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For several weeks I erased each "home page" every day!  My heart was grieved with all the work that disappeared!  I thought, "Why not save at least some of the more useful materials for preachers, Sunday School teachers, Bible students and any other interested readers?"  May God continue to use them for His glory.

 

 

JUNE 24, 2005:

One great Preacher said this:  "I did not go through the Bible.  The Bible went through me!"

Isn't that the truth?

And the old English commentator Matthew Henry said this one day:  "The Scripture was written that we might know what to "hope for" from God!

That's certainly a unique view of the Bible!

Another Believer prayed this while studying God's Word:  "Lord, let me feel the power that is in these Words!"

Do remember that the Word of God is powerful!  Hebrews 4:12 --- "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

And the giant Prussian prayer warrior George Mueller said:  "The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts."

So true!

And a preacher of whom I've never even heard said this one day:  Concerning the Bible, "It out-lives, out-lifts, out-loves, out-reaches, out-ranks, out-runs all other books.  Trust it, love it, obey it, and eternal life is yours!

I was at first not going to use that quote.  But it's true!  The Book always points us to Jesus, Who IS eternal Life!

Folks, having read these few evaluations of Scripture, let us ponder one more.

This one is the most important of all.

"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."   Psalm 12:6-7

That says it all!

Friends, study the Bible today!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

FEBRUARY 14, 2005:

By the Calendar this is called "Valentine's Day."

I would not be writing about it today except for this fact.  Forty one years ago, in a little Bible College, I had just met a young lady named Miss Norma Wilson.  Our first "date" was the school banquet on Valentine's Day!  I still have a picture of her (both in my mind and in a family photo album) taken that very evening!

That was a long time ago.

Yet ... our love still grows year by year!

Where does the Christian get such capacity for love?

In 1st Corinthians 13 Paul describes love in 15 different ways ... but he does not answer this question about love's origin!

But he does answer it in Romans 5:5.  Here's what he says:  "... The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

See that little verb, "shed abroad?"

It in Greek is spelled "ekcheo" and combines two other words.  "Ek" just means "out of" ... while "Cheo" means "to pour!"  (To pour out!)

Do you see the picture?

When we got saved the Holy Spirit poured out a generous portion of the love of God into our hearts!

Once in the King James Bible that term is translated "gushed out!"  (Acts 1:18)

Floods of love!

Christians ... we love ... because such love has been given us of God!

No wonder we are told that the "fruit" of the Spirit is, among other beautiful qualities, LOVE!  (Love is foremost on the list too!)  Galatians 5:22-23

A real Christian is simply a loving person!

He nearly has no choice in the matter!

He has been poured full of love and it must ooze out day by day ... including when he or she is at home with the family!

And today ... even though I am in another State ... I wish to say to Sister Norma my Wife ... "Honey, I love you!"

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

DECEMBER 5, 2004:

I was reading earlier this Lord's Day morning and I came across a memorable term!

The writer said that Jesus was "the very Source and the Summit and the Substance" of the Christian life!

I began thinking on those words.

Jesus IS the Source of the Believer's life!

It all starts in Him.

He is the Author of our faith!

Jesus also is the Summit of the Christian life!

There is nothing beyond Him!

(In Psalm 16 Jesus said to His Father, "Lord, My goodness extendeth not to Thee!"  That means ... Jesus' found His goodness only in His Father!"  The Father was The Summit of everything to Jesus!)

Listen to Psalm 73:25 --- "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee."

If one has Jesus, he or she has All!

Wow!

Then ... Jesus is the very Substance of the Christian life!

Paul even went so far as to say:  "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

And again the Psalmist declares:  "All my springs are in thee."  Psalm 87:7

"In Him (Jesus) we live, and move, and have our being!"  Acts 17:28 thunders!

As we all go to church today, remember that Jesus is the Reason we are gathering together this Sunday in December!  (The Virgin Born Jesus!)

And ... recall that He is the SOURCE and the SUMMIT and the SUBSTANCE of it all!

I'm sure glad I saw those words long before daybreak!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 11, 2004:

We say it so often its meaning is probably lost.

"Good morning!"

Or we just ask, "Did you rest well?"

We take so much for granted it seems.

Psalm 127:2 says the Lord ... "For so He giveth his beloved sleep."

If we rest well ... it is because God blessed us with sleep!

And if you are saved by the Grace of God ... it truly is a "good" morning!

How do you know that, Preacher Bagwell?

The Bible says so!

Where?

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."  Lamentations 3:22-23

The Lord's mercies and compassions are new every morning!

When you awake tomorrow morning, let me give you a few thoughts to filter through your godly mind.  This is a good way to "meditate" early in the day!

Genesis 19:27 --- "And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD."

Two verses tell about Jesus' early morning habits.  John 8:2 --- "And early in the morning he (Jesus) came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them."  Then look with me at Mark 1:35 --- "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."

Ephesians 5:14 --- "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest ... and Christ shall give thee light."

And here's Romans 13: 11-13.  "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying."

Psalm 17:15 --- "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."

Psalm 5:3 --- "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."

Psalm 55:17 --- "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice."

Psalm 59:16 --- "But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble."

Psalm 88:13 --- "But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee."

Psalm 119:147 --- "I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word."

Psalm 143:8 --- "Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee."

Get a few of these, memorize them and ponder them when you awake early in the morning!

Start the day with God!

Now that's truly a good morning!

                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

OCTOBER 31, 2004:

This Lord's Day morning I am driving to South Carolina to begin a Revival meeting.

I will today seek to obey Psalm 118:17.

There the Psalmist said "I shall ... declare the works of the Lord."

That little verb "declare" is in Hebrew spelled "saphar" and means to number or to count as well as to speak or tell!

It will truly take all day (or week or month) to count the works of the dear Lord in our lives, won't it?

Glory to His Name!

Reading our verse more fully, it seems as if there are enemies after our godly writer here!

The complete verse says:  "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD."

