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 BIBLE NUGGETS!

Short Articles Based On The Word Of God, Just Another Way Of Studying God's Precious Book!

 

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

NUGGET 45, AUGUST 31, 2010:

What Paul did was unusual, nearly out of character for him.

He named a person who had caused him great trouble!

Usually those kinds of people remained anonymous in Paul's literature. For example, "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife," Philippians 1:15, no names, just the fact that "some" preached for the wrong motives.

But, once in a while, Paul did warn folks, specifically!

Here's today's Verse. "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works." 2 Timothy 4:14

Now we do not know for sure who this coppersmith was. The proper noun "Alexander" means a "man," (in Greek "aner") who "defends" his territory, a "fighter," (in Greek "alektor"). This person had however overstepped his bounds, exceeded his authority and had done "evil" to the Apostle Paul.

"Evil" translates "kakos," not the worst kind of wickedness at all! That's surprising! "Kakos" in fact means something like "good for nothing." He did Paul "ill."

But here's the issue. If the man endangered Paul or hindered his ministry of preaching the Word of God, he might do the same to others, to other Bible Preachers.

So Paul names him!

The next verse amplifies the reason. Timothy, "Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words." 2 Timothy 4:15

We Christians do not talk about each other. Or we are certainly not supposed to anyway. Then again, Alexander may not have really been a Believer either. We just do not know for sure.

Either way, if the danger to a young preacher or a young preacher's wife or anyone else in the Church, any age, any status ... if there is great enough danger to him or her ... warn them sufficiently!

And this might, at times, require using someone's name!

Tell the Preacher if someone is trying to uproot him from his pastorate, to run him off from the Church! Don't let some rascal ambush the man of God!

And when you tell him, use their names!

Paul did!

Otherwise, whenever possible, let's love one another!

"Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works. Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words." Again, 2 Timothy 4:14-15

But remember, this is the exception, not the rule.

But use it when necessary!

                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 44, AUGUST 30, 2010:

The verse is sad.

Paul, one of the greatest Men of God who ever lived, is in prison. Nearing the end of his life, an abrupt end, decapitated by Caesar Nero we believe. Slain for his Faith!

In 2 Timothy 4:11 the old Preacher writes: "Only Luke is with me." Just that, surprising as it is!

Paul, who is nearly always surrounded by people, lots of them, is now all alone, except for one man. One loyal man, Luke the physician.

There were times when Elijah had only Elisha.

And John the Baptist most of his life had no one, not one friend!

But Paul?                                        

"Only Luke is with me."

Startling!

Had the others left to go preach elsewhere, maybe at Paul's own bidding?

Had some left him out of fear?

We know some eventually turned against him, fierce fundamentalist that he was, champion of the Grace of God!

"Only Luke is with me."

One friend!

Yet, may I say this?

In this day of betrayal and disloyalty and fickleness, one friend could be a real blessing, just one true friend!

"Only Luke is with me."

Some people don't even have one! David, for example, at least at times. "I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul." Psalm 142:4

It might not take a lot of friends to encourage a person. Or to share good advice. Or to help us live more godly.

Come to think of it, Adam had only one friend, for a time anyway, maybe a long time! Her name was Eve, his Wife!

How's that for a novel idea?

In the Song of Solomon the Shulamite Lady said of her Lover, Her Groom, Her new Husband: "He is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend." Song of Solomon 5:16, where obviously her friend is also her dearly beloved!

Wow!

Friendship, even with one special person.

"Only Luke is with me."

Thank God for Luke!

Folks, thank God today for your special friend, too. That one who has stood by your side for years, been loyal and considerate and supportive.

Don't feel sorry for yourself if you have only one friend!

Count your blessing!

Indeed!

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 43, AUGUST 29, 2010:

Their names are found six times in the Bible, always together.

But the surprise is that their names do not always appear in the same order. And they are a couple, married nonetheless.

That's unusual for first century Greek and Roman culture, very rare indeed!

Almost always, nearly without exception, when a married couple's names are given, he is first and she is last on the list!

That was the nature of the patriarchal society of those days.

But in the New Testament Paul does something egalitarian, something very strange.

He often mentions the lady first!

Wow!

I'm speaking, by now you've guessed probably, of "Priscilla and Aquila." They were Paul's nearly constant helpers, or at least so for years and years.

Count these references.

"And Paul found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome: and came unto them." Acts 18:2, when they first met Paul.

"And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow." Acts 18:18, Paul's traveling companions!

"And he, Apollos, began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly." Acts 18:26, teaching a young preacher more about God's Word and the Holy Spirit!

"Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus." Romans 16:3, Paul as he closes his Roman Epistle.

"The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house." 1 Corinthians 16:19, now at the ending of the first Corinthians Letter.

"Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus." 2 Timothy 4:19, with Timothy by now!

If I have counted correctly, you can check me, three times Aquila is first. And three times Priscilla is first!

Interesting!

Paul apparently considered her as important as him, as team members, serving the Lord. And in being "helpers" to Paul!

All I am saying is this.

Ladies have great potential for the Lord!

We are robbing ourselves of tremendous blessings and benefits and rewards by not letting them contribute to the overall life of the Church.

Paul did!

Jesus did too.

I think we all should.

Now I am going to show you the most often emphasized verse in the Bible when it comes to the ladies. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." Ephesians 5:22

Now here's the least emphasized! "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." Ephesians 5:21, yet already talking to husbands and wives!

The most popular and the least popular, yet they are next door neighbors in Ephesians chapter five!

Now let's all quit reading and do some thinking.

Men, us especially.

                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 42, AUGUST 28, 2010:

The verse is interesting, at least. In it Paul gives us information, reliable and inspired and factual information, information that even the Old Testament does not supply! This is unusual.

The New Testament filling in details, historical facts even, that the Old Testament does not find necessary!

We quote Paul mid-sermon: "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith." Second Timothy 3:8

Those two men, Jannes and Jambres, are the leaders of those wicked Egyptian magicians or sorcerers who tried to duplicate the plagues of Egypt, tried to prove that Moses' God was not the only one who could do such things!

Here's the Exodus 7:11 account: "Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments."

The "magicians" of Exodus 7:11 are now "Jannes and Jambres" of 2 Timothy 3:8. According to God's Word.

I do not intend today to study these men and what they did.

I simply want to prove to you this fact. That the Bible is a unit, whole and organic. That the New Testament is essential to a full understanding of the Old Testament.

In fact, one preacher says that the New Testament is really a commentary on the Old Testament! And he's right in many ways.

Of course the liberals and skeptics say this. That Paul merely picked up a local rumor, gossip, hearsay, and called these two men by their "popular" names. That these names are all mythical.

But I disagree.

God the Holy Spirit placed these two names in the Holy Record. Not Paul, or at least not Paul by himself.

Here's my point today.

Read the Old Testament, study it too.

And read the New Testament, carefully and diligently, for an even fuller revelation of Absolute Truth!

Read the whole Bible!

                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 41, AUGUST 27, 2010:

Paul the Apostle said days like this would come. Days when men and women would not "endure" sound doctrine!

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine." Plain as it can be, Second Timothy 4:3

In many places now, Churches and Tabernacles and Colleges and Seminaries too, "sound doctrine" is a thing of the past.

That noun "doctrine" just means "teaching" really. "Didaskalia" in Greek, it is derived from the root verb "didasko," meaning "to instruct" others.

The adjective "sound" translates the Greek word that gives us "hygiene." Meaning "healthy and clean and not diseased." The word is "hugies," literally meaning "whole," not broken into lots of pieces!

Sound doctrine indicates preaching and teaching on Bible Texts like the Virgin Birth of Jesus, His Bodily Resurrection too, and His Second Coming to earth. Plus other fundamental topics taught in the Bible.

Not as much of that being done any more.

People at Church now had rather be entertained than taught!

Short sermon snippets rather than long discourses on weighty subjects!

Programs rather than Preaching!

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine."

Now we come to that word "endure."

It is "anecho," or at times "anexomai," both verbs.

The idea, the word picture, the definition here is "to hold on," not to let go! That's what "echo" means anyway. And the prefix "ana" can at times mean "again."

To gladly grasp sound doctrine and never release it!

Treasure it!

Believe it!

Teach it!

Exalt it!

Why?

Because soon nobody is going to be familiar with it.

Then we will not, multitudes of professors in Jesus, will not even vaguely know the key truths of our Faith!

Preachers, Pastors, Evangelists, keep us informed of sound doctrine.

Please.

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine."

Lord, help us.

                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 40, AUGUST 26, 2010:

It's one of Paul's lists. He has several in the New Testament. Here he enumerates the kinds of men and women who will be prominent on earth just before Jesus returns.

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be ...." And all sorts of sins follow, from blasphemers to liars. The Text, 2nd Timothy 3:1-5.

On Paul's mind is one particular trait that we all must avoid. "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof."

This can only be written to good people, professing Christians more than likely. Atheists make no pretense at godliness. Nor do secularists for the most part.

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." So let us Believers beware!

Looking like we are godly, acting that way, but lacking any real sense of the power God evokes in a human life, one wholly dedicated to Him!

The noun "form" is "morphosis," derived from "morphe." It means "the external appearance of someone, that visage which first strikes you when you observe him or her."

"Godliness" translates "eusebeia," essentially a reference to one's "reverence," his or her "respect" for the things of God. "Sebo" in Greek means "to worship."

These folks appear to be religious, even sincerely so.

But ... they "deny" any real power associated with such godliness! Form without function! Appearance without reality! Like an automobile engine without fuel to propel it!

What does all that mean?

The noun "power" is "dunamis," a word built on the stem "dunamai," meaning "to be able" to accomplish some task. The ability to succeed in that endeavor.

Talking about Jesus is one thing, how well you know Him for example, but living for Him day after day is quite another thing!

The first can be synthesized, those easy words.

The second, putting substance behind the claims, requires God's Power!

