Posts Tagged ‘Bible Study’

21
Apr

I Want the Old America Back

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

One night last week, I was home alone. The house was unusually quiet and I was tired. I went to bed early and just before I fell asleep, these words came to me. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” I knew they were from the Bible, but where were they coming from? These were not words that I had recently read. A few days later, it happened again, except this time the words were different. “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” If only the Darwinists could understand that, I thought, as I drifted off to sleep.

The next day, I knew where those words had come from and it is a fond memory. I had learned them in school more than fifty years ago.

You have to understand that, in those days, schoolteachers taught us directly from the Bible.  It had been the primary textbook for American schools from the beginning. Parents sent their children to school to learn to read so they could learn how to read the Bible. We were a nation of Bible believers.

My fellow Baby Boomers and I are the last generation of Americans to have been taught from the Bible in the public schools. Our teachers were Christians, and they loved us like we were their own dear children. They were not imposing their morality on us. They were teaching us that there is no morality apart from God and the Bible. Abraham Lincoln said it like this. “If not for the Bible, we would not know the difference between right and wrong.”

In 1955, I was eight years old and in the third grade. It was a wonderful time to be alive and to live in America. I was very happy that I had recently learned to read.

First, we were assigned to memorize the Twenty-third Psalm and recite it to the class. Then, we did the same thing with the One Hundredth Psalm. Whenever a student asked her why we were doing this, she told him that we were “hiding God’s word in our hearts that we might not sin against him.”

Thank God for that woman, Mrs. Seward. She planted the word of God in my heart fifty-four years ago, and it is still in there. The word of God has stayed with me all these years and guided me throughout my life. And do you know that everything that Psalm 23 says about me is true? The Lord is my shepherd and I do not want. His goodness and his mercy have followed me all the days of my life.

As you read the words of Psalm 100, imagine the millions of American children who learned it in school. When I was eight years old, I knew it by heart.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord he is good: his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Psalm 22:6) That is what educators were doing in the schools fifty years ago. They had perfected the art of educating children. They gave us an excellent education. The Bible was the foundation on which it was built, just as it is the foundation on which excellent lives and nations are built.

We learned how to read and write, and do math; and we learned the difference between right and wrong. Our teachers didn’t undermine what our parents taught us, that it is God who has made us and not we ourselves.

When the Supreme Court kicked God and the Bible out of our schools, the eliminated the most essential part of education. They enabled the Secular Progressives to impose their immorality on us. They deny the existence of God, and reject the wisdom of the Bible. They have dismantled the most effective educational system in the world and recreated it in their own image.

I really hate their Brave New World. I want the old America back.

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14
Apr

The Same Spirit That Raised Up Jesus From the Dead

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

When you become a believer in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God does three things for you. He regenerates you, he baptizes you into the body of believers, and he seals you unto the day of redemption. When you love the Lord, he can do more for you, and you know that he is alive in you.

In John 14:15-18, Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Look at what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

This is not just any old Spirit. He is the same Spirit of God that raised up Jesus from the dead, and he is alive in you. He is the most powerful Spirit in the Universe, and He is alive in you. You have access to him 24 hours a day. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance.

All of the promises of God apply to you. That’s why you can say with confidence. “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. My God shall supply all your needs, according to his riches in glory.”

You don’t have to be afraid of anything, because the greater one lives in you. He will protect you, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

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7
Apr

God Loves You As Much As He Loves Jesus

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

I know this is hard to believe. Since Jesus said it, it has to be true. It is in the prayer he prayed for everyone who believes in him.

“I am not praying for these alone, but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. . . . so that the world will know you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.” (John 17:20,23)

This is the most amazing thing about God, that even though we don’t deserve it, he loves us anyway. And he loves you and me with such intensity that he sent Jesus to die for us. Because of that, I can see that his love for us is beyond our comprehension. But that was not the end of God’s expression of love for us, it is merely the beginning. There’s more good news.

“And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:26)

God provides his children with this kind of love. It is intense, and it vastly superior to natural human love. Jesus gives us something that is outside natural human experience. Natural human love runs out. It is weak, and it quits. God’s love is like this:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.“  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

This is a description of the love God has for us. It is deep and it is strong. It is the same love that the Father has for Jesus. He shares it with you. As an excellent Father, God provides everything you need to equip you for this life.

He gives you the thing he requires you to have, which is the love of God, and he expects you to use it. He requires that you love him, and love your neighbor as yourself.