His life must have been in jeopardy!

Yet he well knew that if there was work for him yet to do (in God's will for his life) ... he would NOT die!  He would live until he had finished the course and kept the faith!

Dear friends, what is your purpose in life today?

Do you live to serve your dear Lord and God?

Or is your life wrapped up in a thousand other things, things of the world or the flesh or even of the devil?

And ... as God allows us to live this 31st of October ... bringing honor to His Name ... must we not also DECLARE His great works?

Tell someone today something God has done in your life.

Give HIM the glory!

I can hear you asking now: "What, preacher, could I tell?"

Tell today to a brother or sister at church how God saved your soul!  Give your testimony!

Relate to someone how God answered that most recent prayer!

Or how He kept you safe through that last trial!

Glorify the Savior publicly this Lord's Day for something He has done in a family member's life!

And we ALL should thank God that on this day, Halloween, our heart's desire is to be in Church, worshipping our Father in Heaven!

THAT should be our very purpose for living:  "Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD."  Psalm 150:6

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

OCTOBER 23, 2004 (SATURDAY)

They are called "encyclopedias."

The word is from the Greek language.  There enkyklios means "circular."  It is from en (meaning "in") plus kyklos (meaning "circle"). Add to that paideia (meaning "education," or literally ... "child-rearing," from pais (or paidos) which is Greek for "child."  (The foregoing information is taken directly from a dictionary of etymology.)

Hence the word picture here is complete. 

An encyclopedia is a textbook designed to educate young folks with a full and balanced slate of information!

Take as an example the well known Encyclopedia Britannica.  Its first edition was published in Scotland in 1768.  Today it has grown to have 33,000 pages!  It contains 44,000,000 words!  It is (by the world's standards) called a "classic!"

But what if I told you I know a better encyclopedia?

True, it is not as long in pages or words!  (A pound of gold is more valuable than a pound of paper!)

Nor was it as recently published as 1768!

I am talking about THE WORD OF GOD!

The Bible!

It is truly an "encyclopedia" of knowledge.

It is a virtual library in one binding!

It contains 66 Books ... all inspired of God!

And it (like an encyclopedia) is well rounded.

It teaches things spiritual and material and financial and social and even has a good amount of science added!

The New Testament makes this valid claim.  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable!"  2 Timothy 3:16

It is so "profitable" (in Greek = "ophelimos") that the Holy Spirit has used an adjective here that is derived from a verb meaning: to heap up or to accumulate gain or benefit!  Wow!

Now what encyclopedia does that?

It is believed that over mankind's history ... 2,000+ encyclopedias have been written and published! 

But since Eden ... only 1 Bible has been given us by Almighty God!

And that one is enough!

So tomorrow morning when your Pastor enters the pulpit and says ... "Take your Bible and open it to _____________.  Do exactly what he asks, then think:  "It's a Bible indeed, a whole 'encyclopedia' of inspired knowledge!"

Let's thank God for our Bibles ... all 66 books, 1189 chapters (31,102 verses) ... each without error and calculated to get us "saved" ... and help us live right until we reach Heaven!

Study that precious old Book some today!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

OCTOBER 13, 2004 (WEDNESDAY)

In Romans 2:5 Paul is speaking to lost mankind. The great Apostle is proving that men everywhere are sinners! He will conclude that all ... both Jews and Gentiles ... are without God.

A clause from this verse has arrested my attention. "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God."

But first letís notice the twofold description Paul gives of an unsaved manís heart. It is "hard." The Greek word used here, "sklerotes," means stubborn or obstinate! (Tough! Callous!)

Then his heart is also "impenitent." This adjective means not to change oneís mind! (Not to repent and go another direction in life!)

Obviously this man is a rebellious son of Adam!

BUT hereís what I want you to see...

It is what the sinner does every day he lives! (Every day he persists in his antagonism against God!)

He "treasures up" to himself more wrath!

He adds to his account more and more of Godís wrath!

Wrath measured upon him because of his daily rejection of Christ Jesus!

Wow!

That verb "treasurest up" means to put on deposit! To amass or to reserve! It is the Greek word "thesaurizo," which (as any word lover knows) is a vault of precious treasures! (It obviously gives us the English word "thesaurus!")

The lost man is treasuring up ... adding to ... collecting additional quantities of Godís wrath for himself ... on the coming day of judgment!

I believe the "day of righteous judgment" for the sinner will be at the Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20.

And even the loving Apostle John says about the same thing:  "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."  John 3:36

Did you get that?

He that does not believe on Jesus as Saviour ... has Godís wrath already abiding on him!  The verb "abide" (in Greek = "meno") means to remain upon ... or to dwell upon ... and is in the present tense!  It just keeps on dwelling on him!

Godís wrath is "on" the lost person already!

Then ... it is compounded daily! (Sounds like a "Savings and Loan" commercial, doesnít it? "Compounded daily!")

In all our verses today the noun "wrath" is the Greek term "orge." It is the specific word for anger that describes its properties as developing very slowly ... much patience being exercised here ... but once itís mature ... it lasts and lasts with dire consequences!

Dear unsaved reader, listen to me.

Think about this!

Every day you live still lost ... still resisting the Grace of God ... you are compounding your portion of Godís very wrath!

Listen to the Holy Spirit of God!

Do what He says!

Be saved today!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

AUGUST 1, 2004 (SUNDAY)

James 5:16 says:  "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Today I would like for us to notice the words I've capitalized in this great verse!

"Pray one for another!"

The verb here ("pray") is an imperative!  James, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, is giving us a command!  We are expected to pray one for another!

The verb is also in the present "tense."  This tells us that such prayer is to be on-going and habitual in our lives!  It's to be a practice ... not just an occasional event!

And the verb is framed in the "middle" voice, telling us that such action (prayer) will impact the one who prays!  It will change him or her! (For the better!)

