Avoid an Anti-God Mindset — John 5:10-18

When we read the four gospels, we see how many of the religious leaders, the scribes and the Pharisees, had set their minds on carefully examining and critically condemning others based on their laws and traditions rather then setting their minds on God and doing what God would do. Jesus knew what His Father did and would do, and as the Son of God, Jesus worked just as His Father did. Jesus did not walk upon this earth carefully examining and critically condemning others; rather, like His Father, Jesus went about doing good and seeking to help the needy. Many of the religious leaders had an Anti-God mindset rather than the mindset of Jesus and His Father; therefore, they condemned Jesus for doing the good He did because He did not do things their way.

Perhaps we know someone like the scribes and Pharisees (or perhaps we have thoughtlessly become like these religious leaders). They are quick to point out the errors and mistakes of others no matter what the error or mistake—even the smallest ones. Everything others say and do must be compared to their ideas of perfection, of right and wrong, of good and bad, of acceptable and unacceptable, and they believe it is their responsibility to make sure others live according to their ideas in every area of life—as did the scribes and Pharisees. They also tend to remember the sins of others and remind others of their past sins with the idea that this may help the sinner do better and avoid sinning. They have put their ways above God’s ways. They have an Anti-God mindset.

Let’s look at a God mindset. Consider how the Father and Jesus acted differently. They went about looking for good things to say and do, rather than going about looking for people and behaviors they could criticize or condemn. When Jesus saw a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, Jesus did not seek him out and say something like, “Because of your horrible past sins, you have been sitting here and suffering for thirty-eight years. Now, shape up! Take up your mat and walk. And don’t use your walking to start walking into sin again.” Rather, without reference to his past, Jesus used the way of love and met the man’s immediate need when He healed him completely. Later, when Jesus saw the man in the temple and knew the man had not faced his past and repented of his sins, Jesus tried to help him spiritually as well as physically when He said, “Do not sin any more,  so that nothing worse happens to you.” Without pointing out the man’s past sins, without condemning or threatening the man, Jesus gave the man a choice to make about how he would live in the future with his newly restored health. Jesus sought to meet the needs of the whole person. Rather than go about criticizing others like the scribes and Pharisees did, who never thanked God for all the good they saw Jesus doing, the God mindset seeks to serve others and do good as they have learned from God through Jesus in the Bible. The God mindset looks for ways help people and point people to Jesus, not for ways they can criticize people.

As Christians, let us look for the good that we can do for others seven days a week, because that is the way our Heavenly Father and Jesus work. Living like Jesus and our Heavenly Father will lead us to praise and thank God for the work that we see them doing in the world and even through us.

What do you think? Make your comments below.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

Do Our Good Intentions Count for Anything? — 1 Kings 8:14-21

If we have faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, our good intentions, even though we cannot do the good that we would like to do, still count with God.

King Solomon said that his father, David, had wanted to build a house for the LORD, but the LORD told him, “You did well to consider building a house for my name . . . but your son . . . shall build a house for my name” (1 Kings 8:18-19).

As Christians, we can think of many good things that we would like to do to honor God and help others in the name of Jesus, but for some reason we are not able to do so. Perhaps we lack the time, talent, or treasure to become a missionary or help our church as much as we would like to be more of a help. Everyone reading this can probably think of something they wanted to do or would have liked to do or still would like to do, but that is not possible under the circumstances. For example, a person might want to help people in a foreign land learn about Jesus or learn to read the Bible in their own language, but due to circumstances beyond their control this has become impossible. Instead, they give as the Lord Jesus enables them and they pray, and they pray when that is all they can do—perhaps our gifts and/or our prayers are exactly what someone else needs to do the Lord’s will.

If something like the above can describe your thoughts and desires in some way; then, Jesus can say to you, “You did well!”

In (1 Corinthians 3:12-16), the Apostle Paul wrote, “ Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”

Our good intentions count for something, because we may think we have no “gold, silver, or precious stones” to build with, but only have “wood, hay, and straw;” however, the Lord Jesus sees into our hearts and knows that we would have used what we did not have, if we had had it, for His glory and to express our love for Him and others. We may think what we have done for the Lord was so unlike what King Solomon did for the Lord in building the temple that all our efforts were “wood, hay, and straw,” but the Lord sees into our hearts, and the Lord Jesus will consider that because of our good intentions. “We did well.”

