Tag Archives: scripture

No Individual is the Same

I am reading a book that considers the Christian’s approach to witnessing to an individual about Jesus Christ. I have not gotten too far in the book because I am forever arrested by the author’s words. At one point, he states that Jesus never approached any two people the same way. This made me pause to reflect on the individuals He talked to. The author was right. Jesus did not use a “formula” or “steps” to minister to individuals. Instead he met them where they were.

Dr. Guinness uses the phrase “cookie-cutter evangelism” to describe the method that most churches use when reaching out to the lost. This made me think about the church where I first got saved. My enthusiasm for my newfound faith in the Lord motivated me to join the evangelism team. They taught me the “method” to witness to souls. It was okay to put it in my own words, but certain things had to be covered before walking away from the candidate.

There was an apartment complex located down behind the church. It was on the next street. Once a month, the evangelism team would have a service there on Saturday. We would gather at the church around 10:30 a.m. for prayer. Then we would walk down to the apartment complex as the church van played gospel music announcing our arrival.

Once we got to the complex, we knocked on doors, and passed out gospel tracts, and then we gathered to sing songs. Then someone would encourage people to gather to hear the message of the day. There would be some soloists singing before the speaker brought forth the Word. Then altar call would be made before we left. The workers would get upset because the majority of the tracts were thrown on the ground. Now I know why. We used the same method every time we saw these individuals. They knew the routine, and they knew what we were going to say. It was old and outdated. No wonder they were hard to win to Christ! It was never fresh. The Word of God should be fresh—not stale!

I hope this makes you think about how you approach an individual who you are trying to win to the kingdom of heaven. It does make sense doesn’t it?

 

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Definition of Worry

There is one Greek word in the New Testament that is translated as “worry.” That word is merimnao, which means “to be anxious, to be distracted” or “to have a divided mind” (merizo, (merizo, to “divide”–nous, “the mind”). John Edmund Haggai, How to Win Over Worry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), 19.

-To worry is to divide your mind between that which is useful and worthwhile and that which is damaging and destructive. [Ibid.]

-To worry is to block the flow of creative energy in your life.

 

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27)

 

The concept of worrying is conveyed through Scripture by numerous words and phrases.

–to be fretful

–to be anxious

–to be concerned

–to be weighed down with cares

–to be heavy-hearted

–to be without peace

–to be distracted

–to be troubled

–to be distressed

–to be despairing

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)

 

The Definition of Envy

What is Envy?

Envy is resenting the advantage of another, with a desire to possess the same advantage.

Envy is coveting what another has.

The Latin word for “envy” is invidere, which means, “to look at with enmity.” American Heritage Electronic Dictionary

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17)

Question: Is envy always wrong?

Yes. Scripture never portrays envy in a positive light. God is never depicted as an envious God.

“Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time, they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, ‘Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’ For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him” (Matthew 27:15-18)

 

John 17 The High Priestly Prayer Part One

The High Priestly Prayer

This section will cover verses 1-2. Since this section discusses the subject of a high priest, I recommend you read Hebrews 7-9, which speaks of the position of a high priest in relationship with Jesus as high priest. It discusses a “better” priesthood, which comes through Jesus Christ.

The word “Father” is used in the opening of this prayer. It is used one other time here. The fact that this portion of scripture is entitled the “High Priestly “Prayer” reminds me of the first high priest in the person of Aaron. You may read the addendum on this topic entitled Addendum 1: The High Priest Position.

Notice in verse one, Jesus lifts His eyes toward heaven where the Father abides. In John 11:41, Jesus prays in this same manner. The time has come for the Son to be glorified. The NASB uses the word “glorify” two times. This word means to be exalted. Note the following verse taken from the NASB:

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32)

The Father and the Son will be glorified. Jesus will be glorified after His resurrection. His disciples would remember what He said and taught to them. Note also John 7:39, which mentions this as well.

Verse 2

The Father has given Jesus authority over all flesh. The word “authority” comes from the Greek word exousia which means “influence, liberty. It means power over persons and things. Other words that bear this out would be dominion and rule. When it comes to discussing “authority, in John 3:35, John says that because the Father loves the Son, He has given “all things” into Jesus’ hand.

Stress and Steps to A Solution

Are you mentally, emotionally or physically on the road to a breakdown? Are you driving with all eight cylinders, but running out of gas? Notice the following statement:

God often allows your tank to be empty so that you will seek Him. Come to the King of Kings and learn His ways. The Holy Spirit is drawing you–seeking a personal relationship with you that will lighten your load!

 

Key Verses to Memorize

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

 

Key Passage to Read and Reread

Even his name Elijah (God is Salvation) announces that he is a messenger approved and sent by God. Elijah had significant spiritual strength, yet he wound up with an empty tank under a broom tree, begging God to deliver him from his great distress.