The Greek word for "pray" is "euchomai" and is only used 7 times in the whole New Testament! (The usual word for "pray" is a compound of this one.)  Of its 7 appearances in the Bible, it is rendered by its primary meaning "to wish" 5 times!  It is translated "pray" only twice! 

Accurately one may say that the implication here is to go to God and express to Him your desires, wishes, aspirations, goals or longings!  Wow!

The expression "one for another" is interesting too.  The pronouns are identical ("one" and "another") in Greek.  "Allelon" means another (of the same kind)!  For example, apples compared to apples!  This is NOT apples compared to squirrels! James here is saying that believers are to pray for other believers!  (Scripture of course does not prohibit us from praying for the lost ... but here definitely concentrates on prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ.)

There are over a dozen "one another" passages in the New Testament!  (Things we should do one to another or one for another!)  What a study that would be!  Our verse today is just one of them!

Lastly let's notice the preposition "for."  In Greek it is spelled "huper."  In English it would be "hyper!"  With the genitive case (as here) it means "in behalf of!"  (For example, in Romans 5:6 we can read:  "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."  Here's "huper" with a genitive "ungodly."  It means that Jesus died "in behalf of" the ungodly!  He took my place!  This is substitutionary atonement!  Praise the Lord!) 

We are to pray "in behalf of" our loved ones in Christ!  What a difference that activity alone could make in our churches!

It's plain to see that the prayer James is describing is a little different than just asking for things YOU want!  It is actually being concerned for others and seeking God to meet THEIR needs! 

This form of prayer is called "intercessory" prayer.  Again, that's praying for others!

Of course, notice that this is reciprocal!  You pray for him ... and he is supposed to pray for you!

Let's just stop right now ... and pray for someone we love.

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

   

 

JULY 7, 2004 (WEDNESDAY)

The verse blessed me when I first read it.

The Psalmist is talking to the Lord, his Lord! He had made the God of heaven and earth his personal  Saviour!  (That's only possible through faith in Jesus Christ.)

Here it is:

"All my springs are in Thee."  Psalm 87:7

This is a statement of adoration and worship!

What's literally being said here is that ALL the Psalmist has ... comes from the Lord!

ALL his strength!

ALL his joy!

ALL his love!

ALL his peace!

Even ALL his life!

ALL his everything!

Listen to Paul in Colossians 3:11 --- "But Christ is all, and in all."  Isn't that saying about the same thing?

What does Jesus mean to you, dear friend?

Is He your ALL?

Again, Paul once said:  "For to me to live is Christ!"  (Philippians 1:21)  Christ Jesus was Life itself to the great preacher!

The Apostle also believed the same would be true for you and me.  He even said so: "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."  (Colossians 3:4)

Let us so live then!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

JULY 6, 2004 (TUESDAY)

It was my Mother's favorite verse in all the Bible.

I can hear her say it now.

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

Naturally the verse means a lot to me too!

The whole "mechanism" of the verse is propelled by the Believer's faith!  It's all done because he "trusteth" in the Lord.  The verb is in Hebrew "batach" and means "for one to hide in a place for refuge!"  (It's first Bible use in in Genesis 34:25 where it is translated "boldly.")  It is a Qal stem verb ... meaning that the action is constant, on-going and habitual.

But this person who so believes on the Lord consequently does something else.  He next "stays" his mind on his God!  The verb here is "samak" and means "to prop" or "to lean!"  He just brings his mind and places it close to His Lord!  Again, this is constant action.  It is (in the King James Version) translated "established" in Psalm 112:8.

Now ... God's part, His promise!  He will "keep" that trusting person!  The verb ("natzsar") means to guard!  To protect!  Or even to maintain!  This verb pictures "incomplete action."  God is still doing this for the believing, leaning Christian!  It represents on-going action again.  ("Constantly guarded!) In Psalm 64:1 it is rendered "preserve!"

And the word "peace" is the key Hebrew noun "shalom!"  It has the idea of safety, wellness, health, or even prosperity ... as well as peace!  It is found 236 times in the Bible!  It's a word with a broadly based meaning.  It sounds like one of those general terms for God's "blessing" to me! 

But God here offers not just peace!  He gives "perfect" peace!  And, look at this!  The word "perfect" is also translated from the noun "shalom."  In Hebrew to give great emphasis one may "double" an expression!  The term "perfect peace" is truly "shalom shalom!"

(That little word "mind" is just a noun that in Hebrew is spelled "yetzser" and means one's imaginations or thoughts!  It's only found 9 times in the whole Old Testament!  It literally pictures the "things framed" by your thought processes!  One form of this "stem" is translated as "potter" 17 times in the King James Bible.  Here's the idea:  To take a thought that comes along ... and press it and form it into a shape that truly pleases God!)

Folks, today let's make a direct and conscious effort to "trust" in the Lord!  The consequences are amazing!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

JULY 5, 2004 (MONDAY)

The verse is in Isaiah.  (As are so many great verses!)

"Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength."  Isaiah 26:4

Isn't that a beautiful thought?

The verb "trust" (in Hebrew = "batach") means to hide for refuge!  It is in the "imperative" mood here also ... expressing a command!

God is requiring us to lean on Him! 

The adverbial expression "for ever" literally means "to the end!"  The Hebrew expression is "ad" and it is used twice here for emphasis!  Just think!  We can place full confidence in our Lord and Saviour from now on!  Eternally!  Perpetually!  He will NEVER fail us!

The adjective "everlasting" is a Hebrew expression that means "to the vanishing point" or as far as one can see in either direction!  (And the One seeing is God Himself!)  He is not only our eternal life ... but our eternal strength too!

The word for strength is "tzsur" and means rock!  Of the 78 times it is used in the Bible, 64 of those it is translated "rock!" 

Our God is The Faithful One!

The Enduring One!

The Dependable One!

And ... The Inviting One!  (Come Trust in Me, He says!)

Praise His dear Name!

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell 

 

 

 

JULY 2, 2004 (FRIDAY)

Let me share with you a verse of comfort!

