Posts Tagged ‘Bible study’

 

This week we are going to take a look at the conclusion of Charles Swindoll’s message about mental barriers that prevent us from hearing the voice of God. Second Cor 5:17 says we are a new creature once we accept Jesus as Savior,  however, we still have our old nature and old habits dwelling within us. Thus far what we have learned about the mind is that it needs to be cleansed, renewed and strengthened in order for us to truly be men of God.

Charles Swindoll:

Along with the mental wall of habitual resistance, the humanistic reasonings that give it strength, and the proud, lofty reactions that keep the truths of Scripture at arm’s length, there are actual thoughts, techniques, and devices we employ that push away God’s Word and His promptings. Let me be specific.

Some of us have formed the habit of  getting even rather than overlooking wrongs done against us. So when we come across scriptural instruction that requires an alternate plan, our inner reaction is “No way!” When God’s counsel encourages us to be generous, to release rather than to keep, we can think of half a dozen reasons it won’t work. It’s like having a “Murphy’s Law” mentality that is immediately ready to spring into action. This keeps us from deciding favorably toward God. That’s a mental barrier.

A vital point I don’t want you to miss is that we really have no reason whatsoever to keep serving our secular mentality. We have been freed. Gloriously freed!

Before salvation we had no hope. We were victims of all those impulses and defenses within us. But at the cross, our Savior and Lord defeated the enemy. He said, “It is finished,” and it was!! No longer does sin reign as victor. But, you see, our old nature doesn’t want us to believe that. It resists all messages that would give us freedom, “All renewed mind information is to be muffled,” commands the sinful nature within us. And with every effort, it puts up a wall, guards, towers, and thoughts to turn all such input away.

Do you realize what our old nature resists the most? It is revealed in 2 cor 10:5: “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” When that happens, the “renewed mind” is in full operation….. and it is marvelous! At that moment, servanthood is neither irksome nor a thing to be feared. It flows freely.

When Jesus Christ truly takes charge of our minds, bringing our every thought captive to Him, we become spiritually invincible. We operate with supernatural power. We walk under God’s complete control.

 

Excerpted from “Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, pg 84-86, 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll.

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One of the most tragic things we can do as a Christian is to let our thoughts go unchecked. Another thing I know from my own life is that a thought can hold you captive to the point that  you are unable to move forward in life. This is why the Bible tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ in 2 Cor 10:5. The challenge I have for each man is to get up each day and examine your thoughts. This way you will not have to speculate on what God wants from you.

From Charles Swindoll:

As the Spirit of God attempts to communicate His truth to us, He runs up against the “wall” of our overall mental attitude, our natural mind-set. Along with the wall-like fortresses, we have natural, humanistic reasonings that give the wall additional strength.

I’m thinking of those defense mechanisms, rationalizations, and other thinking patterns that are habitual to us. In Romans 2:15 we read of two such “guards” – blaming and justifying.

As the Lord God pushes His truth to enter (and thus “renew”) our minds, our habitual reflex “guards” the entrance of such alien thoughts! This explains why there is often such a battle that rages when biblical truth is introduced into a mind that has been walled and guarded by years of secularized thinking. We defend the old rather that consider and accept the new.

This could have happened in your own mind when you read what the Scriptures teach on forgiveness. It also may occur when you read what the Bible teaches us to do when we have offended someone. More than likely, you found yourself resisting and defending. I certainly did when I first discovered those truths! We would much rather blame the other person than accept our responsibility. Our “speculations” work like that. They put up a guard against change, causing us to rationalize and justify our actions.

Accompanying the resistance of our internal wall and guards are “lofty things” that reinforce our defense system from within (2 cor 10:5). It’s the idea of a thing lifted up or exalted.

What comes to your mind right now? How about pride? And those things pride prompts: argumentation, an unteachable spirit, stubbornness, and refusal to change. Is that striking a nerve yet?

As the principles of the Scriptures are declared, our natural, unrenewed minds not only resist them, they ask, “Who needs that?” or “I’ve gotten along pretty good up ’til now.” These are the lofty things that are “raised up against the knowledge of God,” as Paul put it (2 Cor 10:5).

We need to destroy those things . . . . . before they destroy us.

