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We pray these Bible Lessons will be an encouragement to those of you who want to better serve the Lord.

Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

LESSON 1, PSALM 37:3-4

Today we are going to begin a series of Bible Studies that share some of Debbie's and my favorite verses or short passages of Scripture.

For example, Psalm 37:3-4. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand."

The noun "steps" is "mitzsad" in Hebrew. It means "the goings" of that person, his or her daily patterns of conduct. The verb "ordered" is "kun," made "firm, established or stable" by God Himself! As far as God "delighting" in that man's manner of life, the verb "chaphetzs" is used, meaning "takes great pleasure" in that person!

But then apparently a problem comes!

"Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand."

That Christian "falls!" This word is spelled "naphal" and hints at "failure." Being "overthrown" from godly living!

And everyone of us has failed!

No exceptions!

And when we did, God did not forsake us!

He loved us and forgave us and encouraged us!

The Verse says He "upheld" us! This is "samak" in Hebrew and by it David would have meant "supported!" To "sustain" His wayward children! Even "to refresh or revive" us, even when we have so badly erred!

It also implies He "gave us rest!"

Instead of tormenting us.

He did not kill me!

He did not permanently reject me!

He did not allow me to be "utterly cast down" either! "Tul" is the verb, "thrown to the ground, violently!" Hurled into the earth, the dirt, the mud!

God protected us from such, even when we had failed Him!

Amazing Grace!

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand."

Thank God today that He is such a Lord of Grace and Forgiveness and Patience and Understanding!

When I fell ... He still stood by my side!

Hallelujah!

                                                      --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, ISAIAH 26:3

The Verse we've chosen today is special. Both our Mothers loved it. Therefore it has become one of our favorites.

Isaiah 26:3 is home to these words. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

This is a statement of the Prophet's faith!

He believes His Great God is a Peace Giver!

The "Thou" is a nominative of address, spoken directly to Jehovah.

The verb "will keep" translates "natzsar," meaning "to guard, to watch over, to preserve," even at times "to hide away" something or someone special!

The noun "peace" is of course "shalom." It is one of the most perfect words in any language on earth. It means "completeness, soundness, welfare," and at times "welfare, health, and prosperity!"

What a word!

And what kind of Peace can God give?

"Perfect," that's what type Peace He possesses and shares!

In English "perfect" is derived from a Latin verb that is spelled "perficere." It means "to finish, to complete, to leave nothing lacking!"

But what must one do to gain such "perfect peace?"

"Stay" his or her mind on the Lord!

That's all. And the verb is "samak" in Hebrew. And it means "to lean, to rest, to support, to snuggle up to" Someone!

The noun "mind" is "yetzser" and means "imagination" as well as "purpose." It is one of the old "potter and his clay" words of Jewish history.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

But after all this, why would a man or woman desire to love the Lord like this? To lean upon Him in every circumstance of life?

"Because he trusteth in thee, O Lord."

This verb, to trust," is "batach," meaning "to have confidence in a person." To so believe what that individual says that one can be positively sure that what is promised would be fulfilled! To the point no worry or doubt would ever be necessary! It's a sure thing!

What a verse the Lord has build here, Isaiah 26:3.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

And we can live by it day after day!

Others have, including our parents.

So can each of us!

                                               --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, JEREMIAH 33:3

The Verse, one of our favorites, that has been chosen today is Jeremiah 33:3. It's one of the greatest prayer promises in the Bible. God Himself is talking, inviting us personally to trust Him day by day! "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

The whole verse is set as a command! "Call," in Hebrew spelled "qara," is an imperative verb. God requires prayer of us! And this word specifically means "to cry out loud," actually suggesting a rather dynamic encounter. Expect God to answer your prayers!

God says too that if we pray, if we "call" on Him ... He will answer!

"Answer" translates "anah," which means "to respond." Or "to speak back," in reality! If we will talk to God, He will remonstrate!

But God now assures us that He will do even more. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

He will "shew" us some things! This time the verb is "nagad," meaning "to make known, to tell, to publish, to make conspicuous." Even including "to report or expound" something!

God can more than send a trivial answer to our prayers! He is capable of gigantic, overwhelming responses!

Even to the point of "great and mighty" things! "Great" is the word "gadol," just meaning "large" in magnitude and extent and priority! To the superlative degree! Above all we could ask or think! And "mighty" surprisingly utilizes the Hebrew term "batzsar," something "inaccessible, secretive and mysterious."

