Pastor Don’s Bible Study 9/3/06
Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend. I wanted to say Memorial Day – but that is wishful thinking. Given the kind of weather we had this summer, I want a do-over. But I am looking forward to a beautiful Fall season.
Before church begins at Living Word Chapel, Pastor Don spends time in prayer and does not start talking before God gives him a Bible verse or verses to share. During this time the church is listening to beautiful organ music by our members, praying (hopefully) and getting into worship. This Sunday God gave Pastor Don Matthew 6:22-33 which he told us was a kind of long passage, but so appropriate to the way the Holy Spirit is moving in our church. And if you had heard the worship music (prepared beforehand) and the sermon that Pastor Jerry gave (see yesterday’s entry), also prepared beforehand- you will see that the theme carried throughout the service.
Matthew 6:22-24 The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Pastor Don explained that Jesus used mammon for a specific reason – it does not just refer to money, but a demonic spirit behind money. The Bible does not say that money is bad, it says that the LOVE of money is the root of evil. It refers to what is behind the surface. If you give money to a person who has the spirit of mammon below the surface, that root can cause one to do anything for money – from criminal behavior, lying, stepping over others to achieve higher salaries, etc. God wants us to have money, but He doesn’t want money to have us. The spirit of mammon contains avarice, greed, advantageous gain. It contains a certain attitude and pride.
Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
DO NOT WORRY – that is not a request from God, but a command. God will provide our needs. What we need to remember is that if we focus on God, the rest takes care of itself.
Matthew 6:26-30 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Pastor Don mentioned Queen Anne’s Lace (a beautiful lacy flower of the carrot family)
and purple luse strife,
and points out how beautiful they are. Solomon could not have as much glory as even those. He pointed out that weeds are the plants we decide we don’t want in a particular area. And laughed and said that the world thought some of us were weeds, but God saw through that to the wonderful people we were underneath. Weeds are those plants we can’t control at times.
Verse 30 talks about “O you of little faith.” We need to have faith in God that He will provide.
Matthew 6:31-32 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
The Gentiles seek after cars, hair, good nails, big houses, and other status items. If you are seeking prosperity as a Gentile, you end up in confusion. God does want to prosper us. He knows we need the things the Gentiles are spending all their time seeking – and the difference is what we do with the things. If we glorify God. If the Gentiles see us being blessed in the physical, and when we are asked how we got the things, we praise God for His goodness and provision, that speaks volumes to the Gentiles. The things are useful as a witness about God, but they are not to be sought after just for gaining. God knows what we NEED, some of us can handle things without falling prey to mammon, others cannot. God knows and provides.
Then we had a guest speaker – Dr. Kraft – who is a member of the Gideon Bible Society.
He spoke about what the Gideons are doing here in our area. Mentioned that they are in 181 countries. And spoke a lot about the evangelism of Russia. There are 256 Gideon camps in Russia (sort of local church groups). over 90 million Scriptures in Russian have been handed out. The Scriptures are in the classrooms, the prisons, the hospitals, the hotels, and the military in Russia. The Russian schools allow Gideons to speak one hour in each classroom, and allow them to hand out scriptures. The jail guards like having the Bibles in their jails because it makes the prisoners better behaved. The military likes having the scriptures.
He told a story about a Russian Shaman. Apparently a pilot forgot to drop off Bibles at a far outpost, and to get rid of them opened up the hanger door and threw them out on the tundra. A shaman came by, saw the red books, picked one up and started to read. He then went to “heal” a patient and his “magic” didn’t work. He kept reading, found a shopkeeper who offered to teach him about the Scriptures. He stopped being a shaman and became a Christian.
Another story he shared was about a Gideon man invited to a dinner at the worst prison in Russia – the one where many of the prisoners were executed. After he was there, he found out that the person being honored at the retirement dinner at the prison was the chief executioner. He then realized that this was the very man who, when Russia was still communist, executed his grandfather for being a Christian. During the process of the meal, the Gideon man had to work through forgiving the executioner. The executioner talked about being converted to Christianity, and then wanted to shake the Gideon’s hand, and hug him. God used this to bring about a healing not only for the executioner but also for the Gideon. (I am writing this from memory – so some of the details may not be exact).
We were told story after story- and then we were told about what is happening in our area.
My kids’ school doesn’t let the Gideons in. At another local school, the Gideons stand on street corners and hand out Bibles to the kids – but they had to fight for the right. The Bible isn’t allowed to be taught in our school. We need to pray and keep handing out the Word wherever we can.
The question we were asked is, “Which is a more Christian Nation – Russia or the United States.” Given what we heard, I would have to say Russia.
We need to pray hard folks – and support groups like the local Gideons in your area.
I am hoping you have a blessed day.
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