Excerpted from “Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living.” 1981, by Charles Swindoll

It is undeniable the influence that Chuck Swindoll has had in my life. Approximately 18 years ago when I decided to turn my life completely over to God and submerse myself in His Word, I have regularly turned to The Bible Teaching Ministry of Charles Swindoll. His teaching is practical, biblically sound and continues to challenge me to grow.

At Who Me Be A Leader, we periodically like to highlight some of his teaching in hopes that it will also challenge you and encourage you and cause you to examine yourself. As we have always said, we believe a life unexamined is not a life worth living.

The Consequences of Sin are evident if you will read 2 Samuel 11:1-12:13.

Nathan didn’t come on his own; he was sent by God: “Then the Lord sent Nathan to David.” I think the most important word in that sentence is the first one, “then.” God’s timing is absolutely incredible.

When was he sent? Right after the act of adultery? No. Right after Bathsheba said, “I am pregnant”? No. Right after he murdered Uriah? No. Right after he married Uriah’s pregnant widow? No. Right after the birth of the baby? No. It’s believed by some Old Testament scholars that there was at least a twelve month interval that passed before Nathan paid that visit. God waited until just the right time. He let the grinding wheels of sin do their full work, and then He stepped in.

To be totally honest with you, there are times when I really question the timing of God. Times when I just don’t know why He’s so slow to carry out what I think He ought to do. But every time I have looked back in retrospect, I have seen how beautifully He worked out His plan, how perfectly it had come to pass. God not only does the right thing; He does the right thing at the right time.

In confronting someone in his sin, the timing is as important as the wording. Most importantly, you need to be sure that you are sent by God. Nathan was.

In his sin, David had despised the God he served. Now as a result of that sin, in days and years to some, David would experience grief within his own household.

Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I will raise up evil
against you from your own household; I will even take
your wives before your eyes and give them to your
companion, and he shall lie with your wives in broad
daylight. Indeed, you did it secretly, but I will do
this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.”
(2 Samuel 12:11-12)

Whew! Talk about the consequences of sin. David sits there with his mouth still open, leaning back, perhaps staring at the ceiling, listening to the voice of God from Nathan.

David, realizing he was absolutely guilty, admitted without hesitation, “I have sinned. I’ve sinned against the Lord.” With that admission, restoration began.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives(2005).

God sends different people into our lives for different reasons. Some to teach us, some to correct and some to reproof. Just as God sent Nathan to speak the truth to David, in love. He also sends people in to our lives for the same purpose. We need to not be quick to dismiss correction or get angry, but take time to examine yourself and receive this as it may be coming from God. Ask yourself, “Is what this person saying true and does it line up with God’s Word?” 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is then that our restoration begins.

We at Who Me Be a Leader have a deep desire for you to fall in love with God’s Word. The truth is, how we handle something depends on its value to us, and many people simply don’t realize the absolute treasure God has given them in His Word. Nothing you or I own is more precious than the Bible. People who ignore Scripture suffer as a result and go through life’s hardships without ever realizing the riches at their fingertips. However, those who embrace God’s Word discover benefits that money could never buy.

What is keeping you from the blessing of God’s Word? Some people say they don’t read Scripture because they say it is too difficult to understand. Here are some practical ideas to help you use God’s Word and begin applying it to your life.

First: READ. The first step it to open your Bible and begin reading it daily, small portions at first (Prov 8:33-35). Choose a time when you are able to focus all your attention on reading without interruption. Apart from prayer and worship, reading the Word is one of the primary ways we get to know Him. Those who read only during times of crisis miss the joy of an intimate relationship with the heavenly Father, which develops through consistent fellowship with Him.

Bible reading is a matter of quality not quantity. You should be most concerned with how effectively Scripture is changing your life rather than the number of chapters you have completed. As you go through the Bible, you should be storing the Lord’s truths in your heart. The goal is character transformation and an ever-deepening relationship with your Savior.

Second: MEDITATE. Meditation is simply a conversation with the Lord about the passage you’re reading. It’s a discipline that requires silence, stillness and concentration. Word by word and phrase by phrase, ask the Father to reveal both the meaning and the application He wants you to make in your life.