Finally, remember that Solomon did not end well, and neither did his kingdom. As Christians, we can end well at any age and any circumstance, for we can pray when we cannot do anything else, and we can pray that others will come to know the true God and Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. When we do this, if this is all we can do, when we end our pilgrimage on earth, Jesus can say to us, “You did well.” Jesus will be able to say to us as He said in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:23, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”

You can ask your questions in a Comment (I should get an e-mail that you have made a Comment) or you can send your questions to me directly to lgp@TheIBLF.com. I will take questions on the passages in each week’s Uniform Lesson Series Sunday School Lesson and in each week’s Gospel of John lesson that we are currently studying if you send them to me directly or make a Comment on one of my postings. I will try to answer as many as I can.

May the Lord Jesus bless your Bible study and teaching in this New Year!

L.G.

The Physical and Spiritual Healings of Jesus — John 5:1-9

When Jesus led the Samaritan woman, and eventually many in her town, to believe in Him as the Savior of the world, He healed them spiritually. When the townspeople saw her, the Samaritan woman must have looked physically transformed in appearance as well as spiritually transformed from the inside out to inspire a whole town to run to a well on a hot afternoon to meet Jesus. After Jesus healed them spiritually, the townspeople must have joined her in rejoicing, because they asked Jesus to stay with them. John does not tell us, but probably during the next two days Jesus went on to heal many of those who were physically sick in a variety of ways. Jesus wanted to heal people completely—spiritually and physically. However, Jesus focused on healing people spiritually, for spiritual healing  lasts for eternity

As we begin our study of John, chapter 5, look for comparisons and contrasts. Notice, Jesus chose to heal a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years. John does not tell us why Jesus chose this man out of the crowd of sick people waiting by the pool. Maybe Jesus wanted to inspire others who were sick to believe in Him and seek Him for healing. Perhaps the man was the neediest person around the pool. Notice, Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be made “well” or “whole” (not healed!). The man would need more than physical healing to be made “well” or “whole.” The man did not answer yes or no, but blamed others for his condition. When the water was stirred, the man said someone else always  stepped into the pool before he could get into the water. Then, Jesus healed the man physically. Immediately, he was strong enough to walk and also carry his mat. But . . .  Jesus healed him on the Sabbath.

Did Jesus also heal the man spiritually? It appears Jesus may have waited to heal the man spiritually later. In John, chapter 5, we will learn what Jesus and the man had to do for the man to be healed spiritually and physically—be made “well” or “whole.”

What do you think? Make your comments below.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

Signs and the Creative Powers of Jesus — John 4

Many years ago, some people were convinced to join a non-Christian group in my town because the “prophets” in the group told them many things about their past that they thought no one else knew. Without getting into the details of how this can be done in the non-Christian spiritual realm, people need to have more than one sign or demonstration of power before they believe that someone or some group are truly God ordained or teaching the truth of God. With His signs and creative powers, Jesus demonstrated in a multitude of ways that He was sent by God and His Kingdom was not of this world.

Consider, Jesus was able to tell the Samaritan woman about her past that she thought He could not have known. From that and other truths He told her, she believed in Him. But making prophecies were not the only way Jesus got people to think about His message and about who He was as the Son of God and Messiah.

In His first sign in Cana, Jesus used water to change water into wine instantaneously. I guess a good magician could do something like that to enthrall a crowd, but few magicians, if any, could produce between 120-180 gallons of wine instantaneously, even with the help of some trick, as easily and as secretly as Jesus did out of love for others and to gratify a distressed groom and bride at their wedding party.

In His second sign in Cana, from twenty miles away, Jesus healed a man’s son in Capernaum from a disease that was killing him. Jesus did so without saying anything to the boy’s father except, “Go; your son will live.” Only God and the Son of God can and would do all the above whenever there was a need, but without a need to impress others.

As we read about Jesus in the weeks ahead, think about the loving miracles of Jesus and the demonstrations of creative power that only God can do. For example, Jesus healed a man who had been ill for thirty-four years and He raised a woman’s son from the dead and later He raised Lazarus from the dead, who had been in the tomb four days. One of His last miracles was His feeding some of His disciples who had been out fishing all night and who had caught nothing. From compassion for them, without needing to go fishing himself, Jesus had a fire going and fish cooking on the fire before His disciples ever reached shore with the fish that He had enabled them to catch.

