Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 2”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with 1 Corinthians 2. Paul ended the last letter (1 Corinthians 1) exhorting the Corinthians not to put their faith in the wisdom of man, as the wisdom of the world is foolish. He expressed For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”

In chapter 2, he starts off reaffirming them not to put their faith in the wisdom of man, but on the power of God.

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

v. 1-5 (NASB)

I went to a friend’s church recently to hear her pastor preach. I had been carrying a lot of burdens and been praying for wisdom. I was hungry for a word from God and was hoping God would answer through this pastor’s message. At the beginning of the service, during the praise and worship, one of the worship leaders started praying. I don’t remember the words he prayed. But I felt the Holy Spirit move through him so powerfully that it instantly lifted all the weight I’d been carrying and answered my prayer.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

When I minister I often pray that God gives me the right words to reach others. But all I need is to allow the Holy Spirit to move through me, not my words, as this worship leader did. When I didn’t know Christ, the most powerful witness came through a woman who spoke not a word to me about God. I was a waitress at the time. Many customers gave me Bible tracts and preached the word to me, but none of them moved me to seek God. This woman was different from the others. She did not preach to me. But she did move me to seek God. I remember she was pleasant to wait on after a long stressful lunch rush. I waited on a lot of nice people, but this woman stood out above anyone else. She had a gentle spirit. I felt something touch me through her presence. She left a tip that was greater than her bill, but it was not the tip that moved me. It was the power of the Holy Spirit in her that touched me.

Paul explains in the rest of the chapter the importance of relying on the power of God’s Spirit and His wisdom versus our own:

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;

but just as it is written,

“THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD,
AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,
ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

v. 6-15 (NASB)

I couldn’t receive God’s Word when it was preached to me because it was spiritual and I was not. It wasn’t until God moved through His Holy Spirit in that woman to draw my heart to Jesus that He was able to reveal Himself to me and give me understanding of His Words.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Matthew 11:25-27 (NIV)

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for drawing our hearts to Jesus and giving us the mind of Christ to understand Your will and Your Words. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and remove everything that hinders Your power from being seen through us to reach others and to draw their hearts to Jesus. We praise You that You have so much more prepared for us than we can even imagine. Your wisdom is so much greater than our understanding. We Praise You in Jesus’ name, Amen!

 

*We will continue Paul’s letters next week with 1 Corinthians 3. Have a blessed week allowing the Spirit of God to move through you!

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 10”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon this week with Romans 10. In Romans 9, Paul talked about how Israel tried to pursue righteousness through works, instead of by faith. Paul expressed his love for them by saying he would give up his salvation if it would save them.

Paul starts Romans 10 off by expressing:

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

v. 1-4 (NASB)

They had a zeal for God, but because they lacked knowledge of Him they sought to establish their own righteousness through man made ideas and rules.

‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’

Matthew 15:8-9 (NLT)

Paul explains in the next verses of Romans 10 the only way to know God and be righteous before Him:

The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

v. 8-13 (NASB)

Believing Jesus is the only way to know God, be righteous, and live eternally with Him. As the familiar saying goes, “Know Jesus, Know God; No Jesus, No God.”  In the verse above, “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,” is referring to Jesus. Jesus is the Word (God’s testimony) as John1:1-14 explains:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-14 (NIV)

Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (KJV). Jesus is the lamp that lights up the path to God. He is the revelation of God (the Word of God). He is God’s testimony of who He is and what His will is.

Jesus said,

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.

You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

John 5:31-40 (NIV)

Scripture can’t save us. But Scripture testifies to the One who can save us. The Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV). God spoke through those He sent to write the Scriptures to testify about Jesus before He sent Him. Though Israel diligently studied the Scriptures, they all did not receive the testimony of Jesus. They denied the gift of eternal life that they so diligently sought to receive.

Paul explains,

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;

Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.”

But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation,
By a nation without understanding will I anger you.”

And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me,
I
became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”

But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Romans 10:14-21 (NASB)

People can’t believe if they haven’t heard the truth about Jesus. They can’t hear unless God has sent someone to tell them the truth. And even then, as Paul explained about Israel, though they hear they may not believe. When we are sent to share the truth about Jesus, we pray God shines His light and opens their heart to receive the truth, but we must not lose heart and give up if  they do not believe.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us knowledge of You and Your will through Your Son, Jesus Christ. We receive His testimony, which is Your Testimony. We receive all that You have given us through Him. Send us out to share His testimony with the world. Help us not lose heart when people do not receive Jesus’ testimony. Give us strength to press on and continue fearlessly sharing Your truth, and allow Your light shine to brightly in us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:1-4 (NIV)

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 10? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 11. Have a blessed week sharing God’s testimony in Jesus wherever He sends you!