The process is slow and thoughtful, but as your continue, the Bible’s pages will come to life with significance. Always remembering your goal is a deeper understanding of God and yourself. Ask Him to show you His ways, search your heart, and reveal any changes you need to make.

Three: STUDY. How often do we really look for the Lord, examining Scripture for understanding about His ways? So often we ready the Bible only when we are searching for a verse to help us with a need. But do we care enough about Him to search out His character and learn who He really is? One of the greatest benefits of investing our time in thoughtful Bible study is an ever-increasing love for our Savior.

To supplement your studies, we also recommend investing in a Bible dictionary, a concordance and some Bible commentaries.

Four: APPLY. This step is essential. In order to become a mature Christian, you must learn to apply what you have learned. As we spend time reading the Bible, the Lord reveals what He wants us to do, whether through direct commands, principles, or examples. However, if we ignore His promptings or refuse to obey, we’ll get stuck and stop growing. Why should God reveal deeper truths if we haven’t done the last thing He said? In that case, our understanding of Scripture will be limited, our walk will suffer, and our spiritual fruit will dry up. Remember that obeying God is always the best path. The Father both uses and blesses those who say no to self and yes to Him (Prov 3:5-6).

The Lord has so much to give us if we will just make Bible reading a priority in our lives. He wants us to long for “the pure milk of the word” so that we can grow into mature believers (1 Pet. 2:1-2). Few of us will miss a meal, but how often do we skip spending time in the pages of Scripture? How can we be so careful to feed our bodies, which will one day die, and yet starve our spirits, which will live forever?

If you’ll start seriously “tasting” God’s Word, you will begin to develop a hunger to go deeper. Not only that, but the more familiar we become with the Bible, the more we will value and delight in it (Psalm 119:111). Instead of feeling an obligation to read, we’ll long to spend time hearing from our Savior and growing in our understanding of His character and ways.

Excerpts from “Transformed by The Word” by Charles Stanley

Our desire at Who Me Be a Leader is to reach men in all areas and all walks of life. In this video Ronnie sits down with his friend Donny Hightower, from The InnerChange Freedom Initiative, a Prisoner Reformation Program. This is an intense values-based program that is taught from a biblical perspective and focuses on Jesus Christ and the model and source of real lifelong change. This program has two parts,  the participants receive 18 months of pre-release programming in a prison unit separated from the general population. After release from prison, they receive 12 months of reentry programming and mentoring to help them get settled back into the community, into a job and a supportive church. They remain in close relationship with IFI staff and volunteers as mentors to receive encouragement and support as needed. It is not an easy program, it is filled with a combination of academic and life-skills classes, small-group discussions, leadership training, and personal study. It is open to prisoners of any faith or no faith. But it is taught from biblical perspective with the focus being on a relationship with Jesus Christ for true lifelong change.

Over the next few weeks I am going to discussing the issue of Pride. I will be doing an overview of the book, “From Pride to Humility”, by Stuart Scott.   He does an in-depth, biblical breakdown of the manifestations of Pride vs the Attributes of Humility.

 Humility is the one character quality that will enable men to be all Christ wants them to be.

  •  “We cannot love God supremely without it.”
  •  “We cannot be an effective witness for Christ without it.”
  •  “We cannot love and serve our families or others without it.”
  • ” We cannot lead in a Godly way without it.”
  •  “We cannot communicate properly without it.”
  •  “We cannot resolve conflict without it.”
  • “We cannot deal with the sin of others rightly without it.”
  • “We especially, as men, cannot resist sin without it.”

We must learn how pride has manifested in each of us. Sometimes it is obvious and other times it shows in subtle ways, but we all have pride. Before we can truly embrace and take on the attributes of humility that God wills for us.  As men, we must be willing to do self-examination and find the areas of pride in our lives.

It is impossible to have humility where pride exists. Pride, being the opposite of humility, is one of the most hated sins in God’s eyes.

“Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; assuredly, he will not be unpunished.” ~ Proverbs 16:5      

Stuart Scott’s book, “From Pride to Humility.”

In this video Ronnie talks about a man knowing his way around the Bible so he is able to lead in his home as well as sufficient to lead in the church.