What adjectives!

Things "unheard of" before now!

Things which we "know not!"

Here it's "lo yada" in Hebrew, just the basic word forms. "No, never, impossible!" We cannot "realize, perceive, imagine" what our great God can do in response to the prayers of His children, men or women, young people, boys or girls.

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

Enough has been written.

Let's just practice the Lord's command here.

And pray!

                                         --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, MARK 16:20

The verse for today is found in Mark 16:20. "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

The part of this Scripture that Debbie and I especially enjoy is the Truth that our great God can "confirm" His Word as it is preached time and time again.

"And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word ....    "

The verb used here is "bebaioo," which means "to establish," more so "to reveal something's firm foundation."

This beautiful word is used only eight times in the New Testament.

In Romans 15:8 Jesus clearly "confirms" all the Old Testament promises of God about Himself.

In First Corinthians 1:6 the testimony of Jesus can be "confirmed" in a faithful, consistent child of God!

Two verses later the saints of God can themselves be "confirmed," all the way to the "end" or the "goal" God has in mind! This is Christian maturity.

In Second Corinthians 1:21 the verb is translated "stablished" in the King James Bible. Well, "stablisheth" to be precise. Here a Preacher, Paul, is being stablished with his people, his church members!

Colossians 2:7 adds a new shade of meaning. We can be "stablished" in the Faith, rooted and built up in Jesus! And apparently Godly teaching and preaching are tools to that end.

In Hebrews 2:3 the history and life and miracles and sermons of Jesus have been "confirmed," again "babaioo," actually verified to us by those who were eyewitness to His Ministry.

Last of all, Hebrews 13:9 teaches us that our hearts can be "established" with Grace. Not with meat or holy days or any other human works. God's Love is a comforting Truth!

There are times when Deb and I pray as we drive home from a Revival Service; "Lord, please confirm Thy Word which has just been preached."  And truthfully, to some degree, large or small, we believe He always does!

"And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word ....    "

We are going to try to continue "going forth." I will continue "preaching the Word." And we will together ask God to "confirm" His precious Word. And it is for sure that He will do so!

Pray for us please.

                              --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, ROMANS 5:7-8

The sequence of thought is arresting. Paul in Romans 5 is discussing the great themes of salvation! He there uses word pictures aplenty.

Here's one we like a lot. "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:7-8

Paul just taught that "scarcely" for a righteous man someone would sacrifice themselves. And "molis" means "with great difficulty." The adjective "righteous" is "dikaios" in Greek, a man who has done little if anything wrong, but who still may be brash, lacking kindness, and maybe even a little ego-centered. The word really allows those ranges of meaning. Who would die for a man like that?

Then Paul says, "Peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die." The adverb "peradventure" probably here means "perhaps." But its basic idea is "haste. quickness," doing something "soon." This "good" man, "agathos" as the Text has it, is kind and sweet and always sharing with others! Sure, for him some might die! And he would likely die for them too!

Yes, it's possible though not probable that a person would die for a "holy" friend. And even more so that a woman would die for her "good" little boys and girls. Both cases are merely examples.

But here's the impossibility!

That Someone would die for a rank criminal.

A low-down, good-for-nothing individual.

A rebel against society.

A, what the New Testament calls, "sinner!"

But then comes the news!

Good News! "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

We were all sinners!

And Jesus died for us!

For us, not as "righteous" people, which we've never been!

Not as "good" people either, which we seldom are!

But as "sinners," bad as imaginable, Jesus loved us and died in our stead!

Yes!

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

The preposition "for" is "huper" in Greek.

Jesus died "for our sake!"

"In behalf of!"

He died for you and me!

On the Cross!

"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:7-8

Think about this today.

And tell the Lord how much you love Him!

                                       --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, PSALM 37:4

The Verse for today is a favorite with both Debbie and me. Although it's been quite a while, I preach it from time to time as the Lord leads. The whole thirty-seventh Psalm is grand.

"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Psalm 37:4

The "core" of this inspiring sentence is probably located in its first verb. We know God will keep His Word! He will certainly do the "giving" if we will obey and do the "delighting" in Him!

"Delight thyself" is the translation we have for the Hebrew word "anag." It actually means "to be soft, delicate or dainty!"

It carries the idea of "pampering and doting and being extremely happy" about Someone!

Once in the King James Bible it is rendered as "sport!" Making sport, really "flirting" with your loved one, your mate!

Love the Lord passionately!