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof."

But now to the key word in the verse, I think.

"Denying," in Greek "arneomai," means "not" (the "a" prefix) "to mention" (the verb "rheo") a matter.

They just "ignore" God's Power!

It is never an issue with them!

They can continue their religious life without any need for God's "input" at all!

No hunger for His Power!

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." 

It's not they they say He has no Power!

They just do not emphasize it!

They deny it by staying quiet about it!

What Power?

The Power of the Holy Spirit Who resides in every Believer in Christ Jesus! "Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God." 1st Corinthians 6:19

The very same Power lives in us, Paul said in Ephesians 1:19-20, that raised Jesus from the dead!

Wow!

So much Power available to Christians, even the least of God's children, that it takes four diffferent New Testament words to categorize it all!

What awesome Power that must be!

How sufficient surely it is!

So much so that Paul confidently declares: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

God's Power ... in us!

Let's talk about it!

Let's celebrate it!

Let's utilize it!

Let's need it, depend on it!

Let's never deny it!

Godly people everywhere, make much of God's Power!

                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 39, AUGUST 25, 2010:

The verse is frightening!

Is it even possible?

To "overthrow" someone's faith?

Paul certainly thought so.

He wrote about such a thing too, in Second Timothy 2:18. Talking about some skeptical men, "Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."

The verb "erred" means "to miss the target" or to "swerve" from one's goal.

The "resurrection" can either refer to Jesus' literal bodily escape from the tomb, or the coming Rapture of the Church.  Whatever, Hymenaeus and Philetus have denied God's Word!

And their apostasy, their recanting of Biblical Doctrine, has led to some Christians, maybe weaker or newer in the faith, to "overthrow" their faith! Weak faith, no doubt.

"Anatrepo" is the verb for "overthrow." It means "to turn away." To send on a different course! To divert! To redirect!

What a wicked thing!

"Hymenaeus and Philetus have overthrown the faith of some."

"Lord, keep us strong in our faith! Do not let the infidels and doubters and God-haters of the world lead us astray! In Jesus' Name, Amen."

"And Lord, also do not let any of us damage the faith of some other Believer either. May we be eager to help others grow in the Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Then another verse comes to mind.

In First Timothy 1:19 Paul says this, along similar lines to our discussion today. "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck."

Shipwrecked faith?

Yes, again it seems so.

This verb, "made shipwreck" translates "nauageo," meaning "to lead a ship" into disaster!

Wow!

Others can "overthrow" my faith, if I am not on guard.

But I myself can "shipwreck" my faith, if I am careless about the direction my life is taking.

Thank God for faith!

Saving faith!

But it is tender and fragile too!

Be careful, believing friends, be careful.

Oh, one more thing as well.

Jesus prayed this for Peter, and I think He's still praying it for us too. "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." Luke 22:32

That our faith fail not!

"Fail" is "ekleipo," And "leipo" means "left behind, forgotten, to become unimportant."

Jesus always wants His children to guard and protect and treasure their faith! To never let it become less important!

And His Prayers carry great weight with God! In John 11:42 Jesus says to His Father in Heaven, "Thou always hearest Me!"

Oh, yes!

The world can try to "overthrow" my faith!

And I might carelessly even be able to "shipwreck" it too.

But Jesus has asked His Father not to let those things happen! That my faith "never fail!"

Whom do you think will win this battle?

                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 38, AUGUST 24, 2010:

I was impressed by this verse. When reading it again a few days ago. Seems like it explains how the Holy Spirit "teaches" us the things of God.

Paul wrote the younger Preacher Timothy and said: "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things." Second Timothy 2:7

Here's God's way of imparting knowledge. Or at least one of God's major tactics as He instructs us.

Paul to Timothy again:  "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things."

First, consider what the Preacher says. Hear the Sermon or listen to the recording or read the book, whatever medium you're using to get Bible facts at any given time.

The verb "consider" is "noeo," meaning "to think upon" something, to ponder it. Also "to heed" the message. Our word here is derived from "nous," a noun meaning one's "mind," one's thinking powers.

Reviewing the Preacher's Sermon like this is not only a suggestion here, but a command really, an imperative verb.

The verb "say" is "lego," which means "that which is carefully considered and spoken logically." Coherently, with deliberation.

But with us all, even after we have heard the Message or read the Lesson, some things might not yet be clear, not yet fully grasped, like they should be. Then what do I do?

"Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things."

Take your questions to the Lord!

Listen and learn all you can.

And what is still not lucid, not fully comprehended, here's a promise. "And the Lord can give thee understanding in all things."

Yes, He can!

And He will, according to today's Text.

The verb "give" is clearly present in Paul's sentence. And "didomai" means "to grant or to deliver." Knowledge from the Lord is a present! However the verb here is expressed in the optative mood, which means it is expressing a "wish or hope" on Paul's part.

In other words, God can only "give us understanding" if we carefully "consider" the spiritual truth which has already been shared with us! Like the last chapter we read in the Bible.

Finally, the noun "understanding" is mentioned. "Sunesis" blends "hiemi," meaning "to send" and "sun" meaning "alongside" or "with" someone or something. Thoughts that accompany my mind throughout the day! Thoughts that travel with me hour after hour! The things I really "got," really "assimilated" into my thinking.

Levels of knowledge?

Is that what we have here?

I think so.

Lower level, the Preacher said it and I heard it.

Higher level, the Holy Spirit burned it into my heart and mind, making it a part of my life for the rest of my days!

"Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things."

Pray it next Sunday!

"Lord, help me remember what Pastor says today, His exposition of Thy Word. But Lord then give me deeper understanding of that Message day by day this week! In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Wow!

Man's side, then God's side!

With both, we can all be successful learners of God's Word!

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 37, AUGUST 23, 2010:

Recently I invested some time enjoying the company of my next-to-oldest Grandson, Aaron. One of the things he wanted to do on our trip was "study the Bible!" He is nine years old.

"Well, Aaron," I asked, "where in the Scriptures would you like to go, to read and study?"

Not a half-minute later, "Second Timothy, Papa!"

So I again have been reading Paul's last Epistle, that little four-chapter Masterpiece written to a young preacher named Timothy.

That's how I found today's "nugget."

Thank you, Aaron.

In Second Timothy Paul writes from a prison cell. A fellow Christian from Ephesus, Onesiphorus by name, had befriended Paul, at great personal risk no doubt.

Paul's own words: "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chains." 2nd Timothy 1:16

The words "He oft refreshed me" impress my heart today, very much so. Then two verses later Paul adds more: "The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well."

Again, "many things he ministered unto me." See it there? Paul well remembered the numerous acts of kindness and service and love this man had shared with the aged, imprisoned Apostle.

This is Onesiphorus' testimony, his spiritual heritage, his godly "work" that will follow him into eternity!

"He oft refreshed me!"

The verb there, "refreshed," translates "anapsucho," actually meaning "a breath of cool, fresh air!"

The adverb "oft" is "pollakis" in Greek, "many times."

Always doing things for a fellow Christian!

Always busy for others!

Always serving!

Never being selfish!

So often that it had apparently become a lifestyle!

Then that second line about this dedicated servant to God's Preachers, who could have just as easily been a servant to anyone in that Ephesian Church. God's children are important to Him, whether they are preachers or not! Oh yes!

"He ministered many things to me."

And this verb is a classic. "Diakoneo" means "to run errands" for someone. Literally "to make the dust fly," because you work so quickly! This is the base word for those whom we call "deacons" too!

Servants of God's family!

Reminds me of Galatians 5:13, Paul's great advice there to us all: "By love serve one another."

Wow!

Surely the watchword for us Christians is not to be, "What can you do for me today?"

Rather, "What can I do for you? How may I serve you this morning?"

Of Jesus this was said often: "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

Lord, give us servant hearts!

It really is more blessed to give than receive!

Do you have someone in your life whom you can serve? If not, start looking! God would have us doing things for someone else.

Are we willing?

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 36, AUGUST 22, 2010:

Once I heard a Preacher call them the "Beatitudes" of the Book of Revelation. Obviously he was comparing them to Matthew 5:3-11, Jesus' first Beatitudes list!

Each "Beatitude" begins with the word "blessed," of course. It must, by definition alone. Which is, "a declaration of blessedness."

The first such statement in Revelation occurs in the first chapter, the first paragraph nearly.

Here it is. Talking about the Book itself, the specific Book of Revelation, last in the Bible,  we are promised by the Lord Himself: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein." Revelation 1:3

Wow!

The first part of the verse captivates me,

Just readeth?

And if you are not able to read, for whatever reason, if you will just "hear" the Book read, the same blessing still applies to you too! "Blessed is he that heareth the words of this prophecy."

Let your husband or wife read it to you!

Buy a recording of the Book and let someone else read it for you!

Blessings accrue accordingly!

Read a chapter a day for a while, maybe even a year! Or read a few verses every mealtime! Or memorize a verse a week, that's 52 a year, from Revelation! Think of the blessing that will bring!

But I am still hovering around that "readeth" verb, "Blessed is he that just readeth."

The word "readeth" translates "anaginosko," a blended term incorporating "ginosko," the verb "to know" and a prefix, "ana," meaning "into the midst."

In other words, if I read the Book, I will soon "know" the Book, the very "insides" of it! Its core values and truths!

Could I interest someone today in doing just that, beginning some kind of regular program of reading Revelation?

For a few months anyway, or a year? Of course for a whole lifetime would be much better!

If you accept my suggestion, my challenge, and start reading the Revelation, you already know what follows!

Blessings!

Blessings from the Lord!

"Blessed is he that readeth the words of this prophecy."

Anyone interested?

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 35, AUGUST 21, 2010:

The Word of God is a topic on which I write often. More often than I realized, I guess. Especially this Summer, while I've been doing these Bible "Nugget" Lessons.

Psalm 147:15 is another example. "He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly." This of course is spoken of the Lord.