Isaiah tells us about it in his great Prophecy.

"In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old." Isaiah 63:9

Here is a great example of the Lord's love and kindness to His people!

I am particularly "taken" by those opening words this Friday.

It is here freely admitted that the people of the Lord do have affliction!  The Hebrew word here is "tzsrah" and means a place of tightness!  (The root idea is a "narrow" place!)  The place where things are "squeezing in" on you!

The word is translated "trouble" in Nehemiah 9:27 --- "Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies."

Then we are told by Isaiah that our affliction so impacts the Lord that He Himself is also "afflicted!"  That is amazing!

He "feels" as we "feel!"

These are two slightly different forms of the SAME verb!  When we're in a tight place ... God so "identifies" with us that He is also in a "tight" place right there with us!

Could you say that when we're "in the fire" ... He is "in the Fire" also?  (That sounds like Daniel chapter 3 doesn't it?)

Of course let's don't forget the REST of the verse!

Our dear Lord is in the "tight place" ... on a RESCUE mission!

We're next plainly told that He saved them and redeemed them and lifted them and carried them "all the days of old!"

May I suggest this to you?  Here's an Old Testament way of saying this New Testament truth:  "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities ...." (Hebrews 4:15)  Or even ... "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."  (1 Peter 5:7)

Thank you Lord for loving us so!

And WHY does God do this for us?

Our verse, Isaiah 63:9 also tells us this.  It's because of His Love and His Pity! 

Praise His dear Name!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JUNE 30, 2004 (WEDNESDAY):

This week at the Camp Meeting I have been preaching through Luke 15.  The whole chapter is premised upon an accusation the Pharisees and Scribes hurled at Jesus!

"This Man receiveth sinners!"  Luke 15:2

I want to say this Wednesday that I'm sure glad He does receive old sinners!

That verb "received" is from a compound Greek word, "prosdechomai," which means to vigorously receive or to gladly receive.  It literally has the idea of receiving someone face to face (with eagerness)!

Even the "tense" of the verb is inspired!  It is a present tense ... suggesting on-going habitual action!  (Grammatically ... He still does this!)  It is also framed in the middle voice ... proclaiming that such "receiving" impacts not only the sinner ... but the Saviour too!  He gets involved and excited about this "receiving sinners" activity!

Praise His dear Name!

Perhaps it would be good for each of us Believers to stop a minute this very day and thank Him for receiving us into His family!

What a joy to be accepted in Jesus!

Here's how Paul put it in Ephesians 1:6 --- "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."  (The "Beloved" here is Jesus!)

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JUNE 29, 2004 (TUESDAY):

It is a frightening verse.  It comes from the days of King Hezekiah.  Let me print it here:

"Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart."  2 Chronicles 32:31

Just notice the words "God left him!"

That verb "left" is in Hebrew "azab" and means just what it says!  To depart from!  To let go!  (In our King James Bibles it is translated "forsake" 129 times!)

God simply stepped back from the King to "test" him!  (Incidentally, he failed this particular test.)

My heart is rejoicing this morning over this verse!

Why?

Because I full well know in this age of the marvelous grace of God ... we will NOT be forsaken!  (Now I did not say that we would never be tested!  We will!  But ... never forsaken!)

How do we know this?

Such verses as Hebrews 13:5 tell us.  "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Or Matthew 28:20 --- "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Christian friend, today enjoy the PRESENCE of the Lord!  Acknowledge Him in all you do.  Live being conscious that He is IN you and AROUND you and FOR you!

Praises be unto Him!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JUNE 10, 2004 (THURSDAY)

Read these words with me please:

"Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.  How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.  They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart."

This is a part of Psalm  36!  (Verses 5-10)

Let's count the "traits" of Almighty God that this passage extols!

God's Mercy!

His Faithfulness!

Then His great Righteousness!

God's Judgments!

Even His Protection!   (He "preservest" man and beast.)

His Lovingkindness!

The Shadow  cast by His great "Wings!"

Then His "Fatness!"

Plus His "Pleasures!"

Next is God's very Life!

Then His Light!

I don't believe I've ever seen so many of God's Attributes clustered in so short a text of Scripture!

Glance over them again this Thursday in June.

If you are saved ... they ALL are operating on your behalf!

Maybe we should all copy this Passage and keep it in front of us for a few days!

As the waiter sometimes says down at the restaurant:  "Enjoy!"

What a God we serve!

There is none Other like Him!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JUNE 9, 2004 (WEDNESDAY)

Look at this verse with me today.

It is found in 2 Chronicles 26:5.  The subject of the verse is King Uzziah of Judah.

"And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper."

Overall Uzziah was a good King.  (2 Chronicles 26:4 --- "And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.")  His name means "my strength is Jehovah!"  He became King at age 16 and ruled for 52 years!

Our text says that he "sought" God!  That verb translates the Hebrew word "darash." It occurs in the verse twice.  Both times it is a Qal stem infinitive.  (That means active voice and ongoing continuous action!)  The verb means "to tread, to frequent or to follow!"  (If you go after Someone often enough that you "frequent" His Presence ... you are seeking Him!) 

"Zechariah," a name meaning "Jehovah remembers," was a godly Prophet in the days of Uzziah.  He had a great (and a good) influence over the young King!  (It is best to keep wise people around you!  Proverbs 13:20 says:  "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.")

We are here told that Zechariah had "understanding" in the visions of God!  The noun ("biyn") means "separating or distinguishing" levels of meaning in a situation. Now where did Zechariah get such understanding?  I know!  Proverbs 2:6 says:  "For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."

The word "visions" (in Hebrew = "raah") literally means "things seen."  Things revealed by God to the young King Uzziah.

The term "as long as" uses the little Hebrew noun "yom," which means "day."  As the days came and went Uzziah sought the Lord.  It was not a short lived experience!  It became a way of life for him.  (He was not perfect, mind you.  He sinned as do all men and women.  Scripture records his blunders too.)

