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FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014:

The topic is "genius."

That whole concept, intellectually and philosophically, through the ages, throughout world history.

The book I'm currently reading even showed how Hitler, quoting his own words, considered himself one, a "genius."

And yet, as an aside in the 'Hitler" chapter, the author of my book said that the Jews, of all races, actually produce more true "genius" types than anyone!

Count their presence in the "who's who" of humanity!

The scientists.

The inventors.

The physicians.

The whatever, you name it!

God has blessed, abundantly so, the children of Abraham. And through them God has blessed the whole world!

Yet they, the Jews, are perhaps the most hated people on earth, as a group I mean. As an ethnic identity.

But, folks, the following verses are still in the Bible. And might ought to be obeyed! Personally I suspect the whole trajectory of world history can be plotted along the lines of Genesis 12:1-3.

"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Amen!

I plan to "bless" the Jewish people as long as I live!

God, in Malachi 3:17, called them His "jewels!"

Furthermore, three times in Scripture God specifically says of Israel that she is the "apple" of His Eye! The very "delight" of His Heart! Zechariah 2:8 will serve as an excellent example. "For thus saith the LORD of hosts ... to the nations which spoiled you (Israel) ... for he that toucheth you (Israel) toucheth the apple of his eye."

A nation replete with "genius" material!

By the way, Jesus was a Jew!

               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2014:

One part of a verse in Genesis says something about the stars. About God's great Act of Creation. "He made the stars also."

The whole verse reads: "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night ... he made the stars also." Genesis 1:16, the sun, the moon and the stars also!

Almost as if the stars were an added "extra!"

Just incidental!

Nearly "nothing" when compared to the sun and moon, our sun and moon!

But come to think of it, the sun is a star really! A very stable star in reality, not blazing hotter at times then reversing that trend and growing cooler! Were it not that stable, amazingly consistent, none of us would be alive today.

The stars!

The nearest star, ninety-three million miles away, is that glowing "sun" God created! The Bible really speaks of it quite often. Folks, it's so big you can fit a million earth-sized orbs into it. That huge!

Another observable star is one called Betelgeuse. And it is believed to be this gigantic, twice the size of the earth's orbit around the sun! That's hard to fathom, to picture! How many earths would it take to fill that star? The answer is 262,000,000,000, that's two-hundred-sixty-two trillion planets the size of ours!

Yet even larger stars exist, in abundance!

Another is nick-named "the big dog" and is more massive yet! If earth were golf-ball size ... this giant would be as high as Mount Everest! That's a scientific fact, too! Astronomical, isn't it?

"He made the stars also."

We sure do have a Big God, don't we?

And I learned about a new verse last night. Psalm 33:6 tells us: "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."

God made the stars, the hosts of Heaven ... by the Breath of His Mouth! By the sheer Power of His Word!

He "breathed" them into being!

Think about it!

Then thank God for loving you.

For saving you.

For calling you "friend!"

           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2014:

I realize the Verse could be classified as poetry. It's in one of the great Old Testament Books of Wisdom too. God is talking to the Patriarch Job about Creation! And the Lord asks this question: "Who laid the corner stone of the earth?" Then comes the accompanying, descriptive clause: "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Job 38:7

We have just been indirectly informed about an incidental feature of Creation Week! As God worked, someone "sang." Others "shouted for joy!" God that long ago had a choir it seems!

Yes indeed, "The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

Perhaps using the literary convention called "personification," the very "stars" are said to come alive, to sing! To sing joyful Glory to God!

I realize many commentaries say that these "morning stars" are merely angels. And they may be. But for a moment let me take the noun literally, please.

Yes, the very stars, countless numbers of them, singing delightfully as their Creator continues His Work!

Stars singing, the very idea!

But wait a minute.

Isaiah 55:12 has the trees "clapping their hands" when the Lord comes to earth again!

And Psalm 148 invites the snow and wind and clouds to praise the dear Lord as well!

So ... why can't the stars sing?

In fact, they did.

In fact, they still do!

Scientists this very second are recording their "hymns" too!

We've now learned that the stars of the universe emit certain "sounds" as they "live" their time in existence. Radio electromagnetic sounds indeed, but sounds nonetheless!

Why are they emitting such harmonious sound waves?

I tell you, they are singing!

Still praising God!

Adoring the One Who created them!

No wonder the Psalmist pleads: "Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created."

Amen!

Sing, stars, sing!

          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2014:

Occasionally I read a "Book Review" Magazine. They are published literally around the world. New York and London, for example. An "ad" in one of the recent issues mentioned a book about "genius." It was said to discuss that whole concept, that special quality, people Malcomb Gladwell called "outliers" in his bestseller of several years ago. "The History of Genius" has been very interesting reading!

A statement I came across last night, well early this morning really, said that Jesus was a "genius." The author, not a professing Christian, still credits our Lord with many outstanding traits.

Jesus, a genius?

Of course, in a hundred different ways!

But Christ did not come to earth, Virgin Born as He was, to merely be a "genius." And He is not just that either, the smartest individual ever to grace planet Earth!

He is the very Son of God!

Not "genius," but God!

Not merely one invested with super intelligence.

Or skilled abilities, practically speaking.

Though our Lord possessed all that, I'm sure.

But God come to earth to die for the sins of lost humanity!

Years ago a preacher said about Jesus that he was either a "Liar," a "Lunatic," or the "Lord!"

After all our Saviour claims time and time again to be God the Son!

If He is not That, He lied.

If He's not that and was speaking honestly, then He was deceived, crazy.

But if He is That, God in flesh, indeed He is the "Lord!"

That's what I believe, Jesus the Genius is King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Both now and forever!

The Center of history! The most important Person ever born, ever to have died. And the only One ever to have been literally raised from the dead!

Jesus!

More than any pen, any writer, any preacher can ever rightfully describe!

Jesus, a Name above every name!

Hallelujah!

                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014:

I sometimes enjoy a particular Bible study "project," usually lasting about a month. Such endeavors help me keep "fresh" in my preaching. Plus, no Book is as exciting as God's Word!

Most recently it's been the Old Testament Book of Numbers. Probably the least studied of all the Pentateuch, the five Books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy.

The Lord has thereby given me a host of sermon "ideas," too. In fact, this kind of Bible investigation and admiration often gives a preacher "more" than he can handle. Never am I at a loss for sermon material. To God be the Glory! After all, Paul did command Timothy, "Preach the Word." That's our Text, the Holy Bible, all 31,102 verses!

I just thought that this very cold Monday morning, from a motel room in Greer, South Carolina, I would suggest this pattern to anyone reading the Website today! Get you a Bible Study "goal" this month, January of 2014. Preferably one of the Bible's sixty-six Books ... and study away!

There's no telling what God might teach you!

And for sure you will grow in the Lord as a result!

The Scriptures, God's multi-vitamin for hungry Christians!

Our Milk and Bread and Meat and Honey ... spiritually.

           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 4, 2014:

I read a little chapter earlier today about philosophers. Their art is collectively known as philosophy, grammatically defined as the "love of wisdom." It's from a Greek matrix really.

The textbook I bought says these men can be defined or categorized in any one of three ways. First, by what they believe, the answers they give to life's major questions. Or second, by how they arrive at such particular conclusions, their systems of thought. The methods involved in their deliberations. The term "Freudian" psychology comes to mind here. Third, by the way they lived, their very lifestyles. In other words, an approach to daily life as opposed to just a method of thinking or a set of answers to life's fundamental questions!

But wait a minute!

The Bible, God's Holy Word, handles all this information too! It answers, for me, all life's major questions! It teaches me even how to think! And it certainly presents me with a pure lifestyle to follow!

I think all this "philosophy" talk can be distilled into two groups. The wisdom of this world ... and the wisdom of God, from above! And the New Testament Book of James helps us here. "One wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." James 3:15-17

Two ways of thinking, two different ways to live!

Folks, the Word of God is a wonderful Book! Certainly theological in nature, teaching us about God ... but also philosophical too, teaching us about the best things of life!

Read it today, the Holy Bible. One can even have a personal relationship with its Author, too!

Listen to Jesus in John 6:63, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." That's true philosophy in a nutshell, in a single sentence! Just following Jesus, listening to Him! Obeying His Words! Being saved by his marvelous Grace!

Amen!

            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014:

Jesus, in John 10:35, made one of His many Absolutely True Statements, eternally binding: "The Scripture cannot be broken."

The verb, Greek of course, translated "broken" here is "luo." It means basically "to loose, to untie, to dissolve, to melt, to destroy."