That last clause again: "His word runneth very swiftly."

Wow!

God's Word is pictured as a living athlete! A marathon participant! Or maybe a swift courier.

"His word runneth very swiftly."

The Message, God's proclamation, traversing the countryside, like a sprinter heading for the finish line!

Now later Paul takes up this theme.

About God's Word running!

In Second Thessalonians 3:1 the Apostle is sharing a prayer request. With the Believers in Thessalonica. Let's listen. "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you." He wants them to pray that God's Word will have "free course!"

This is what's interesting. That verb "free course" translates the Greek verb "trecho," which literally means "to run." This is the same word used when the women who first learned of Jesus' Resurrection "ran" to tell His Disciples the good news!

So, for a second time we have God's Word "running!"

Not impeded!

Not held back!

At full liberty!

Then one more thing is said along this line. This time Paul is in jail. He is bound and cannot go and preach the Gospel wherever he chooses. In Second Timothy 2:9 Paul says "I am bound in chains" ... "but the Word of God is not bound."

Wow!

This verb "bound" is "deo," just meaning "to be chained, tied or fastened." God's Word is not confined, not behind bars!

It cannot be so restricted!

Now let's review.

Psalm 147:15 ... "He sendeth forth His commandment upon earth: His Word runneth very swiftly."

Second Thessalonians 3:1 ... "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you."

And Second Timothy 2:9 ... "I am bound in chains" ... "but the Word of God is not bound."

A Bible that is at liberty!

Loose!

Powerful!

That infiltrates our hearts and minds and lives!

Pray this next time your Pastor preaches, or the Evangelist during the Revival Meeting. "God, do not let anything or anyone 'obstruct' Your Word as it goes forth this morning! In Jesus' Name, Amen."

One of the greatest desires any preacher can have as he steps into the pulpit! "Let's God's Word be magnified!"

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 34, AUGUST 20, 2010:

The verse is simple, yet not so simple. Logical may be a better descriptive term. Yet on this basic truth hangs most of the world's journalism, literature, news media, and certainly preaching!

Daily conversation too, more than likely.

Psalm 116:10 contains this little statement. "I believed, therefore have I spoken."

The insinuation is that if you believe something, really believe it, you will quite often talk about that thing! You will state your beliefs, unashamedly!

"I believed, therefore have I spoken."

Now of course this is not always true. A liar does not always speak what he believes. Nor does a deceiver or a traitor or a spy! Gossips and slanderers are untrustworthy that way, too.

But for an honest woman or man, a genuine Christian, our verse applies again and again.

"I believed, therefore have I spoken."

Truth be told, the more firmly I believe this thing, whatever truth it may incorporate, the more I am apt to talk about it.

To speak of its intricacies.

"I believed, therefore have I spoken." 

The verb "believed" is spelled "aman" in Hebrew. It means that I accept that matter to be "firm, sure, established, trustworthy!"

To "speak" translates the verb "dabar," probably emphasizing the "manner" of speech as well as the content.

I will speak it forcefully, with conviction, assuredly!

Paul believed in the Resurrection of Jesus. And he preached it nearly every time he entered the pulpit! He could have said: "I believed, therefore have I spoken."  He probably did say it!

Paul believed that his conversion, his salvation experience was genuine too! He spoke of it time and time again, three times in the Book of Acts alone!

Friends today, based on our conversation, what do we really believe?

Think about that.

And given what we say are our heart-felt convictions, does our daily conversation bear witness those tenets?

A lot to ponder today!

Do I really believe what I preach?

This verse says, that after 49 years of trying to proclaim the Word of God, that much speech, surely I do believe!

And the answer is, YES!

"I believed, therefore have I spoken." 

In reality, ultimately, this is true for us all.

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

"I believed, therefore have I spoken." 

A pretty good "Test" of our spirituality!

 

 

NUGGET 33, AUGUST 19, 2010:

The Psalm is about Jesus. It is most often called a Messianic Psalm, one that predicts the Coming of our Saviour.

Psalm 109 really seems to be hinting at Judas, the betrayer of our Lord. At least Peter applies verse 8 of the Psalm to Judas. He does this in Acts 1:20. Here's the Psalm: "Let his days be few; and let another take his office." Now here's Peter in Acts: "For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take." Judas, again I remind you, is in view.

So as I apply Psalm 109:4 to Jesus, you can see I am not "stretching" anything hermeneutically, interpretively.

So, here goes!

Our Lord next declares "But I give Myself unto prayer."

Better yet, at least for now, here's the whole verse: "For My love they are My adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer." Psalm 109:4

In our King James Bibles Jesus just said, prophetically, many years before He is actually born of a Virgin in Bethlehem, "For all the Love I give them, they still hate me. They still are my enemies or adversaries." I've paraphrased, but that's the essence of what Jesus just said.

Then Jesus informs us: "But I give Myself unto prayer." 

"I will just pray about it then. About those adversaries." That of course was Jesus again!

Wise advice from our omniscient Lord!

But look with me at that last clause. Once again I emphasize it.  "But I give Myself unto prayer."

Herein is a "nugget" I believe.

I remind you that the King James Bible, its translators, were honest men, scholars really. They did not try to interpret the Bible too much, they just rendered the best, most accurate, translation they could, word for word. And God had His Hand on them too, as they worked.

So, as is explained in the full introduction, the preface or forward to the King James Bible, words that are not in the Greek or Hebrew Text, words supplied to complete the meaning of a verse, are italicized in our Bibles. For that reason, to be transparent to the readers for ages to come.

Now, our Text again. Speak Jesus, "But I give Myself unto prayer."

Look at the marked words, the italicized ones, three of them! "But I give Myself unto prayer." 

In Hebrew, in the Masoretic Text, which the King James men used, from which they translated our King James Old Testament, the verse reads, Jesus still talking, "But I ... Prayer!"

That's all!

It's a good thing those other words were supplied! "But I prayer" makes little sense! Or does it?

Yes!

Certainly!

In any language when a complete thought is lacking, a verb may be inserted to complete the sense of action or the implied state of being.

Which would then have Jesus telling us, "But I am prayer!"

Wow!

I suspect He is, too!

"I am Prayer!"

He is the Door, the Way, the Bread of Life, the true Vine and a lot more! He is Alpha and Omega, why not "Prayer" too?

If Jesus is prayer, no wonder we love it so!

And have prayer meetings!

And pray daily!

And believe in Prayer!

Books, many of them, have been written on Jesus' prayer life.

He prayed so much that others asked Him to teach them how!

"I am Prayer!"

Goodness!

Next time you're praying, think of this now, you are resting in Jesus! You are trusting Him too! You are looking to Him for all the answers! You are worshiping too, Jesus Christ our Lord!

Tell us again, Lord. "I am Prayer!"

Hey everyone, let's pray!

                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

In Union with Jesus, every time I pray!

 

 

NUGGET 32, AUGUST 18, 2010:

The Verse was one of my Mom's favorites. Maybe her number one choice in all the Bible! I can almost hear her quoting it now, though she has been in Heaven for years. She would often use its words just before she sang at Church, along with two of her Sisters, a trio.

"Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy." Psalm 107:2

My Mom, Sarah Green Bagwell, had indeed been "redeemed!" And she told folks about it too, including her little children!

That beautiful word, "redeemed," translates a Hebrew verb really. "Gaal" means "to ransom" one's lost property! To buy it back from a despot who had repossessed it!

That's what Jesus did for me, for all of us who are saved! He restored to us what we had lost, due to the bankruptcy of sin and rebellion and iniquity!

My debt is paid, in full!

By Jesus' Blood!

I can now enjoy my possessions, my inheritance, which Jesus has so lavishly provided me.

Forgiveness of sins!

Peace in my heart!

An eternity with him forever, in Glory!

"Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy."

And our Verse implies that since these things are true, we should "say so!" This verb is "amar," which usually places emphasis on what is spoken, the content of a communique.

Give your testimony!

Be specific!

Tell us what happened!

And how it happened!

When too, if possible!

But wait a minute. This "redemption," from what have I been delivered? "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy." 

The "enemy" is spelled "tzsar" in Hebrew, indicating any "tight, narrow, distressing, uncomfortable" place in life! One's "foe, adversary or oppressor" is a natural development in the word's definition.

Jesus is then my Deliverer!

That's what "Saviour" means, really!

Let's go tell it today.

Just like the verse teaches.

Notice too that the enemy had me in his "hand!" Still, God rescued me! Out of a tight, dangerous place!

That's worth talking about!

"Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy." 

Do it today!

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 31, AUGUST 17, 2010:

The Psalmists are, if anything, determined!

Determined to serve the Lord, to love Him and worship Him!

For example, Psalm 105:4. "Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore."

I once heard a Preacher say this: "Seeking the Lord is nearly as delightful as finding Him!"

Wow!

That may be so.

However, finding Him is absolutely Wonderful!

I am talking about finding Him in a place of sweet Fellowship and Love, not about finding Him regarding your soul salvation.

"Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore." We need to do this every day we live.

As a philosophy of life, as a habitual way of behavior!

"Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore."

The English verb "seek," used twice here, actually translates two different Hebrew words!

"Seek the Lord" is "darash."

"Seek His face is "baqash."

How unusual!

"Darash" is a qal stem, imperative mood verb. Simple active voice, durative action, seek Him constantly! It means "to search" for Him if necessary! Diligently!

Then "baqash" is a piel stem verb, still an imperative though. It demands vigorous action, emotional and forceful and energetic! It's stronger in intensity than "darash" even!

Seek God then seek Him some more, even more diligently!

"Baqash" is defined as "begging!" And occasionally even "demanding" something!

Any way we interpret these words, the Psalmist is hungry for God!

Pursuing the Lord is paramount in his life!

"Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore."

Yet the very thing sought, specifically, is the dear Lord and His strength!

That is singled out, His Strength!