The greatest need in the world is for more followers of Jesus who understand this and do it.

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24
Mar

God Rewards Everyone Who Loves Him

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

So I finally found the answer to the question, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not seeing the promises of God fulfilled in my life? I had done a lot of things to gain God’s favor, but I had left out the most important thing of all, which is to love God. That is what he has commanded us to do.

I had to read through the Bible several times, and study my core of Bible verses, before I saw it. The Holy Spirit had to reveal it to me. But when he did, I saw it everywhere I looked. Of course! This is what I had missed. Look at what Romans 8:28 actually says. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE GOD . . .”  This promise does not apply to everyone, but it does apply to everyone who loves God. This is one of God’s most amazing promises, that he will intervene in the circumstances of your life.

In Psalm 91, God has promised to protect you from all kinds of harm. But this promise is conditional too. Look at what God says in verses 14-16. “Because he hath set his love on me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath know my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”

God’s promise of divine protection is contingent upon your obedience to his commandment. That commandment is to love him by loving your neighbor as yourself.

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10
Mar

The Most Valuable Thing in Life

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

What do you think is the most valuable thing in life? Many people would think it would be their own eternal salvation.

Is it wisdom? That is certainly important. Is it wealth and riches? Is it good health? Is it happiness?

Is it to know the Lord, or to live a godly life? Now we are getting closer to the truth. It has taken me thirty years to find it and experience it in my own life. I want to pass it on to everyone who will listen. You can benefit from it today. The most valuable thing you can do in life is to love God.

I have been a Christian for many years. I believed all the promises of God and expected that they would be fulfilled in my life and in the lives of my children. But there were times when we desperately needed God’s help and there was no help. I am not saying that God let us down. I knew that I had let us down. I was doing something wrong.

But what was it? I had to find out what it was so I could fix it. I began to study the word of God intently to find out what was missing. I discovered that the Bible tells us everything we need to know about life and living, and that it’s all about Jesus. And, I have a strong desire to teach these things to everyone who will hear them.

I had been a Christian for years and, if I had died, I would have gone to heaven. But I have to say that I didn’t know the Lord very well until this time. The Holy Spirit began to explain to me what I was reading, just like the Bible said he would. But we have to know what’s in the Bible before he can “bring all things to your remembrance.”

My most immediate problem was my personal ignorance of the Bible. I always relied on what other people told me it said. When I read the Bible for myself, I found what I was looking for. “Everyone who seeks, finds.”

First, I got to know what Jesus is like and how he thinks. Then, I realized that not only does he know me, but that he also cares about me personally.

Finally, I reached the point where I love Jesus more than anything else, and I want to please him. I am willing to love my neighbor as myself, because I love God. It’s easy for me to love God by loving my neighbor as myself.

What I was doing wrong  for all of these years was that I was not loving God. This was the missing piece in the puzzle of life.

Now that I love the Lord, he has changed my life. I recommend it to everyone. The most valuable thing in life is to love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength. Jesus said that this is the greatest commandment.

It will improve your relationship with God, and it will change the circumstances of your life. These words spoken by God in Psalm 91:14-16 will apply to you:

“Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he trusts in my name. When he calls on me, I will answer; I will be with him in trouble and rescue him and honor him. I will satisfy him with a full life and give him my salvation.”

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3
Mar

The Secret of Success

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

About ten years ago, God changed my life forever. Here’s what happened.

I had always loved the Bible, and when I found a verse I liked, I made a mental note of it and recorded it on a 3×5 card.

I was particularly interested in verses that teach us how to live. I had collected about a thousand passages of scripture on that subject out of the thirty-five thousand verses in the Bible. I think that these verses that teach us how to live the Christian life.

I took this mix of verses, studied them carefully, and put them together into topics. Then, I added a short explanation for each passage. It took me several years to do all of this.

While I was working on this project, I had to focus my attention on God’s word, and nothing else. I found that I had inadvertently done what God advises us to do. I highly recommend it. Focus your attention on what the Bible says. This is more than just casual Bible reading, it’s intense scrutiny of what is written.

I became addicted to the Bible. It became my drug of choice. When I was troubled, I would escape into the word of God. When  I was happy, I would indulge myself in the word of God. I wasn’t drunk with wine, but, rather, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I was so full of the word of God that there was no room for anything else.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the Bible. I was meditating on it day and night, and delighting in it. Then, I realized that I was doing what God advises us to do. I set out to write a book, and had inadvertently stumbled onto the secret of success, which is obedience to the word of God.