Lastly let's notice the verb "made to prosper."  In Hebrew it is spelled "tzslach" and means "to advance, to make progress, to rush out, to push forward, to break out or even to come mightily!"  The verb is housed in the "Hiphil" stem, the "causative" stem.  There was a "cause" that made King Uzziah so prosper!  It was God's Good Grace.  God was rewarding the young King's behavior, his "seeking" the Lord so faithfully!

I can find the verb 65 times in the King James Bible.  (1st use:  Genesis 24:21 where God made the journey to find a Bride for Isaac "prosperous!")  In fact, the verb's first FOUR occurrences are found in Genesis 24!  Then the next THREE uses of the verb concern the life of Joseph, a beautiful Type of Christ!  Here is the verb translated "to break out!"  Amos 5:6 --- "Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel."

The lesson from our verse is plain!  The more one SEEKS GOD ... the more GOD BLESSES the seeker!

Let us all be God seekers today!

(You can best do that ... with an open Bible in your hand!)

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

MAY 24, 2004 (MONDAY)

This being Monday I usually begin a new series of Bible Study lessons. However today I am just going to post a single mediation for us to ponder throughout the day. Tomorrow we shall return to our regular series (the Psalm 134 verses). 

One reason for this particular layout today is my travel schedule. I am to leave this morning and fly to Buffalo, New York, where Pastor Tommy Baucom will meet me and drive me over the border into Canada. I am looking forward to preaching there five nights this week, Lord willing.

Here is the verse the Lord laid on my heart for today:

"He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him."   Psalm 103:10-11

The noun for "sins" is "chata" in Hebrew and has the idea of "missing the mark." Falling short of Godís goal for us!

The verb "dealt" is "asah" and is translated "execute" 48 times in the King James Version! I am glad God has not executed His plans toward us on the basis of our sins! Arenít you?

"Rewarded" is "gamal" in Hebrew and means "recompense" or "to ripen (1 time)!" This may mean that God did not leave us in our sins (to ripen ... to go on and on)! He sent Jesus to save us! And the Holy Spirit to convict us!

The noun "iniquities" comes from a root word that means that which is "twisted or bent" out of its God-intended shape! (Perversion in other words!)

Instead of killing us all and sending us to Hell ... what did God do?

He extended to us His MERCY!

His condenscending love! The word for mercy, "chesed," means initially "to bend down!" God came down to where we were (through His Son Jesus) to save us! He entered into "covenant love" with us! That means He became our Husband, pledging to save us and be faithful to us in exact fulfillment of His Word! What love!

But HOW MUCH Mercy has the Lord given us?

GREAT mercy! The adjective is "gabar" and means that which "prevails!" Mercy strong enough to overcome anything! (Iíve seen it pull men and women out of alcoholism and drug backgrounds and clean them and set them to serving Jesus!) What strength!

BUT the Psalmist has another way to describe Godís mercy. It is as high as the heaven is above the earth! The word for "heaven" is plural in the Hebrew text. The "heavens!" Paul said there were 3 heavens! (Or at least he knew a man who had been caught up into the third heaven! 2 Corinthians 12:2)

The adjective "high" is "gabahh" and means "exalted or haughty or proud" (in a bad sense) ... but "high, above, upward, height and higher" (in a good sense)! His love and mercy are such that they reach to the very uppermost skies and far beyond!

As I fly today I trust the Lord will bring to mind how very high His Mercy reaches! Higher than those wings out there! Higher than those clouds over yonder! Higher than that jet streaking by yet above our heads (and we may be at 30,000 feet)! Higher than the heavens themselves!

I have one thing to say: that is a lot of mercy and kindness and love!

What a God!

Bless His Name!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

MAY 17, 2004 (MONDAY)

I noticed a verse of Scripture yesterday that I wanted to share with you.

It is found in 1 Samuel 10:26.

"And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched."

Saul could have been such a great man of God had he only obeyed!

In fact 1 Samuel 11:6 plainly declared that at least once: "And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings ...."

In our verse a group ("band" = Hebrew noun "chayl") of men accompanied Saul.  The word actually means an army!  Or men of valour!  Forces of mighty men!  In the King James Version the word is at times associated with wealth and riches (wealthy men)! Sounds like a pretty impressive crowd!

But WHY are they so beautifully described?

What is the Source of their strength or power or wealth or bravery?

The answer is right in the text!

God had TOUCHED them!

"Touched" translates "naga" (Hebrew) which means "to lay one's hand upon!"  The verb can means to touch for good or to touch in punishment! 

In Acts 12 God touched godly Peter and delivered him from jail!  Yet in the same chapter He touched wicked King Herod and he was eaten of worms and died!

In our verse obviously the "touch" of God is used in a very good sense!

Oh! How we need God's "touch" today!

And ... if we had it, would we not also be transformed into  mighty bands of men and women serving God fervently?

Lord, today we ask for Thy touch.  Help us to live for Thee with all our hearts. In Jesus' sweet Name, Amen.

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

APRIL 24, 2004 (SATURDAY)

I love something John said in His largest Epistle.

"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."   1 John 3:8

Of course the "Son of God" is Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

This verse give us one of the reasons Jesus came to earth.

(Others are found in Scripture too.  For example, Luke 19:10 says "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.")

The word "purpose" in the Textus Receptus (from which our King James Bible is translated) is "touto," and is a demonstrative pronoun.  For THIS the Son of God was manifested ...."  It means for this thing.  Or for this reason.  Or (as here) for this purpose.

Here's why the incarnation of Jesus occurred!

Here's why He was Virgin Born!

Here's why He was "manifested!"  That verb ("phaneroo") means to make visible what has heretofore been unseen.  (To render apparent!)  It comes from a root word that means to shine!  It has the idea of a flash of bright light (that does not then go out)!  It goes all the way back to "phos," the Greek word for light.  (As in our words photo, photographer, phosphorus plus many more)  Jesus exploded on the scene of this old dark world with God's very light!  The verb is an indicative aorist passive one.  God sent Jesus to this world!  (That's what the passive voice says!)  It happened in time past and its action is finished.  He will never come to die again! (That's what the aorist means.)