Before we are ever taken into believing someone or to thinking that some spirit is from God because they can perform a parlor trick or two, remember the vast array of signs and creative powers that Jesus demonstrated and how His teachings were always from the Bible and true to what the Bible of His day (the Old Testament) taught. One reason to study John’s Gospel is to learn many reasons why we can trust Jesus, and ONLY JESUS, as our Lord and Savior.

Please share your thoughts and ideas here on the International Bible Study Forum.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

Mary, the Shepherds, Jesus, and Us — Luke 2:8-20

The Bible Lessons below are from the former International Bible Lesson Commentary and International Bible Lesson by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr., which can be used for December 29, 2019. The Commentaries for these Bible Lessons can be found at: Luke Bible Lesson Commentaries and Lessons.

Angels Appeared to the Prepared

“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified” (Luke 2:8-9).

In all of the accounts surrounding Jesus’ birth, those who saw Him as a baby were the most prepared to meet Him. The angels did not appear to the shepherds who lived in their fields just because they were poor; rather, this especially chosen group of shepherds probably thought in ways similar to the shepherd boy David, who became Israel’s greatest king and an ancestor of the Messiah. These shepherds had learned about God from the beauties of God’s creation. They may have known and identified with these words of David, “The heavens are telling the glory of God … Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). But the heavens did not speak words they could hear until the angel of the Lord appeared to them. The glory of God showed around them in a new way, and they heard an angel of the Lord speak their language. The angel put into words what they had learned from the sun and the stars, “Glory to God in the highest heaven” (Luke 2:14). Moreover, they learned about God’s glory in a new way, because the angel proclaimed, “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). No wonder they left their field with haste to find the baby Jesus in a manger, and then returned “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (Luke 2:20).

What Were Mary’s Expectations?

 “This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).

The Bible does not reveal many of Mary’s thoughts after the angel told her that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Because God had shown her favor as the mother of the one and only Son of God, she might have expected that her life would become easier; however, many events made her life more difficult, especially as the time of Jesus’ birth drew near. Instead of relaxing at home and preparing for Jesus’ miraculous birth, an emperor decreed that she had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Instead of God leading her to a comfortable palace where He could give His Son the best of everything, Joseph found no place for them in an inn. Instead of a bed of luxury fit for the mother of a newborn king, Mary had to rest on a bed of hay. The nearest thing available for Jesus’ bed was a manger in a stable. Instead of rejoicing with their family at Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary probably celebrated alone in the company of curious animals. Reality may have contradicted all of Mary’s expectations, and she may have wondered with Joseph, “What has gone wrong!” Unexpectedly, God reassured them with the arrival of some shepherds. They told Jesus’ parents what the angel of the Lord had told them about their child, “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Those who commit themselves to serving God sometimes find their life more difficult, but God always finds ways to reassure them with His peace, power, and presence.

Some Blessings from Believing God’s Words

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:20).

The priest Zechariah met an angel in the temple, but Zechariah did not believe his words. When an angel met the shepherds, and announced that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem and they could find Him as a baby in a manger, they believed him and hurried off to see Jesus. From the Bible, we learn about some of the disappointments that can come from disbelief: Zechariah could not speak for at least nine months. From the Bible, we also learn about the thoughts of astonishment and feelings of awe that can come from believing God and His words. Because they believe in Jesus, believers ponder with wonder when they think about God sending His only begotten Son into the world to save them from their sins, cleanse their conscience, fill them with love, restore their peace with God and peace of mind, and give them eternal life. Some of the shepherds might not have lived long enough to hear Jesus teach, but some of them probably did. After they saw Him as a baby, some who believed in His coming might have died and joined the great cloud of witnesses who watched Jesus’ ministry from heaven as in a giant stadium (see Hebrews 12:1). Today, when people hear and believe the good news about Jesus Christ, they respond as the shepherds did after they saw the baby Jesus. They glorify and praise God. They tell others what they experienced after they trusted in Jesus as their Savior. Eventually, they will join the great cloud of witnesses in heaven and continue watching God’s saving work.

International Bible Lessons and Sunday School Lessons

Please share your thoughts and ideas here on the International Bible Study Forum.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

Mary’s Poem of Praise – Luke 1:39-56

The Bible Lessons below are from the former International Bible Lesson Commentary and International Bible Lesson by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr., which can be used for December 22, 2019. The Commentaries for these Bible Lessons can be found at: Luke Bible Lesson Commentaries and Lessons.

The Truths of Science and the Bible

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41).