Sweetly!

In a visible manner!

Fervently!

That's what David just commanded us!

The pronoun "thyself" is included in the verb's domain because it is written in Hebrew in the Hithpael stem, so a reflexive strand must be inserted.

Delight thyself!

Make yourself love Him, demand it!

And teach yourself to express that love tenderly!

One more time, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

If we do the first part of the verse, God will do the latter part, cause and effect!

Commandment and blessing!

The verb "shall give" is "nathan," meaning "to bestow, grant, permit, allow."

And "desires" is "mishalah," a word only used twice in the whole Bible. It's taken from "shaal," a root verb meaning "to ask!"

It's quite apparent that we're being told God will give the "delighting in Him" Christian anything he asks! Anything she asks!

Of course that's risky on the Lord's part.

Or is it really?

He already knows that the woman or man who really loves Him that much, to the point of sheer delight, will only ask that which glorifies the Cause of Christ!

"Thy Will be done, O Lord."

What a verse!

Have you memorized it? It will only take a few seconds to do so. But then it will take a lifetime to practice it ... and enjoy the countless benefits it produces!

"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

Thank You, Lord.

                                                  --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, PSALM 17:8

The verse for today is another that Debbie and have have learned to love. From the Psalms again, it's a prayer. One that uses a phrase God apparently enjoys.

"Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings." Psalm 17:8

The word picture used here is so very encouraging.

In fact, two word pictures are in view.

The verb "keep" is "shamar," meaning "to guard, protect, have charge of" a person! "Lord, take care of me!"

But the simile "as the apple of the eye" literally means the "pupil" of one's eye.  Yet again "iyshon" has as its root the noun for "man!" It actually suggests a "little man" being reflected in someone's eye!

The implication is this. "God, let me be so near You that my very image is reflected in Your loving Eyes!" That close! That intimate! That loving!

"Protect me with that kind of fervor and care!"

"Keep me as the apple of the eye." Then David continues, "Hide me under the shadow of thy wings."

This verb, "hide," is "sathar," but still suggesting "concealing or carefully securing" a person!

And "under the shadow of a set of wings" is likely a hint at one of two great truths, each equally beautiful. It might refer to a mother bird protecting her young from approaching prey. Hiding them under her wings! God told Israel that He carried them from the land of Egypt and through the vast Wilderness like a mother eagle flies her young, upon those great outspread wings!

Again it might refer to the very Tabernacle itself, to the Holy of Holies. To the wings of the angels, cherubim, who there have outstretched wings over the Mercy Seat, God's Residence in ancient Israel! Then this prayer becomes: "God, hide me in the Glory and Aura of Thy Presence! In Thy Arms!"

Wow!

God does this for us!

What lovely and comforting Biblical thoughts!

"Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings." Psalm 17:8

Let's pray it again and again.

Then let's claim this Truth as ours.

God has so promised us this set of blessings, as His children.

                                             --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, MICAH 7:8

The verse we're going to share with you today is very comforting. At least we think so. Of course the Bible is filled with statements of encouragement and love. That's the kind of God we serve.

"When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me." Micah 7:8

What faith!

What optimism!

What hope!

Here it is again: "When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me." Micah 7:8

The verb "fall" translates "naphal" in Hebrew. Strangely, almost ironically, it is pronounced "na-fall," accenting the last syllable. It's "sound" nearly defines it! The verb means "to be cast down." To be "overthrown, inferior," even "lost."

When I am that low, God will help me "arise!" Here we have "qum," a basic Hebrew verb found 628 times in the Old Testament. It means "to stand up, to be established, to continue!"

Wow!

This is one of those Philippians 4:13 type verses! "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Confident in His Lord, Micah continues strengthening our faith. "When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me."

The verb "sit" is "yashab," literally "to dwell or remain or abide" in that condition, in the gloom and darkness. Sounds so depressing, so disheartening.

And "darkness" is "choshek," meaning a place of "obscurity, dimness," being "concealed, secluded." Separated from anything helpful, uplifting.

But even then, at such low times, the Lord will come and be a "light" unto me! This little Hebrew word, spelled "or," means anything "bright, clean, morning-like, shining!"

God is Light!

When He is present, it's hard for the soul to be pessimistic!

"When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me."

Two unforgettable promises!

Victory after falling!

And light after darkness!

Let's claim this great promise today!

What a Preacher Micah was.

