stay pure Ps 119:8
  27. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.Romans 1:16,
  28. Teaches me wisdom and understanding
  29. Reminds me how I should live – forgiving others, loving, getting rid of bitterness,
  30. Rids me of my shameful ways – like a sword piercing through bone and marrow Hebrews 4:12
  31. Brings success, prosperity  Joshua 1:8,Ps 1:2-3, Jer 17:7-8
  32. We live by every word from the mouth of God Matthew 4:4
  33. Helps me stand firm in my trials Ps 1:2-3,Luke 6:46, Jer 17:7-8 Rom 5:3-4, Js 1
  34. His gracious hand is upon those who study, obey and teach the Word Ezra 7:0
  35. Reminds me to repent
  36. Gives understanding: the more we study and read, the more understanding He gives us Mat 13:12, Eph 3:3-5
  37. Discernment between right and wrong teachings and knowing the difference between truth and those who teach from their false imaginations–so I won’t be tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes Eph 4;14, Ez 13:17 “Now, son of man, speak out against the women who prophesy from their own imaginations. Ephesians 4:14
  38. My Sword: Helps me in spiritual warfare, it is my sword of truth in battle, my weapon- the sword, which is the Word of God. Eph 6:17
  39. It is the Power of God at work, it is alive and powerful and never comes back void, it burns like a fire in my heart Is 55:10-11, R. 1:16, Heb. 4:12, Jer 20:9
  40. His Word accomplishes everything He wants it to Is 55:10-11
  41. Shows me how the Lord wants me to live and obey His Words Rev 22:7
  42. Source of understanding as I keep searching to understand Him and know Him
  43. Increases Faith : Builds my faith Romans 10:17
  44. Makes me wiser than my enemies Ps 119:98-99
  45. Gives me more insight than my teachers Ps 119:98-99
  46. Helps me abandon my shameful ways Ps 119:38
  47. Stirs my Spirit
  48. Teaches me how to live
  49. Opens my eyes to what I need to know
  50. Reminds me to teach my children Deut 6:5-9, Deut 32:46, prov 4:4
  51. Tells me where I have gone wrong
  52. God speaks to me through His Word
  53. To know and understand the Warnings He’s given us Malachi 2:2
  54. Helps me in prayer! “ if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” Claim His Promises
  55. Lifts me up when I am discouraged Job 4;3-6
  56. Reminds me to be strong and courageous for Him Joshua 1
  57. Warns me to stay on the right path and listen Heb 12:25
  58. Instructs me
  59. Teaches me how to live a holy life John 17:17
  60. Salvation-The Power of God at word, saving everyone who believes the Good News about Christ- the Jew first and also the Gentile Romans 1:16, 1 Peter1:23, Phil 2:16, Acts 7:38 John 6:68
  61. Gives me life, they are not empty words- they are life! John 6:68, Matt 13:22, Deut 32:47, Prov 4:4
  62. How we get faith – from hearing the Word- need more faith? Read His Word Rom 10:17
  63. His Words bless me Rev 1:3
  64. Teaches me the truth and the truth sets me free John 8:31
  65. Warns me of times ahead
  66. Prepares me for persecution and rejection from others
  67. Keeps my heart strong for Him while battling adversity
  68. Fills our heart and mind with Godly wisdom and knowledge.
  69. It is what the Lord expects us to do- “Haven’t you read the Scriptures” the Lord Jesus asked this 6x in Mathew and 3x in Mark
  70. Sets me free James 1:22-25
  71. keeps me from being proud Deut 17:20
  72. Prevents me from turning away from his commands, even in the smallest way Deut 17:21
  73. Teaches me to live a blameless life so I may worship in His Sanctuary Ps 15:1

 Hear the Word of the Lord:

             Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. I meditate on your age-old regulations; O Lord, they comfort me. Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word (Ps 119:7-16, Ps 119:50-52, James 1:22-25, Ps 119:2)

For the gracious hand of his God was on him. This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel. Ezra 7:10

Instructions from Deuteronomy: He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees.  This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel. Deut. 17: 18-21

  Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

PROMISE: “The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant harvests, for the Lord will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors.  The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. Duet 30: 9-11