The Bible teaches truths about the universe and us that science cannot discover from inside a test tube, under a microscope, or at the end of a telescope no matter how advanced. Modern science excludes God from its experiments, investigations, and conclusions. From the Bible, we learn that God creates everyone in the image of God. From the Bible, we learn that God creates everyone with awesome potential; people such as Moses whom God used to free the Hebrews from slavery. From the Bible, we learn that God can fill a tiny unborn baby with the Holy Spirit and babies can respond to their surroundings, for as an unborn baby John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother’s womb. Then when full grown, the Holy Spirit in John empowered him to preach and prepare people for the coming of God’s Son into the world. From the Bible, we learn that through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit God could conceive a baby in a virgin that would be fully God and fully human before He was born. Then, unlike the false gods and demigods of mythologies and novels that are capricious and immoral, Jesus, the Son of God, lived a perfectly moral and spiritual life. He taught the truth about God and reality. Because He loved the world, He died a sacrificial death to save believers in Him from Satan and sin. The Bible teaches us the most important truths about God and ourselves; truths that do not change but reveal deeper meaning with study and prayer; truths that will make an eternal difference if we live according to them.

Jesus Christ Our God and Savior

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior’” (Luke 1:46-47).

The Holy Spirit inspired Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, to ask Mary, “Why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” (Luke 1:43). Through her inspired question, the Holy Spirit revealed to Elizabeth that the child within Mary was her Lord. Mary’s first words to Elizabeth were, “My soul magnifies the Lord;” the child within her, Jesus the Messiah, was Mary’s Lord too and worthy of adoration. Mary magnified the Lord by proclaiming truths about God that would enable Elizabeth and all who would hear or read her words to see more clearly and understand with greater detail how God, the Mighty One, the holy and merciful God, would work in the world to bless and save people.

When Mary magnified the Lord, the first fact she revealed was how her spirit rejoiced “in God my Savior.” Though she did not know exactly how God would work in the world, she knew that in some way her child Jesus would grow up and be involved in saving her and all of His people. She knew that God her Savior would work in and through her Son because the angel Gabriel had said that her son would be the “Son of God” (Luke 1:35). An angel of the Lord had also told Joseph that Jesus would “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). In the days and years ahead, Mary would learn more from others and from Jesus himself about Jesus and how He would accomplish God’s saving work. As her Savior, Mary would follow Jesus to His cross and see Him raised from the dead.

The Way to Receive God’s Mercy

“His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50).

When we know we deserve punishment, we usually ask for mercy. Sometimes people will ask for mercy when an unjust person threatens to hurt them. After Mary learned that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah, she rejoiced that many who deserve God’s just punishment would receive mercy through her Son. She proclaimed that with the conception of Jesus, God “has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever” (Luke 1:54-55). Furthermore, she declared that God’s mercy is for all who fear God.

Fearing God does not mean the cowering dread that a person might feel if they were facing a hideous, threatening monster. Because Mary knew God, she did not fear God as though God were a tyrant. From the Bible, we learn that those who fear God show forth a loving reverence and obedience toward God; while at the same time, they know that just consequences can follow disobeying or rebelling against God. A person who fears God loves and worships God. They love God so much that they do not want to disobey God or disappoint God by their thoughts or actions. They live in loving submission to the will of God. The Bible teaches that from generation to generation God offers mercy to those who deserve His just punishment, but accept His forgiving love and choose to bow in loving reverence. On Christmas Day, millions celebrate the birth of Jesus because they know they need the saving mercy that God the Father promised He would give to everyone who believes in His Word.

Please share your thoughts and ideas here on the International Bible Study Forum.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

What the World Needs Now — John 4:23

A hit song from the sixties proclaimed what the world needs now. As we near 202o, what does the world need now? It surely still needs love, but love by whose definition? Now, more than anything else, the world needs the Spirit and the Truth that the Word of God through Jesus Christ gives. The Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, asked Jesus, “What is Truth?” The more I watch television and the more I read, the more I am convinced that very few appearing on TV or claiming to be experts on something know what Truth is. No matter what truths the Bible proclaims that for hundreds of years science has affirmed about the nature of human beings and the difference that makes, we have too many academics and others promoting the notion that people are whatever they want them to be or whatever the majority wants them to be or whatever a vocal minority wants them to be despite what others might think about the nature of reality as revealed in the Bible. We live in a world where many who want to be leaders in their respective fields of endeavor want to silence the truths we learn from the Bible and nature as created by God.

