“HEAR NOW WHAT THE LORD SAYS”

BIBLE STUDY:

The Christian View Of Christian Spirituality –

For the entire past century and longer, the Christian view of spirituality has been on trial in my country.  Before Christ was born, Micah saw that his nation and every individual must find their real life, their spiritual life in trusting the Lord Jesus.

GALATIANS 5:16-26

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentlenesses, self-control. Against such, there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. !

AND IN LUKE 17:11-19…

IMMEDIATELY, in our study, THE SCENE CHANGES –

And it’s no longer a nation that must answer, but the individual. Micah.  He asks, “What must I bring – what can I offer God to avert His wrath?”

The LORD’s Case Against Israel –

The LORD speaking through the prophet, Micah here:

Micah 6:1-8 (NLT)

[1]  “Stand up and state your case against me.  Let the mountains and hills be called to witness your complaints.  [2]  And now, O mountains, listen to the LORD’s complaint!  He has a case against his people.  He will bring charges against Israel.  

[3]  “Oh my people, what have I done to you?  How have I wearied you?  Answer me!  [4]  For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

[5]  Don’t you remember, my people, how King Balak of Moab tried to have you cursed and how Balaam son of Beor blessed you instead?  And remember your journey from Acacia Grove to Gilgal, when I, the LORD did everything I could to teach you about my faithfulness.”

[6]  What can we bring to the LORD?  Should we bring him burnt offerings?  Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves?  [7]  Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?  Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?

What then does the LORD Require?

It is a RELATIONSHIP, not rituals, not ‘things’ the LORD wants.

This is where TRUE WORSHIP begins.

  • True Worship obeys, and to obey is better than sacrifice!
  • True Worship impacts and it changes lives and influences others!

We worship God when we obey Him–when we honor God’s Name, that’s WORSHIP! 

Samuel told King Saul ( 1 Samuel 15:22), 

“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices

as much as in obeying the LORD?

To obey is better than sacrifice 

and to heed is better than the fat of rams…”

Therefore, true worship can only come from a heart of obedience.

In true worship, we become and behave like the One we worship.  It’s not just an act (like bringing sacrifices or coming to church), it’s a LIFE!

I know, it’s not easy for us to remember, because we are so conditioned by the surroundings and by tradition, to think of WORSHIP as an event once a week.  We tend to compartmentalize our lives into different areas–church life, personal life, family life, corporate life, and social life.  That’s what we do!  And when we come through those church doors during the week, we decide…that’s WORSHIP!–an event where we are on our best behavior.  Well at least for some of us.

But WORSHIP is more than that.  Jesus tells the Samaritan woman by the well–it has nothing to do with the PLACE but the PERSON of God.

If WORSHIP is an encounter with Christ, then it happens every day and everywhere.

Each time I choose to OBEY God and do His will in my life…when His Name is honored by my words and behavior, I am worshipping Him!  I’m talking about worshipping Him every day,  It’s not just about songs we sing in the car, but our thoughts, words, and behavior.

My Christian faith isn’t an individualistic faith–it’s not just about me and God, and nothing else.

Israel was BLESSED to become a BLESSING to the nations that surrounded them.  God’s BLESSING isn’t an end in itself–it’s a witness to a lost and dying world.

It changes lives!

The question, in Micah 6:8, “What does the LORD require of you?” showed God’s expectations that God expects Israel’s faith to have changed their society, their surrounding communities.

It’s interesting to read and hear what God said to the prophet Ezekiel about SODOM & GOMORRAH:

The poor and needy are always on God’s radar screen.  People are God’s concern.

Forgetfulness:  It Can Be Hard to Remember Things.

Spanish philosopher Geroge Santayana famously stated the great truth that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

One of the greatest mistakes God’s people made in relatuionship was to forget who they were and lost their sense of identity as the covenant people of God, gradually drifting away from living their lives as God had intended for them.

God had said to them in Deuteronomy 6:12,  “be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

This happened not once, but time and time again.

The writer of Hebrews included a WARNING for New Testament believers not to make the same mistake.  But as I write this blog-study, I sense we are all in need of being continually reminded.  Only then can we fully appreciate the weight and relevance of the question presented by Micah”

“What does the LORD require of you?”

Micah sees a vivid picture of the destruction that will come about of the people beginning with their rulers and reaching unto the women and the children.

WHY?

Because JUDGEMENT was coming because the people of God were no longer living as the People Of God.  Instead, there was corruption, oppression, bribery, and injustice and all the while God’s people weren’t able to see that something had gone radically wrong.

WHAT HAD GONE WRONG?

