For me, the year 2011 will always be remembered as the “year of the living and active word of God”. Never before have I experienced the Spirit speaking so powerfully through the Scripture!
I posted this already, but as I review this year, it is very much worth reading through these verses again. And I need to add one verse. The last verse in the Bible is about the grace of God. Part of my prayer for the new year will include learning about this all-important last word:
Revelation 22:21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
Leviticus 5:1 “‘If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.
>>> Not speaking up when we hear a public charge is a sin before the Lord.
Numbers 15:28 “The priest is to make atonement before the LORD for the one who erred by sinning unintentionally, and when atonement has been made for him, he will be forgiven.
>>> Unintentional sin is mentioned many times in the Law, and is just as serious as intentional sin.
Numbers 22:21-33 “21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. 24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again. 26 Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” 29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said. 31 Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. 32 The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”
>>> Even a donkey can be used by the Lord to hold God’s servant accountable when God is angry with God’s servant. If the donkey had not turned away three times, God’s angel certainly would have killed Balaam, but spared the donkey.
1 Samuel 15:34-35 “34 Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.”
>>> There are times when we should not meet with God’s appointed servant.
Proverbs 26:17-19 “18 Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death 19 is one who deceives their neighbor and says, ‘I was only joking!’”
>>> Don’t be a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death!
Proverbs 27:4-6 “4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? 5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
>>> Anger, jealousy, hidden love, flattering kisses: things that disrupt unity in the Lord.
Ecclesiastes 7:14-22 “14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future. 15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: a righteous man perishing in his righteousness, and a wicked man living long in his wickedness. 16 Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise– why destroy yourself? 17 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool– why die before your time? 18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes. 19 Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city. 20 There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins. 21 Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you– 22 for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.”
>>> Avoid all extremes and do not pay attention to every word people say.
Isaiah 55:6-11 “6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
>>> God’s thoughts and God’s ways are higher than mine, as high as the heavens are above the earth.
Matthew 5:13-16 “13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
>>> Be salt and light. Walk and talk openly, before people and before my Father in heaven.
Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
>>> Treasure up “all these things” and ponder them in your heart, and God will show you what to do.
Luke 18:6-8 “6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?””
>>> Even an unjust judge grants justice.
Acts 7:51-55 “51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.” 54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”
>>> Stephen delivered God’s message to those who resisted the Holy Spirit. Their response was anger. Yet Stephen looked to heaven, saw Jesus and forgave them.
1 Corinthians 12:3 “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”
>>> Salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31 “27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.”
>>> Not everyone is called to be a teacher.
2 Corinthians 11:19-20 “19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face.”
>>> Why do people put up with those who enslave or push or slap?
Galatians 2:11-16 “11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, 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.”
>>> Should Gentiles be forced to follow Jewish customs, even though Jewish customs are based on God’s law?
Ephesians 4:1-7 “1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
>>> Unity, not uniformity
Ephesians 4:25-28 “25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”
>>> The devil is the real enemy. Falsehood, anger and selfishness give the devil a foothold in our lives and our ministries.
1 Timothy 4:11-16 “11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
>>> Command and teach the things Scripture tells us to. Watch my life and doctrine closely.
1 Timothy 5:17-20 “17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.”
>>> Treat elders with double honor. But when they sin, take two or three witnesses and rebuke them publicly.
Revelation 1:5-6 “…To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father–to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”
>>> To Jesus, who loves us and freed us by his blood, be glory and power forever. Amen.