The noun is "oz," pronounced "oze." It means "might, power," and can also mean "loudness, boldness." It is derived from the root verb "azaz" which means "to prevail," to win the victory!

Sounds a little like Paul's motto, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

As a life-long quest! "Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore." 

The adverb "evermore" utilizes "tamiyd," meaning "in continuity, in perpetuity, always!"

Never stop!

Seek Him and beg for Him and search for Him ... and His mighty Strength ... all your days!

And I think this is true too!

If you seek Him like that, you will find Him!

He will make sure of that!

Jeremiah 29:13 promises it! There God directly says: "And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart."

Amen!

In closing, back to our Text: ""Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore."  

Help us to do so, Lord.

                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 30, AUGUST 16, 2010:

You may think I've exhausted my list of Verses to consider these Summer days, these Lessons on various little "nuggets" of Bible Truth.

That's right. Today's though may even seem silly to some of you. But it's important to me.

Here the Text. "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof." Psalm 96:11

Now it's not just the meaning of this verse that interests me today. It's the "feelings," the "emotions" the verse revives in my heart.

Especially that one clause, "Let the sea roar."

My  mind races back through the years. The children were small. We had taken a rare few days of vacation. Brother Bagwell is seldom "off." I've probably always been too busy, truth be told.

Nonetheless our family had decided to go to the beach, the Georgia coast. There by the beautiful Sea we decided to teach the kids some verses about that great body of water, the Atlantic Ocean.

Several short passages came to mind, "snippets" really.

And this is one of them. "Let the sea roar."

Here's another one. "The sea is His, and He made it." Psalm 95:5

By the way, that verb "roar," which the Sea really does, means "to thunder!" It's spelled "raam" in Hebrew, also carrying the idea of "fretting or trembling."

Yes, by means of these verses we taught Joy and Joel, maybe even little John too, to "worship" the Lord, wading in the Ocean all the while.

Here's my point today.

The Bible is such a powerful Book that one line, one verse, one paragraph, can impact a person for life!

As I read the Psalms recently, this verse jumped out at me, loaded with sweet memories! "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof." Psalm 96:11, Oh how very pleasant!

Hey folks!

Do any of you have a verse or set of verses that arouse memories and feelings and adoration deep down inside you?

Here's the one that got me saved. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9

And this one helped call me to preach! "Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel." First Corinthians 9:16

How about this for a guideline at home? "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." Ephesians 5:21

And my motivational verse for dozens of years now. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." First Corinthians 15:58

You see what I mean, don't you?

Get some verses that can be "memory markers" for you. Or maybe "memory makers!"

Live in the context of God's Word!

Let Scripture dominate your life.

Then when you do, every time you read it or study it or hear it preached, all kinds of good things will be happening in your heart or mind or soul or spirit!

Oh yes.

"Let the sea roar."

                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 29, AUGUST 15, 2010:

The Bible is full of incentives. In some ways it is a motivational Book! Today's Verse certainly fits into that category.

It is an encouragement to pray!

Listen to the Lord. "I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Psalm 81:10

God has redeemed His people, bringing them out of slavery, out of Egyptian captivity. Where they had been for hundreds of years!

Once He had done this, in the process performing miracle after miracle, like parting the Red Sea and giving them daily manna and bringing water from rocks, God asks Israel to seek even greater things!

Things from the Hand of God!

Like a little bird feeding on whatever its Mother has brought back to the nest! An illustration from nature!

God says, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."

This is beautiful.

The Lord believes He can still do big things for His followers.

Lots of provisions!

"Open wide" translates a verb spelled "rachab," meaning "to enlarge or to make roomy!"

This is a command from the Lord, too. We must obey Him, asking for great things from His Bountiful Supply!

But this line is also a promise, obviously!

"Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."

The verb "will fill" translates "male," meaning "to replenish abundantly!"

I say again, this is an encouragement for us to pray.

An incitement.

A provocation, in a good sense.

Jeremiah quotes God doing the same thing, just with different words. In a verse that's very well-known, God says: "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3

Big things!

Great things!

Mighty things!

Wide things!

Oh, why do we not pray as He has asked?

Think about it today. "I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."

Amen!

                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 28, AUGUST 14, 2010:

The thought I have today is Biblical, of course. But it is only a "part" of a verse, a very small portion of Psalm 78, a long 72 verse Psalm 78.

Where God says: "Incline your ears to the words of my mouth."

Everywhere in Scripture the important of God's written communication to us is emphasized, again and again.

Including our Text today.

When God's Book is read, at Church or at home or at some waiting room, we are to "incline" our ears, listen very carefully!

The verb "incline" is "natah," meaning "to stretch out" something. To extend it or to bend it in a certain direction.

I think the picture is this, to "cup" one's ears, maybe both of them, to better hear a sound, even a faint one.

Place your open hands beside each ear, touching your head, as if to form a larger receiving platform! To better discern the words you so intently want to hear.

God's Words are that important!

And to validate this interpretation, Psalm 72:2 has a parallel clause too. Here's the whole verse now. "Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth." Both sides say the same thing, just in different words, different ways.

This whole philosophy, such deep love and respect and hunger for the Bible, is missing in many places today.

Like Sunday mornings in many Churches!

Or weekdays in many homes, where the Bible is almost never read!

"Incline your ears to the words of my mouth."

Lord, help me to do this.

Both when I am hearing God's Word as it is read, and when I am preaching it as well.

Holy, inerrant, inspired Scripture, don't miss a word!

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Cup your ears!

 

 

NUGGET 27, AUGUST 13, 2010:

An impatient Psalmist!

That's who we are going to study today.

Except I think this kind of impatience may be all right, even in the eyes of the Lord!

Asaph is apparently in a hurry for God to defend Himself!

I've never heard of such a thing!

"Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily." Psalm 74:22

In other words, "God do something please, soon!"

"Because the wicked men of this world are making fun of Thee, mocking Thee, belittling Thee!"

And get this, what nerve! This Writer is demanding that God defend His Holy Name! The verb "arise" is expressed here as an imperative, a stark command really!

To "plead" one's "cause" is to defend one's own reputation down at the courthouse! Where perhaps a "suit" has been lodged against you!

"Plead," in Hebrew "riyb," means "to fight back!" To contend with the enemy! To chide or debate!

And Asaph is still requiring this of the Lord! Both verbs now are in that mood, the imperative mood.

It's as if the Psalmist thinks the Lord may have a short memory! "Lord, remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily."

"Zakar" means to remember in this sense, "to call to mind, to record past facts," the pertinent ones!

Mercy, God can't remember my past sins either!

Lastly, the verb "reproacheth," the wicked man's transgression against the Lord, translates "cherpah," meaning "to scorn, to taunt, to shame, to rebuke, to disgrace!"

God is here described as being slow to act, especially in the realm of judgment! In fact one time Isaiah called God's "judgments" very "strange!" It's not God's first nature to judge, but to love and offer grace! "For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act." And that Isaiah 28:21 "act" that is so strange is God's Wrath being poured out on those heathen countries!

So, back to our Psalmist and his prayer. "Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily."

Know what?

This man, this Psalm 74 writer, has a concern for God's Reputation!

"Lord, they are gossiping about you!"

The prayer says, "Please defend Yourself! Do not allow wicked men to hinder Thy Cause on earth!"

A good prayer indeed!

And some day, believe you me, God will do that very thing!

And the whole rebellious world will be judged by a righteous and holy God! His Name is Jesus!

It's like John 5:22 says: "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son."

Oh, yes!

That Day is coming!

God will respond to Asaph and all the others who have "worried" about how the devil and the media and the lost world and academia and many others are treating our Lord!

God will "plead" His Own Cause!

"Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily." Psalm 74:22

To which Jesus may now be replying, "Yes, I am coming now!"

Praise the Lord!

                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 26, AUGUST 12, 2010:

Sunday is coming. It might have been better to wait before sharing today's Verse. Wait until the Lord's Day I mean.

Psalm 68:11 reads: "The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of those that published it."

This is talking about the men who preach the Word of God!

The Lord "gave" the Word, the Bible! It does not say He "wrote" it, though He did. Or that He has "preserved" and "protected" it, true also! We are simply told that He "gave" us the Scriptures!

The Bible is, perhaps foremost, a Gift from the Lord to His people! A wonderful Gift! A total of 1,189 chapters or 31,102 verses ... all equally inerrant and inspired.

Enjoy God's Gift to you, His Book handed down to man!

But if the Book is not well known, hidden in some corner of academia, it loses much of its impact.

So ... God has given us men who "publish" it!

Now that verb is rare, being used only 24 times in all the Old Testament. "Basar" means "to show forth, to messenger, to gladden with good news, to announce," and even "to preach!"

Wow!

God's Gift, the Bible!

Therefore God's auxiliary gift, preachers who teach us the Bible!

But is that Scriptural, that concept? Preachers as God's "gift" to His Church?

Yes it is!

"And the Lord gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-13

Preachers, publishing the Word, to help us grow to maturity in Christ!

That's exactly what our Verse today is saying! "The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of those that published it."

Some may be asking, "So what?"

Just this.

Pray for that man who shares with you the Scriptures, who preaches and teaches you and your family week after week!

Honor him too!

Remember his birthday and anniversary.

Be grateful and appreciate his wife as well.

Do all you can to help that man of God serve serve your church and its people "with joy," to use Paul's terminology.

Our duty towards those who publish for us God's Word, our exact duty. "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Notice the capitalized words here, from Hebrews 13:17.

Mercy!

"The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of those that published it." Thank God for them today. And let them know it too.

This just might include those young preachers too, those not yet in the pulpit every week! They will be "publishers" someday!

Somehow Sunday tell your Preacher you are grateful for his ministry!

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 25, AUGUST 11, 2010:

Proof that the Lord forgives sin!

From two verses of Scripture, Psalm 66:18-19

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer."

See it?

If I hold sin, unconfessed sin, down in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayers! "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."