God's Word ... leave it alone!

It is not to be "altered" in any manner whatsoever!

I read a book earlier this week where a preacher was trying to explain away many of the promises of God's Word. And was quite worried that the Bible's many contradictions and errors were hindering the spreading of our faith! Therefore this author changed his view of inspiration!

But Jesus says, "The Scripture cannot be broken."

We believe the Bible ... without watering it down in any fashion!

The writer to which I am referring also thinks the God of the Old Testament is antithetical to the God of the New Testament. That a genocide ordering Lord is not the Same as the God Who gave His Only Son to die for sinners!

But again, Jesus says, "The Scripture cannot be broken."

I may not can understand it all.

But I will, by faith, believe it all.

In my heart the Word, the Bible, must remain in full effect.

Unloosed.

Not explained away, robbed of its power.

The Word of God, the Scripture of Truth (Daniel's term for the Book), always let us Christians esteem it highly!

Again I say, "The Scripture cannot be broken."

Amen!

           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 2, 2014:

I'm reading, part-time anyway, a book on "The History of Genius." It traces the development of that whole concept, of certain humans who appear to have "genius" characteristics.

It began with a man named Socrates who claimed to have a "muse," a "spirit," that inspired Him and empowered him and taught him, imparting to him the qualities of a genius!

The book, my journey through which is not quite finished yet, even has a chapter on "Christian Genius!"

Without using the vocabulary of Scripture, the author virtually says that we who believe in Christ Jesus are also "inhabited!" Indwelt creatures! And therein lies our spirit of genius!

Do you not see what he means, through ignorantly? He's talking from mere empirical observation, of course, but he's indicating the Presence of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives!

He Who truly does indwell us!

Wow!

Way back in Exodus 28:3 God fills some Jewish people with "the Spirit of Wisdom" ... to work with their hands, helping bring into reality the Old Testament Tabernacle and its accessories! Supporting and parallel Verses are Exodus 31:1 and Exodus 35:31.

Joshua also is said to be so endowed. "And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses." Deuteronomy 34:9

But Isaiah 11:2 is one of the best instances! Speaking of the coming Messiah, of Jesus our Lord, "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." See Him? "The Spirit of Wisdom!"

Daniel 5:11 so depicts that Prophet too, Daniel the brave hearted! Everywhere in the Bible, such "genius" is located in God's people!

And when Jesus is finally born? "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." Luke 2:40, yes Jesus was, still is, a genius!

And finally, in Ephesians 1:17 Paul prays for us all that God may give us too the "spirit of wisdom!" Literally, "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of glory may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." Amen!

Geniuses?

Not in the eyes of most of the world!

But as far as being Spirit endowed, yes, every saint of God you know is so blessed!

Living in the wisdom of the very God Who created the world! And Who loved it so much He sent His Only Begotten Son to die for its lostness! To redeem a Body of Believers unto Himself!

Everything about our Lord, brilliant!

Omniscient!

Genius indeed!

               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Draw on that power and love and strength and sweetness of the Genius Holy Spirit today! Commune with him hour after hour! His Wisdom will thereby become your wisdom too!

 

 

TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2013:

Several verses in the Bible teach us to "meditate" on God's Word. Certainly different Hebrew and Greek verbs are involved in these commands, but today I'd like to stick with the English word itself, "meditate!"

It has a Latin background, "meditatio." Its past participle is "meditatus." So really we in English have virtually "borrowed" the word from the Romans. In such cases "loan word" is the proper term to use.

But what does "meditatio" mean?

Commonly, "to contemplate, to plan, to reflect upon."

But recently I discovered another similar definition, "to rehearse!"

That is a thrilling thought! "Rehearsing" God's Word in one's mind and heart and soul! So many of you daily readers "know" the Bible intimately. There are vast amounts of Scripture you can call to mind.

Starting now, why not "rehearse" some of it regularly? Go back through, for example, the Lord's Prayer while you're driving to work tomorrow. Review, best you can remember, the key features of the Sermon on the Mount!

Same with the hundreds of verses you've memorized through the years!

What a pastime!

What a wise investment of one's hours!

And guess what? God will bless you abundantly for doing so! He promises it in His Word!

Where?

"Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season. His leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Psalm 1:1-3, in part anyway, wow! All for rehearsing God's Word!

God's promise to Joshua is another example. "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Joshua 1:8, good success! For a rehearsal!

Now to the New Testament. "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all." First Timothy 4:15, where such "rehearsal" of the Bible again brings great profit!

Again, wow!

Try this, friends.

What a wonderful new "hobby" this could be!

A hobby that does not "cost," but "pays" handsomely!

             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

SATURDAY, JULY 20, 2013:

Paul, in Romans 8:28, gives us one of the best known verses in all the Bible. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." However, some folks misread this great promise. Many even teach that the great Apostle here is telling us that only "good things" will come our way! Or that whatever comes will be only temporary! Or will soon turn into a glorious blessing!

But look at the ultimate "context" of Romans 8:28. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Verses 36 and 36.

It really seems that "all things" here include some pretty gruesome events! But that, without exception, can help us grow in Christ! Can help us live humble, maturing lives for Jesus' Sake! And they, in extreme anyway, can help us go to Heaven to be with the Lord eternally!

All I'm saying is this. All "heartaches" do not pass away, here on earth. But to those who view life from God's perspective ... no matter what comes ... it can be assimilated into a lifelong pattern of loving the One Who died to save us from our sins!

No wonder Paul, still in context, could write: "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:37

Victors!

In Jesus!

Praise the Lord!

             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2013:

Today just a short "break" in our Mark studies and a view of another Bible Truth. This is because of something I recently read.

It concerns a Russian Christian who lived during the dark days of Russian, communistic, rule. In fact, this man was a prisoner, in jail for preaching the Word of God!

Each morning the man noticed a trend. When all the prisoners were "lined up" for roll call, the guards did not take their places for several minutes.

This, he thought, was an opportunity! So every morning for just two or three minutes, maybe five on occasion, he stood in front of all the assembled prisoners and preached the Word of God!

No penalty at all, the guards were being lax anyway. To cause "trouble" for the preacher would have been quite counterproductive for a bunch of negligent overseers!

Preaching, for just two minutes?

Sources say it took our little friend weeks to complete a whole sermon! Yet people were saved! Christians grew in the Lord! And most of all, Almighty God was honored!

The point today?

Get "some" preaching anyway!

"Some" of the Word of God!

If you can't hear a whole Message, get a point or two of it.

If you can't read a whole chapter, then go over a few verses!

And if that is still impossible, at least get a line or two. A verse maybe, or just a clause sometimes has changed lives!

Wow!

The power of God's Word!

                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

THURSDAY, JULY 11, 2013:

The Trinity, the Godhead, is involved in all we do as Christians. Even as we pray!

A Verse in Ephesians I think best explains this lovely truth. "For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." With the "Him" being Jesus, Ephesians 2:13

In other words, we pray, we have "access," by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ unto the Father! What a great thought!

Trinitarian indeed!

This means, surely, that anytime I sense the "need" to pray, the "urge" to approach the dear Lord ... it is God the Holy Spirit Who is so motivating me! Jude calls this "praying in the Holy Ghost!"

And this means, surely, that every time I pray Jesus, at the Father's Right Hand in Heaven serving as High Priest, as Mediator, Jesus is placing my prayer or prayers before the Father. And doing so in a powerful way! Praying, in other words, "in Jesus' Name!"

And this means, surely, that God the Father is the "Goal" the "Target" of all of  my prayers! He is the "Answerer!" He is the "Provider!" He is the "Power" Who grants each wish or supplies each need.

Wow!

Again I remind you, Paul wrote: "For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."

The way Christians pray, whether knowledgeably or not, is in this fashion. Moved by the Spirit to ask in the Name of the Son ... through the Son, to the Father!

No wonder it could be promised: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Matthew 7:7-8, Amen!

Folks, let's pray!

And adore our great Triune God as we do so!

                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2013:

I've talked about the Trinity the past couple of days. We serve One God, Who manifests Himself triunely. Yet it's so easy, though theologically incorrect, to concentrate on only One Member of the Godhead. I'm not sure He can be so separated! He is God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit! Three in One!

In Acts 1:6-8 we have an illustration where Jesus deflected an emphasis on Himself and linked the Father and the Spirit to His Ministry, to Christ's very future!

The Disciples there asked a question. "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Acts 1:6

Lord Jesus, what will YOU do regarding your Role as King of the whole world? Behind the question may have still been a little bit of ambition!