The people of God neglected their relationship with the LORD–so much so that their hearts’ affections were overtaken by other things.  And this, in turn, was the explanation for the change in their attitudes, the way they were daily living and how they treated others.

AND THE CURE?

Not so much dealing with the symptoms but to deal with the cause.  A change in behavior would be the unavoidable outcome, returning to a meaningful relationship with the LORD.

It happens to Christians too!

We can drift away and as soon as we become cut off from the source of our life we no longer are motivated in the same way to be distinctive, nor do we have the passion anymore to do so.

Have you lost your passion?  Maybe your passion isn’t what it once was for the things of Christ!  Your relationship has grown cold; there are holes big enough in your relationship as if moth-eaten.

Micah Tells Them God’s Requirements For Getting Back On Track.  Repairing the Holes.

It’s as we are renewed in our relationship with God our Father, that we not only remember who we are in Christ Jesus, but we also take on His nature.

ACTING JUSTLY –

It wasn’t happening in Micah’s day (Micah 6:11) – “Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?”

Here was a society that was cheating one another, not God’s way.

In Psalm 51:6, “Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.”

In Proverbs 4:23. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

LOVING MERCY –

This isn’t just ‘having mercy’, but “loving mercy.”

Mercy is a rich and strong word, meaning loving-kindness in action.  There’s an element of unexpectedness about it.

Mercy conveys a sense of LOVE and KINDNESS that’s not expected.  It’s doing acts of kindness to others out of love.  Like in the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, it was the one considered least likely to offer help who did so.  Or the story of the woman caught in adultery that teaches compassionate mercy scarcely revealed in Old Testament law.  Or the dying thief on a cross who believes.

It’s a way of life that reflects the LOVE of God for us.  It is taking on and living out Godly nature.

WALKING HUMBLY WITH GOD –

I love this quote I came across in my study this week:

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s just thinking of yourself less.” 

by Kris V.

HUMILITY is a theme of the entire Bible.  But God gives a ‘greater’ grace.  Therefore it says in James 4:6,  “But He gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

And in Zephaniah 2:3,  Seek the Lord [inquire for Him, inquire of Him, and require Him as the foremost necessity of your life], all you humble of the land who have acted in compliance with His revealed will and have kept His commandments; seek righteousness, seek humility [inquire form them, require them as vital].  It may be you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.  (AMP)

Have this attitude within yourselves that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, He didn’t regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

We Walk (in the Spirit), HUMBLY when we come to Him in prayer.

I love the prayer that goes, “Dear Lord, so far today I am doing all right.  I have not gossiped, not cursed, lost my temper, and been greedy, nasty or self-indulgent.  However, I am about to get out of bed in a few minutes, and I will need a lot more help after that.”

To WALK HUMBLY with God is to “live carefully” to acknowledge that we don’t have it altogether, so we go to God for help.

1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”

To sum it all up, it’s not all about giving “things” to God.

More than “things,” God requires us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before Him.  We can give all kinds of gifts to our church, but God is interested in the QUALITY of our lives.

We need to reconsider the way we are living our daily lives.

We need to first acknowledge our sins and then be willing to submit to God’s Mercy.  It’s only through a humbling of ourselves that we will be allowed to walk with God.

The response of a godly heart is outward (do justice), inward (love mercy), and upward (walk humbly) giving Him glory for it.

May the LORD enable us through Christ Jesus Who is our strength to live according to His Word.

AMEN

___________________________________________________________

CREDITS:

Dictionary:  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Of Ols and New Testament Words.

Commentary:  Sermon Central – Micah 6:1-8 [various contributors].

Photo/Images:  Google Image Source.

Bible Translations:   New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), Amplified Bible (AMP), New Living Translation (NLT).

 

What The Lord Requires From Us and the Why’s

“What does the Lord your God require of you but to FEAR the Lord your God, [that is] to WALK in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being.  [13] To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good”  (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 AMP).

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?”  (Micah 6:8).

“And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with your whole soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength.  This is the first and principal commandment”  (Mark 12:30 AMP).

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definition of “REQUIREMENT”:

1. a: to claim or ask by right of authority. Synonyms: bear, challenge, claim, demand, warrant.

A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE OF “REQUIRE”:  “I didn’t know that toy required a battery to function properly.  Someone should have told me.”

My answer to that person’s statement might have been, “If you would have read the words in the instruction booklet, you would have known from the beginning!”  God’s Word is contained in the “instruction booklet.”  It’s called the Bible.  So for us to learn “What The Lord Requires…”, we need to get instructions from Scripture.

“WHAT SHOULD I DO?”