The pronoun "that" introduces a purpose clause.  Here's the purpose of Jesus' First Coming!  In Greek it is spelled "hina."

"Might destroy" translates the verb "luo."  This seems strange, but it means "to loosen!"  It has the idea of loosening anything that has been bound!  (To make something not binding!)  To relieve something (or someone as here) of (binding) power!  It is a subjunctive aorist.  This action ("destroying" the devil's works) was Jesus' desire in coming to earth!  (His wish or aspiration or goal!)  That's what the subjunctive suggests.  And Jesus accomplished His purpose.  It is finished!  That's what the aorist teaches us!  It is found 43 times in the King James New Testament. Here is how it is translated:  "loose" (27 times), "break" (5 times) --- to render non binding, "unloose" (3 times), "destroy" (2 times), "dissolve" (2 times), "put off" (1 time), "melt" (1 time), "break up" (1 time) and "break down" (1 time)!  That "melt" rendering in 2 Peter 3:10 is where the elements of earth shall some day "melt" with fervent heat!  "Put off" is in Acts 7:33 for putting off one's shoes!  It is "dissolve" in 2 Peter 3:11 and 12.  It sounds like the Lord has worked the devil over pretty well!

The noun "works" translates the word "ergon," which gives us our word energy!  It means labor, occupation, business, employment, work.  It is plural here.  The devil has been busy!  But he was ruined at Calvary.  Satan's energy level has been diminished.

And even the name "devil" is interesting!  It is in Greek "diabolos."  It comes from the verb "ballo" which means to throw or to hurl.  (Our word "ball" comes from this!) Plus the preposition "dia" which means through!  The devil is a specialist at throwing (accusations and slanders and lies) right through you!  He is a professional accuser!  I guess the devil can't throw as straight since the Cross!

It is encouraging to my heart this Saturday in late April to think that our Lord has already broken Satan's binding power.  Jesus destroyed the works of the devil!

Praise His Name!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

APRIL 13, 2004 (TUESDAY):

No one doubts that Jesus was "filled" with the Holy Spirit in a unique way.  Scripture plainly declares this fact.  "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."  (John 3:34) This verse is talking about our Lord!

I believe Jesus accomplished all He did through His whole marvelous ministry under the direction of the Holy Spirit!  Only on the Cross was He alone ... "forsaken" by the Father and the Spirit as He took upon Himself the "load" of our sin.  "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46) Note that twice He addressed God!  (Once for the Father ... once for the Holy Spirit the old preachers used to say!)

Here may be the best verse of all to prove Jesus' relationship with the Holy Spirit of God.  After defeating the devil three times in the 40 day wilderness temptation time we are told ... "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about."  Luke 4:14

But the basic verse I'm trying to reach this Tuesday is found in Hebrews 1:9.  It explains to us WHY Jesus could have been so "filled" with the Holy Spirit!  "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."  The verb there ("anointed") speaks of Holy Ghost anointing.  The "oil" is further evidence too.  "Chrio" means "to smear or to rub with oil!"  (As a religious action)  The verb comes from a root word meaning "to furnish what is needed!" Some Bible teachers say it also is linked to Greek "cheir" which means "hand!" (Touched by the very Hand of God?)  The verb is an aorist ... telling us that God only had to do this once for Jesus!  He retained that "anointing" during His whole earthly ministry.

"Oil" as a picture (or "type") of the Holy Spirit is well attested throughout the whole of Scripture.  From the consecration of the priests (Psalm 133:2) ... to the commissioning of the prophets (1 Kings 19:16) ... to the coronation of the kings (1 Samuel 16:13) ... ALL were anointed with oil to indicate God's Presence upon them! Here's an example of one of those verses:  "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward."   1 Samuel 16:13

But notice this about Jesus' anointing.  Hebrews 1:9 explains to us WHY He was so covered by the Holy Spirit!  Because He LOVED righteousness!  "Agapao" (to love) means to deeply care for something ... to welcome it ... to be well pleased with it ... to be so dedicated to a person or cause that one will sacrifice himself (or herself) in meeting the needs of the person loved!  Jesus was "delighted" with righteousness.  He plainly declared at His Baptism that He had come ... "to fulfil all righteousness." Matthew 3:15  (Righteousness speaks of the things that are straight and proper in the eyes of God.)  In the Greek sentence structure for this verse ... "agapao" is the first word!  That means it carries great importance in conveying the meaning of the writer!  Jesus LOVED righteousness ... therefore He was anoined with the Holy Spirit!  (The Spirit is not accidentally called the HOLY Spirit for sure!)  Jesus so loved righteousness that He once said in John 8:29 --- "For I do always those things that please him (the Father)."

Additionally, Jesus HATED iniquity!  "Miseo" means to despise, to disregard or to detest!  And "iniquity" translates the Greek word "anomos."  This is a blended word derived from "a" (meaning no or not) and "nomos" (meaning law).  Iniquity is lawlessness!  Ignoring the laws of God!  The very thing America has been doing by judicial decree in recent months and years!

"Therefore" translates the little preposition "dia" which means through these things ("touta") ... through Jesus' love of right and hatred of wickedness ... God anointed Him with the Spirit!  (Salvation is free!  Increased Holy Ghost power is given to those who live more and more godly!)  Perhaps one could say the more a Christian yields to the Holy Spirit ... the more Godly he will behave and live!  (Although that is not what our verse today is telling us about Jesus!)

In comparison, to what degree was Jesus "given" this "Oil" of gladness, the Holy Spirit?  "Above His fellows!"  Above translates "para" a preposition.  And "fellows" comes from "metochos."  ("Meta" means in the midst of!  "Echo" means to have to to hold!)  One's "fellows" are those around him who hold the same truths he does! One's companions!