But wait a minute! Look again! God did hear my prayers! He has listened to me and answered me! "But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer."

Therefore I conclude, logically, God must have forgiven me of those sins! Otherwise, He would not have heard me and helped me as he did!

Grace and Love and Mercy and Kindness and exceedingly Graceful Forgiveness ... right in the middle of the Old Testament!

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer."

But He hath heard me!

Let's examine the words used here by the Holy Spirit.

First, "regard," spelled "raah" in Hebrew. It means "to inspect, to look carefully, to consider" also, and "to preceive."

This is a clearly self-conscious awareness of some kind of sin one harbors within his or her heart.

The noun "sin" is strange, coming from a word that means "to pant, to breathe heavily," usually an indication that intense energy and passion are being invested in an activity! In those sins!

And both times "hear" is used, once in each verse, it translates "shama," a verb meaning "to listen to someone and do something about their request!"

Wow!

And the verb "hath attended" is powerful too. "Qashab" means "to pay attention!" More so, "to incline" one's ears toward a certain sound or voice! As we pray ... this verse pictures God Almighty leaning over from Heaven, maybe even cupping His ears with His hands, to hear our very whispers and wimps!

Wow again!

All because the sins I once possessed, even treasured, are now gone!

Apparently!

How can this be so?

God forgave them, the only possible answer, cleansed and purged!

Can this be?

Now I go to the New Testament. Because that's where one of my all-time favorite verses is located.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1st John 1:9

That's worth saying again. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

It makes Psalm 66:18-19 really work! "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Memorize it please, if you have not already done so. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

To those of you who have learned it by heart, say it fifty times today, throughout the morning, afternoon and evening.

Forgiveness! "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

Even for those who are saved!

One more time, our Text. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer." Psalm 66:18-19

Be happy!

Forgiveness is available!

Because of Jesus and His shed Blood on the Cross of Calvary!

Thank You, dear Lord!

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 24, AUGUST 10, 2010:

I'm always looking for little "reminders" to help us serve the Lord. Some of the saints of ages past even used the "clock" to help them remember their God, to worship Him. A number of those godly old-timers even got up during the night, say at 3:00 am, to pray and seek the Lord's Face! They actually planned this, having their timepieces set to wake them at the appointed hour.

This all may seem a bit formal to some of you. Too regimented or pre-programmed.

But for others similar plans have worked well for years, some of them have used such methods for decades.

Psalm 74:16 might give us a hint along the lines of systematic praying or Bible study, whatever. Talking to the Lord, the Psalmist Asaph says: "The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun."

Do you see what I mean?

Then let me explain.

The "day" belongs to God! As an observance of that fact every time it becomes "day," at "dawn" then, why can I not stop whatever I'm doing and worship my Lord? And if I am still asleep, wake up and praise Him!

Look again.

The Lord owns the "night" too.

Then I suggest at "dusk," or as soon thereafter as possible, worship Jesus Christ once again!

This is just turning two naturally occurring time markers into seasons of worship and adoration of our great God!

"The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun."

Somehow there's nothing quite like spending some time with God ... as He first lights the earth with His Sun.

And the same feelings can apply at sunset!

That would at least put us in prayerful "touch" with God twice a day!

Day time and night time!

I think Psalm 113:3 does this, too. "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised."

Yes!

Praise Him every day!

Then praise him every night!

Oh, how sweet such Fellowship can be, hand-in-hand with Jesus!

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 23, AUGUST 9, 2010:

The prayer, its lovely petition anyway, was both asked and then answered, immediately! And these things happened within the scope of one verse of Scripture!

Here it is. "My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me." Psalm 63:8

The Psalmist's desire ... to follow after God, ever so closely. God's response to such a request, such a craving, instantaneously! The Lord's Right Hand soon is upholding this good Believer!

I realize all our goals are not met that quickly.

All prayers do not have such swift answers.

But apparently some do!

And I think, I suspect, prayers in certain categories are far more speedily answered than prayers in other areas of life!

Just my "guess!"

I'm almost sure that longings and aspirations and cravings to know God better, to live closer to Him, those kinds of prayers ... will receive priority handling in Heaven, at the Throne of Grace!

Such is the case here in Psalm 63:8. "My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me."

The expression "followeth hard" is one Hebrew verb, "dabaq." It actually means "to cling to" someone! "To stay close, to stick together, to be joined, to chase!" These kinds of ideas all present a great desire to be "with" Someone, here the dear Lord!

But as soon as this follower of God begins his pursuit, God answers!

God stops whatever He is doing and "picks up" the pursuer! "Thy right hand upholdeth me."

Wow!

Remember in Scripture, especially the Old Testament, that one's right hand symbolizes power and strength. For example, Psalm 17:7. "Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in Thee."

So when God's Right Hand upholds us, good things are happening!

"Thy right hand upholdeth me."

The verb "upholdeth" is interesting too. "Tamak" means "to grasp!" Then "to support, to lay hold of, to seize!"

It goes like this:

Lord, I need You! I want You! I love You! Let's spend time together!

Then this happens sooner than you can realize it:

Pronto, God is here! Upholding me! Helping me!

That's what today's Verse implies! No, it directly teaches it!

Once again: "My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me." Psalm 63:8

Thank You, Lord!

He longs to be with us!

                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 22, AUGUST 8, 2010:

We've all heard the expression.

To "pour out" one's feelings!

Well, it's in the Bible!

"Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us." Psalm 62:8

The verb "trust," in Hebrew "batach," means to confide in the Lord so much all worry or fretfulness disappears! Leaning on God without a care in the world!

The noun "refuge" is "machaseh," a simple "shelter" from a violent storm or some other approaching danger.

God is such a Place of Safety!

Therefore, we can "pour out" our hearts before Him!

"Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us."

The verb, the focus of our time today, is "shaphak," a little word meaning "to spill, to gush out, to shed, to pour."

The word is an imperative, a command has just been given!

One's "heart" to the Hebrew mind represents one's "innermost" feelings and thoughts and aspirations.

Tell God everything!

Interestingly, the New Testament says the same thing too.

A verse as prominent as Hebrews 4:16 does. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

The expression "come boldly" is in Greek "parresia," meaning "to tell" to someone "all" that you wish! Open up and talk! Hold back nothing!

Tell God all that?

Yes!

We are far too reticent in prayer.

The Psalmists always told God the burdens of their hearts, positively or negatively!

Maybe we should too.

"Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us."

What do you think?

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 21, AUGUST 7, 2010:

I love this Summertime habit the Lord has given me! Scouring the Scriptures, looking for little "nuggets" of Truth that might encourage someone.

And the Bible is full of them!

Here's one. From Psalm 62:2, which says of the Lord: "He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved."

I'm aiming for that last clause,  "I shall not be greatly moved."

But first notice the three names for God David uses. He is a "Rock," in Hebrew "tzsur," a high and solid wall of a rock, stable and protective! Then God is our "Salvation," spelled "yeshuah," not a Thing but God's Name "Saviour!" That's Jesus! Third, God is a "Defence," using "misgab," a "high place" to which one can flee for refuge!

Three word pictures!

He protects me!

He saves me!

He hides me!

Wow!

But then, a conclusion can be reached. If God is my Rock and Salvation and Defence,  "I shall not be greatly moved."

This is an interesting statement.

I would have thought some greater claim would have been made!

Like "I shall never be moved!"

But not so.

Just, "I shall not be greatly moved."

I may be moved some!

But not "greatly" moved!

The verb "moved" translates "mot," pronounced "mote," and meaning "to stagger, to totter, to shake, to slip."

And the surprising adverb, "greatly," is "rab," meaning "much, to huge extent, in abundance."

Even with God by my side, I still may stagger a bit!

I might even stumble!

But I will not fall all the way down!

I will not be greatly moved!

That's the determination David has this morning!

"God is my Rock and my Salvation; he is my Defence; I shall not be greatly moved."

I love that concept!

Jesus never prayed that Simon Peter not be tested of the devil, not at all! But Jesus did pray that Peter would not be greatly moved by those temptations! "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." Luke 22:31-32

Amen!

Moved, but not greatly moved!

Here's Paul with the same idea! "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Let's tell the truth now.

How many of us have at times doubted a little?

And sinned to some degree?

And gotten somewhat lazy on the Lord?

Yes, we have all been shaken. But, praise the Lord, at least if you are still living for Him, not greatly shaken!

Not greatly moved!

Praise the Lord!

He is our Stability!

                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 20, AUGUST 6, 2010:

I was reading the Psalms. And Psalm 56, not outstanding in any particular way, caught my attention via a special phrase it uses repeatedly.

Here it is. "In God I will praise His Word."

That's unusual.

For example, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." Psalm 56:3-4

Then again in verses 9-11, twice more. "When I cry unto Thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me."

What a statement!

"In God I will praise His Word."

I have though of praising God's Power.

Or of praising His amazing Grace!

Or His Love and Mercy!

But praising His Word?

The Bible?

The Scriptures?

That blessed old Book we carry?

From which we preach?

And study?

"In God I will praise His Word."

The answer is, "Yes!"

Praise His Word!

After all, God does!

He uplifts and magnifies and emphasizes His Word, again and again!

Psalm 138:2 tells us. "I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy Name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy Name."

Psalm 119:89 too. "For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven."

Maybe best of all, John 10:35. "The scripture cannot be broken."

If God praises it like that, His Word, why can't I?

I will.

I must.

Let's pray! "Lord, give us a greater love for Thy precious Word. In Jesus' sweet Name, Amen."

And our thought for today?

Our Text?

Just a clause.

"In God I will praise His Word."

Thank God today for your Bible.

                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 19, AUGUST 5, 2010

I really like this verse, Psalm 55:22.

Really to me it says more than the amazing First Peter 5:7. "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."

In fact, Peter may have had today's Text in mind when he penned those wonderfully "caring" words about our Lord!

Looks like Psalm 55:22 goes further than any other verse in Scripture, concerning God's sympathetic care and support of His struggling children.