Perhaps by design, people trust less and less what they hear from those in authority, no matter what the topic or who claims to be the so-called “authority.” What the world needs now is Truth, the Truth of the Word of God, the Truth that is Jesus. What the world needs now is Christians with the courage and wisdom to stand by the truths they learn from the Bible as the Holy Spirit guides them, no matter what those of this world want people to believe. In John 8:44, remember what Jesus said to and about some of the most influential leaders of His day: “You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” In the 1960’s up to today and until Jesus Christ comes again, the world will bring forth lying leaders of the type Jesus described, and increasing numbers of people will be murdered from the womb to the tomb.

The world also needs Christians who are guided by the Holy Spirit according to the written Word of God. The Holy Spirit will never contradict what the Bible says. The world needs Christians who will love, act, and speak as the Holy Spirit leads them. Following the leading of the loving Holy Spirit will require much divine guidance and prayers for protection, for millions of Christians live in places where many of their leaders and neighbors can be compared to dogs and swine. The same is true today as in Jesus’ day, and in Matthew 7:6, Jesus warned Christians to be careful, saying, “Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.”

The Father desires Christians who will worship in Spirit and in Truth. The world also needs Christians who will live and love in Spirit and in Truth. Through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, Christians will be enabled to share with some the Spirit and the Truth that they need to follow Jesus Christ and always be where Jesus Christ leads them.

Please share your thoughts and ideas here on the International Bible Study Forum.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

The Answer to Our Problems and Questions — John 4:10-19

The solution to most problems and the answer to most questions can probably begin with these words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman He met at Jacob’s well: “If you knew the gift of God.” If we asked a group of people, “What are some of God’s gifts to us?” I wonder how many would answer by saying what “THE GIFT” of God is from the very first, and then talk about many other gifts of God, for God’s gifts are without number and beyond our comprehension.

The most obvious answer regarding THE GIFT of God are the next words of Jesus in John 4:10. THE GIFT of God is the ONE who is saying to her “Give me a drink.” THE GIFT of God is Jesus Christ; the One the woman will soon learn is the Prophet, the Messiah, and the Savior of the World. In John 3:16, we learn of God’s greatest gift to us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” God’s greatest gift to us is His only Son. Now the questions are: “Will people receive God’s gift?” or “Have WE received God’s gift?”

The obvious answer regarding THE GIFT is Jesus Christ, but that seems to be only a partial answer. Is there more to THE GIFT than Jesus Christ for He wanted to give the woman a gift that He wants to give to everyone. Could THE GIFT be the gift Jesus wants everyone to have as the Helper and Guide to solving most problems and answering most questions? For as Jesus teaches throughout the Gospel of John, when He offered to give the woman “The water that . . .  will become . . . a spring of water gushing up to eternal life,” Jesus meant the Holy Spirit. But wait, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus gives us Eternal Life: an eternal, everlasting, perfect relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. The gift of eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus must surely be part of THE GIFT.

As we keep thinking about THE GIFT, how do we know all these facts? We know these facts from the Bible, the Word of God written. We would not know about THE GIFT of God without the Word of God written. We would not know about THE GIFT of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, without the Word of God written, the Bible. The Bible is another one of God’s gifts, where we can read about the solution to most problems and the answer to most questions. The Word of God written must be part of THE GIFT because Jesus Christ is the Word of God in the flesh that God gave to us almost 2,000 years ago, and the Bible is the Word of God written in human language that we can read today, and Christians are still working to make the Bible available in every language.

Yet, come to think of it, maybe THE GIFT includes our adoption into God’s Family as children of God? Remember, we read in John 1:12-13, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” We can now call to God the Father as OUR Father, as OUR “Abba.” In Galatians 4:6, Paul wrote, “And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”

As we draw near the celebration of Christmas, what is THE GIFT, when Jesus asked the woman, “If you knew the gift of God.” THE GIFT must be God! God’s greatest gift to us must include the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and after having created us in God’s image, they have given us the gift of opportunity, the opportunity to enjoy eternal life and all that means to us here and now and forever by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, as God’s children, and the Bible, the Word of God written, so we can know all these facts. How much about THE GIFT of God do we truly know? Have we asked God to give us THE GIFT, because we are ready to receive all God wants to give us?