I was doing what God told Joshua to do in Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

And, I was actually becoming the man described in Psalm 1:1-3

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. but his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. and he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

God is certainly blessing me. He healed me of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. This was a life-changing miracle for me. I certainly enjoy life more now that I’m not angry all the time. This is one example of the many things God has done for me and my family.

He has given me the desire of my heart, which is to be a writer for him. My book of topical Bible verses, The Bible Believer’s Handbook, was published in July of 2008, and was launched at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando.

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17
Feb

You Shall Come Forth As Gold

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

I was at home, building a tool shed, when God‘s still small voice spoke to me inside. “You shall come forth as gold.” I knew that it was God for two reasons. It was completely out of context with what was going on in my thought life; and, it was a direct reference to a Bible verse. “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) I knew that something important was about to happen to me. I just didn’t know what it was.

I am always excited to hear from the Lord, but I was uneasy about this “fire” business. Immediately, I told my wife, Marie, “Good news, we’re going to come forth as gold. The not-so-good news is that, apparently, we are about to go through some kind of fire.”

The first thing we thought of was King Nebucannezzar’s fiery furnace. But we were sure that we had already been there and done that. This was something that had not happened yet. I knew of two verses where Jesus is associated with fire. But I had never understood either of them.

This is what John the Baptist said about Jesus. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall Baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11). But the verse that bothered most was this one, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughtly purge his floor, and gather his wheat unto the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” ( Matthew 3:12)  Honestly, I was afraid of that fire.

I should have known that the Lord would not do anything to hurt me. He would never throw me into a burning fiery furnace. He was doing something to help me. God’s fire is on the inside and he doesn’t burn us. But he does destroy evil desires, addictions, and cravings. That is the most effective way for us to get rid of them. He is a purifying fire who burns up all the trash that’s in our hearts, and leaves only the good things of God.

Here’s an example of what the fire of God has done for me. I used to have a terrible problem with anger. I was like a volcano that could erupt at any time. My wife and kids, and co-workers were terrorized by my fits of rage. That was the first thing to go. It was obvious that God did it because it disappeared overnight, and it has never come back.

I am telling you this because I know that God will do the same for you. He makes it possible for us to live the the Christian life. The Bible is true, and you can apply everything it says to your life.

Let me show you something I find fascinating. John the Baptist is the last of the Old Testament prophets. There was a long period where God was silent between the time of Malachi, and that of Jesus and John the Baptist. Look at what God said through his prophet Malachi.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:1-3)

God said that Jesus would refine us like silver and gold, which means, burning away all the impurtities. It excites me to realize that he is presently doing what God said he would do in my life, and in the lives of everyone who is born of God. It’s something that he does for us because he loves us.

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10
Feb

You Can Know God

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

The Bible clearly states, “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) But many Bible teachers are bound by the doctrines of their denominations. They interpret the Bible in the light of the tradition of their spiritual fathers.

This is what Jesus said about about them. “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. . . . For laying aside the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (Mark 7:6-7,9)

I spent years trying to figure out which denomination was right, only to find that I was wasting my time. I had to face the reality that if I really wanted to know the truth, I was going to have to read the Bible for myself. So I read the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I found that it was not nearly as difficult as I had imagined it to be and, to my great surprise, I actually enjoyed it. It was refreshing and enlightening.

I read it several more times. I started collecting the Bible verses that jumped out at me, and putting them on 3×5 cards. I ended up with over 1000 passages of scripture.  These top 1000 verses give the essence of what the Bible is all about.

I put these verses together in a book. It is called The Bible Believer’s Handbook. It explains how to apply God’s principles to everyday life. It is a spiritual buffet for everyone who hungers and thirsts for the knowledge of God.

When I was working on the book, I was meditating on the word of God day and night. That caused a personal miracle in my own life.  I found the Truth, all right. I can tell you that I know the Truth. He is a Person. He is Jesus Christ.

When you read what any author has written, you get to know him. His work reveals what’s in his heart. This is especially true of God as the Author of the Bible. I found out that when I was reading and studying the Bible, I was spending time with God. I was learning his language and how he thinks. While I was focusing on him, he was changing me from the inside out.

So that’s how I got to know the Lord and how I fell in love with him. It was just like the Bible said. Jesus did exactly what he said he would do. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)

I know that these words are true. They are the words of the Living God and they apply to everyone who believes them. I have found that every time I follow God’s instructions, I receive what he has promised.