Lastly the word "joy" must be studied.  The OIL of joy!  "Agalliasis" translates a verb that means "to jump for joy!"  It combines "agan" (meaning "much") and "hallomai" meaning to jump!  Jesus, the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3) was also a Man of Joy! (Joy being one of the major fruit of the Spirit characteristics!  Galatians 5:22-23)

I've gone much longer than usual on this "Home" Page today.  But give me another sentence please.  Hebrews 1:9 just quotes a verse in Psalm 45!  (So we are twice told this about Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the Bible!)  "Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."  Psalm 45:7

We have just learned one of the very KEYS to the fullness of the Holy Spirit!

Now, let's act on what we've learned!

Paul tells us we should "live godly!"

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

A PREVIOUS DAY'S VERSE (APRIL 12, 2004):

There's a little verse of Scripture in Zechariah 4 that has always spoken to my heart. You may find it at Zechariah 4:6.

"Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."

God was about to reveal something great to His people!  Zechariah had just had a great vision of a large golden candlestick.  By it stood two olive trees which somehow fed the candlestick their precious oil to be used as fuel for its light!

Precisely at that moment did God declare the truth of our verse!

God's work will be done (and God's light will be disseminated) NOT by "might!"  That little Hebrew "might" translates "chayil" and means an army (56 times in the King James Version)!  When Scripture uses the word of an individual it's rendered "man of valour" 37 times!

Neither will God work to accomplish His purposes just by "power."  The word is "koach" and means firm or full of vigor.   (This word is used in Scripture to describe the "lizard" family of creatures ... likely due to their hardiness!)  Once in the Bible it is even translated "chameleon!"  (Leviticus 11:30)  That's the little animal that changes colors to remain undetected by its predators.  I wonder if the word is being used by the King James translators to depict some form of "trickiness" or deceit?  If so, those tactics are NOT how God works either!

Then ... how does God achieve His vast goals and accomplish His perfect will?

By His SPIRIT!

The word "ruach" comes from a verb that means "to blow" or just "to breathe."  It has the idea of wind, breath, or (4 times in KJV) even blast!  I take it to be a direct reference to the Third Person of the Trinity, the precious Holy Spirit of God!

And God today still works by His Spirit!

Notice also the Name of God used in this declaration!

"The Lord of Hosts" is God's war Name!  It pictures Him leading the armies of Heaven against the enemy!  Also I have notice that in Scripture this Name of God is specifically used when His people are in a low state spiritually!  (Backslidden or discouraged or in need of a display of His great ability!)

We may still believe this great Truth!  God works not via politics, or education, or money (or anything else) ... but through His Spirit!

No wonder Paul told us in Ephesians 5:18 --- "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."

Dear Christian friend, live today in "the communion of the Holy Spirit!"  Where did THAT term come from, Preacher Bagwell?

From 2 Corinthians 13:14 where Paul prays for his converts that --- "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."

Glory to his Name!

                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

EASTER SUNDAY ... 2004:

Jesus Himself said it in John 14:19. 

"Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also."

Notice the capitalized words!

"BECAUSE I LIVE ... YE SHALL LIVE ALSO!"

Just how important is the Resurrection?

Jesus just taught us that without His being ALIVE (a Resurrected Saviour) ... we ourselves could not live!  I would call that pretty important! 

Paul further adds to our list.  He says in 1 Corinthians 15 that without the Resurrection ...many things would be stripped from the Christian life. 

Without the Resurrection ... all preaching is in vain ("kenos" = empty)!  1 Corinthians 15:14

Without the Resurrection ... our faith is dead and useless ("kenos" again)!  1 Corinthians 15:14

Without the Resurrection ... Paul says we all have become liars!  Each Believer in Christ has testified again and again to His Life in Heaven right now!   1 Corinthians 15:15

Without the Resurrection ... we are yet  in our sins!  (Lost and on our way to Hell!) 1st Corinthians 15:17

Without the Resurrection ... all saints now dead have "perished!"  There can be no heaven ... or eternal life!  1 Corinthians 15:18

Without the Resurrection ... our joy and happiness are gone.  We are most miserable (a Greek word that means "to be pitied")!

Without the Resurrection ... apparently life could not continue on earth!  Paul says in Colossians 1:17 --- "And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist."  That verb "consist" means "stand together" or have cohesiveness.  Creation could not "stay together" without a living Lord Jesus Christ!  The universe would literally disintegrate!

By now we must all agree ... the Resurrection is critically (fundamentally) important!  It is essential!  It IS (along with the death and burial) the Gospel!

And if there's no living Jesus ... there can be no Second Coming, can there?

BUT ... HERE'S THE TRUTH OF THE WHOLE MATTER!

He lives!

And those of you who have been saved ... live with Him!

You live IN Him and He lives IN you!

Paul said if any man be "IN Christ," He is a new creature!  2 Corinthians 5:17

The same Paul said the Christian life is:  "Christ IN you, the hope of Glory!"  Colossians 1:27

Rejoice today, dear friend!

Again I say, HE LIVES!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NOTES FROM A PREVIOUS DAY ...

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."   Romans 5:10

I thought that this Easter weekend the verse above would be so appropriate!

"We shall be saved by his Life!"

In the first century churches the pastors would say each Lord's Day to their people:  "The Lord is risen!"

Promptly the Assembly would respond, "The Lord is risen indeed!"

Let's never forget that He is alive!

Look with me at our verse:

The word "enemies" has in it the Greek word for hatred!

We hated God (wrongfully) and God had placed us under His judgment and wrath (rightfully).

In Romans 1 where Paul lists the sins of rebellious lost mankind we find the actual term "haters of God!" 

And in John 3:36 we read:  "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

The verb translated "we were" is a present participle of "eimi" in Greek. This is the verb "to be." It means we were in a certain state of being (here in our context, being "enemies") and we remained there perpetually (until God saved us)!