Often we hear people ask this question, asking for advise to simple and complicated issues in their lives.  Sometimes they get good answers and sometimes bad answers.  Sometimes they get conflicting answers and sometimes they get no answers.

The 3 Scriptures I gave you at the top of the page applies to all situations; complicated and simple.  They contain Scriptural answers to…“What Should I do?” and “As a Christian, how should I live?”

Now I could give you my opinion to the answers or I could give you WORD SEED to store in your bag.  For the Bible isn’t a book of rules, but a bag of SEED!

There is too much contained in these verses to dig deeply into them in this blog space.  So through out this blog-post, I’ll give you references that you can jot down; then study and reflect, on what you should do for God; His requirement.  I’ll also give you evidence I found and you can be your own WORD Detective; you flesh it out.

“FEAR the LORD your God” : (Deuteronomy 10:12).

I want to start off by giving a must reference: the Hebrew word for FEAR in a positive manner is yir’ah.  It refers to an “attitude of reverential awe and worship.” (Exodus 20:20;   2 Chron.19:9; Neh.5:9, 15).

I like the story about William Penn, founder of the state of Pennsylvania.  His refusal to take his hat off for the King of England.  His conviction…only God should receive that kind of reverence.

“WALK in all His ways”

Too many people SEEK God’s will in a matter when it seems easy or pleasing to their desires.  ONLY COMMITTED CHRISTIANS want to WALK in God’s light that He gives.

Today, too many believe there is no TRUTH.  We know that REAL TRUTH exists.

TOTAL COMMITMENT IS A MUST!

Total commitment in your relationship with God IS a must towards a godly way of life; the way to holiness.

Commitment today seems to have lost its meaning to not only the world, but in born-again believer’s lives also.

The Hebrew word used here is galal; meaning to trust or to commit to with the connotation of, “rolling one’s trouble away from oneself upon someone else who can help. TOTAL “GALAL!”

“LOVE Him”

To really LOVE God/Him; to have intimacy with Him, is a MUST in any relationship.  And like any relationship, the more time we spend with Him, the more we will LOVE Him.

When I was 22 yrs old, the more time I spent with Dianne Pagan, the more I knew that I wanted her to be Dianne Thompson.  Since the day she became my wife I’ve learned far more about her and have learned to love her more and more.  It’s part of the RELATIONSHIP!  The more time we spend with our Lord and Savior, the more that we want to do in bringing glory to His name.

“SERVE the Lord…”

“WITH ALL your heart”

“WITH ALL your soul”

“TO OBSERVE the Lord’s commands and decrees”

We must do our BEST:

Being an “ordinary Christian” is NOT doing your best!  In a past blog-POST, I dealt with the subject of MEDIOCRITY (What Does The Bible Say About MEDIOCRITY?).  The Webster’s Dictionary defines MEDIOCRITY as, “a moderate or low quality, ordinary, so-so.”  I bet you probably know where I’m going with this.

What we do when we SERVE is to do so with ALL of our heart, soul, mind, strength and that isn’t being ORDINARY!  By doing our BEST, we become LOVE SERVANTS…not just for His glory but for our own good!

“To ACT JUSTLY”

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you but to do JUSTLY, and to love kindness and MERCY, and to humble yourself and WALK HUMBLY with your God”  (Micah 6:8).

We must do what is right for others and not just ourselves; the world is full of injustice.  While administering the law we must apply the law of LOVE; knowing we will be judged by God with the same manner we judge others.

How many times have I driven down the road and turned my eyes away from a man who was unshaven, unclean and carrying a “I am homeless” sign.  I knew in my heart that I needed an attitude adjustment; asking the Lord to help me change my attitude.  And then a friend shared this photo on Facebook and my immediate reaction was, I’m going to do this Lord. “Thank you for helping me change my attitude.”

LIVE – LOVE

My wife and I are going to keep two of the zip-lock bags in the car and when we see someone who needs some LOVE, on that particular day, we will hand them a LOVE bag!  JESUS LOVES YOU, THIS I KNOW!

“To LOVE MERCY”

The merciful are promised mercy from God.  God gives us GRACE and MERCY and in His doing so, we should love doing good; living lives of compassion.

We are LEARNING to SERVE all out of LOVE rather than only out of duty.  What I desire others do for me, if or when I might be in the same situation.

‘To WALK HUMBLY With You God”

Walking in SUBMISSION to His will:

Hebrews 12:9 says,

“Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us].  Shall we not much more cheerfully SUBMIT to the Father of spirits, and so [truly] live?”

His desires should be our desires:

“…Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with HUMILITY [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another.  For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives GRACE (favor, blessing) to the humble”  (1 Peter 5:5 AMP).