Listen to Him

 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.  Matthew 13:11-13, John 8:47, Heb 2:1, Heb 12:25, Rev 1:3, is 55:6

Remain in His Word: But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  Ps 119:10, John 15:7, 1Peter1:25, Ps 119:28

Delight in the Law. Meditate on it Day and Night: But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure,lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. Ps 119:2, Ps 1:1-3, Josh 1:8, Ps 19:7-11 

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.119:65. 105

 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.  It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 6:46-49, matt 4:4

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! John 15:7, John 8:31

 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 1God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.Romans 1:16, Eph 6:17, Heb 4:122 Tim 3:16

 He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. D 17:9

My heart is broken because of the false prophets, and my bones tremble. I stagger like a drunkard, like someone overcome by wine, because of the holy words the Lord has spoken against them.

 

The 8 Requests of Esther :The Persistence, Courage, Boldness and Authority of the Bride

  1.  Esther requests a 3 day fast of all the Jewish people of Susa. No food, no water for 3 days and 3 nights. Esther 4
  2. Ester boldly goes before the King to request that he and Haman attend a banquet the that day that she prepared for them. Esther 5:4
  3. At the banquet, she requests that the king and Haman attend another banquet that she will prepare the next day
  4.  She asks the king , pleading for her life and the life of her people “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.  For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king’s loss”
  5.  Esther asks the king to stop Haman’s orders and the scheme he has devised against the Jews. “Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews.”
  6. Esther asks the king to write a letter for her and her people to revoke the letters and words that Haman sent out to destroy the Jews.
  7. Esther asks the king for permission, that the Jewish people be given another day to defend themselves – asks for another day. Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do again tomorrow according to today’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.”
  8. Esther asks the king to let Haman’s 10 sons be hanged in the gallows.

Every time I read the book of Esther, I learn something new. As I read Esther this past week, her persistence, her boldness, her courage and her authority stood out to me. It reminded me as we, the bride of Christ. should be. We can ask for anything in His name, He has given us spiritual warfare over our enemy, He tells us to be courageous and bold at all times, never to be fearful or full of worry. It reminds me of how we, because of Jesus, can go before our King without fear of death. Esther could have been killed immediately but she had the king’s grace.

God wants us to be bold and courageous. He has made us His bride, He made a life giving way so we, like Esther, can go before the Lord’s throne without fear of death, but knowing that He loves us dearly. Lately, when I pray, I stop and think …”uh, maybe I’m bothering Him, maybe I shouldn’t ask for too much, maybe I won’t ask”,however, when I look at the boldness of Esther I think – wow! She asked for it all! She was fearless! She could have stopped when she had her life spared, but no, she pushed it. She asked for the life of every Jew to be spared. Then she asked for more – she asked the king to revoke the order that was sent out, she asked for the impossible. When she got that request granted, she asked for even more. Haman , the wicked, was killed but that wasn’t enough. Esther wanted all 10 of his sons put to death. She asked and asked, and each time she could have been killed, but her persistence saved a nation. Her persistence and her boldness amaze me.

Esther prepared herself before she presented herself to the king

This is an interesting lesson, although I believe we can go before the Lord at anytime (Read Nehemiah and see all his short prayers continually in his days).  Esther made sure she was perfectly beautiful with careful consideration of her garments before she went to see the King. Esther and her people fasted for 3 days and nights before she went to the king. Before she was crowned queen, she spent 12 months preparing herself. I believe Esther was always prepared and beautiful before she stood before the king.
We also should be ready before our king (and always ready for His return). We should check our heart as David did , “Search me O Lord and show me is there is any wicked way in me”. Stop and consider our ways and our doings. Sometimes, before I pray, I ask the Lord to show me anything in me that goes against Him. I also recite Psalm 131: Lord, my heart is not prideful, my mind is not haughty : I stop to think: have I been prideful? Have I looked down on anyone? Have I been loving to everyone around me? Is there anyone I have offended? Do I hold any grudges, bitterness or unforgiveness in my heart? Is there anyone I have hurt with my words?

