Bible Bytes

Oct. 18, 2021

Hosea 14:3-7
“I will heal their waywardness. I will love them lavishly. My anger is played out. I will make a fresh start with Israel. He’ll burst into bloom like a crocus in the spring. He’ll put down deep oak tree roots, he’ll become a forest of oaks! He’ll become splendid—like a giant sequoia, his fragrance like a grove of cedars! Those who live near him will be blessed by him, be blessed and prosper like golden grain. Everyone will be talking about them, spreading their fame as the vintage children of God.
We admit that Assyria can’t save us, nor can riding horses and chariots into battle.
    We’ll never again say to idols made with our own hands, ‘You’re our gods!’
We know You’re merciful because You take care of orphans.”Eternal One: I’ll heal their apostate hearts so they won’t turn away from Me again; I’ll love them freely because I won’t be angry with them anymore.5     I’ll be like dew that waters Israel. She’ll blossom like the lily.
        She’ll put down roots like the stable cedars of Lebanon;
6     She’ll send out shoots until her beauty is like the olive tree
        and her fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon.
7     The people will return from exile and sit in My shade once again;
        they’ll flourish like grain; they’ll send out shoots like the vine.
    And their fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.

2 Corinthians 2:14
Thanks be to God who leads us, wherever we are, on his own triumphant way and makes our knowledge of him spread throughout the world like a lovely perfume! We Christians have the unmistakeable “scent” of Christ, discernible alike to those who are being saved and to those who are heading for death. To the latter it seems like the very smell of doom, to the former it has the fresh fragrance of life itself. Who could think himself adequate for a responsibility like this? 
God always makes his grace visible in Christ, who includes us as partners of his endless triumph. Through our yielded lives he spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere we go.

Just reflecting on a few verses this morning on the fragrance of Christ. The presence of God is likened to His fragrance.  Ephesians 4:2 and live a life of love, just as also the Messiah loved us, indeed, on our behalf gave himself up as an offering, as a slaughtered sacrifice to God with a pleasing fragrance. TPT And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration—a sweet healing fragrance. This verse states that Christ' sacrifice on the cross was a sweet fragrance of His love for us. Similarly we are to spread the fragrance of the knowledge of God to the world. In Hosea He says that He would cause the backsliders to return to Him and that they would exude the fragrance of Christ once again. God is in the soul restoration business.  He takes the wayward and sin afflicted souls and gives them His Spirit and new life. Our righteous which was like filthy rags is traded in for brand new robes of Christ' righteous. As it says in Hosea : I’ll heal their apostate hearts so they won’t turn away from Me again; I’ll love them freely because I won’t be angry with them anymore.5     I’ll be like dew that waters Israel. She’ll blossom like the lily.
        She’ll put down roots like the stable cedars of Lebanon;
6     She’ll send out shoots until her beauty is like the olive tree
        and her fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon.

God will restore the apostate hearts and make them to exude His fragrance. Just a quick exhortation to return to Christ and exude His fragrance to this lost and dying world. The world needs to  experience the forgiveness of Christ. We as Christians have to disperse Christ' fragrance to the world around us. The world is looking for the sweet aroma of Christ. The Bible says taste and see that the Lord is good. The world needs to experience God's goodness. We as ambassadors of Christ have to disperse God's fragrance to this world. It's the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. The world needs to experience God's goodness and it is through us that they can experience God's grace. Again a quick word to disperse Christ' fragrance in our corner of the world. Have a blessed week. Amen. 

Oct. 16, 2021

Your anointing oils have a wonderful fragrance; your name is like anointing oil poured out. 

Oct. 15, 2021

Psalm 86:11

Teach me your ways, O Lord, so that I may walk in your truth; let me worship your name with an undivided heart.

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Teach me more about you, how you work and how you move, so that I can walk onward in your truth until everything within me brings honor to your name.

Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk and live in Your truth; direct and unite my heart [solely, reverently] to fear and honor Your name.