Jesus is no respecter of persons. He loves you and wants to fellowship with you. He said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

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3
Feb

Do You Believe The Bible?

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

Daniel was one of the Old Testament prophets. He was taken away to Babylon along with some of the other young men of Israel. He recorded a miracle that happened there that happened to three of these young men. They had refused to obey the king’s decree. They would not bow down and worship his golden image. The King demanded that them to bow down and worship that idol. And if they refused, he would throw them into a fiery furnace. He said to them, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” This was their reply:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

This infuriated the king. First, he had them bound, then, he had them thrown into the furnace. But that’s not the end of the story. Look at what happened next.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego came forth from the midst of the fire.

And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s ounsellors, being gathered togethe, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

Then Nebechadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshah, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the kings word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God.  (Daniel 3:24-28)

I believe that this was a miracle of God, and that it happened just the way that Daniel said it did. He was a prophet of God and he was there.  Why would he lie about it or make it up?

What about you? Do you believe that these things actually happened, or not?

I also believe that Jesus is the fourth man in the fiery furnace. This event took place before he was born in the flesh at Bethlehem. But he repeatedly manifested himself to his people in the Old Testament. On this occasion, he appeared as the Angel of the Lord.

Why would it be so difficult to believe that God kept these young men from being harmed by fire. God, who created people, also created fire. Surely he knows how to keep them apart.

I don’t have any trouble believing that these things actually happened. I know that God is the Author of the Bible and that everything it says is true. I know that God created the universe and that he created us. I know that he sent his Son Jesus to die for us, and that he raised him from the dead. I know all of these things by faith.

Where does faith come from? How is it obtained? The Bible tells us in Romans 10:17, ” faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” My doubt and unbelief used to be stronger than my faith. I was like the man who said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

Then,  I discovered that the more I read the Bible, the more my faith increased. Gradually my faith became stronger than my doubt and unbelief. When I remember where I started, I can see how much I’ve changed. Once again, I did not know that God was changing me from the inside out.

Studying the Bible has benefited me more than anything else I’ve done in life. There is no more productive way for you to spend your time.

When you’re reading the Bible, you’re fellowshipping with he Lord. You’re getting to know him and his ways. You’re learning his language, and how he thinks. And he will manifest himself to you through his word. Then, you will be a person of faith and you will know that the Bible is true.

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27
Jan

How to Obtain God’s Favor

   Posted by: Larry Vaughn    in Bible Study

I thought that all I had to do was to believe in Jesus and what the Bible says about him. Then, all the promises of God would be fulfilled in my life. But, I didn’t realize how shallow my “belief” was. It was just mental assent to the truth of God’s word. You really couldn’t call it “faith,” which is belief in action.

I was expecting to see good things—peace. and joy, and prosperity, but I wasn’t receiving them. I knew that something was wrong, but I had no idea what it was. I had a desire to please God, but I didn’t know how.

I took my family to church every time the doors were open. I was a tither. I sang in the choir, passed the collection plate, and worked in the nursery. I did everything I could think of to obtain God’s favor. But I had missed the most important thing of all.

Eventually I found out what I was doing wrong. I want to pass it on to you, so you can benefit from my mistake. When I was doing all those things, I wasn’t motivated by love for others. I was doing them for me.  I was crying out to God saying, “Lord, bless me, bless my family, prosper me, prosper my family.” I wasn’t really doing anything that benefited anybody but myself. I didn’t dislike other people, I just didn’t notice they were there. I wasn’t loving my neighbor, I was just loving myself.

I was violating the Love Commandment, and that prevented God from blessing me. How could God bless the people who were obeying him, and then bless me while I was disobeying him.

I was sinning and I didn’t even know it. But God delivered me from it. That’s when I began to learn the value of the Love Commandment. God showed me that it is appears throughout the Bible. For example, Romans 8:28, “For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . .”

So, this promise doesn’t apply to everyone. It applies to those who love God. We know that loving God means keeping his commandments, and by keeping the Love Commandment, we fulfill them all.

Look at what God says in 2 Chronicles 24:20, “And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you.” God cannot possibly bless you while you are violating his Love Commandment.

The Love Commandment is not optional, it’s mandatory. It’s the main thing that he requires. If you want to obtain God’s favor, you have to observe the Love Commandment.

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