Watch Jesus answer! He involves every Member of the Godhead! "And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1:7-8

Our Lord is saying, though I paraphrase here: "Disciples, when the Kingdom comes it will not be ME, not Me alone, Who inaugurates it. It's My Father Who will decide such things! In the meantime, in the age of Grace, in the Church age, go win souls! Doing so in the Power of the Holy Spirit of God!"

See?

Jesus will not emphasize Himself in any Kingdom Plans!

He will speak of His Father!

And of the equally divine Holy Spirit!

Jesus is not an Egotist!

He is a Member of the Godhead!

A Triune God, always working in communion with Himself!

What an example!

What a challenge!

What a Doctrine, the blessed Trinity!

                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

TUESDAY, JULY 9, 2013:

First John 5:8 records these words: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." Here we have clear "proof" of the Bible doctrine of the Trinity.

God is One, yet existing in Trinue Fashion!

He is Father.

He is Son.

He is Spirit.

It is this Fact, this Threefold Personality of the "Godhead," using Paul's familiar word, that forms the Basis of all God is!

God as Such, in eternal communion with Himself, predates and supersedes and outweighs all else.

God is God, Trinity, apart from all His other acts too! He is God, apart from creation. He is God, apart from the Nation of Israel. He is God, apart from the Incarnation. He is God, apart from the Cross. He is God, apart from prophecy. He is God ... period!

He is God of the past.

Of the present.

Of the future.

God, Supreme!

Let us exercise the precious privilege, and what a delight it is, to "worship" Him today!

                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2013:

The question is often asked, "How can I know God's Will for my life?" Twenty-three times in the Bible that exact phrase occurs, "the will of God."

In Greek, in the New Testament, "thelema" means "will," but in this sense, "one's desires, wishes," or "that which brings one pleasure."

Wow!

God's Will!

Today let me suggest that when seeking the "specific" Will of God, a precise decision you must make at some point in the future, you can always have assurance that you are doing the "general" Will of God!

Let me try to explain.

Here's God's "general" Will, His "do-this-all-the time" Plan for us in daily life. "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour. Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified." First Thessalonians 4:3-6

Live purely!

Treat your brothers and sisters right!

Dedicate yourselves completely to the Lord!

If you're doing these things, God can much more easily lead you toward the "specific" things He has planned for your life!

Now that line of thought helps!

Called to preach?

Need to take that new job offer?

Is she the one to marry?

These three questions deal with the "specific" Will of God!

Go to Church Sunday?

Abstain from evil?

Quit all profane speech?

These three questions deal with the "general" Will of God!

Do the simple things first. Then trust God to lead you in the specific things. He will indeed!

                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

MONDAY, MAY 24, 2010:

We are in one of those "in-between" times today. Sunday we completed the "Fruit of the Spirit" Text, Galatians 5:22-23.

And I have yet to determine the Lord's exact leading about our next study series, our next Bible passage to reverently analyze.

In between.

So my mind has settled on something from Proverbs. I just might share a verse or two out of today's chapter, May 24 being our "hint" to read Proverbs 24.

But first, what is a "proverb?"

In English "proverb" is derived from "pro," a preposition and "verbum," a noun meaning one's "words." Therefore a proverb, to us, is "a short group of words one speaks forth," usually containing some nugget of wisdom or understanding, from God's point of view.  Maybe I have now already veered into the definition of a Bible proverb!

A sentence sermon, to quickly share with others!

A slice of God's Wisdom, a mini-lesson in holy living, again to be read and pondered and discussed with others around us.

That's a "proverb," from its English "word history" anyway.

But what about Hebrew?

That etymology is every bit as interesting, if not more so. "The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel." Proverbs 1:1, its very first verse! In fact, I just noticed that "mashal" is the very first word in the verse, the very first verse then in the whole Book.

How appropriate!

"Proverbs" translates "mashal," and Solomon got right to the point!

But what does "proverbs," I mean "mashal," mean?

"A wise saying," declares one source.

A "parable" translates the King James Version of Scripture, 18 times it does this!

"An ethical maxim," says another teacher.

And surprisingly, "mashal," translated "proverb or proverbs" 19 times in the Bible, is once rendered as "byword," in Psalm 44:14.

I think the meaning this, "To use a few short words, a 'proverb,' in the place of much speech, a whole sermon perhaps, but still with the same goal, godly living!" Thus a "byword" in that sense.

Well, all this reasoning and I still have not fully defined "mashal." Hebrew for "proverb." Or at least I have not given its word history, the "root" verb from which the noun grows!

Spelled the same in English, as we transliterate it, but not in Hebrew, "mashal" the noun, "mashal" the proverb, flows from a verb that means "to rule!" Really more! "To reign, to have dominion, to govern!" To exercise power!

Now we have arrived!

A "proverb" then, Biblically speaking, is a little short "rule" to help us as we  pursue a godly lifestyle!

Almost a "command," one to be considered as we daily participate in life. As we seek to glorify God!

Little hints and suggestions and illustrations, to be obeyed! To be followed! To be enacted as the days come and go!

They are to govern our lives!

Wow!

Now, a quick sample or two from today's Proverbs chapter, number 24. It's typical of the whole book largely.

Stay away from evil men! Do not allow them to become your companions! "Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief." Proverbs 24:1-2, surely a "rule" for life! By the way, "envious" means something like "jealous" here.

Get this one. "The thought of foolishness is sin." Now Proverbs 24:9 is telling us what to think! Or what not to think! That little sentence should "reign" over our mental lives, our intellectual enterprises, from now on!

Or one of my favorites! "A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again." Proverbs 24:16, which basically teaches us "Don't quit!" Keep on getting back up, be persistent, be a strong lady or man for the Lord! Do not be easily stopped! Is that a good "law," or not?

Then, just tell the truth, always! "Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips." Proverbs 24:28, a pretty good restatement of the ninth commandment. "Thou shalt not bear false witness!" Exodus 20:16

Goodness!

Proverbs are "rules to live by," straight from the Lord God Himself, through His Word!

Read one every day, a chapter from Proverbs.

Then do what it says!

Good advice, for us all!

                                                                          --- Dr.  Mike Bagwell

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2010:

Yesterday we completed a Bible Study Series from the Book of Jeremiah. Soon, likely tomorrow, we shall begin a new Text.

But what for today?

A thought I pondered as I recently drove hour after hour is from the Book of Job. And I personally believe it's one of the greatest statements of faith in all the Bible!

Job said it, about the Lord.

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him." Job 13:15

With all Job's suffering, his untold agony, he really must have felt that death was quite near. In fact he spoke of it often, of death.

But he had determined something.

If death came, and if God was indeed the Architect of it, if God literally "killed" Job, the old saint still planned to worship His Lord! No matter what!

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him."

He meant it too, Job did.

The verb "slay" or "qatal" in Hebrew just means "to kill." This particular word is only found three times in all the Bible!

And the verb "trust" means "to lean upon" a person! To have confidence in him or her.

Even in a worst case scenario, death, Job has predetermined what action he will take!

He will worship God!

He will trust in the Lord.

He will lean on Jesus!

This short Verse somehow reminds me of Habakkuk's longer Passage. "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls. Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk 3:17-18

Wow!

What faith!

In our modern world I see folks who are less and less willing to suffer for Jesus' Sake!

Not many are left like Job or Habakkuk!

What would it take to dissuade you from adoring our Lord?

Or me?

No matter what, let's keep on loving Jesus!

Regardless of the circumstances!

Job, tell us one more time. Declare your absolutely beautiful resolve! Your allegiance to our Saviour! "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him."

Wow!

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2010:

The Book nearly upset me! This was several years ago. 

It was discussing the Pharisees, that quasi religious political group that was so active in the time of Jesus.

The author was trying to say that the Pharisees were not "all that bad." He indeed painted them in a rather benevolent light!

Like I said, I reacted negatively!

Then the other day someone mentioned this Text. I do not intend to cover each verse of this paragraph, just its opening line.

"And as Jesus spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them." Luke 11:37-44

This Pharisee was, obviously, a legalist.

He valued the laws of hand washing far above the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ!

This man was in essence "against" our Saviour.

So, Jesus used this opportunity in Luke's Gospel to expose and rebuke this Pharisaical attitude of Pride.

The Pharisees were, in spite of that Book I read, basically opposed to Jesus, violently so at times. Many of them apparently hated our Lord!

But, wait a minute.

Go back to Luke 11:37, the very opening sentence of our Text. "Now a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.

Do you see that? Not necessarily all Pharisees treated Jesus with contempt, here just "a certain Pharisee."