We are the beautiful bride of Christ, He is coming soon. Will He find us spotless as we should be? Will He find us ready and waiting for Him? He died for our sins, but he didn’t die so we stop considering our ways. In 1 Corinthians 11:27-32, it says : Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.   – maybe people see this verse in a different way than I do, but I believe it is telling us to stop and examine our ways – all the time. Repent is written in the New testament 55x, why have so many thrown that concept away? No sin can come before the Lord, He is too holy – we need to make sure no sin is lurking in our heart.

I like the way Jeremiah says it : Stop and look around, ask for the right way to go and travel it’s path. Sometimes we need to stop and check ourselves – is my life, my religion, my ways, my words in line with the word of God? Am I living in obedience to Him in love or have I made my own way? Do I search for righteousness or have I become lukewarm in my walk? Have I let the worries of the world, money, and fear of people pull me from the truth of God’s word?

Jeremiah 6:16
  This is what the LORD says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want

Let’s stop and consider our ways: (Galations 5:16- and 1 Corinthians 13)
Am I walking in the Spirit? Does my life show the fruit of:
• Love?
• Joy?
• Peace?
• Longsuffering?
• Kindness?
• Goodness?
• Gentleness?
• Self control?
• Have I crucified my flesh with it’s passions and desires?
Am I walking in love?
• Do I envy?
• Am I prideful?
• Am I rude?
• Am I selfish?
• Do I demand my own way?
• Am I easily angered when provoked?
• Do I rejoice in evil?

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” 1 Cor 13

 Persistence in Prayer and Requests

“ pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you 1 Thes 5:16-18

Persistence is found throughout the bible, but remember – God has the final answer. Paul requested that he be set free from a thorn in his side, but it was not granted. Jesus plead before God if there was any way that his cup might be taken from Him – but said – let Your Will be done. Persistence pays off, but God word stands forever y ya!

I like the way Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego put it. They were about to be thrown into a fiery fire pit and said to the king:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. Daniel 3:16
They said, God can and will deliver us, “but if not” let it be known, we worship no other God. That is a good attitude to have. God can and will deliver me, but if not, then I lift my hands and Praise my God, for He is my redeemer, the One who see’s me. He is my All sufficient One.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16b

In Luke 18:1-6, Jesus tells us a parable of a woman who came with request before an unjust judge. I love this parable, it shows us the value of persistence (and it reminds me of myself):

     Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”
6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Jesus specifically tells us that we should always be praying and never lose heart. We could go on and on about the many stories of persistence throughout the bible: Sarah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, David, Noah, so many, many more. So don’t give up no matter what struggle you are in.

Notice in the verse from Daniel below, the man in linen tells Daniel that his prayers were heard but there was spiritual interference when the answer was sent – so never give up, you don’t know what’s going on in the spiritual world. Pray without ceasing:

Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

More Scripture that reminds us to pray without ceasing- persistence in prayer:

• Romans 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,
• Ephesians 1:16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
• Colossians 1:9 [ Preeminence of Christ ] For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
• 1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing,
• 2 Timothy 1:3 [ Timothy’s Faith and Heritage ] I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,

Authority of Mordecai and Esther

Mordecai made the final say in the letters. “ Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, 31 to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting. 32 So the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.”
Esther wrote, with full authority, to confirm the 2nd letter of Purim to the appointed times to remember this day. Not only was Esther persistent and bold (but always in reverence), she also had authority. Aren’t we told we have authority in Christ. Just like Ester had full authority from the king to call out orders, so we have authority in Christ Jesus and all authority comes from God alone (Romans 13:1)

Authority over the enemy:

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Luke 10:19

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:11-19

And so my final word to you today is Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh which are :adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,  idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries. Anything you do, that you know is wrong, is a sin. People who walk in this manner will not inherit the kingdom of God, but dear brothers and sisters – turn from your ways and walk no longer in the flesh and fellowship with this world.
Let the fruit of the Spirit be evident in your life, that is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.
Take up your cross, be bold, be courageous, don’t let the words of others knock you down. Stand unshakable in Christ Jesus looking forward always to His glorious return. Amen and Amen!