In fact, our salvation is described as being empowered by God (upon our trust in Jesus as Saviour of our lives).  We were "reconciled" by God!  Obviously the verb is in the "passive" voice --- we were the recipients of the blessing.  God did the reconciling!

The verb "reconciled" means ("kata" plus "allasso") to make different ("Allos" means different).  Here is pictures one being "changed" from an enemy to a friend!  Watch how Paul uses the word in the husband wife relationship.  "But and if she (the wife) depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife."  (1 Corinthians 7:11)  Again the meaning is "to change from estrangement to harmony!"

"Reconciled" is an aorist participle here also.  That means it is describing an action that occurred in the past and is completed now and forever!  This former God hater now loves the Lord with all his heart!  The Lord has "reconciled" every single true Believer!

And the means of that reconciliation is ... the DEATH of God's only begotten Son Jesus.  This speaks of the Cross of Calvary and the shed Blood of Jesus the Lamb of God.

Jesus' death brought about our reconciliation!  Praise the Lord!

THEN Paul adds ..."much more!"  The words are "polus" and "mallon" which mean "many" and "in a greater degree."  It's one of Paul hyper-descriptions!  (He has many!)  Paul declares that if Jesus' DEATH reconciled us ... just think what Jesus' resurrected never-ending ascended interceding glorified LIFE will do for us!

God has done "much more" than we can ever imagine for our salvation!  The first time in our King James Bibles that this "string" of words is used ("much more") is in Moses; day when the people were giving items to build the Tabernacle.  Exodus 36:5 tells us:  "And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make."

The Lord has done "much more" towards our salvation!  We should do "much more" in His service ... because we love Him!  (Not to earn anything!  Salvation is a gift!)

Then the verb "saved" must be studied.  It ("sozo") means to deliver, to protect, to make whole or to preserve!  The word is an indicative future passive 1st person plural verb.  Paul is talking about our deliverance (not just from our sins) ... but even from this present evil world (the rapture or the death of the Believer) and from this weak dying physical body of ours (to receive a glorified body).  This future total and complete ("much more") salvation includes a home in the city of God (a mansion) eternally also.  It involves constantly being in the presence of Jesus our Lord too. Eternal life and joy and pleasures await us evermore!  Paul is speaking of that total redemption Jesus had in mind when He said --- "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."  Luke 21:28

But just what is the guarantee of these things.  This future and full "salvation?" Paul answers the question immediately!

We are "saved by His life!"  Life is the word "zoe."  (Life on the highest plane!  REAL life! Abundant life!)

Good news this weekend!  Jesus is alive!

His LIFE is the pledge of our being "saved" in the sense of ALL GOD'S FUTURE PROMISES in Christ Jesus being fulfilled by a living Saviour and Lord!

You and I have victory today because Jesus is ALIVE at the Right Hand of the Father praying for us now!

We ( or some generation of saints) shall be called home to heaven some day (via the "rapture") because Jesus is alive and awaiting His Father's word to come get us!

We indeed are "saved" by His LIFE!

Think of that this Easter weekend.

Folks: "Christ is risen!"

And I can hear you all now saying back:  __________________________________.  (Christ is risen INDEED!)

Live!

                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

April 5, 2004 (Monday)

A Pastor friend gave me a gift one day last week. We were riding together and fellowshipping about the things of God and he shared a verse of Scripture. Now I have read the book of Acts before ... even teaching through it verse by verse ... but this passage I just did not remember!

Here it is. The words fell from the lips of Paul. In Acts 26:22 he said: "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day ...." That sounds like a personal testimony.

Itís clear here that Paul considers God to be the Source of his "help." This little noun is quite interesting. "Help" in Greek is spelled "epikouria," and means an ally or an assistant or an auxiliary. It is feminine in gender and comes from the Greek word for a young lady ... "korasion" (here who is a servant). The word is only used here in the whole Bible! No oneís "help" is as tender and kind and thorough as a ladyís help when you are sick or in need. (Remember the kindness of you own Mom or Grandmother?)

Now do not be offended at this word picture of the Lord!  I didn't put it in the Bible ... God did!  And, NO, I am not a feminist either!  (And God is NOT a woman!)  But occasionally in the Bible our heavenly Father is also described in some of the tender kind terms that often are used of a godly mother as well!  His very Name God Almighty (or El Shaddai) comes from the Hebrew noun "shad," which means the female breast (as that which supplies every need of the hungry little baby)!  And in Psalm 123 God is compared to the Mistress of some young maiden who meets her every need!  (Paul even compared himself to a "nurse" in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 --- "But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children."  (The noun "nurse" is in the feminine gender!)

I am so thankful that God meets ALL our needs!

"Obtained" is also a very picturesque word. "Tugchano" means "to hit the mark" or to reach or apprehend a goal!" (It was often used in the ancient world of "hitting the mark with an arrow!") It is an aorist participle in the active voice. Paul wanted Godís help ... and sought it ... and "got" it! (Our verb is also translated "obtained" in 2 Timothy 2:10 --- "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." Again, notice Hebrews 11:35 --- "Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection."

Paul here more than implies that he is able to "continue" because of Godís help! This verb "continue" translates the Greek "histemi," meaning to stand! Itís an indicative perfect active. Its sense of timing suggests action that began in the past ... but will not quit ... continuing even until the present minute!

Paul elsewhere hints to us that the Grace of God makes him what he is! 1st Corinthians 15:10 --- "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."

Here's one of Paul's great "secrets!"  He STANDS because of God's help!

He CONTINUES because of God's help!

He CONQUERED because of God's help!

And ... we can too!

Let us all today ask the Lord for such help! Let us not quit seeking it until we have obtained it ... as did Paul! THEN let us also not become slack thereafter! Let us continue faithfully serving our Lord until He either calls us home via the grave ... or raptures us away in glory!

Here's another way Paul would have expressed today's truth: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  Philippians 4:13

I just thought you might enjoy the "gift" the Lord sent my way!  May God use it to encourage you today!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

 

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