 

Elijah on Empty

I Kings 19

Scripture reveals the cause of Elijah’s burnout:

-Elijah lost confidence in the sovereign power of God v. 3

-Elijah had reached the end of his resources. v. 4

-Elijah was tired and exhausted. v. 5

Scripture also tells us the steps of Elijah took to be restored:

-Elijah left his servant and got alone with God vv. 3-4

-Elijah received the rest and food provided by God vv. 5-8

-Elijah sought to communicate with God v. 8

-God was not silent but asked Elijah to explain his need v. 9

-Elijah was honest with God about his feelings v. 10

-God showed Elijah that He was still in control vv. 11-12

-God spoke to Elijah in a gentle whisper vv. 12-13

-Elijah’s response revealed that he did not understand how God was working v. 14

-God revealed part of His future plans to Elijah vv.17-18

-Elijah obeyed God and went back to the job God had given him. v. 19

-God gave Elijah the gift of a genuine friend and companion. vv. 20-21

 

God sometimes allows difficult situations in your life in order to nurture a stronger relationship with Him. The events in which Elijah found himself were beyond his control and demanded a complete dependence on God. If your prayer life is to penetrate to the deeper layers of your faith, you may find yourself under the broom tree of a broken spirit.

 

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:6.

 

The Believers Shall Rejoice

John 16:16-22

 

Jesus will be leaving soon. In the coming future, they will see Him again. Does this point to His resurrection, or His second coming? The answer to this is revealed in the coming scriptures. In John 7:33, Jesus said this same thing, but He includes the fact that He is returning to the Father. Verses 18-24 of John 14, Jesus said that He would not leave them as orphans. This alludes to the coming of the Comforter. The world would not see Him because of its unbelief.  Because He will live, they would live also. This speaks of their spiritual life. The Spirit of Truth will come but the world will not receive Him because they will not believe. He will be with the Father as they will be with Him. Those who love Him and obey His commandments are those who will see Him. They will be in a circle of fellowship with the Father and the Son. Note Proverbs 8:17, which say the following:

 

Proverbs 8:17 (NASB)

(17) “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.”

 

Judas (not Iscariot) wants to know why the world will not receive the same revelation as they. Those who love Jesus will keep His Word. He and the Father will come to this person.

 

The disciples question what Jesus saying, Jesus knows this. Jesus asks them if they are deliberating about His words. Jesus tells them they will weep and lament, and the world will rejoice. They shall grieve, but their grief will be turned into joy. Jesus gives the example of a woman bringing forth her baby. When the woman goes into labor, she weeps. When the child comes forth, she rejoices. She does not remember the pain because of the joy that “a child has been born into the world.” John 16:21 (NASB) When they see Jesus after His death and burial, they shall rejoice. They will see the resurrected Christ.  None shall be able to take their joy away.

 

 

 

 

 

The Coming Spiritual Promise

As stated in the previous lesson, Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure. This portion of scripture discusses the revelation that they will not be alone after He goes back to Heaven. It speaks of the “Comforter” which will guide and direct them.

 

Jesus deals with the fact that He is returning to the Father who sent Him. Note John 7:33, which states that Jesus told them earlier that He would not be with them much longer. John 12:35 records the fact that Jesus tells them again about His departure. He uses the word “Light,” which is descriptive  Him. In John 1:4, the writer says that Jesus is the “Light of men.” He says that they must be in the Light. In John 8: 12, Jesus makes an “I Am” statement. He proclaims that He is the Light of the world. Those who walk in the Light will not walk in darkness. The darkness spoken here is not natural but spiritual. When they do this, they will become the “sons of Light.” Note the word “light” is capitalized.  (The translation used in this instance is the New American Standard Bible [Updated Edition].) It is therefore, important to understand this word in the light of its context.

 

The Greek form is phao , which means “to shine or manifest, especially by rays.” Strong’s Talking Greek_Hebrew Dictionary.  The one who walks in the rays of the Son of God will know the Father. They will not walk in spiritual darkness. They will walk in the rays of the true life found in God alone.

 

Jesus addresses the sorrow they experience because of His leaving. In John 14:1, Jesus tells His disciples not to be troubled. He knew what they would experience, but there would be hope in the future coming of the Holy Spirit.  In John 16:22, Jesus tells His disciples that although they are experiencing grief right now, they will rejoice. He promises that they will see Him again, and they will rejoice.

Emotional Contributors of Depression

In order to discuss the physical contributors to depression, it is necessary to give a working example of it. A woman named Andrea Yates had been suicidal and hospitalized. She was taken off her medications. They had been of help to her. Because of the wide hormonal changes in her body after delivery, that deficit contributed to her plunging head first into what is called postpartum psychosis (a break with reality).

 

Unfortunately, many mothers with this psychosis are consumed with thoughts of death to their babies and destruction of themselves. Note the scripture concerning this:

 

“The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.” Psalm 18:4-5

There are six physical contributors to depression.

 

#1 Hormonal imbalance

The question arises as follows: “Can depression be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain?” This frequently asked question is answered with an unquestionable yes! Hormonal changes during puberty, postpartum (after childbirth) and peri-menopause (around menopause) can lead to depression.

 

#2 Medications and drugs

Certain legal and illegal drugs can cause depression, such as analgesics, anti-depressants, steroids, contraceptives, and cardiac medications.