Reflecting on the verse above, in different versions, we see that the psalmist  petitions God for an undivided heart. James 4:8 cautions us Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. The Amplified version is as follows: Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. Phillips: Come close to God and he will come close to you. Realise that you have sinned and get your hands clean again. Realise that you have been disloyal and get your hearts made true once more. As you come close to God you should be deeply sorry, you should be grieved, you should even be in tears. Your laughter will have to become mourning, your high spirits will have to become heartfelt dejection. You will have to feel very small in the sight of God before he will set you on your feet once more. Also James 1:8 says that a double minded man is unstable in his ways.  Reviewing the above verses we see that we should be focused on setting aside our propensity to sin and following God's commands with singleness of heart and soul.  We need to be purposeful in our pursuit of holiness. We need to lay aside every doubt and question and hold fast to the truth of God's word. We can always ask God to help us in our faith walk. In fact we cannot continue on the strait and narrow without His intervention. Jesus said Ask, and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened to you. Many times we think of asking for things, which is not wrong, however we need to ask God for His strength and ability to walk in holiness. Although God delivered us out of the kingdom of darkness, we still have our carnal nature to contend with. Paul said the good that I would I do not. The evil that I would not that I do. What that means is although he wants to do good he finds himself doing evil. Many times we identify with Paul. However Paul gives us the solution in Romans 8. Nevertheless through Christ we can do all things and we are more than conquerors. We overcome our carnal nature and our propensity to sin by the strength Christ imparts to us. We need to tap into Christ's strength to stay on the highway of holiness. Rely on the victory Christ has won for us. We are part of God's victorious army.  God is the strength of our heart. When we are weak and about to stumble God comes to our aid and strengthens us. An exhortation this morning to walk the walk of faith. Rely on the strength of Christ to keep you in the path of righteousness. Amen. 

Oct. 6, 2021

The enemy within
Roman's 7: 9-17
I once lived without a clear understanding of the law, but when I heard God’s commandments, sin sprang to life and brought with it a death sentence. The commandment that was intended to bring life brought me death instead. 11 Sin, by means of the commandment, built a base of operation within me, to overpower me[a] and put me to death. 12 So then, we have to conclude that the problem is not with the law itself, for the law is holy and its commandments are correct and for our
13 So, did something meant to be good become death to me? Certainly not! It was not the law but sin unmasked that produced my spiritual death. The sacred commandment merely uncovered the evil of sin so it could be seen for what it is. 14 For we know that the law is divinely inspired and comes from the spiritual realm,[b] but I am a human being made of flesh and trafficked as a slave under sin’s authority.[c]
15 I’m a mystery to myself,[d] for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. 16 And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. 17 And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity.

Chapters 7 of Romans depicts our struggle with our inherent sin nature. We, as people, have been born with an inherent rebellious nature. By default we are prone to break God's laws and bring judgment on ourselves. Many times we are our own worst enemy. Before becoming discouraged we should continue reading the book of Romans 8. This states that through Christ we can have victory over our own carnality. We are more than conquerors through Christ who strengthens us. We have to conquer our pride, selfishness, greed and a whole host of character traits that are contrary to God's word. Just a quick word of encouragement from God's Word to not lose heart in your battle with your carnal nature. The Lord has equipped us to be overcomers and many times we need to overcome our disobedience to God's word. An exhortation this morning to read Romans 8 and be strengthened in your battle with your carnal nature. We can all overcome the enemy within through the power of God's Holy Word and His Spirit.  Amen 

Sep. 19, 2021

Big bad wolf

John 10:12
But the worker who serves only for wages is not a real shepherd. Because he has no heart for the sheep he will run away and abandon them when he sees the wolf coming. And then the wolf mauls the sheep, drags them off, and scatters them.

The above verse refers to the enemy,  satan, as the wolf. We as believers in Christ are the sheep. When we are under the care of a Godly pastor, he watches over his sheep fold and drives the wolf away.  Jesus is the ultimate Good Shepherd. As long as we stay as part of His sheep fold, the enemy flees away. Our responsibility is to be united with the sheep fold of God. His responsibility as a Shepherd is to protect us. A sheep isolated from the fold and wandering on it's own is easy picking for the wolf. Although the Bible says that the Good Shepherd goes after the lost sheep, we as sheep will save ourselves a lot of trouble by staying united with the family of God. While watching any wildlife show on television, you will notice that the strategy of the predator is to isolate the weakest member of the herd in order to separate them from the fold in order to eat them. In other words in order to avoid being lamb chops on the wolf's platter, stick together with your flock and stay close to the shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and He will protect His sheep. In closing, I reflect on Psalm 27. The first few verses are copied below. Please review the entire Psalm at your leisure. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, even in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I desired of the Lord; that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.". Amen