Come to think of it, Nicodemus was one, a Pharisee. And he was saved, eventually! "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews" This man, after Jesus' Death on the Cross, helped prepare His body for burial too! Something the Disciples, who had all "scattered," failed to do!

Not all Pharisees died and went to Hell!

Acts 15:5 tells us this much. "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed ...." These men overemphasized the Law of Moses, of course, but nonetheless they had trusted Jesus as Saviour.

And again in Paul's life and ministry! Once the Pharisees defended him, in Jerusalem of all places! "And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God." Acts 23:9, where their motives might not have been exactly pure, but still they stood up for the Apostle!

Again I say it, not all Pharisees were bad!

"Certain" ones were bad, heavily contributing to the Death of Jesus!

Yet too, "certain" ones got saved!

Certain ones helped the Gospel!

Here's my point today.

It might not be wise to categorize a group as all bad!

Or as all equally bad!

There were a few good Pharisees.

I once heard a Preacher say that lumping all the people who do a certain thing into a single "group" might be the essence of prejudice!

Or all the people who believe a certain thing, or who say they believe it anyway!

For example, as a general rule the members of wicked King Ahab's court were ungodly, very much so. His Wife was named Jezebel! But there was one man, Obadiah, of whom we are told some good things, very good things! "And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly. For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water." 1st Kings 18:3-4, a "good" apple in a "bad" barrel! He saved the lives of these hundred preachers!

God has them everywhere, I suspect!

You just can't limit the marvelous Grace of God!

It can penetrate the most difficult barriers!

Paul once even refused to criticize those who hated him and fought his ministry! He would not call them all bad!

Paul is in jail as he writes these words. "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will. The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds. But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." Philippians 1:15-18, no bitterness here, no accusations either!

Wow!

Why can't we fundamental Bible believers see this fact?

Dare I use this illustration?

Even among homosexuals, some are activists who hate the Gospel. Reprobates likely. But others have drifted into this Bible condemned lifestyle aimlessly, and can occasionally be reached with the Gospel. Upon which, upon their being saved, they will repudiate that lifestyle and live for Jesus with all their hearts.

I guarantee you that in Heaven we will learn that "certain" gays or "certain" lesbians have been saved by the Grace of God, washed in the Blood of the Lamb, changed by the Power of God! Ex-lesbians or ex-gays!

You just can't put them all in the same basket!

Now that some of you are good and mad, I'll say the same thing about other groups.

Independent Baptists!

And Southern Baptists!

Seminary Graduates!

And Preachers who have never had a day of Bible College at all!

Presbyterians!

Methodists!

And some of you even need me to list this group, Women!

Not everyone is bad!

I can't wait to hear the explosion when this Lesson is published.

Back to the Pharisees. Listen as Jesus commended them one day. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." Matthew 23:23, right in the middle of His condemnation there appears a surprising commendation!

Not all they did was bad!

Be careful here!

Not all Democrats are bad!

Nor are all Republicans!

No, I am not a compromiser.

But I am not a narrow minded bigot either.

Nor was Jesus!

Why, I even hugged a Black Preacher the other day! And he hugged me right back! I think we are both going to the same Heaven!

Not all men or women are identical, even when belonging to a common category.

Think about it anyway.

My convictions have not changed one bit.

But my estimate of the Grace of God is growing every day I live! I don't think I'll limit Him any more.

And when we all get to Heaven, some of you who are "steaming" right now will drop by my mansion and say, "Brother Bagwell, got a minute? I need to apologize! About that Article you wrote back in 2010 ...."

Got a minute?

Yes, I'll have all eternity.

Come right in!

Let's fellowship!

Wow!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2010:

As I preached last night a certain word surfaced in the Text I was using. Since I was in the Old Testament, the word I have in mind was Hebrew, a verb.

In beautiful Elizabethan English, "Thou Lord has 'holpen' me." It's the old fashioned way of saying "helped." The Lord helped David, in Psalm 86:17 to be precise.

When used as a noun our verb "azar" becomes "ezer." And instead of meaning "to help," it is then "a help" or "a helper."

That's when I remembered something interesting. I studied this back in late December, but it had not surfaced again in any Text I had preached. So it lay dormant until last night!

"Ezer" is the dominant noun in the term "help meet." It suggests "one who supports" another. Another old word, a "succourer." It basically means the same thing, one who "aids" another.

But we all remember how that expression is used, "help meet." It's about Eve, Adam's wife.

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an HELP MEET for him." Genesis 2:18

Wife, "help meet" to her husband.

Later we learn from "azar" that God is the Help Meet to His children too! "Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper. Psalm 30:10, Be my Help Meet, Lord! Or as we sometimes say today, Help Mate.

Then, "The Lord: He is our help and our shield." The prayer has been answered already, Psalm 33:20. The Lord, my Help Meet! Scripture just said so!

Now here's the point to today's Lesson. The expression "help meet" also includes a second word, one not usually defined in the commentaries!

Technically "help meet" translates "ezer" and "neged." That's it! "Ezer neged."

So what, Brother Bagwell?

Simply this, as we've seen "ezer" means "one who succours, aids, assists," almost a sort of "cheerleader" for the husband.

But the twin term, "neged" surprisingly means "in front of," almost an "in your face" sort of thing! It also means "opposite" someone! When necessary properly "against" that individual!

Wait a second!

A wife, my help meet, both "for" me as helper and "against" me as an opposite?

Exactly!

A man's wife is, by very definition, in Hebrew anyway, one who loves him so much that probably 95% of the time is with him and beside him and supporting him and affirming him in every area of life! Helping him in the truest sense of the word!

But, the other 5% of the time, when she honestly thinks he is wrong, about to make a big mistake, she loves him enough to get "in his face," to oppose him, to kindly be against him ... hoping to warn him to avoid what she feels is an error in judgment!

Wow!

Double Wow!

A good wife, a helper for sure!

But when necessary, one who stands in the way and says "Please don't! This is a mistake!" Like, "Be very careful, Honey!"

Loving her man enough to support him!

And oppose him when she feels it is necessary!

This is of course not a rebellious antagonism! It's a meek, reserved, but still bold "Watch out" kind of response!

Eve was not just a floor-mat, was she?

She was not a slave, either!

She was a valid and essential member of the team, the first "couple" in all God's creation, humanly speaking.

Here's an example. A New Testament wife properly opposing her husband. Jesus is about to be sentenced to death by Pilate. And the Governor receives a last-minute word from his wife, his help meet! "When Pilate was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him." Matthew 27:19, one warning Pilate should have heeded! His wife was right!

Mercy!

Wives, love your husbands!

Be help meets to them!

Agree and support and aid him every way possible.

But those rare times, when you feel it in the depths of your heart, respectfully disagree with him! Warn him! Oppose that decision he is about to make! You can do this and still be Scriptural!

And husbands, when your wife does this, listen!

She may be sharing with you the very wisdom of God!

Men, don't be "macho" here.

A true help meet can be this honest with her husband!

And be sure of this. When God is our Help Meet, He does not hesitate one bit to warn us of our missteps! Our shortcomings! Our errors in judgment!

Amazing!

Sister, be a true help meet to your man!

And Sir, let her do that please!

The whole thing is God's idea!

He's the One Who chose the words in the first place, "ezer neged."

What a Book, the Bible, God's holy Word!

Is there an area of life that it does not address? If so, I sure don't know what it might be!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 10, 2010:

An old British preacher I once studied loved to preach from what he called the "obscure" Texts of Scripture. Those paragraphs of Holy Writ that are "off the beaten path." And of the Bible's 31,102 verses, many of them certainly fit that category.

Well, this past week I've read a book written along similar lines.

For example, have you even even heard of Bithiah? She's the daughter of Pharaoh! That's according to 1st Chronicles 4:18. "And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took." Some teachers think this might have been the Egyptian Princess who rescued little baby Moses from the Nile River! Ever heard a sermon about her, by name?

Or Rizpah, primarily known for her loyalty? Never have I seen a Mother express any greater love for her sons. You can read about her in 2nd Samuel 21, but it's a sad story.

Are you acquainted with Shiphrah and Puah? These are the defiant midwives who helped birth little Jewish boys into the world, in direct opposition to Pharaoh's command that all these babies be killed. "And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: and he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive." Exodus 1:15-17

And one of the most immoral women in all the Bible, Cozbi, ever studied her? Her very name evidently means "liar!"

And I'll just about guarantee you that we've never heard much preaching about Lot's daughters! In fact, how would you do that, modestly? But they are in the Bible, earning more than a casual mention too!