                                       --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, JOHN 1:1

This verse is doctrinal, and extremely critical to our faith. Debbie and I both call it special, instrumental in our salvation. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

We accept the centuries-old interpretation of the noun "Word" here, spelled "logos" in Greek. That it's clearly a Name for our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the "logical, thorough, perfect" revelation of His Father in Heaven! Those who saw Jesus also saw God the Father, according to Jesus in John 14:9. That's what "logos" mean, the very "expression" of, or "identical" to ... God Almighty in Heaven!

The noun "beginning" translates "arche," meaning "origin." It's the heart of our word "archaeology."

Jesus was here the day Adam was created, and long before that too! Jesus, the Second Person of the Godhead, is eternal!

"And the Word was with God." Jesus has always been "with God." In Greek, "pros theos," suggesting "face-to-face" with His Father! Co-equal and co-everlasting!

But then comes the vital Truth of Christianity. "And the Word was God!" Jesus and God are the Same!

Jesus is God!

Not half God!

Not nearly God!

But He is very God, 100% God!

Yes, this is teaching the Deity of Jesus Christ our Lord.

We love the verse because we love the One of Whom it is speaking!

Quote this verse today, over and over again.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." 

Worship Him through these great Facts.

They are Truth!

                                         --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10, JEREMIAH 29:11

We have been sharing some of our favorite verses with you lately. We've called this Series of Bible Studies "Texts That Changed Lives."

Today's Lesson discusses a verse that is Debbie's Daughter Abby's favorite, or one of her favorites anyway. A discouraged, weeping Prophet named Jeremiah wrote the words, finding therein great encouragement.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Jeremiah 29:11

God thinks thoughts toward us?

Yes, He says so in this Verse.

The noun "thoughts" is "machashabah" in Hebrew. It means "plans, purposes, imaginations." In other words, "God's Will for our lives!" Things God desires to send us, to give us, to do with us!

And God "thinks?" Using an anthropomorphism no doubt, the Prophet has God "calculating, esteeming, counting, regarding." Thatís what this verb, "chashab," really means.

Wow!

God pondering us and our needs and our families!

And what does God long to send us?

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

Thoughts of "peace," from God to you and me!

This noun is "shalom," meaning "completeness, soundness, welfare, health, safety," and even "prosperity" four times in the King James Old Testament. What a wide range of precious meanings! All are good!

God wants for us no "evil." Jesus prayed long ago for His Father to "deliver us from evil." This word is "ra" in Hebrew, "malicious wickedness" initially, but also ultimately meaning "trouble, affliction, adversity!"

And then God wants "to give us an expected end."

This suggests that our Heavenly Father plans to "give" us some things. The verb is "nathan," simply meaning "to grant, bestow, send, appoint," words like these.

And these unique things God wishes to send us all, every single item, conforms to His "expected end" for us as His children. This Hebrew phrase is "tiqvah achariyth." This pictures a "finish line" God has drawn somewhere up ahead. And He is going to provide us all we need to run the race or battle the enemy or scale the walls of opposition ... until we reach that place of consummation. That place of victory! That place of maturity in Christ! That finish line!

God has everything provided!

In advance!

He just said so!

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

What joy this verse can produce in our lives, God's direct promises to His children! He is truly a caring Saviour!

                                                 --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11, PSALM 118:24

Today's Verse is a favorite of my Daughter Joy. She has loved it for years. Many Christians use it as part of their greeting on their answering machines or part of their voice mail messages.

Here it is. "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24, from the King James Version

While the Verse no doubt has prophetic implications, probably pointing to the greatest Day in all history, the Day Jesus died for our sins, we can apply it to our lives in post-modern America as well.

Of course other Bible teachers suggest the verse may be pointing to the Day Jesus returns! That too will be a Day of Days to humanity!

Let's ponder these great words. They can give each of us a fresh outlook each morning! "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

The Name for God, "LORD" with all capital letters, is Jehovah. He is the God Who always is! Eternal, endless, everlasting! Always present!

"Hath made," portraying God as the Creator of each day, is "asah" in Hebrew. It means "to build, to fashion, to manufacture, to produce." It is a Qal pefect verb in Hebrew, grammatically anyway, and requires the idea of long-lasting action, incomplete activity! God is still making days! He made this very morning in fact!

What must we do with this every twenty-four hour gift?

With this day God has made?

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." 

That's right, Holy Spirit inspired Psalmist!

We must "rejoice" today. "Giyl" is the verb, literally suggesting "spinning around and around!" This is demonstrable joy! Emotional excitement!