Here it is! "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."

Wow!

The opening verb "cast" is an imperative, a command from the Psalmist to us Believers. It means "to throw, to fling, to hurl" something. Once it's translated "adventured" in the King James Bible.

The noun "burden" is equally picturesque. "Yehab" means "anything that is given you, by the providence of God!" Whatever comes your way, presumably of a negative nature since it is here called a burden!

Give to God, roll them over into His great Lap, all the circumstances of life, especially the difficult ones!

Then, once we've obeyed, what will God do?

"Sustain" you!

And "kul" means "to nourish, to feed, to surround you or comprehend you!" Even "to hold" you in His mighty and loving Arms!

And furthermore, the Lord will not allow you to be "moved!" With "moved" being a representation of the Hebrew word "mot." It means "to totter or shake or quiver or fall down or decay!"

Wow!

Now that we have the definitions, just think about the implications of this great Promise from God!

Here it is again. "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."

The Lord not only can carry my burden!

He can also cause me to prosper in the middle of that thing!

And keep me from stumbling as well!

That's inclusive care!

That's going the second mile, or the third or fourth or fifth!

Next time a "situation" comes your way, practice Psalm 55:22.

I think it will work!

God will do what He said!

Oh yes!

                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 18, AUGUST 4, 2010:

Psalm 55:17 says: "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice." The speaker in the verse is David, a man after God's Own Heart according to Paul. See Acts 13:22 for the specifics.

Times for prayer, that's what our verse is emphasizing.

The verb "pray" is "siyach" which means "to commune, to talk, to declare," except now directing the words Heavenward.

"Cry aloud" is similar, "hamah" meaning "to make a loud sound," including roaring or clamoring or even raging! Something emotional and vigorous apparently.

Next let's note the times each day David plans to pray. There are three mentioned.

"Evening" comes from a verb that means "to grow dark."

"Morning" is derived from a word meaning "to seek, to enquire," as if a new day brought fresh opportunities to acquire knowledge and wisdom!

And "noon" translates "tzsohar," a word that suggests something "shining, glistening," as if covered with oil, olive oil of course.

Maybe these are short prayers.

Quick prayers even.

But still, they are regular prayers!

Spurgeon talked about "shooting" prayer "arrows" toward Heaven!

He sometimes imagined his prayers as empty ships heading to a distant shore, but surely going to return loaded with goods and bounty of all kinds! From the Hand of the Lord!

Regular prayer!

I once knew a Preacher who prayed immediately with everyone who phoned him! On the spot!

Another person stopped any gossiper immediately and insisted that prayer be offered for the one who was being criticized!

"Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice."

Devise your own plan.

And frequency of intercession.

Let the Lord lead you.

But do pray!

Pray many times a day.

For lots of people too.

Sort of like Paul has it in Ephesians 6:18. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."

Yes, for all of them!

But quickly back to our Text, Psalm 55:17. "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice."

That last clause, we've not mentioned it yet.

"And He, that's God, shall hear my voice!"

"And He shall hear my voice." Yes He will!

The verb "hear" is "shama." And here it pictures constant action. God is always hearing and answering our prayers! The verb means "to listen intently."

What else could God possibly do to encourage us?

To motivate us to pray?

"Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice." 

I can promise you this, God will be faithful!

He will do what he says!

If we will only pray!

                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 17, AUGUST 3, 2010;

It's a verse about the tongue, again!

From an unusual place, too.

Psalm 52:4 thunders: "Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue." That's quite a charge, quite an indictment.

The Hebrew noun for tongue is picturesque. "Lashon" means one's physical "tongue" of course, but is also translated "language" ten times and "talker" one time.

Yet notice these King James translations too, "wedge" twice and "flame" once! How wise! The human tongue, when out of control, when propelled by anger and fury, acts just like a "wedge," driving apart former friends and relatives!

And the "flame" part? James 3:6 says the tongue is "set on fire of hell!" That's really flaming, isn't it?

So the tongue, in the negative sense that Psalm 52:4 portrays it, is called "deceitful" too. "Mirmah" means "subtle, treacherous, betraying, beguiling." It's from a background word that means "to throw or hurt or shoot" something, usually a projectile to hurt another person!

The tongue can do that too! Here's Psalm 64:3 to verify that metaphor: "The wicked who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words."

From deceitful tongues, Lord, deliver us!

But equally as bad, Psalm 52:4, our Text, adds more information. "Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue."

The tongue loves to "devour" things!

"Bela," that verb, means "to swallow, to engulf, to eat up, to squander," and so forth.

Words that consume!

Words that devour a person's reputation.

Or testimony.

Words that ultimately kill!

Oh, that we Christians would never use our mouths this way. That we would do the very opposite with our tongues.

Let's use our words to "build up" others!

Not devour them.

The primary New Testament verb for "building up" is "to edify!" Actually "oikodome" blends the words for "constructing" and "roof or dome!" To build a house!

Wow!

Paul puts it this way, covering the whole matter. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:29

Words are important!

So, in review, now knowing what the basic words mean, I again say to each of us Ö

The wrong use of our mouths: "Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue."

The right use: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

Lord, help us to do right.

Amen!

                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 16, AUGUST 2, 2010:

The verse is familiar. Largely I think because we have all read the little Epistle of Philippians so many times.

"Let your moderation be known unto all men." Philippians 4:5

The noun "moderation" does not mean the same thing in English as it does in Greek.

Here it is as given in an on-line dictionary. Not word for word, but the essence. "Not excessive or extreme, being within reasonable limits." And I say a hearty "amen" to that definition as well. We are to live our lives marked by self-control.

But in Greek "epieikes" means more. Its root form seems to be "eiko," a little verb meaning "to yield" or similarly "to give place."

Then "epieikes" comes to mean "fair, mild, gentle, patient," not demanding one's own way all the time!

In the King James Text, the whole New Testament, "epieikes" occurs but five times. Three of those it is translated "gentle," once it is "patient," and once more "moderation," our text here.

Paul is telling us to be kind!

To be gentle!

To "give" more than we "take" in life circumstances.

It's a synonym for "deference" in some ways

Now, this is not compromise on some major Bible doctrine.

Goodness no!

But it is compromise on many, many little issues that are not significant.

Like where we're going to eat.

On where we shall vacation.

Or you can go see your mom.

Or I'll take care of the garbage this time.

Or yielding and cooperating in a hundred other ways with those we love.

Kindness!

And Paul makes it an order, a plain command, "Let your moderation be known unto all men."

Sounds like its inclusive too, to all men, to all women.

To everyone.

Let's try it!

Not as a one-day experiment.

But as a habitual way of behaving.

As a lifestyle!

Oh, the verse has one more thing to add. Go ahead, Paul. "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand."

At the end, see it? "The Lord is at hand."

"At hand," in Greek an adverb spelled "eggus," just means "nearby!" It also can mean "ready."

Why be kind to everyone?

The Lord is watching!

The Lord is listening!

The Lord is coming!

We don't want to be ashamed when He appears!

"Moderation," anyone?

                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 15, AUGUST 1, 2010:

This is a three-part verse.

Let's think about it a few minutes.

God is talking to His people. "And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." Psalm 50:15

Some folks, Christians I've known, say they do not want to "bother" God in troublesome times. That's often because they have not served Him well during the good times.

But our verse suggests another idea!

And God is the Source of it!

Here's an invitation!

God actually asks us to cry out to Him, when troubles come! "Call upon Me in the day of trouble."

The verb "call" is an imperative here, expressing a command. It means "to speak out loud." To talk audibly.

The noun "trouble" is "tzsarah," implying the "narrow, tight, cramping" times of life. Pressures of all kinds!

When trials and heartaches come, God invites our prayers! He really wants to help us!

Wow!

In fact, He attaches a promise to the command, "I will deliver thee."

The whole clause so far: "And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee."

The words "will deliver" translate "chalatzs," meaning "to remove, to withdraw, to rescue." In other words, God can take us away from the trouble we're experiencing!

But note this. "Chalatzs" also can mean "to arm for war!" So at times God might not rescue us from the trouble, but give us victory in that trouble! Make us conquerors!

Wow!

And since God is all-wise, omniscient, His choice will be perfect.

But what then?

After the victory?

After the trial is gone?

We should do something.

Back to God.

The rest of the verse now: "And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."

There it is, "And thou shalt glorify the Lord!"

Yes!

The verb "shalt glorify" basically means "to make someone important" to you. Literally "kabod" suggest making that person, here the dear Lord, "heavy" and extremely significant and influential in your mind and thoughts and decisions!

After all, He has been our Help in Trouble!

And our Deliverer too!

Naturally, of course, we should be grateful!

Question is, are we?

                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 14, JULY 31, 2010:

The verse introduces Psalm 45. It's a classic! It's a "love song," according to the title! A King is marrying a Queen, looks like.

The clause?

The "nugget" from God's Word?

"My heart is inditing a good matter." So said this godly worshipper!

"My heart is inditing a good matter."

He makes this claim as he is thinks about his King!

The one soon to be married!

It's a picture of Jesus, folks, this King is!

He is handsome.

He is singularly blessed of God, like none other!

His lips are filled with Grace!

He is a victorious warrior!

And he is a  lover, in a godly sense.

He has a bride!

Still, these typify and symbolize our Jesus!

Thoughts like these warm the Psalmist's heart!

"My heart is inditing a good matter."

The verb "inditing" translates "rachash," a word meaning "to be stirred, to be moved!"

The form this verb takes assures us that the action, this excitement in the saint's heart, is on-going, durative, habitual, continual even!

"My heart is inditing a good matter."

Thinking about Jesus!

Yes, that will stir one's soul!

"My heart is inditing a good matter."

That will excite a saint of God, leaving all lukewarmness behind!

Try it!

But only if you're ready be moved!