Even Job's wife should be studied I think.

What about this Bible character, Jael? I did try to preach a sermon about her once. I'm not sure she was as ruthless as we might at first think. Maybe she was just patriotic. Or godly! "Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples (into Siserea's head, a deadly enemy of Israel) and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died." Judges 4:21

I've long wanted to preach about Zipporah too, Moses' first wife. It's just that I can't figure out exactly what happened that night in the inn. Where Moses, his wife, and two sons were traveling back to Egypt, to finally set the Israelites free! "And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met Moses, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision." Whatever occurred, looks like Zipporah saved Moses' life, Exodus 4:24-26.

And I've just begun to scratch the surface!

The Bible is an inviting book! No wonder the Psalmist wrote, "Lord, Thy Commandment, Thy Word, is exceeding broad." David's exact words, "exceeding broad!" Psalm 119:96

And be sure of this. Christianity, in America at least, is becoming less and less familiar with the Bible. One man of God recently wrote that we are now, as a nation, biblically illiterate. He thinks, including our church people too!

If so, characters like I just mentioned above are practically "unknown" any more! Along with dozens more like them.

Think what we are missing!

Especially in light of 1st Corinthians 10:11, talking about that gold mine we now call the Old Testament. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

We're missing a lot of these "examples" and all of the divine "admonition" Paul just referenced ... because we have not acquainted ourselves with the "obscure" characters of Scripture.

Oh yes, how about Vashti? The wife of the Persian King Ahasuerus in Esther chapter one? Was her decision a wise one? It very well may have cost dearly, her very life in fact!

Lots to study!

And the New Testament advised us to do so! It pleases God when we get "into" His Word. That's the "Word of Truth," according to 2nd Timothy 2:15. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

I guess today I've simply issued a challenge. One that invites you and me into further examination of the Book we all hold so dear!

It's just that when any one of us begins to think that we might know even a little bit about Scripture, some preacher introduces us to another person of the Bible ... whom we scarcely recognize!

Wow!

Studying God's Word!

A lifelong project!

Anyone interested?

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2005:

I was reading a book on the Cross of Jesus.

In the preface a Preacher was discussing the inclusiveness of Calvary.

He stated that mankind knows hunger in four basic areas.

Hunger for Truth.

Hunger for Love.

Hunger for Justice.

And hunger for Forgiveness.

Whole industries in America have developed around each of these Hungers.

But, the Preacher continued, there is only one Place where all of these four Hungers are met simultaneously!

Where they are satisfied completely and perfectly!

That Place is Calvary ... where Jesus died!

Calvary is the Place of Truth!  In fact, I believe it is the CENTRAL TRUTH of the universe!

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

Calvary is the Place of Justice!  God did not compromise one iota of His Holiness or Righteousness in saving lost sinners!  Here's how it worked:  "For He (God the Father) hath made Him (God the Son) to be sin for us, Who (God the Son again) knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."  2nd Corinthians 5:21

And Calvary is the Place of Forgiveness!  Only Jesus' Blood washes away sin!

Friend, are you today in need?

Do you have a "Hunger" in your soul?

If so ... Jesus is The Answer!

                                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2005:

The Bible doctrine of eternal punishment has nearly disappeared from modern man's vocabulary!

The word "Hell" is still used a lot, but NOT in the right context.

Even those of us who strongly believe in a literal place of damnation for the lost have failed to preach about it.  We certainly in this area have NOT followed our Lord's example!

Of the 23 times the word "hell" is used in the New Testament, 18 of them are from the lips of Jesus (counting the Psalm 16 quotes)!

That is astounding!

The theologians and sociologists give 4 reasons why Hell has been removed from contemporary thought.

1.  The rise of a philosophy called "humanism."  This belief lifts mankind higher and higher ... which has the adverse effect of bringing God lower and lower!  The worldview of ages past ... with God at its center has been replaced with a worldview that has man at the center (and God on the outer edge somewhere)! Someone had better listen to Proverbs 14:12 --- "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."  Humanism just can't handle the doctrine of Hell!  Man is much too refined for such medieval belief now, they say.

2.  Next came a crazy teaching called "universalism."  It suggests that ALL of humanity will some day be saved!  It distorts the character of God as revealed in Scripture.  Their reasoning goes something like this:  God is loving.  He could never cast someone in hell, at least not forever!  They quote verses like 1st Timothy 2:4 --- "God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."  Then they omit verses like Matthew 25:46 --- "And these (wicked) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."  They (or many of them anyway) further wrongly teach that even if God punished sinners in hell ... His love would not allow them to burn forever.  They would soon burn up and cease to exist.  This all is a philosophy, not a Bible doctrine!  Listen to Paul in Colossians 2:8 --- "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

3.  Then came along a so-called "science" that has torn the Bible to shreds! "Higher criticism" began in Europe and spread westward, discovering (it wrongly says) that our Bible was not based upon "truth" but tradition and myth and fable!  They tell us that the real historical Jesus is NOT the Jesus of Scripture.  This system has infiltrated our seminaries and then our pulpits. Listen to me.  The Bible does NOT need to be corrected!  We need to change  and live by its precepts!  (This crowd says that Jesus' 18 references to Hell did not really come from His lips!  Some editor or scribe later added those stories to the ancient texts!)  I'll just quote Romans 3:4 --- "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written."

4.  Finally enters the popularity of a great big lie called "evolution" and an American "school system" that is a slave to the teachings of Darwin and his kin.  For you see, if we do not have a Creator ... we do not need a Saviour!  If mankind slowly developed from lower life forms ... we are not sinners!  We are advancing species with superior intellect and will!  And if we are not sinners ... we certainly are not going to Hell!  And religion is just a man-made "crutch" that helped us along until we "outgrew" it somewhere along the evolutionary pathway!  Romans 1:25 tells us exactly what we have done.  "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."

Who is right?

Jesus or modern man?

I'm going to keep on believing John 14:6 where Scripture relates:  "Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."

Yes!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2005:

Twice Paul says it!

"Redeeming the Time!"

Ephesians 5:16 --- "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

And again in Colossians 4:5 --- "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time."

These verses clearly show us 3 things:

Notice the REASON we are to redeem the time.  Because the days are evil!  That adjective for "evil" ("poneros" in Greek) pictures an evil that spreads and infiltrates and destroys as it grows!  It is active and malignant!  Paul is telling us that if we do not redeem our time (making it really count for the Lord) ... we will fall victim to some kind of sin!

Then note the REALM in which we must especially be careful!   "Toward them that are without!"  When you are fellowshipping with a Brother (you men now) or with a Sister (for you ladies), studying the Word of God perhaps, you do not have to be as careful with your time!  It is already being wisely invested!  BUT if you are on the job and around that vile crowd ... be on guard!  One unwise minute can allow some filth to be planted in your ear or some lewd sight to be plastered in your mind ... things hard to forget!  Be alert!

Next see the RESULTS of redeeming the time!  The verb for "redeem" (in Greek = "exagorazo") means to go to the market ("agora") and purchase a commodity!  We are literally to consider our "time" as something precious ... which must be properly valued and invested to the Glory of God!  Additionally this verb is in the "middle" voice ... teaching us that the "redeeming" process will impact us directly!  We must be involved!  We will be changed as we seek to obey this precept!  The results ... changed lives!

Friend, today do not waste your time!

Make it count for Jesus!

If the Bible had just told us that once ... it would be well worth obeying!

But twice?

It carries double importance!

Remember what the Psalmist said to the Lord:  "My times are in Thy hand."  Psalm 31:15

So are ours!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2005:

I was earlier today studying an old English verb that has a lovely meaning!

It's found in Hebrews 2:18 --- "For in that He Himself (Jesus) hath suffered being tempted, He is able to SUCCOUR them that are tempted."

What does "succour" mean?

It's important because Jesus does this to His children.  As our great High Priest He "succours" us!

The verb in Greek is spelled "boetheo" and means to help.

But it involves more than that too.

Our word "boetheo" combines two Greek terms: "boao" (to call, to holler) and "theo" (to run)!

It pictures us being tempted to sin ... growing weak in the process ... and "crying out for help!"  This cry Jesus hears and comes "running" to be of aid!

It's a real dramatic word!  "To bring aid in an urgent situation!"

It's so comforting to know that the Lord hears our cries! 

In Genesis 16:11 He heard Hagar's affliction!  "And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction."

And when He hears ... He comes!  He comes to help!