Plus, we are "to be glad" today.

This is "samach," found 152 times in the Bible. It means "to be merry!" The verb is said to be particularly associated with one's "heart," sincere and deeply seated feelings!

God gave us a new day!

Let's be happy about it.

And live for Jesus hour by hour!

We will mention to you one more day, now past for many of you, that brought us great joy. The day each of us was saved by God's marvelous Grace.

That was a day to rejoice for sure. thinking of it still brings delight, doesn't it?

Let us close for today. Lord willing, we'll write again tomorrow. Both of which are days the Lord either has or will make!

One more time: "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."  

Amen!

                                               --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12, JOHN 21:25

The vastness of Jesus' Work!

His Ministry was truly "ineffable." The word just means "defying expression or description."

Too wondrous!

Too full!

And today's verse testifies to this great fact. "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."

That's what John the Disciple wrote anyway, in the very last verse of his great Gospel.

And this is the verse that Debbie's Daughter Becky has selected as her favorite, or one of her favorites.

The expression "other things" is "allos" in Greek, meaning "different" things of course, but "different things of the same basic nature." The word for "different things of a completely unlike nature" would be "heteros."

Apples and oranges are "allos."

Apples and bullfrogs are "heteros."

Jesus did many things, but they all pleased God. He performed many gracious acts, but never once did He lie or cheat or steal! "Allos" and "heteros" again!

The verb "did" is interesting too. It is translated from the verb "poieo," from which we derive the English word "poet." Or "poem" or "poetry," all works of premeditation and beauty and art!

What Jesus did was lovely! To His Father and to his followers alike! He was a walking "Poem" to the angels as well!

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." John 21:25

Anyway, had all His actions been written, the whole world could not have "contained" the completed record! This verb is "choreo," not enough "space" on earth to house the records of all Jesus' mighty Acts and astounding Words!

Of course John admits that he "supposes" this to be the case. This verb is spelled "oiomai" and means "to think." But it's based on a root word, "hoios," which means "of what sort, of what manner."

John is amazed!

He is nearly beside himself, "ecstatic" we say in America, over the ponderous Ministry of Jesus His Saviour.

The half surely has never been told! That's what the Queen of Sheba said about Solomon and his glory and wisdom. Surely it is doubly true of Jesus our Lord!

We all join the Apostle and wish that more had been written of Christ, the Darling Son of God.

But what is written is thrilling!

Back to John again as we close. "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:30-31

To which we all say "Amen!"

                                   --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13, JUDE VERSES 21-25

We have been sharing some special verses with you lately, with a bit of commentary added as well. Here's today's article.

The verses my Son Joel most loves is found in the Book of Jude. Debbie and I both have sons who Pastor Independent Baptist Churches. Preachers apparently lean toward groups of verses.

For example: "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." The Epistle of Jude, Verses 21-25.

Of this whole paragraph, we plan to emphasize the grand finale of this wonderful Text. "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."

The One Who is "able" is Jesus. This verb utilizes the Greek cornerstone "dunamai," basically meaning "power on reserve!" Potential strength, ready to be used!

"Falling" translates "aptaistos," meaning "not stumbling!" God can not only prevent me from falling, but from tripping and staggering too!

To "present" one is to "histemi" them in Greek, "to stand by" them. Jesus will stand with us when we face Eternity, right by our side as an Ally!

"Faultless" is "amomos," really "without blemish," no blot whatsoever! Jesus is God's spotless Lamb, and we are being made like unto Him by His Grace! Old sinners saved by Grace!

In the "presence" of the Father, "katenopion" in Greek, means "Face-to-face" with God, direct contact! "Ops" means just that, the noun "face" to an ancient Greek.

Then the Book of Jude ends with a doxology. A hymn of Praise to our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. "To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."

This is a four-fold exaltation!

"Glory" means "all God is, the sum total of His Character!" All His ineffable attributes combined!

"Majesty" is built on the root stem "mega," speaking of the "Bigness" of God! His awesome Hugeness! He is GREAT!

"Dominion" translates "kratos," which is absolute "brute strength!" Muscle Power, unlimited ability really!

Last, "power" enters the picture. "Exousia" really suggests "authority." What One can do because of Who He is! The word combines "ek" and "eimi" in Greek. It's the Power God has because He is the "I am" of all time!

Then the close.

Praise to God, "now and forever."