                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

One Bible teacher worded it this way, "My heart is overflowing as I think about my Lord!" That's stirring, okay!

Think about Him today, more than usual!

See what happens!

 

 

NUGGET 13, JULY 30, 2010:

The phrase is short.

But quite enough to occupy our minds a few minutes, all day really!

It's from Psalm 44:8. There the Psalmist says "In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever."

Wow!

I want us to examine that first clause. That alone today. It has a verb we need to study.

"In God we boast all the day long."

The verb of which I speak is spelled "halal." It originally meant, still does really, "to shine!"

Or this, "to flash forth light."

Then it came to mean "to make a person shine, to look brilliant!"

Then naturally, "to brag on someone!"

The writer of Psalm forty-four brags on God all day long!

So much so that it has apparently become a way of life to him!

"In God we boast all the day long."

On top of such a thrilling meaning, the grammar of the verb is interesting too. It is build as a piel verb in Hebrew. What does that mean? The verbal action needs to be expressed emotionally, intensely, vigorously, fervently!

With all one's heart and soul and mind and might!

"In God we boast all the day long."

Then let's look at how "halal" is translated in the King James Bible. Any good computer software program will give you this information too, Bible program.

"Halal" is expressed these ways, "to praise, to glorify, to boast, to commend, to celebrate, to make famous" or "make a person of renown," and then once, only once, "to marry!"

Use these ancient scholars' ideas and have a great day, boasting in your great God!

Our great God!

We're all going to marry Him one day too!

As part of His Bride, the Church!

                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Once again, "In God we boast all the day long." 

He is worthy!

 

 

NUGGET 12, JULY 29, 2010:

The phrase is amazing. Part of a verse of Scripture, Joel 2:25. God is talking, even to Israel. And He makes this humanly impossible promise.   "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you."

Restoring years?

Seems like the Lord is actually saying that he can give back the years that have been lost!

Years of good harvest.

Years that were lost to predators or insect invasions or bad weather, whatever!

Again tell us Lord. "I will restore to you the years ...!"

God can really do this!

Spiritually too!

Give you back years you may have lost to sin!

Give you added years, beyond your normal life expectancy, to serve His great Name!

He did this, fifteen years, to King Hezekiah, literally!

Is anyone reading here today who has lost such time, months or years or even decades?

Invested lifetimes, but for the wrong cause!

God can save you!

God can redeem you!

God can revive you!

And yes, God can give us all long life and fullness of days, in spite of some of our previously unwise decisions.

Years, Lord we plead.

More time to serve Thee.

Until Jesus comes again!

"I will restore to you the years ...!" 

Let's not take a day for granted.

But let's be sure every minute "counts" too.

Years, months, days, even minutes, all "gifts" from God.

No wonder the Psalmist wrote to the Lord, "My times are in Thy Hand."

Amen!

                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 11, JULY 28, 2010:

The verse is a self-contained Sermon!

Let's notice it together. "The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life." Psalm 42:8

There are three parts to this great sentence, this God inspired, infallible statement of fact.

God can command things! He is Almighty we all know. But here He "commands" His "Lovingkindness!"

A noun parallel with God's Mercy and Grace, "lovingkindness" translates the key word "chesed," meaning God's "favour, pity, goodness, faithfulness," ideas like these.

Get this now, please. God can command His Blessings on a man or a woman! Then such good things must fall upon that person! Psalm 133 ends with a good example of such a command from God. "For there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."

Maybe we can pray and ask God to "command" a blessing upon one or more of our loved ones. Or a Preacher friend, or an Evangelist!

God does this in the "daytime," though He is a 24 Hour Heavenly Father!

But what about the nighttime? When thigns are dark and dreary and potentially frightening?

Our verse addresses that too. "In the night His song shall be with me," Wow! Remember, Job 35:10 also mentions those "songs in the night!"

And that word "songs" insinuates joyfulness that's "always with you, wherever you go!"

Then last of all, this majestic verse continues. After God has commanded His Blessing upon me, and given me joy night after night, I will want to respond to Him!

Rightly so!

"And my prayer unto the God of my life." David will pray to this gracious, giving Lord!

This noun "prayer," spelled "tephillah," means a "request" that has been interposed before a Higher Power's Throne! The verbal root, the background here, is one that means "to intervene!"

That's pretty strong, quite bold too!

Three brief facts.

God is Good and has shared that Grace with us all.

God gives us songs in our darkest hours!

And that wonderful God, deserves and desires our Prayers!

Why are we not all praying more than we do? Especially in the light of this verse.

"The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life." Psalm 42:8

Thank You, Lord!

                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 10, JULY 27, 2010:

Today's thought comes from Psalm 39:3. David writes: "While I was musing the fire burned." This makes little sense until one defines that verb "musing." In Hebrew it's "hagiyg," meaning "to think, to meditate, to whisper, to quietly speak."

While David thought about God's Word, pondering it line upon line, something happened!

His heart grew, as John Wesley loved to say, "strangely warm!"

In David's soul a Holy Spirit induced "fire" began to burn! He could not remain spiritually "cold!"

Look what he says, also in verse three, "My heart was hot within me." Nothing lukewarm here!

How does one "stay" this way spiritually?

By "musing" or "thinking" about the Word of God!

By learning a little of it all along, then "talking" it quietly, under one's breath nearly, Revival Fires will burn!

No more coldness and lethargy and deadness!

Constant vitality!

Do you see what I mean?

"My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned." Oh, how we need this today!

But wait. Let me show you one more thing. I will underline the five key words. "My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue." Psalm 39:3

After the entrance of God's precious Word, after the resultant warming of this Believer's heart, the tongue can be used!

Properly!

"My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue."

It's all right to talk now.

After God's Word has warmed our hearts!

We will certainly be less likely to sin with our lips then, won't we?

Lord, help us to do this more often!

Much more often!

What?

To "muse" upon the precious Words of Scripture!

If practiced daily, what a life-changing practice this could be!

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 9, JULY 26, 2010:

Our verse for today is located in Psalm 37, truly one of the great chapters of the Bible. "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." The verse continues of course, but this is all we can cover today.

That's because of two very interesting verbs! So practical and down-to-earth that they nearly startle us with their truthfulness, their reality!

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." Now that just has to be good advice, anytime! Psalm 37:7, it's first two clauses.

Let's analyze it a bit.

First the verb "rest." In Hebrew it's "damam" and means "to be silent!" To be still too, but quietly so! Even "to be dumb," as speechless!

Trust God and be quiet, we are being told!

In fact, trusting God, by this definition, means keeping our mouths shut, no doubting or grumbling or wondering allowed!

Wow!

Then "wait patiently" for the Lord too.

This incorporates "chul" or "chiyl," a verb with quite a range of meanings. Here, according to the context, it means "to be in pain, to writhe, to travail, to be in grief, to suffer, to be wounded!"

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

In other words, "waiting on God" can mean "just keep on hurting!" Just keep on suffering! Let the pressures and hard times do their good work, spiritually speaking!

And that's trusting God?

Yes, so this verse says!

Mercy!

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."

Faith, what amazing issues of life it involves!

Good times and bad times as well!

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 8, JULY 25, 2010:

The verse is from Psalm 18, a fifty-verse power packed chapter for sure! It's one of those that impresses you, or it did me anyway.

"For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall." Psalm 18:29, David bragging on our great God!

Having done great things by the power of God, David wishes now to thank and glorify His Heavenly Father.

In fact, he's talking directly to the Lord now. "For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall."

The noun "troop" is spelled "gedud" in Hebrew. Ironically it means "an army," or "a company of men," presumably fighting men.

With God's help the man believes he can confront and defeat a whole battalion of soldiers!

Deborah, the wise Judge of Israeli history did so too! Defeating thousands of enemy combatants, she sang of our Almighty God. "The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength." Judges 5:21

"Deborah, Thou hast trodden down strength," with God's Help! Just another example of God's power at work!

But back to our verse, our little Text for today. "For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall."

See, David leaped over a wall too!

The verb "leaped over" is good. "Dalag" means, especially in the very intensive piel stem as it is here,  "to jump, to spring, to leap," However, jumping is one thing, hopping over a wall is quite another!

And get this! The word "wall" is "shur," a familiar term to some degree. It's original meaning was "to travel, to journey," and it's once translated "to sing" in the King James Bible!

Even a wall to David is an opportunity, an opportunity to sing and praise God! It's not a barrier, but perhaps an open door!

Wow!

I have a question for each of us.

Has God ever helped us to do something great?

Or unusual?

Or mighty?

Probably He has!

Victory over drugs, alcohol?

Some past habitual sin?

A mighty answer to prayer?

Can you say something similar to David today? "For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall."

If you can, praise God all the more!

Like David, like Deborah, like countless other Believers, remember and delight in God's great acts on your behalf!

Yes!

"For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall."

Paul, perhaps less dramatically but still accurately, said: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:14

Amen!

                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 7, JULY 24, 2010:

Once Paul solved a problem by apparently just asking two godly Christian ladies to do something!

And this was a potentially devastating problem too!

Philippians 4:2 tells us the story. "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord."

They were not "getting along" at the time, or so it seems!

The matter over which they were arguing is uncertain.

But whatever the issue, they made peace, or apparently so, when Paul "beseeched" them to do so! Just his request, that alone seemed to do the job!

The verb "beseech" translates "parakaleo," meaning "to encourage, to exhort," someone to do something.  Or to "strongly desire" a response. Simply stated, it's just "to ask."

I wonder how many good things we miss, how many problems we must endure, just because we have not "asked" the people involved to do a little better!

 "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord."

And it happened!

The power of persuasion!

The power of a brief request!

James adds this note. "Ye have not, because ye ask not." James 4:2

We can all apply this truth to our lives.

Let's start asking "good things" from those around us!

Including better behavior!

Better vocabulary!

Better Church attendance!

Whatever, to the Glory of God!

Will someone just try this idea anyway?

It worked for Paul.