What a Saviour!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2005:

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica the first scientific engineer who ever broadcast a picture via the television airwaves was a man named Philo Farnsworth. He lived in Utah.  This feat was accomplished in 1927.  And, after many years of research, guess what was the first image broadcast over this new medium!  A dollar sign! A dollar sign $$$!

How appropriate that I should come across this fact a few days after the football game called the "Super-Bowl!"  An event in which commercial advertising cost $2,400,000.00 for every 30 seconds of airtime!

It's all about money!

Television is all about money!

But I'm so glad today there are things more precious than money!

What, Preacher?

A godly wife!  "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies."  Proverbs 31:10

The Bible, the Word of God!  Of the words of Scripture Psalm 19:10 says: "More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:  sweeter than honey and the honeycomb."

One's faith in Christ!  "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."  1st Peter 1:7

In fact, Paul says in 1st Timothy 6:10 that "The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

Folks, we had better get our priorities right again in America!

In reality, even at 2.4 million dollars per half-minute commercial, we're not talking about significant worth!

I'll give you a real example of something costly:  the whole world!  Yes!  Everything! When compared to the value of one's soul ... it's all nothing!  "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"  This is found in Matthew 16:26 ... but is repeated in Mark 8:36 and Luke 9:25!

Think about that today!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2005:

I was reading in Proverbs earlier today.

Proverbs 11:3 says:  "The integrity of the upright shall guide them."

We live in a day when men (and women) seem to be "guided" by the strangest things!  (If guided at all!)

Many seem to live their lives by what they would call mere "chance" or "luck" of "fate."  The Romans even had a god whom (they thought) controlled one's good luck. The god's name:  Fortuna.  (Fortune!)

Oh, how very different it is with the godly.

Notice the word the Spirit uses for the righteous man.  He is a person of "integrity."

That noun here is "tummah" (in Hebrew) and has the idea of that which is completed ... or whole ... or unified!  It, in the Hebrew tongue, came to mean the one who is not divided, not "split" in his heart, non-hypocritical.  He is "for real" in what he professes to be!

Our English word "integrity" has the same idea.  It is:  the state of being whole, undivided or sound!  (That's from the dictionary!)

"Integrity" has a Latin background.  Integer = whole, entire, intact!  It literally is built by two words:  "in" (in Latin meaning no, not) + "tangere" (in Latin meaning to touch)! NOT TOUCHED!  

Character that is untouched by the filthy world!

A heart that is pure and solid and completely given to God!

That man ... or that woman ... will be guided by the Lord in every way!

I've seen so many people (like the politicians, for example) who are guided by nothing within them ... but by popular opinion.  (The latest poll!)

Many today are guided by their own feelings!

Or their "peer" group!

But some (a few anyway) are guided by their God Whom they love whole-heartedly!

The word "upright" (in Hebrew = "yasher") means straight or level or equal (in God's sight)!  Right with the Lord!

These are "saved" people ... when we express their condition in New Testament terms!

And the verb to "guide" (in Hebrew = "nachah") means to lead or to bring or (once) even to govern!

It's used 40 times in the Bible.

The first use (Genesis 24:27) is when Abraham's servant, looking for a bride for Isaac, was LED of the Lord!  Led very successfully I might add!

I just thought that today someone might be a bit discouraged.  Maybe feeling lonely in a wicked age.

Cheer up!

You will be led every step of the way!

Trust God!

He will guide you ... leading that single-minded heart of yours with blessed assurance!

After all, He has promised His Own:  "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."  Psalm 32:8

Amen!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 1, 2005:

Proverbs 31 beautifully describes the "Woman of Wisdom."

One part of a verse stands out to me this morning!

"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." Proverbs 31:26

When this godly lady speaks, she utters wisdom wrapped in kindness!

The word for "law" is "torah," the name Israelites yet use for the first five Books of the Bible!

This lady speaks so kindly so often that it has become a law (a habit, a practice, a lifestyle) with her!

And the noun "kindness" is a familiar little word:  "hesed."

It's the very term used for God's "mercy!"  (That's the way "hesed" is translated 149 times in the King James Bible!)

It also is the word for God's "lovingkindness!"  (Another 30 times!)

She always speaks with kindness!

Preacher Bagwell, to her husband? To her children?  Even to the animals?

Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

Like her Lord, "grace was poured into her lips!"  See Psalm 45:2.

How many times do we Christians today get "unkind" with our words?  We too often "bark" at those whom we love dearest!

May this godly lady, on this last day of the year, be an example to us.

In 2005 ... let the "law of kindness" rule your tongue and lips!

Even when teaching the children, Proverbs says:  "The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning."  Proverbs 16:21  (The sweeter we talk ... the more they learn!)

Ladies and gentlemen,  let's use our tongues to minister "grace" to those around us! Listen to Paul in Ephesians 4:29 --- "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." 

What words!

No wonder they said of Jesus:  "Never man spake like this man."  John 7:46  (And it was even His enemies that said that!)

Now enough has been said.

Let's go be "doers" of the Word in this vital area.

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2004:

In the Bible Book known as "Song of Solomon" we have a love story.

A young man loves a godly young lady.

Through the ages that young man is a picture (or a "type") of the Lord Jesus Himself!

And the young lady ... a symbol of the Church!

Here we have the Bridegroom and the Bride!

His statement is located in Song of Solomon 4:7.  "Thou are all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee."

What a compliment!

I really believe that is still Jesus' view of His Blood-washed, godly, separated, Spirit-filled and revived Church, even in these last days!

We often hear much about this church or that one.  And usually the "news" is given in a gossiping, critical manner.

And realize that being filled with such humans as you and me (yet saved by Grace), churches are NOT perfect by any means! 

I also am aware that today many former houses of worship have degraded themselves into mere social clubs or sports centers or concert halls!

However, in His eyes ... those who constitute the True Church are "all fair" and have "no spot!"  (No "credit" to humanity ... but all Glory to Him!)

That little adjective "fair" (in Hebrew = "yapheh") means beautiful!  In the King James Version it is translated "fair" 21 times (of a total of 41 times in the Word of God).  It is also rendered "beautiful" 5 times and "well" 5 times and "comely" once and "pleasant" once!

The noun "spot" (in Hebrew = "mum") means a blemish or a defect.  It is translated "blot" twice in Scripture.

In Old Testament worship, anyone with a "blemish" ("mum") could NOT approach God!  (The Book of Leviticus uses our word 9 times!)  Animals with such "spots" could not qualify for sacrifice either!

God our Saviour has taken away our "ugliness" and our "filthiness" and changed them (miraculously) into "beauty" and "purity."  That only happens at Calvary!

He gave me "beauty for ashes!"  Isaiah 61:3

Listen to what Paul says is the end result for the Church.  Jesus will see to it!  "That he (Jesus) might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."  Ephesians 5:27

Praise His dear Name!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2004

Psalm 37:31 says it.  "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."

David here is talking about the righteous man.

The word for "law" is in Hebrew "torah," and means instruction or direction ... therefore law!

The phrase "in his heart" indicates that the godly man has memorized and meditated on the Word of God to the point that he's literally "internalized" it!  He has "hidden God's Word in his heart!"  (See Psalm 119:11.)

And there is a RESULT, a CONSEQUENCE to his making so much of God's Law!  (To his so loving the Bible!)

His steps ... none of them ... will slide!

(Here's a man who will not  slide backwards or slide sideways or slide any direction at all!  He will plod straight forward, faithfully!)

And the noun for "steps" comes from a background verb that means to be straight, to be forward, honest or proper!

The verb "slide" literally means to waver, to stagger or to totter!  (In the King James Bible it means to "slip, slide or shake!" 3 times, 2 times and 1 time respectively!)  Its background means "an appointed" time or place!  It actually implies this reverent man will NOT miss (slide away from them) his appointed places and times of life. (Places like Church and times like the Lord's Day!)  I think we nearly have a parallel to Hebrews 10:25 here this Monday!  "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another ...."

Our verse has just presented another of the by-products (or side-effects) of living for God!

The one who obeys God's Word, putting It in his or her heart, will be ... FAITHFUL AND STEADFAST!  (AND SPIRITUALLY SUCCESSFUL IN HIS OR HER CHRISTIAN WALK!)

Meet us here regularly with an open Bible in your hand!

Get it "in your heart!"

And kiss "sliding" and "slipping" and "staggering" goodbye!

Again, here's the verse:  " "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."  Psalm 37:31

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 3, 2004 (WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON):

It is often said that Paul does not emphasize the great doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Jesus.

I do not agree with that assessment at all.

Of course the "liberals" will pin you to the wall on this one!