 

Christian view of the Color Run (Holi festival): Putting the brakes on Pagan Christianity -stop bringing the World into our churches

Do not worship the Lord your God in the way the pagan people worship their gods”
Deuteronomy 12:4

Take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
Deuteronomy 12:30-31

     The newest fad in our churches, Christian organizations and youth groups is the Color Run. The Color Run is an ancient Hindu and Hare Krishna festival also called the Holi festival.  Holi was the name of the Hindu demon king’s sister. This festival dates back to over 2000 years ago. It wasn’t suddenly invented two years ago as some websites claim. It’s been going on for thousands of years at the beginning of spring. When I first heard about this 5k color run, it sounded super fun…however something didn’t feel right about it and I wasn’t comfortable with my children participating in it. When I found out the origins, I was still unsure. However that same day, I sat down to read my bible and this verse practically jumped off the pages:

“Do not worship the Lord your God in the way the pagan people worship their gods” Deuteronomy 12:4

  Let me clear some things up first. I’m not judging anyone who is participating; I only hope that those who are feeling indecisive about this, would find their answer. I pray that the shepherds would be more aware of the paths along which they are leading their sheep  and that those called out to be gatekeepers and watchmen would stand guard and protect the flock.


Color run origins:

The Holi (aka Color run) Hindu festival is celebrated at the beginning of spring each year. The name Holi (which means burning) originated from the name Holika, the demon king’s evil sister.  She, Holika, helped her brother reign by killing his son/ her nephew. Legend says that the son of the demon refused to worship him and instead worshiped Vishnu. So Holika ended this by putting the boy on her lap and sitting in a fire so he would die. She thought she would be untouched because her super power was that fire could not burn her- but her plan backfired and she sizzled to death.
In India, they throw colored powders in the air over the people as a symbolic remembrance of this demon sister Holika (Holi) and the beginning of spring.  On this day many others worship Kaamadeva, the love god. There are a few other variations and myths (and some have changed over the years): to some it was a time when the moon god was worshipped- here’s another one – Krishna wasn’t happy with his skin color so his mother told him to color his lovers skin so her complexion would change and from there, they started the color festival. Don’t ask me to explain that one, but if you want to find out more, see the links below.

Why are we turning to pagan religions, worldly traditions, new age ideas and witchcraft to find new ways to play church? 

Last year, the fad was the Harlem shake. I embarrassingly watched my children’s youth group’s you tubes as they gyrated in their underwear wearing large animal head pieces. I cringed! Then I saw pastors and churches joining in. The year before this it was the Circle maker. Why are we going to pagan religions, worldly traditions, new age and witchcraft to find new ways to play church?

I wonder how many pagan practices we unknowingly have within our churches, traditions and holidays. It’s our job to stop it when it begins to sneak into our churches.  What are we teaching the next generation by doing this? The Color run sounds like a lot of fun, no doubt about that- but I ask you, as Christians and Church members- When are we finally going to put the brakes on bringing the world and pagan practices into our churches?

Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turnedas worthless as a half baked cake.
Hosea 7:8

For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob,
Because they are filled with eastern ways; Isaiah 2: 6

Reading through Hindu sites I found mixed emotions on how they feel about us celebrating their tradition. Some are deeply offended and some are happy they can share their Hindu and Hare Krishna religion with us- yes, they see it as an open door to share their faith.

Do Something New!

God wants us to be NEW. A new Creations. He gave each one of us an amazing mind- surely we can come up with our own new ways of worship and fellowship. I am sure we can think up new creative ways of fellowship without copying pagan religions. We are not to be conformed to this world, but TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our mind.

I just thought of something!!!!!! Joshua at Jericho and Gehazi with the Shumanite were both supposed to run/walk without a word spoken, okay maybe it’s boring – but think of how much we’d have to say when we reached the end. And how about Elijah’s supernatural run when he outran the chariots, there was a terrible storm coming. So I’m thinking everyone has to run like the wind and anyone who is slow gets soaked. Lol– but you see, you can get creative, amen?

He asks us to sing Him NEW songs. He specifically tells us in Deuteronomy 12:29-32

“When the Lord your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land,  do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’  You must not worship the Lord your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.“So be careful to obey all the commands I give you. You must not add anything to them or subtract anything from them.