Please share your thoughts and ideas about THE GIFT and the gifts of God here on the International Bible Study Forum. We would like to read about and learn more about even more of God’s precious gifts.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

We Must Go Thru Our Samaria — John 4:4

When Jesus left Judea for Galilee, in John 4:4, we read, “But he had to go through Samaria.” From time to time, we must all go through our Samaria, a time of testing and trials. But when you must go through your Samaria, remember these truths.

First, wherever Jesus leads, if your faith is placed in Jesus, He will be with you and lead you through your Samaria. You do not need to go through Samaria alone. You can call upon Jesus to help you, and He will. As our Lord and Savior, the promise the LORD gave Joshua through Moses surely applies to all those Jesus leads. In Deuteronomy 31:8, we read, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Jesus and His Father will deliver you from evil.

Second, wherever Jesus leads you, Jesus will meet all your real needs. Jesus sent His disciples into a Samaritan village to buy food and He stopped at a well of water to wait for their return. After they obeyed Jesus, the disciples had food to eat and water to drink. At that time, they did not need wine; so, no wine was provided. Jesus met their essential needs, just as He will meet your essential needs wherever He leads you.

Third, wherever Jesus leads you, He will teach you lessons along the way. He will teach you lessons that will better enable you to love and serve God and others. The disciples learned many lessons when Jesus ministered to a Samaritan woman and her neighbors. As the Lord Jesus leads you, you can pray for Him to help you learn the lessons you need to learn. He will often teach you these lessons through your reading of the Bible and through your application of the truths you have learned from the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit. You can trust in the Word of God and all God’s promises throughout your journey.

Fourth, wherever Jesus leads you, He does so for a greater purpose than just to teach you a lesson; though He will do only that if that is what you need. Jesus led His disciples where the field was ready for the harvest. The Samaritans from Sychar who came to faith in Jesus needed the further teaching of the disciples over the next two days while Jesus taught others among the crowd and led them to faith in Him. Wherever Jesus leads you, He will give you the opportunity to help others learn about Him and possibly come to faith in Him. During your journey, you may be sowing seeds by your words or example for others to reap the harvest. Or, Jesus may be leading you through your Samaria to reap the harvest, as Jesus and His disciples reaped the harvest among the Samaritans in Sychar.

Fifth, notice the constant theme repeated in the four truths above: “wherever Jesus leads you.” Pray for Jesus to lead you day-by-day as you read the Bible for greater understanding, trusting that the Holy Spirit will always lead you according to what the Bible teaches and never contrary to what the Bible teaches.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,

L.G.

The Most Important Verse in the Bible, Part 2 — John 3

November 7, 2019

One important verse, if not chapters, are Genesis 1 & John 1, where we learn that God created us and created us in His image. These verses seem to be foundational for everything else that follows in the Bible.

But perhaps the most important verse in the Bible is John 3:16, where we learn, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” From this verse, we learn that God not only created people in His image, but God loves us! God didn’t make us to play with us as a child might make a toy robot out of Lego blocks, and then take it apart and make something else. No, GOD LOVES US! Knowing that truth puts a whole new meaning on who we are and how important we are as created by God in His image.

Perhaps another reason this verse is so important is because we learn that this life on this earth, as brief as it is, is not the end of our existence. Rather, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit love us so much that the Son, Jesus, was given so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.

We learn so much from John 3:16, that a Bible commentary or lesson no matter how many words it is, can only scratch the surface of its meaning. Perhaps every verse in the Bible can be tied into understanding John 3:16 better.

But maybe the most important verse in the Bible is an obscure verse; such as, what Jesus said to Pilate when He was on trial. In John 18:37, we read, “Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’” Maybe the most important verse is learning that Jesus Christ is the King, who unlike every other king, came into the world “to testify to the truth.” Without Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, and the Bible, the Word of God written, we would not know the truth, the truth about reality, God, ourselves, our future if we believe in Jesus and our future if we refuse to believe in Jesus. It is vitally important to “belong to the truth” and “listen to Jesus’ voice.”

Finally, perhaps the most important verse in the Bible is the verse in the Bible that God used through the work of the Holy Spirit that showed YOU that God has spoken the truth in the Bible and in Jesus, the verse that God used so YOU would believe the truth and believe verses such as John 3:16.

John 3:16 may be the most important verse in the Bible, but what are some other important verses that have made a tremendous impact on your life? What verses can those in your Sunday school or Bible study group share that will help everyone learn more of the truth that Jesus came and revealed as His solemn testimony or that the Bible reveals as God the Father’s solemn testimony or that the Holy Spirit has used to make an impact on your life?

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.