WALKING IN HUMILITY is that walking becomes a choice: His will over our will.  Are you, and I, a SERVANT of God?  It’s much easier to WALK in HUMILITY with our neighbor when we fully realize God loves him/her just as much as He loves us; even with all our faults.

TO LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART – [Mark 12:30]:

What does “To love God with ALL YOUR HEART” mean?

Have you ever seen a football or baseball game or any other team play a game where their HEARTS were not in it?  I remember one particular Seattle Seahawk football game where they were behind in score to the Kansas City Chiefs by two touchdowns with less than ten minutes to play.  Now if the Seattle head coach had started substituting second string players, expecting that the outcome was already settled, it would have said to me and other fans and sport-writers, they had given up on the season.

Jesus taught that the “pure in heart” will “see God.”  Just as the team was behind in the game, yet giving their best, they could see victory if they kept trying.  And in case you’re interested, Seattle won the game in the last few minutes remaining.  Nothing ordinary found here!

Our courage and emotions; ALL OF YOUR HEART should be fueled by our FAITH in God.

To LOVE GOD with ALL OF YOUR “SOUL”

He is our only Spiritual Advisor through the Holy Spirit, guiding you daily in your life:

Not horoscopes,

Not tarot cards,

Not witches,

Not fortune tellers,

Not psychics, other–so-called “holy books”, not man’s word…

This body of ours will be destroyed one day, but the SOUL will live forever.  To SAVE our SOULS, we must LOVE God.

To Love God With ALL Our “MIND”

Come on believers…Use your brain!  You and I know God’s way is BEST.  The first place to start to use and improve our MINDS is to read and understand the Bible.

{Illustration:  “THEOLOGY IN THE PEW”

“A large share of people who attend Protestant and Catholic churches have adapted beliefs that CONFLICT with the teaching in the Bible and their church, according to the latest release from Barna Research Group”  (www.barna.org).

There are some fundamental Christian precepts most Americans have hung on to:

Three-quarters of all adults believe in the Trinity.

79% accept that “every person has a soul that will live forever, either in God’s presence or absence.”

76% reject pre-Reformation perspective that “the Bible can only be correctly interpreted by people who have years of intense training in theology.”

On other issues, the research found some disturbing trends:

Six out of ten Americans (59%) reject the existence of Satan, calling him merely a symbol of evil.

35% or one-third believe that it is “possible to communicate with the dead.”

42% believe that, when Jesus was on earth, he committed sins.

Half of all adults argue that anyone who “is generally good or does enough good things for others during their life will earn a place in Heaven.”

44% contend that “the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths.” —

Article quoted from October 11, 2002 “PASTOR’S WEEKLY BRIEFING” provided by Focus on the Family}

AMERICA and other nations must get back to the Bible.  Ours is not a religion of polls, “but of FAITH.”

To Love “God With All Our STRENGTH”

The Roget’s Thesaurus In Dictionary Form defines the noun STRENGTH:

 (a) force, power, might, energy; intensity, concentration, extremity.

Now here is an exercise to practice.  Put the word “ALL” in front of the above listed words:

–“ALL” my force,

–“ALL” my power,

–“ALL” my might,

–“ALL” my energy,

–“ALL” my intensity,

–“ALL” my concentration,

–“ALL” my extremity.

We ARE SAVED by FAITH.

But James teaches us if we are really saved, we are required by God to use ALL are STRENGTH in serving Him:

“What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]?  Can [such] faith save [his soul]?”  (James 2:14 AMP).

When JESUS asked His disciple Peter if he loved Him and told him that he needed to feed His sheep.  What does that mean to you?

CHRISTIANS need to do something for God or to be active in His service.  Now I don’t mean just running-in-place between advertisements watching TV.

What are your spiritual gifts?  What talents do you have to offer?  If you are passionate about something; if you excel at an activity, God requires that you not just use it but DEMONSTRATE what He has given you with ALL of your…!

The Second Great Command is to LOVE our neighbor…

WHY DOES GOD TELL US WHAT TO DO?

3 Quick Answers/Conclusions in John 15:

[8] “When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.  [9] I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].  [10] If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.  [11] I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.  [12] This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you”  (verses 8-12 AMP).

#1.  In order for us to “bear (produce) much fruit”; to make our lives count to give glory to God that made us and saved us.

#2.  In order to REMAIN in a LOVING, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP with God and not to backslide.

#3.  In order to have complete “JOY”!  The JOY that comes from serving your Father is the GREATEST JOY!

I HOPE that this study has been as beneficial to you as it has for me.