It is "nun kai eis pas aionas," meaning "now and into all the ages!" In other words, forevermore!

What a great Text!

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."

What comfort it should bring our hearts today.

Anyone feel secure in Jesus?

We should.

                                                 --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 14, ROMANS 8:28

The verse for today is Debbie's Son Joe's favorite, or one of his most loved anyway. Joe pastors in Lebanon, Tennessee, at the Family Baptist Church there. Truly these wonderful words have been quoted countless times through the years.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

The Fact Paul is here defending is one we as Believers all "know." The verb "to know" is "eido" and means "to see or to perceive" literally. It almost always emphasizes "inherent" knowledge, probably more than studiously "acquired" knowledge. This is Truth the Holy Spirit has given us, planted by Him into our hearts. We did not learn About God's Tender Care at school, but rather in the prayer closet or during those late-night hours with an open Bible alone with the Lord.

We "know" this fact because we know the God Who promised it to be true. He is that faithful and honest. He never lies, nor can He ever do so.

The expression "all things" must now be considered. In Greek it's simply one word, "pas." It an adjective in the neuter gender and plural number. It means "everything that happens." All of life's many twists and turns! The total aggregate!

Remember Mom when she made pound cake, from flour and eggs and vanilla? Each ingredient alone would be terrible to the taste, but when blended properly, like Mom sure knew how to do ... "all these things" were delicious!

That's the idea of Romans 8:28. I really believe so. God's recipe for our lives, the "all things" of our verse, are "good" for the true Christian!

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

The verb "work together" is "sunergeo" in Greek. These things, apparently both what we consider to be good and bad events, are "energized" to bring about spiritual growth for each of us! Really "sunergo" is our verb "synergized." Here's a classic definition for "synergize." Read it please to understand the power of this combined effort God exerts on our behalf. "The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects"

Amazing!

All things work together to "explode" for our good!

To "intensify" our spiritual progress!

The adjective "good" is "agathos." It means "excellence" within a person. Really, the Holy Spirit's "operation" within that individual. "Good" implanted by the Lord Himself! "Good" and not "harmful." Or even good as opposed to being dangerous.

But this great "promise" is not for everyone!

It is directed specifically to those who "love God." This clause uses for its verb "agapao," the most unselfish type of affection known on earth. Again, it's God's Love, His Own Character, embedded within us by the dear Holy Spirit.

Christians who love God, and who are also "called" according to his Plans. The word is "kaleo" and means "summoned" to a relationship with Christ. This is old-fashioned conviction and being drawn by the Holy Spirit of God.

"Purpose" is "prothesis." It means "set out front." Whatever these purposes of God might be for our lives, they are ways He can "testify" through us, demonstrating His might Power and Glory and Person!

There's much more in this verse than initially meets the eye.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

We will never fathom it all.

But it is delightful playing with the words and letting the Real Teacher lead us through the vital ideas encased in Romans 8:28.

We stand amazed!

                                        --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 15, PHILIPPIANS 4:13

The verse we're going to enjoy today is Philippians 4:13. It's the favorite of my Daughter-In-Law Jeanne. Debbie and I are sharing passages of Scripture with you again this week, portions of God's Word that undoubtedly have changed many lives!

Here are some of Paul's most famous words: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

The Apostle is not bragging on himself, not at all. He is exalting His Saviour. "Through" Christ uses the Greek preposition "en." This little word "en," when used with the dative case as here, means "on, at, near, by, before, in," as well as "through." The idea is this: when "around" Jesus, living critically "close" to Him, He empowers us to do anything necessary to live the Christian life.

Even the opening verb "can do" is impressive. "Ischuo" really means "to be strong in body." It carries the idea of a person facing great obstacles ... and overcoming them all. Paul certainly faced such battles in his ministry again and again.

"All things" translates "pas," a substantive that leaves no exceptions! "Everything," Period. God is omnipotent, and shares His Ability with His children. We lean on Him. We draw from His Power!

Then that last verb, "strengtheneth," is "endunamoo." It means to us in English "having dynamite power down inside!" Power from Christ our Saviour.

Paul in Ephesians chapter one says that we have available to us the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead!

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

If these things are so, and they are, there's just no excuse for long-term failure in the spiritual life. That is, if Jesus is the Center.

What a verse!

What a thought!

And indirectly, what a promise!

                                       --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 16, PROVERBS 15:13

The verse on our list today is Proverbs 15:13. It's a favorite of Debbie's Daughter-In-Law Lisa. She told me on the phone that the first half of the verse has been a mainstay for her for years.