 Hear the Word of the Lord:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.Romans 12:1-3

“On that day of judgment,” says the Lord, “I will punish the leaders and princes of Judah and all those following pagan customs.Yes, I will punish those who participate in pagan worship ceremonies, and those who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit Zephaniah 1:8-9

 You have put pagan symbols on your doorposts and behind your doors. You have left me and climbed into bed with these detestable gods. You have committed yourselves to them. You love to look at their naked bodies Isaiah 57:8.

This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. They had followed the practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of them, as well as the practices the kings of Israel had introduced. 2 kings 17

 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother was Hephzibah. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. 2 Kings 21 (NLT)21

 

This festival is also called ‘run or dye’ – yes, churches are using that slogan.  I have no comment for that- just a sigh……

Money, Money, and More Money   

One more thing that weighs heavily on my heart- the pull of money, money and more money – isn’t that what this is all about?  Are we feeding the hungry?  are we visiting the sick? are we visiting those in prison? are we clothing the naked? are we helping the widow? are we going after the lost? are we guiding the those who have backslidden? Where have our priorities gone? What example are we setting for the next generation? How much of our thoughts- and our church leadership’s time and energy is put towards  business/money and how much is put toward walking with God? It’s time for a heart check- where are my priorities? Am I really trusting in the Lord? How can I get to that place where I can walk with the Lord as Enoch did?  Would I be on the left or the right in that last day parable described in Matthew 25:34-

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me.  I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?  Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?  When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters you were doing it to me!’

 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

 Related articles:

 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

Forgiveness: make allowance for each other’s faults Colossians 3

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3:13 

This song has been chasing me around all week.  Everytime someone has really got me mad or upset, suddenly this song is playing…and it’s one of those songs that stays in your head forever! It’s driving me crazy! I can’t stay mad, the song convicts me until I’ve completely forgiven the person. All my plots of sweet revenge have been smothered out.

 If we want the Lord to forgive our sins, we must forgive others:

 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.Mark 11:25

       I remember the strength of the Lord Jesus. He walked in silence as His accusers lied about him, accused Him, and said horrible things about Him. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing “. Could you have walked that walk with love?  Isaiah describes that moment:

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished Isaiah 53;7

Luke 23 records that moment: The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”  The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine.  They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”  A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it  Luke 23

   I’m going to honest with you…I don’t always want to forgive. I sometimes want revenge and other times I think I just want to be mad a little bit longer and then I’ll forgive. I’ve gotten better, but I still run into situations/ people that disturb me. I’ve noticed the Lord’s blessings in my life for all the times I’ve forgiven. The Lord blesses me when I forgive and keep peace.

God Chose you to be Holy – so we need to act like it

       Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15

 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark 26:27

70 x 70
Sometimes we need forgive the same thing a million
times:
(you know when you forgive someone from your heart, and it pops back in again… we have to forgive again….oh here it comes again…. forgive again and again and again until you know you have completely forgiven that person- and it’s more than lip service – God checks your heart. You can’t sneak out of this one)

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! 
    
Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.
     “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
   Jesus taught us this parable on Forgiveness: “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
  “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
      31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.  “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

   Okay TWO things in this parable are really important!

  1. We have to forgive from our heart- just saying it without a heart change is worthless
  2. This says if we don’t forgive, we aren’t forgiven. That scares me. I saw another verse that says unforgiveness can interfere with healing. We need to ask the Lord to search our hearts for unforgiveness, I may have a few things hidden in there that I’m not aware of. 😦

Revenge belongs to the Lord
Proverbs 20:22 Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter

Love your enemies

 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.  Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.  If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!  And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!  And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
          “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

 “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.  Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive Luke 17

Reality Check: Sometimes I have hurt others 😦 Say your Sorry!
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,  leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23

Remember what Jesus did for you

It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.Luke 24:47 

I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus. 1 John 2:12

 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts 1 John 1:9

  For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. Hebrew 9: 21-23

For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases Psalm 103:3

More lessons the Lord has taught me on this: God wants us to live in unity – the Power of unity ,  Unity- can’t we all just get along? and a vision the Lord gave me as I struggled to forgive : Don’t let the sun go down on your anger and wearing the shoes of peace
 
 

 ” In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.  We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.  We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.  We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors.  We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed.  Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.Related articles 2 Cor 6:5-