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 6, JULY 23, 2010:

Our Lord is wonderful. We all know that of course. The adjective "incomparable" comes to mind.

As I rested this morning early, still in the bed in fact, out here on the West Coast with my oldest Grandson, a Verse came to mind.

I dedicate this little meditation to those of you, those of us perhaps, who might be carrying a heavy load this morning.

Some burden or heartache, perhaps of your own making, perhaps not. One of those sad times of life. Or hard times.

Jesus is once said to be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Just that brief line today from Hebrews 4:15.

He knows how we feel!

Even when we are weak!

That little noun "infirmities" is spelled "astheneia" in Greek and it means "no" (the "a" prefix) "strength" (Greek "sthenoo"), our lack of strength or power or ability!

He is aware of my emotional fatigue!

My worries!

My grief!

My loneliness!

My tears!

The not only knows about them, but more.

He "is touched" by them. Now that verb utilizes the Greek word "sumpatheo," our very word "sympathize!"

It incorporates "pascho," our hurts and pains and sicknesses and emotional traumas, of all kinds. And blends with it the prepositional prefix "sum," meaning "along with" or "right beside!"

When I am hurting, physically or emotionally or spiritually or any other way, He is "with" me! He is caring and loving and cuddling and understanding me! He is my Heavenly Sympathizer!

Wow!

I will never "hurt" alone!

Someone does care!

Maybe that's why Peter so encouraged us to "cast all our care upon Him; for he careth for us." First Peter 5:7, what a helpful verse.

Thank you Lord for being so kind and sympathetic!

Hurting friend today, I'd like to reach out and touch you and pray for you and read the Scriptures to you. But I can not. Distance alone probably hinders that. But there is One Who can!

Who can "touch" you in a real and lasting way.

Go to Him!

Lean on Him!

Let Him love you!

He will!

The Bible just said so!

Praise be to our dear Lord!

                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 5, JULY 22, 2010:

There is more than one way to say something, even something sensitive.

And Paul the Apostle is a champion in teaching us verbal kindness.

Let me show you what I mean.

In writing the Philippians Paul mentions a gift they had sent him. But they had apparently not sent a gift to the Apostle in quite some time!

So Paul, in thanking them, does not mention their former negligence or apathy, or whatever might have been the hindrance.

He merely though beautifully says, "I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity." Philippians 4:10

"But ye lacked opportunity!"

Wow!

Not, "You failed to help me."

Not, "You forgot me."

Not, "Why so little, so late?"

Just, "Thank you!"

"And the past silence from you Philippians simply suggests you did not have a way to get your gift to me."

"Or a greater need arose."

Paul is teaching us to put the best possible interpretation on some rather questionable situations.

"Ye lacked opportunity!"

The verb "lacked opportunity" translates "akaireomai," which is a blend of the alpha privative "a" and the noun "kairos" meaning a proper "season" or a "due time" for something to occur. 

"They just did not have an open door!"

Paul, the optimist!

No, Paul the saint of God!

If we could all see life that way, our Churches and homes would be very different, much more loving, for sure!

"Let all evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, and tenderhearted." Ephesians 4:31-32

Amen!

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 4, JULY 21, 2010:

It's just a clause, a short one too.

But it struck my mind in a forceful way.

Jesus once used these words, in reference to the Cross of course. "For this cause came I unto this hour." What a statement of purpose, of sheer resolve! John 12:27, "For this Cause came I, the Son of God!"

Wow!

Then Mark adds this, of our dear Lord's Life. "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God." Mark 1:14, "Jesus came preaching!"

Yes, He did!

Again I say it, what a statement of life purpose!

He was a Preacher!

Preaching, the whole Message from God to Man, including the Gospel, was supreme on Jesus' priority list!

Because such a noble thing pleased His Father! And Jesus often admitted, "I do always those things that please Him." His Father, naturally, John 8:29.

Preaching!

Preaching!

Preaching!

This leads me to my verse today, and a sweet little "nugget" it is. At least to my heart. I would like it to be a summary of my ministry, my life. "Holding forth the Word of Life."

That's it!

Just a slice of Philippians 2:16. Paul was talking there. He says this of all Christians, but it is particularly applicable to the Men of God, I think. "Holding forth the Word of Life." 

The verb incorporates "holding forth," and is spelled "epecho" in Greek. It means "to hold" something "across" in front of someone! "To hold" it "on" them, for emphasis' sake!

And it's a present participle in the verse, on-going action, habitual and durative and lingering!

But holding what?

"The Word of Life," which I am reading as The Word of God!

"Word" is "logos," the logical and intelligent and cohesive and reasonable Things God has told us, which includes all the Bible! The things God has "chosen" to reveal to us!

"Holding forth the Word of Life." It's just another way of saying it, "Preaching God's precious Word!"

My life goal, "Holding forth the Word of Life."

My desire yet to this day, "Holding forth the Word of Life."

Something I'd like to teach every young preacher I ever meet, "Holding forth the Word of Life."

A pristine goal for every child of God, really! Just consistently ... "Holding forth the Word of Life."

Grant it Lord, we pray!

                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 3, JULY 20, 2010:

In Second Corinthians 9:8 we learn something about the Grace of God. It's something new to me.

There Paul writes: "And God is able to make all Grace abound toward you." That sounds so simple.

"Grace" is spelled "charis" in Greek and means "that which brings one pleasure, joy, delight, sweetness, good will," and other similar blessings. Traditionally it is defined as "God's undeserved favor" upon us poor old humans!

Godís blessings!

Amen!

Yet there is a strengthening quality to grace also. Even in our current verse here Grace is later said to make us abound "unto every good work!"

Wow!

Hebrews 4:16 adds this too, Grace is what we must have when our needs are overwhelming. Read it with me. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

When in need, spiritual or emotional or physical or financial or whatever kind of need ... cry out for the Grace of God!

And God will either give you that Grace.

Or deny you, for some reason that Grace.

Or God might, with some anyway, overflow you with that Grace!

That what today's verse is saying. "God is able to make all Grace abound toward you."

The verb "is able" translates a form of "dunatos," that "dynamite" word that's so popular!

God has the Power to make His Grace, His Amazing Grace, "abound" toward us!

And that's right, "abound" means "to fill to the brim," so that the vessel literally "overflows!"

This verse does not promise that God will do this for everyone.

Merely that He is able to do so!

But I know this.

When I am in trouble, grieving or doubting or hurting or riddled with confusion, I need His Grace!

And I am going to ask Him for more than a thimble full!

I am going to ask Him for a River full!

An overflowing River, out of the banks!

Abounding Grace!

I hope you see what I mean today.

Claim it, next time you need Grace!

A boatload of Grace!

Tell us again Paul. "God is able to make all Grace abound toward you." Thank you, Lord.

No wonder God told Paul again and again, "My grace is sufficient for thee." Yes, Lord, it surely is!

Friend, claim your abounding Grace today!

After all, our Heavenly Father is "the God of all Grace," according to First Peter 5:10.

Grace, Grace, Grace!

Grant it Lord, we pray.

                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 2, JULY 19, 2010, STILL FROM CALIFORNIA:

The verse gives a whole new perspective to singing!

This is real worship.

From Psalm 9:2 these words are heard: "I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High."

Wow!

To "be glad" means "to shine" in Hebrew! To brighten up! To smile and reflect the goodness of God!

"Rejoice" means "to triumph," or so it is translated once in our Bibles. It's emotionally stronger than "be glad," even being defined as "exultation" a time or two.

But what, or Who, makes the Psalmist glad?

"In Thee," he says, "In the Most High," that's our great God! He's talking to his Creator and Redeemer!

God should be our major Source of gladness and joy! From Him all other blessings flow! That does not rule out being glad for others, one's family for instance, but it does keep the Lord foremost.

But now here comes the clause I want to emphasize. David now says, "I will sing praise to Thy Name." Still talking to God, obviously.

"Sing praise" is "zamar," meaning "to make music, to fervently sing," but more literally "to pluck with one's fingers!" Probably the strings of a musical instrument! Also note that "zamar" here is in the piel stem, vigorous action being depicted!

With all one's heart!

God's "Name," in Hebrew "shem," means His "fame, reputation, testimony, renown, glory," really everything about Him!

Praise God for Who He is!

Praise God for What he does!

Just praise God!

Then David closes the verse with one of God's manifold Names, "O Thou Most High." Spelled "elyon," it means One Who has no equal, no peer! No One is above Him, not ever, not at all!

Yes, this is worship!

"I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High." Psalm 9:2

Today let's sing to Him!

He might enjoy that.

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NUGGET 1, JULY 18, 2010, FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA:

This verse sort of "jumped out" at me recently. I know I've read it before, but it apparently did not register at that time.

It is found at Second Chronicles 24:19. "Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord."

The person sending those prophets was the Lord Himself. At least that's the meaning the context suggests.

The verb "sent" is "shalach," meaning "to dispatch," often on a particular mission. This is an Old Testament "great commission" in some ways. God thrust His Men, great preachers them all, into the work at hand. Spiritual work for the Kingdom!

The noun "prophets" is interesting too. "Nabiy" means a "spokesman" of course, but in a special sense. Its background implies one who is preaching "under the influence" of a spirit of some kind! Often with quivering voices or hands!

Wow!

Bible preachers, but a bit emotional!

And under the "influence" of the Holy Spirit of God!

But why?

Why did God send such prophets?

"Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord."

See it?

To bring them again to the Lord!

The verb "to bring again" translates "shub," meaning "to turn around." Or "to return!" It's a picture of Bible repentance really. Plus, it is set as a hiphil verb, showing causative action.

The preaching, Holy Spirit empowered as it was, ideally would "cause" men and women to come back to God!

That's the Lord's plan!

Here it is in Romans 11:14-15. "How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?"

This is why we have preachers yet today!

To turn the hearts of people back to the Lord!

Long live the Men of God!

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

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