"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."

The verse obviously reflects two vastly different sets of attitudes. One positive, the other is very negative, harmful even.

Let's consider the bad one first, so we can end on a cheerful note!

"By sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." The noun "sorrow" is "atzsebeth" and means "pain or injury" as well as sadness. This is someone who has been hurt, likely in an emotional sense. But they have allowed that pain, that grief or discouragement to define them. To mark them for days or weeks or months, maybe even years!

Such unalleviated sorrow will eventually cause a "broken" spirit. Here "nake" is a word that hints at "smiting or striking or scourging" a person. The lesson is, we think, that sorrow and grief and emotional heaviness for vast periods of time get worse and worse! They affect a man or woman's attitudes, then habits, then personalities, then even their health!

On the other hand! And what a blessing it is to now apply the first half of this verse. "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance."

The term "merry heart" employs the adjective "sameach," meaning "glad" or "full of joy." The Holy Spirit lives in there, God Who is manifest as "love, joy, peace" and all the other qualities Paul listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

One's "countenance" is really just his or her "face." That's what "paniym" means in Hebrew. Then "cheerful" equates to "yatab," which means "pleasing, acceptable, good, well," and a few times in Scripture even "beautiful!"

If we yield to the Holy Spirit, adopt the Christian optimism He offers us so freely, we will no doubt enjoy this "merry heart" condition of life ... and the "cheerful countenance" it produces!

The whole verse once again. "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."

Now let's go live it, that first half!

                                       --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 17, HEBREWS 3:4

This verse is a favorite of Michelle. She has been in Deb's life for over twenty-five years. She thinks of her as a Daughter.

Hebrews 3:4 says, "For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God."

The context, the setting, in which our Text is located is interesting. It's talking about Jesus. Paul writes: "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." Hebrews 3:1

The verb "consider" is "katanoeo," meaning "to understand with the mind, to think deeply" about something or someone. The Book of Hebrews is about Jesus anyway, primarily so. Here is the only place Jesus is ever called an "Apostle," that I can find anyway. The noun means "an ambassador or person of great eminence sent on a special mission, sent by an authority."

Jesus sure qualifies!

Next Hebrews 3:2 informs us, still exalting Jesus: "Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house." Jesus is Faithful! That's one of His very names apparently, according to Revelation 1:5 and 3:14, but especially Revelation 19:11.

Jesus was faithful to His Father!

Much like Moses was faithful to God. Faithful in leading the children of Israel from Egypt to the very threshold of Canaan.

Really, Jesus was more faithful!

Then our verse for today. "For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God."

Whether the "house" in question is the nation of israel, as in Moses' situation, or the "Church" of the living God, as in Jesus' case ... or the house next door to where you live, "every house is builded by some man."

That's obvious, quite apparent, the writer of Hebrews is illustrating here.

But there is One Who has built all things!

Who might That be?

"But he that built all things is God."

Behind all the movements of history, of all recorded and prerecorded time, stands Almighty God himself!

He is the Builder of Israel.

He is the Builder of the Church.

He is the Builder of everything!

The verb "built" is "kataskeuazo." It means "to prepare, to furnish, to equip, to ordain" a vessel!

God is the Builder!

He is building our Christian lives at this very second.

Glory to his Name!

Jesus once said this even. It is something I cannot fathom, but I believe it. In the way Jesus said it anyway.

"For my Father is greater than I." John 14:28

Wow!

So, truly: "For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God."

What a God we serve!

                                                --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 18, ISAIAH 40:31

This verse is the favorite of Mike's Son-In-Law Travis. He's Joy's Husband and the Father of Jeremiah and Micaiah, the Twins.  

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

This is classic!

The verb "wait" is "qavah," meaning "to look for, to hope in, to expect." It's a verb that expresses faith. "Trusting" God, giving Him no deadlines! Patiently living for him!

What's the result of such an attitude?

God will "renew" that Christian's strength!

This verb is "chalaph," meaning "to sprout again!" Or even "to grow up!" That's what will happen to our "strength" when we wait upon the Lord. The Hebrew noun here means "power, might" and even "wealth" at times. One's stamina is a blessing, a true token of God's rich Grace!

Then comes the comparison to eagles, those majestic creatures. "Mount up" is "alah" as Isaiah would have written it, meaning "to ascend." To take flight!