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Monday’s Blog: Sword of the Spirit (“Armor of Light” book release)

I released my second devotional book today on the Armor of God, titled “Armor of Light: A 7 – Week Devotional on Ephesians 6:10-18” (*see discount coupon code below). I wanted to share this excerpt with you from week six about taking up the sword of the spirit, God’s Word.

amandabeth02 (2)

WEEK SIX

 Sword of the Spirit

  … and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

~Ephesians 6:17

We can often get so caught up fighting with the devil that we neglect doing God’s will. We don’t have to continually fight the devil. That’s why all of the other armor is for defense, and only one piece is needed for offense—the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word).

When Jesus walked the earth, He didn’t constantly fight with Satan. Jesus came to do God’s will. When Satan tried to distract and tempt Him, Jesus didn’t ignore him. He used His authority, and the Word of God, to send Satan fleeing (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus drove Satan away by believing and speaking God’s Word.

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.

—2 Corinthians 4:13

When God first called me to follow Him and start writing, my family was attacked unmercifully. We were hit by one trial after another. The attacks were like nothing we had ever experienced before. They were so apparent that even others noticed we were being attacked. I thought for a moment that God was punishing us. I thought I misunderstood His calling and He was trying to stop me from writing.

But as the attacks continued, God opened my eyes and showed me that Satan was trying to distract me from doing God’s will. I was exhausting so much of my time and energy dealing with the messes that I didn’t have time to work on my writing. Once I realized what was happening, I stopped trying to fix the messes, and started focusing on God’s will. As I focused on God, and stood firm on His Word, Satan fled and the problems resolved.

God didn’t give us His Word just to send Satan fleeing. He gave us His Word to sanctify us and equip us to do His will.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

—John 17:17

The Bible tells us that: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I’ve heard people say they don’t need to read the Bible daily because they’ve read it before. They say they already know right from wrong.

The Bible isn’t like a book that you read once and don’t need  anymore. There is power in God’s Word. When we feed our minds and hearts with His Word, it gives us power in our spirits.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:4

God’s Word tears down strongholds that we don’t know exist until we are in His Word. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

God’s Word reveals the dark places in us. His Word opens our eyes to what’s truly in our hearts. God’s Word is life to our bodies, souls, and spirits. We need God’s Word more than we need food and water.

Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

—Matthew 4:4

There is power in believing and speaking the Word of God over our lives. “Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him” (Mark 11:23).

Jesus didn’t say if anyone “thinks” about moving the mountain. He said to “speak” to the mountain. Remember, Satan can’t read our minds. We can’t make him flee by just thinking the Word. We need to speak the Word!

Psalm 103:20 says, “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word” (KJV). It says angels hearken to the “voice” of His Word. When we speak God’s Word, His angels take heed and minister to us, as they did to Jesus after He drove Satan away with God’s Word.

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

—Matthew 4:10-11

*The “Armor of Light” is available in Paperback and Ebook  at Amazon. It will be released on audio format in May. As a special for all my blog readers, enter coupon code GQ5M59M5 at this link at Createspace and receive $3.00 off the paperback version!

 

Here’s a review on the book from one of my editors, Steve Sawyer:

This is the second book I have edited for Amanda Beth. I am especially enamored with two things Amanda Beth does as an author that distinguish her writing from some other Christian authors I’ve read.

First, Amanda Beth immerses herself in her writing. She doesn’t preach, She shares her heart. When you read one of Amanda Beth’s books, you are getting a glimpse of her personal life, her joys, her struggles, her strongholds, and her victories. Her personal life and her experience with God as He teaches her and grows her are what you get in the pages of her books. And everyone can relate. She is a thirty-something, stay-at-home mother of four young kids. But her message is universal. In Armor of Light anyone can relate to her experiences and her relationship with Jesus.

The other thing I like about Amanda Beth’s writing is the way she weaves God’s word throughout her writing. I have read books by other Christian authors whose references to Holy Scripture are not much more than token verses, sprinkled haphazardly throughout the book. Not Amanda Beth. Her writing is based on Scripture. Amanda Beth uses her personal life experiences to justify God’s word for us, rather than using God’s word to justify her writing or her opinions or her interpretation or application of Scripture, which is often the case with other Christian authors I’ve read.

Amanda doesn’t just decide to pick a topic and write a book about it. Amanda takes her direction directly from God. I can guarantee Amanda Beth spent months in prayer and Bible study before she sat down at her keyboard to write the first word of Armor Of Light.

In this second book, Amanda Beth shares how and why the armor of light is a necessary robe we need to wear. “When we don’t stand for the truths in God’s Word,” Amanda Beth said, “we open the door to deception. Too many Christians today are not standing for God’s Word as complete truth. As a result, Satan has sown many lies within the body of Christ. The Bible warns us that it’s only going to get worse. We need to be on guard so we don’t fall into this deception.” In her book Amanda Beth shares how God can keep us on guard so we won’t fall into deception from the enemy.

I can recommend Armor of Light without reservation. It is an easy read with questions and scripture for meditating and deepening your enjoyment and application of God’s truths.

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