Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 63

It Upsets The Apple Cart

March 3 – Today’s Readings – Luke 11-12 and Psalms 63

Please have a quick second look at the following verses from today’s reading; “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” [Luke 11:11-13]

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” [Luke 12:49 &51]

Now take a quick peek at the following passage from the Book of Acts; “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. [Acts 2:1-4]

If I read this correctly, God’s child is guaranteed the gift of the Holy Spirit if he asks sincerely, like a son asking his father for a loaf of bread or an egg for breakfast. When we receive the Holy Spirit however, “fire” comes into our lives and it upsets the apple cart of our personal world. We become separated from the world and all that belongs to it. All of a sudden we realize that we are no longer part of the old systems and patterns because something all-consuming has taken over. When the Disciples received the Holy Spirit, they literally exploded onto the world stage. They couldn’t help themselves – upon them came fire and out of them came fire – so much so that they turned the then-known world on it’s ear.

You and I are no different. Fire has come into our lives and we can’t help but be witnesses because the “tree of life” is in us (Genesis 2:9) – and out from our lives flow streams of living water [John 7:38] – the power of God is in us [Acts 1:8] – the gifts of the Holy Spirit are upon us [1Corinthians 12:7-11] – and we are producing the “fruit of the Spirit” [Galatians 5:22-25].

Give me one of these people who walk in the Spirit (you) and I’ll give you someone who will influence and change their world. Fire has come to the earth in the form of Spirit-filled saints of God and the fire brings plenty of good things but it also brings plenty of “reaction” from the world. They have no clue what your life is about so they lash out at you. This division is also a product of the fire of God. Sometimes people who are close to you become separated from you because they can’t understand the “new” you. We are a sweet fragrance to God, but to the world we sometimes don’t smell so good. There is something eternal about us that confronts them in their sin and brings them to a place of facing Jesus as Lord. Some run to Him and some run away. Our job is to stir up the fire of God within us.

Questions:

1. How can you be both a “sweet fragrance” and a “bad smell”?

2. What other things does the “fire of God” do in your life?

3. If you have not yet asked the Father for the “Gift of the Holy Spirit” – do so! He will change your life.

The Gospel

September 5 – Today’s Readings – Galatians 1-2 and Psalms 65

Galatians 2:16 reads, “Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So too we have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

Lets talk about “The Gospel” for a moment. Can we clearly articulate the Gospel? Do we really know what we believe and what we are supposed to share with others? In the book of Galatians, Paul’s concern is that Christians have lost sight of the true meaning of the Gospel – “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6)

He outlines his concern in this way: If we preach a “Gospel” that relies on the deeds that we can accomplish for the Lord then we are off track. Have you ever heard it said of a gifted individual who does not know Christ; “Wow – If that guy was to ever come to the Lord, what a blessing he would be!” It is almost as if this person (in comparison to others) would do God a great favor by joining His team. Here’s the truth. All we can do is believe – to have faith – to follow – and obey. That is the sole responsibility of a Christian. This is how we initially get “saved” and how we are to live day by day. None of our good works (following the law) will get us to heaven – only trusting Christ can do that. When we do good works as believers its in our new nature to do so – the Holy Spirit – the Holy Seed of Christ has led us and has changed our desires. We do deeds of righteousness because Christ is in us and He is righteous. The “law” of God has been written in our hearts. We simply say “yes” and “amen” to God who leads us.

Where then can we go wrong? Well, the Galatians went astray because they allowed a set of religious rules to determine not just their lifestyle but also their salvation. If we have a concept of God that insists we follow a certain set of man-made laws, then we lose the basis of our relationship with God. We live in the manner that we do because God leads us in the paths of righteousness – not because we see it as a way to get into God’s good books or earn God-points so as to make it to heaven. The motivation is internal – not external although external structure has always helped me stay focused. God doesn’t have a salvation gift waiting for me if I’ve been “nice” and not “naughty”. No – God freely offered me His Christ gift at a time when I was separated from Him because of my sinful nature. He proceeded to make me “nice” from the inside out. It was something I did work at – but it was something that came OUT OF ME once Christ CAME INTO ME.

Questions:

1. Tell of another group of New Testament people who were also having a problem with the grace of God. (hint – The Book of Romans)
2. Tell of a time when you, or someone close to you began to trust in works and not in the grace of God.
3. Tell of why “spiritual discipline” is still important in your life.

Where The Glory Resides

September 3 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 43-45 and Psalms 63

These last chapters of Ezekiel, concerning the “temple” of the Lord, paint a clear picture of how things ought to be in OUR lives – Spirit-Filled followers of Jesus Christ have become the new Temple of the Lord according to the New Testament – “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (1Corintnians 3:16-17)

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1Corinthians 6:19- 20)

“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ ‘Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:16-18)

Clearly, we have now become the Temple of the Living God. What are the spiritual matters we should be paying attention to according to Ezekiel’s illustration of the Temple? Well – the temple was to be a place were “the glory” of the Lord resided. Another word for “glory” is “magnificence” – a place where God is honored, worshipped and exalted. What does this “glory” look like or feel like? Ezekiel describes it in this way – “As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not need to swivel as the creatures changed direction. Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of “eyes all around.” (Ezekiel 1:15-18) Confusing? Yes – It is supposed to be confusing because it is “otherworldly” – a glimpse of heavenly and spiritual things. This is also true of the Glory of God in our midst when we worship – and it is also true of the Glory of God living in us. We don’t quite know how to describe it but we certainly know it’s there. Is it any wonder that people who do not know Christ simply can’t understand spiritual matters? The vision of Ezekiel is of a God whose “glory” is multifaceted, complete, all seeing, great and awesome – so it is with us when we begin to “see” God. It is overwhelming to experience something so unlike anything we’ve ever encountered. Our spiritual journey must include encounters with God that forever change our minds concerning the reality of spiritual things and that a very real spiritual world exists. They also must bring us to a place where we become “the temple of God”.

Questions:

1. Give another example from Scripture where the “Glory of God” was revealed.
2. Tell of a personal experience where you expressly “felt” the glory.

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