Soaring like the eagles! Riding the currents! Nearly effortlessly! Enjoying God's beauty at every turn!

Then comes strength to run and not be "weary." The adjective is "yaga," implying being "tired from heavy labor."

To walk and not "faint" employs the verb "yaaph," meaning "to be so fatigued one cannot go any further."

Wow!

"They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Sounds like trusting God is an absolutely certain way to stay strong in Christ!

Very strong.

That word "strong" once again, "koach," is derived from a base verb that means "to be firm!"

Not toddling along.

Not staggering as I journey for Jesus.

Not falling either.

Strong!

Faith-produced strength.

What a great verse to practice!

                                                --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 19, PSALM 119:165

This verse is special to us too. It nearly has two meanings, two different emphases. The Psalmist says: "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."

One short verse, yet these few words take a  lifetime to implement. That's Psalm 119:165, near the end of the Bible's longest chapter.

The noun "peace" is the famous Jewish word "shalom," meaning "well-being, welfare, completeness, wholeness, health, soundness, prosperity," such wonderful words!

The qualifier "great" is "rab" in Hebrew, a contraction of "rabab," meaning "multiplied, increased, manifold, tens of thousands!"

This blessing, "great peace," belongs to those who "love" God's Word! Not just a person who likes it or appreciates it or studies it occasionally, but really values and treasures it!

Love the Bible, enjoy great peace from God!

Sounds like Isaiah 26:3 a little bit. "Thou Lord wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

Then the verse continues, our Psalm 119:165 Text verse. "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."

"Nothing" shall offend them! And "ayin" means "absolutely nought." No exceptions either!

The "offend" verb  is "mikshol," which means "a stumbling stone." It once in the Old Testament is translated "fall" and two times "ruins."

This is a guarantee of success on our spiritual journeys!

Nothing will trip us, hurt us, hinder us, if we truly love the Word of God.

This is a indeed great passage of Scripture.

Once again: "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."

Thank God!

                                            --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 20, JOHN 3:16

This verse is fundamental to our Faith.

Yet most of us learned it years ago.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

It's one of Debbie's favorites, as well as mine. It might be the first verse most Church attending boys and girls ever learn.

Word for word, here are some things we have gleaned from these precious words John wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Man can believe on Jesus, when he is convicted by the Holy Spirit. Faith is the way to salvation! The words "whosoever believeth" prove this point. "Pisteuo" means "to place trust in, to rely on, to accept as true."

God gives to every man and woman the choice of salvation! He or she can decide his or her own eternal destiny! God, we are told here, loved "the world." The whole "kosmos," how vast!

Jesus died for everybody! Not for only a select number. That is clearly illustrated here by the word "whosoever."

When the Holy Spirit seeks us, directs us to Jesus for salvation, man is given the ability to say "Yes" or "No!" To Almighty God! See the choice presented here in our verse? "Everlasting life" or "perishing" away from God in Hell!

And once a man is saved, or a lady ... he or she will truly enjoy "eternal" life, but the "have" verb is "echo," meaning that this new Christian life is not one of absolute perfection. There will be "ups" and "downs." We will fail from time to time. We will err, but remain saved by the Grace of God! He forgives our sins. Our security is eternal. But we are human.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

What a verse!

It covers every area of soteriology, of the doctrine of salvation.

Indeed.

                                             --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 21, CONCLUSION, REVELATION 15:3

This verse was chosen by Debbie. She especially loves passages of Scripture that uplift the Lord.

"And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." Revelation 15:3

This is one of the great doxologies of the Bible. In fact Revelation is full of such texts, paragraphs that praise the Lord.

Moses sang this long ago.

It will again be sung in the future around the Throne of God.

And we can enjoy it today reading the last Book of the Bible.

"Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

God's "works" are under discussion. The Greek noun is "ergon," which supplies us with our word "energy." God's deeds are "great," in Greek "megas," and "marvellous, spelled "thaumastos." That last one actually means "things to be wondered at!"

Then God's "ways" are admired. "Hodos" is the word, meaning a "path or road." Or journey, our a course of conduct.

The pattern God usually follows when He does things.

His general habits.

These are "just" and "true." The first adjective here means "right, straight" in God's Eyes. The second means "without lies or deceit."

God never does wrong!

And we will recognize that fact, those facts, for all eternity to come as we live side by side with Jesus.

"And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." Revelation 15:3

Amen.

                               --- Mike and Debbie Bagwell

 

 

 

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