 

#3 Chronic illnesses

Medical problems such as a thyroid deficiency and even a bout with the flu can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, which, in turn can cause depression.

 

#4 Melancholy temperaments

Orderly, gifted, and creative, the person with a melancholy temperament can be moody, overly sensitive, and self-deprecating. Because of those with this temperament are analytical, critical, and hard to please, they can take everything too seriously or too personally, quickly become depressed over circumstances or the slightest imperfection in themselves or others.

 

#5 Improper food, rest, exercise

A deficiency in the physical basics of life can contribute to a chronic sense of fatigue, lack of energy, and social withdrawal.

 

#6 Genetic vulnerability

Based on statistical data, those with depressed family members are two times more vulnerable to depression than those with no family history of depression. Likewise, “50% of those with bipolar have at least one parent with the disorder.

 

“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15

 

Question: “Why do twice as many women have depression as men?”

 

Women produce only one-half the amount of serotonin as men; however, estrogen in women multiples the amount of serotonin to equal the level in men. The challenge occurs at three specific times–prior to a woman’s menstrual cycle, after childbirth, and around menopause–when estrogen levels drop, sometimes severely. If a woman’s estrogen level is not sufficient to multiply serotonin, she experiences a depletion of serotonin, which can cause depression. This is one reason why many women receive Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) and why other women consult their physicians in order to feel “whole” again. Jesus said,

 

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Matthew 9:12

 

Physical Contributors to Depression

In order to discuss the physical contributors to depression, it is necessary to give a working example of it. A woman named Andrea Yates had been suicidal and hospitalized. Eventually she was taken off her medications. They had been of help to her. Because of the wide hormonal changes in her body after delivery, that deficit contributed to her plunging head first into what is called postpartum psychosis (a break with reality).

Unfortunately, many mothers with this psychosis are consumed with thoughts of death to their babies and destruction of themselves. Note the scripture concerning this:

 

“The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.” Psalm 18:4-5

 

There are six physical contributors to depression.

 

#1 Hormonal imbalance

The question arises as follows: “Can depression be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain?” This frequently asked question is answered with an unquestionable yes! Hormonal changes during puberty, postpartum (after childbirth) and peri-menopause (around menopause) can lead to depression.

 

#2 Medications and drugs

Certain legal and illegal drugs can cause depression, such as analgesics, anti-depressants, steroids, contraceptives, and cardiac medications.

 

#3 Chronic illnesses

Medical problems such as a thyroid deficiency and even a bout with the flu can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, which, in turn can cause depression.

 

#4 Melancholy temperaments

Orderly, gifted, and creative, the person with a melancholy temperament can, at the same time, be moody, overly sensitive, and self-deprecating. Because of those with this temperament are analytical, critical, and hard to please, they can take everything too seriously or too personally, quickly become depressed over circumstances or the slightest imperfection in themselves or others.

 

#5 Improper food, rest, exercise

A deficiency in the physical basics of life can contribute to a chronic sense of fatigue, lack of energy, and social withdrawal.

 

#6 Genetic vulnerability

Based on statistical data, those with depressed family members are two times more vulnerable to depression than those with no family history of depression. Likewise, “50% of those with bipolar have at least one parent with the disorder.

“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15

Question: “Why do twice as many women have depression as men?”

Women produce only one-half the amount of serotonin as men; however, estrogen in women multiples the amount of serotonin to equal the level in men. The challenge occurs at three specific times–prior to a woman’s menstrual cycle, after childbirth, and around menopause–when estrogen levels drop, sometimes severely. If a woman’s estrogen level is not sufficient to multiply serotonin, she experiences a depletion of serotonin, which can cause depression. This is one reason why many women receive Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) and why other women consult their physicians in order to feel “whole” again. Jesus said,

 

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Matthew 9:12

 

The Betrayal of Jesus Part Two

John 13:25-27

John leaned in order to ask Jesus who was the betrayer. Can you imagine the response the disciples would have had if they knew it was Judas Iscariot? There would have been a killing if they found out who the betrayer was. Giving the morsel (sop) to Judas was an uncaught sign of recognition to John. Some commentators say it was the Lord’s final extension of grace to Judas. If this is so, Judas deliberately rejected the extension of mercy to him. Giving Judas a morsel of bread was a sign of friendship. The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that it is ironic that Jesus’ act of friendship to Judas signals Judas’ betrayal of friendship.

 

After this, Satan enters into Judas. (v. 2). This is one of the most terrible expressions in the Scriptures. Judas became Satan’s tool against Jesus. Jesus tells Judas to do the act quickly. This may speak to the time of God’s proper timing.

 

John 13:28-30

No one grasped the meaning of Jesus’ action and words to Judas. Nobody caught what was being said and done. They assumed that he, the group’s treasurer, was going to purchase food for the Passover feast. They could have also thought that he was going to give some money to the poor. He had deceived the disciples, but not Jesus. It can be said that since it was night time, Judas was leaving the Light to go into darkness. This would be a symbolic significance. Note John 8:12; 12:35, 46. The darkness of sin. John 3:19.