Religious

The 23rd Psalm in short order

I just want to take a moment to write down some random thoughts that come into my mind as I meditate upon Psalm 23. I have pasted the text below and will comment after each verse.
Psalm 23:1-6 KJV; A Psalm of David. David knew a lot about sheep and shepherding. In 2 Samuel 7, as David sits in his palace admiring its splendor, Nathan the prophet reminded David where God has brought him from. “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:”

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We need a hero

A hero is a person, real or imaginary, noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose—especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.
Our need for a hero is so strong that in the absence of a real person we will invent fictional characters to satisfy our need to be rescued. Sometimes we will elevate a gifted athlete, actor or other famous personality to hero status irrespective of any actual heroic sacrifice, simply because we need a hero.

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Friends - Part 3

James 4:4 KJV
[4] Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
I really enjoyed writing the first two parts of this series on friends, but in all honesty, I have dreaded writing this last part. It is not my intention to offend or condemn anyone, but if the Word of God offends you, well, then take it up with Him. That being said, Jesus said many people would be offended because of the words he spoke and the things he did.

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What kind of friend are you?

James 2:23 KJV
[23] And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
I can’t read James 2:23 without the simple lyrics of “I Am a Friend of God, by Israel Houghton and Michael Gungor, playing in my mind. It’s the kind of lyric that can get stuck on replay in your mind for hours. Which in this case is probably not a bad thing, especially if we associate it with the scriptures the lyrics are based upon.

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Friends

Part 1
Proverbs 18:24 KJV
[24] A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
I often close conversations with Proverbs 18:24, to remind myself and others of the importance of having friends. Friendships come in various levels, from short-term casual contact, to lifelong intimate relationships.
We sometimes use the word friend very loosely, even casually as a greeting. Many believe that friendship in the best sense is lifelong to the extent that both parties involved would die for each other.

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Spirits in prison

1 Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.
Today we have a lot of misunderstanding regarding what Peter is trying to communicate in the above verse. I once heard a prominent TV preacher theorize from this scripture that Jesus Spirit while he was in the grave literally entered into hell (the under-world, Hades, Limbo, Purgatory, an intermediate place for the lost, choose your own noun) to give a second chance at redemption to those people long dead.
“Houston, we have a problem!”

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Come and dine

John 21:12 KJV:
[12] Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine.
It’s the third meeting Jesus is hosting for some of his disciples after his Resurrection. Like any good host, Jesus wants everyone to be relaxed before they really get into the serious business at hand for them. So he starts his meeting with a fish fry as it were. Fish sandwiches to be exact or at least their version of a fish sandwich, which was simply bread and fish—a highly appropriate meal for a meeting with a bunch of fishermen, cooked by someone that once said, “man does not live by bread alone.” (Matthew 4:4)

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Christian grub worms

Some sermons, or at least the sermon titles, just get stuck in my mind. An experienced preacher will often give their message a catchy title to help drive the point home.
I’ll never forget a sermon the Reverend Ronnie Beeler once preached which he entitled, “Wallowing Around Under a Log with the Mully Grubs.”
I’m fairly sure Reverend Beeler just made up the word “mully,” but I understood what he meant, having turned over many logs as a boy searching for fishing bait.

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A study of Peter and John

[1] Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. - Acts 3:1 KJV
I like to do character studies of the Bible patriarchs, because it helps me to better understand the context of their stories. A common theme of these character studies is that all the men and women of the Bible were subject to the same passions as we are today.

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From one fisherman to another

I’ve been a fisherman all my life.
My first vivid memory is of pulling back some cattails to see a stringer full of fish, which my Dad had staked out on some waterway someplace. Needless to say, I love to fish!
Four of the 12 Apostles Jesus called were professional fishermen and at least three others liked to fish.
In John 21:2-8, that “disciple whom Jesus loved”* tells us of seven Apostles fishing together when Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection.

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Scratch my ears, please

2 Timothy 4:3 KJV
[3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
Have you ever scratched a hound dog behind its ears? Dogs just can’t seem to get enough ear scratching. I can recall countless times when my boyhood hound dog Sam would cozy up to me, nudge my hand and encourage me to scratch behind his ears. Seems like Sam especially enjoyed this if I told him he was a “good dog.”

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What’s wrong with Jesus?

Perhaps I should have entitled this article “What’s Wrong with Christianity?”
The answer to both questions are not synonymous, but they are related.
Plus questioning what is wrong with Christianity is too subjective, as evidenced by the various Christian denominations found throughout the world. Denominations, including religious sects, are greatly influenced by personal feelings or opinions.

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Anxious for nothing

Philippians 4:6 is one of those verses which many Christians have hidden in their hearts. It is Paul the Apostles version of 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”
We find Paul once again in prison for preaching the Gospel. He has written this letter to the Philippians so that they will not lose hope in Christ, because of the situation in which Paul finds himself.
Let’s think about what is going on by imagining ourselves as part of a possible conversation between two first century new believers in the city of Philippi:

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Keys to the Kingdom

Matthew 16:19 - And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Please be aware it is not my intent to be divisive, to exclude anyone or any church denomination. The Gospel itself will take care of that in due time. However, I don’t think I could pick a better chapter than Matthew Chapter 16 to jump flat-footed right in the middle of the fray regarding divisions within the Christian church over doctrinal differences.

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Reflect, refocus and reset

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
It’s a new year! Go ahead and call me Captain Obvious, but sometimes stating what is obvious is simply necessary. While I try not to make flippant New Year’s resolutions, regarding spiritual matters I do like to take the occasion as another opportunity to reflect upon my relationship with God. When I see my shortcomings through reflecting upon God’s Word, it benefits me to sharpen my focus and reset my path in accordance with Biblical principles.

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Now that’s why you don’t have any friends

Hebrews 11 is the famous chapter affectionately known as the “Roll Call of Faith.”
Countless messages have been preached about the “Heroes of Faith.” Every believer has heard moving sermons detailing the blessings God poured out upon faithful Abraham and Sara. Moses has often been celebrated in inspirational messages as leader, deliverer and miracle worker.

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The Straight Truth

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

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The man of God

You cannot trust the man of God. Many people waver or lose faith in God, when a “man of God” fails. Men of God fail all the time. We have a recent example of an immoral failure of the leader of one of the largest Christian colleges and churches in America.

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Qualified to be a devil

The Apostle James in his letter says, “faith without works is dead.”
The Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians that salvation is: “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Do we have a contradiction in the pages of the Bible? Is James disagreeing with Paul regarding salvation?
At first glance it seems Paul and James do disagree and we have a contradiction, which is often the problem with first glances without knowledge.

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In my Father’s house are many mansions

John 14:2 “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (KJV)
Jesus spoke the words recorded in John 14:2 during the final week of His earthly ministry before His crucifixion! Jesus had been dropping hints to his Disciples about his true intentions as the Lamb of God from the moment he first called his Twelve Apostles, nearly three-and-a-half years earlier.

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