They just say: "Show me (in reference to Jesus' birth) the word "virgin" in Paul's writings!"

Well, I can't.

BUT I can show you something rather interesting that seems to point to a Virgin Birth for Jesus!

Here goes ...

Every time Paul discusses the physical birth of our Lord (which he does 3 times), he expresses it in unique terms!

Here they are:

"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law."  Galatians 4:4

"Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."  Romans 1:3

"But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men."  Philippians 2:7

The verb here in each case for "made" is "ginomai" and means "to come into existence!"

It is NOT the word for a baby being "born!"

That word stem is "gennetos," denoting physical birth!

See the similarity in Matthew 1:18 where we are told that Jesus is born of Mary. "Now the birth (in Greek = "gennesis") of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."

So, what is Paul telling us?

Is Paul who (truly) never writes the term "virgin birth" of "born of a virgin" or "a virgin conceived" teaching us in yet another way that Jesus' arrival on earth is via a miracle of God?

Galatians 4:4 says "MADE" of a woman.  That's nearly an awkward way of expressing birth!  But ... that's the point!  Paul did not want to say anything that would imply that Jesus' birth was normal or natural or commonplace!  So He worded it this way!  (Rather, the Holy Spirit did so!)

He speaks of Jesus' birth in a unique manner!  He's telling us there's something SPECIAL about it!

Again ...

Romans 1:3 speaking of Jesus says He was MADE of the seed of David according to the flesh!  Again, we have an unusual vocabulary here!

Paul is again deliberately avoiding all words that suggest a human birth.  Jesus as man came into being of the seed of David!  God sent him via the womb of a virgin, a once but only once event.

And thirdly ...

Jesus WAS MADE in the likeness of men!

Not born as men (millions of them) by husband-wife relationships.  But MADE (by a miracle of God ... via just a lady's womb) in the likeness of men!

See the distinction Paul is seeking to maintain here!

The word group he is avoiding ("gennetos") means physical birth only!

The word he is insisting upon using ("ginomai") strictly means "to come into being" or something like that.

Paul is showing us that Jesus' birth is NOT like normal human births!

He is miraculously sent from God  in a special way (virginal conception) to be the Saviour of the world!

And note this ... all three times "ginomai" is an aorist participle!  It is picturing for us an event that has occurred in the past and is a done deed!  The virgin birth does not have to occur ever again!

It is special!

Don't tell me that Paul does not in a number of ways teach the special birth of Jesus ... the Virgin Birth!

The Scriptures insist that one has to believe it in order to be saved!

If Jesus had not been BORN RIGHT ... He could have never DIED RIGHT ... to save our lost souls!

Thank you, Paul!

Here's a thought ...

"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law."  Galatians 4:4   THIS EMPHASIZES JESUS AT BETHLEHEM!  With Mary His mother according to the flesh!  (Here's Jesus and one woman!)

"Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."  Romans 1:3  THIS EMPHASIZES JESUS AT JERUSALEM! Sitting some day on the Throne of David!  (Here's Jesus and one man!)

And ... "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men."  Philippians 2:7   THIS EMPHASIZES JESUS EVERYWHERE!   Where men are ... Jesus is, willing to save their lost souls!  (Here's Jesus and one world!)

                                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

SEPTEMBER 15, 2004 (WEDNESDAY --- FROM SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI)

I have about heard all I want on the subject of "Transcendental Meditation!"

It is an Eastern religion technique brought here to America by immigrants through the years.

Oh!

Preacher Bagwell, you are so old-fashioned!

Don't you know the Bible teaches us to "meditate?"

Yes, it does!

BUT there is a vast world of difference between new age meditation and Bible meditation!

The basic premise of this false religious meditation taught by Buddhism and such religions is one of "clearing" your mind (emptying your mind of all thoughts) and yielding yourself to the first "spirit" that moves you!

I am telling you ... often that well may be an evil spirit, even a demon!  Stay away from that kind of thinking, dear Christian friend!

The word our Bible uses for meditation is "hagah" and it means to quietly mumble or mutter or speak certain words to oneself!

What kinds of words?

The very words of Scripture!

That's WHY we are told to meditate in the Word of God ... day and night!  (See Psalm 1.)

Another word for "meditate" (in Hebrew = "suach") means to commune!  It's often thought to mean praying to the Lord God Almighty!

There is a big difference between lowly speaking God's Word to yourself ... or praying quietly to your Heavenly Father and (both of which keep your mind FULL ... full of the things of God) and emptying one's mind only to yield it to some passing "spirit!"

TM (transcendental meditation) is WRONG for the Christian!

Bible Meditation is RIGHT for the Christian!

A study reported in a prominent medical journal has now proved wrong the claims of some who told us that this new age meditation (TM) has many physical benefits! For example we have been told for years that TM will lower one's blood pressure. Now medical scientists are telling us that this is not so!  In a study done on 2100 men and women suffering from high blood pressure, TM proved ineffective is relieving their condition!  (According to a Bible believing science author I researched.)

Now don't misunderstand me.

Mediate all you can!

But not by emptying your mind!

No!  No!  No!

Meditate by filling your mind ... with the precious Word of God!

The Psalmist got it right in Psalm 119:148 when he said to the Lord:  "Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in Thy Word."

Try it for yourself!

God promises to bless it abundantly!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

AUGUST 31, 2004 (TUESDAY)

David said it in Psalm 139:14 --- "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."

The Psalmist has been reflecting on God's Hand of protection upon us ... even while we're still in our mother's womb!

He has just said:  "Lord ... Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb."  That verb "covered" means "to hedge, to fence in, or overshadow or even to protect!"  Thank you Lord!

That adverb "wonderfully" means "with distinction."  (Unlike any other!)  Dear friend, YOU are a special design ... by Almighty God!

Yes!  God is the unique Creator!

And not only is this so with humans ... but with His animal world too!

Take, for example, the "turtle."

No, that's too broad a subject.

Let's take the Leatherback Turtle for our focus a minute.

Those little creatures can dive over 4,000 feet into the sea!  (No scuba diver can do that!)

And they travel all over the world!  Scientists have studied one single Leatherback who was electronically "tagged" off the coast of South America and was later found on the African coast, a distance of over 4,000 miles!  (Wonderfully made!)

Listen to these facts about this turtle.  I found them as I researched this material: "Leatherbacks are uniquely designed, inside and out, to travel the world's seas. Their bodies are teardrop shaped. This gives them nearly ideal efficiency traveling through water. In addition, they have seven ridges along the length of their upper shell, further increasing the efficiency of water flow around them. Their bodies, including the shell, are covered with a very smooth, leathery skin. Studies of leatherback hatchlings show that they use 20 percent less energy to swim through the water than any other turtle hatchling."  This sounds like deliberate design to me!

Furthermore, "Leatherbacks live their entire lives in the open sea, except for a trip to shore to lay eggs every few years. They almost never stop moving. Scientists who attached radio monitors to leatherbacks were astonished to find that they swim and dive day and night, never stopping to sleep. Their front flippers are more than half the length of the entire body. They are driven by powerful pectoral muscles that can make up as much as 30 percent of the turtle's weight."

Aren't they amazing?

It all makes me want to stop and worship God!

In fact, I'll just repeat David's verse:  ""I will praise thee; for I (along with all Thy creation) am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."

Let's just praise the Lord, our Creator and (if saved) our Redeemer!

                                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

AUGUST 26, 2004 (THURSDAY)

Music and musical instruments go back in time nearly as far as recorded history!

The first human incident concerning music is mentioned in Genesis 4:21 --- "And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ." This first musician was of the ungodly line of Cain!  (The devil using music already!) 

In fact the devil is even more associated with music in Ezekiel 28:13!  "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created."  Wow!

BUT even before that ... the angels of God sang when He created the earth!  Describing creation Job 38:7 tells us:  "When the morning stars (angels) sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy!"

God loves music!

Even He has been known to sing!  He sings to His chosen people!  "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17

Much of Bible music is made with "reed" instruments.

Even today clarinets, oboes, saxophones and other woodwinds have those little reeds inside them!

Since reeds from plants and shrubs are so fragile and wear out so easily ... man has started using plastic and other synthetic materials to make his music!  BUT the professionals still demand the real thing!  (Naturally grown reeds!)  Reeds crack, break or splinter quite readily!

Let me share with you a paragraph I found on such "reeds."  I quote:  "Reeds are fashioned from the giant reed plant. This large grass grows to a height of seven or eight feet. Reeds are made from the sections between the nodes. However, a seven-foot stalk may have only 25 sections that are the right dimensions for an oboe reed. After harvesting and curing, a process that takes nine months, sections are selected on the basis of size and color. One plant may produce only one oboe reed. The goal is to obtain a reed that has a crisp tone over a wide range of notes. Out of a box of 100 reeds, which can cost hundreds of dollars, the professional musician may find two that he considers excellent."

Why all this talk about music on today's Bible Nuggets Page?

Because of this verse of Scripture:  "A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth."  Isaiah 42:3  Did you get that?  Isaiah is prophesying about the coming Lord Jesus!  He tells us that the Saviour will be so very gentle ... that He will not even break an already bruised reed!  By definition:  Even a crushed reed He will not destroy! 

What the world would throw away on the trash pile ... Jesus "salvages" (I should  say "saves") and set to making godly music!

Am I just making too much of an obscure verse?

Don't think so!

It is quoted again in Matthew 12:20!  And again applied to the dear and kind Lord Jesus! "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory." 

Someone today is hurting and broken and crushed!

You feel you will never be able to make music again!

Come to Jesus!

He will NOT throw you away on some landfill of sin!

He will tenderly touch you and "fix" you and deliver you and USE you to His honor and glory!

Come ... and see!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

AUGUST 24, 2004 (TUESDAY)

Look at what God can do with common dust!  "And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt."  Exodus 8:16

It seems lately that there are some atheistic scientists who want to believe that they've found some stars with "dust" circling them ... no doubt in the process of forming "planets" ... just like (they wrongly say) our earth was formed billions of years ago.

Now remember that there is not one shred of proof for this!  Just scientists' imaginations!

If I were these men (and women), I would be careful!

God can take such "dust" theories and do strange things with them!

Like turning "dust" into lice!

Or changing "dust" into boils and sores!  (Exodus 9:8-10)

I truly believe that evolution as a theory has fallen flat on its face!

And I'll assure you that it (evolution) has always been a theological issue rather than a scientific one!

Atheists who are scientists will believe all of creation "happened" by luck all their lives!  They WILL NOT acknowledge God as Creator!

For, you see, if one has a Creator ... one needs a Redeemer!

And that involves the Blood of our precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

Then that involves being saved and living godly lives!

And there's the whole issue!

Men love their sin too much!

I've got a feeling it's going to get "dusty" around this old world before too much longer!

In closing let me tell you how God did create the world ... not by dust but by ... "the work of His Fingers!"  See what I mean in Psalm 8:3  where David says:  "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained."  Or maybe better yet:  "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."  Genesis 1:1

So much for dusty stars!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

AUGUST 20, 2004 (FRIDAY)

It's just a short statement in Proverbs 12.  In fact, it's not even a full verse.  But it IS a full thought!

Solomon, under Holy Spirit inspiration, says that "The root of the righteous yieldeth fruit."  Proverbs 12:12

He obviously is using a word picture, a metaphor.

The godly man or woman is being symbolized as a plant or a tree.  One with roots! And those roots are producing some good things!

I was just reading on a Christian web-site and discovered something amazing.

Scientists (pharmacologists really) have learned that God has stored within the root systems of many plants (and herbs) substances with amazing chemical properties.

Periwinkle hair roots make 75 different alkaloids, including 2 now used in cancer treatments!

Antidotes for travel sickness and some nerve gases (biological warfare) are made by henbane roots! 

Certain cucumber roots make anti-fungal chemicals!

In other words, for a plant or a tree, its "roots" may contribute to its health and stability more than we've ever known!

But the Creator knew!

That's one reason WHY He wrote Proverbs 12:12 --- "The root of the righteous yieldeth fruit."

Glory to God!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JULY 4, 2004 (SUNDAY)

Here's the "Source" Verse that Jesus used:

Deuteronomy 8:3 --- "And He (our Lord God) humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."

Jesus used part of it to battle the devil in the wilderness temptation:

Matthew 4:4 --- "But he (Jesus) answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

Here's Luke's account:

Luke 4:4 --- "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."

We live in a day when much is being said about diet.

Jesus nearly startles us here when He declares that men MUST have more than just food (bread) to really live!

God's Word is essential to real life as well!

The verb "written" is so beautiful in this text!  It's a "perfect" verb in Greek ... suggesting something done in time past ... but with continuing results! 

The Word of God was written in the past!  It is complete!  BUT it still has influence and power today!

Glory to God!

"Alone" here can mean just "by itself!"  Jesus is not saying for us to quit eating.  Just be sure that we eat God's Word as well as solid food!

What parts of God's Word would then be best "to eat?"

EVERY word!  The adjective is "pas" and means all or the whole of something!  (Entirely!)

The noun "word" is not "logos" as one would have imagined!  It is "rema" (or "rhema") and of course means word or saying ... but it has a particular nuance. It hints at "specific" words chosen for a certain occasion.  Surveying ALL of Scripture and selecting just what is needed for the moment!  Here's an example:  Paul said we are to take "The Sword of the Spirit (ALL the Bible), which is the WORD ("rema") of God (A specific verse)!  Ephesians 6:17

And "proceedeth" translates a Greek word that means to go (travel) from one point to another.  From God's mouth to my heart (through the Scriptures)!  It's a present tense verb too!  (On-going action!)

This is being written on a Sunday.  Christian friend, be SURE to feed on the Word of God today!  (That means tomorrow is Monday also. Feed on it then too!)  It is necessary for your spiritual health!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

JULY 2, 2004 (FRIDAY):

I thought it was a very unusual verse!

Here it is:

"Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread."  Isaiah 8:13

The verb "sanctify" (in Hebrew = "qadash") means to reverence, to set apart, to dedicate, to hallow or even to separate or keep different!  (The "root" idea is something that is "clean!")

The "Lord of Hosts" is the Name of God that particularly emphasizes His ability to wage war!  (His fighting Name!)  He is the Head of all the armies of heaven!

And, apparently, if we focus solely on our great God ... He will become the focus of all our emotions, goals and aspirations!

He even will be our "fear" and "dread!"

I think the verse is saying that we should let God be terminal focus (the "end" goal) of all our feelings!

If we reverence Him completely ... our concern ("fear") will be pleasing Him in all things!

The Bible says a lot about the FEAR of the Lord!

Our word here is "mora" (Hebrew for "fear" in this verse) and can literally mean "terror!"  Sounds like Paul to me!  He said:  "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men ...."  2 Corinthians 5:11 

The word "dread" is a synonym as well.  It comes from a root verb that means to tremble!

A wise old preacher once said:  "If we fear men ... it means we don't fear God!  BUT if we fear God ... we will not fear men!"

There you have it!

Let God be God in your life! 

(He IS whether you let Him or not, by the way!)

                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

JUNE 24, 2004:

Jesus said it in John 17:17!

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

He of course is praying to His Father.

The verb "sanctify" (in Greek = "hagaizo") means to set apart, to consecrate or to regard as cleansed!  The verb is in the imperative mood!  It's a command!  Jesus prayed with great energy and emotion!  (And the Father answers His prayers too!)

The little pronoun "them" refers to born-again children of God!  In Greek it's "autos."  And be sure of this.  We were sanctified (set apart) when we first got saved!  At least that's what Paul told the Corinthians, who yet had a ways to go to live up to their position of being sanctified!  1 Corinthians 6:11 --- "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."  Being sanctified in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30 says:  "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.")  we are now to so live!

How can we live such godly lives?  By the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13 --- "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.") and by the effectiveness of the Word of God!  (The "Truth" of our verse here today!)

Jesus here is plainly saying that the WORD of God sanctifies us!

The preposition "through" is interesting!  It's the Greek word "en" and means within! Get INTO the Word of God!  There you will be more and more sanctified for pure holy daily living!  ("A fixed position of place!") 

The noun "truth" means that which is NOT concealing things!  Nothing to hide!  Jesus said "If it were not so, I would have told you!"  (John 14:2)  Again ... nothing hidden!

The noun "word" is "logos," our word for "logic!"  God is very Logic personified!  When He speaks ... His perfect thoughts are delivered word for word!  That what we have in the Bible!  The literal Word of God!  And it has POWER ... to sanctify us!

The more the Word of God gets IN you ... the more you'll get OUT of the world!

The more the Word of God gets IN you ... the more the Holy Spirit with have control IN you too!

The verb "is" ("Thy Word IS Truth!") translates "estin" (a form of "eimi"), the Greek verb "to be."  It's an indicative present active 3rd person singular form.  It "is" now and will keep on being (as long as the time is "now")!  That sounds like for ever to me!

Spend time IN the Word today!

The benefits are staggering!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

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