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Bible Nuggets Archives

From a few days ago ... but too important to erase

I thought you might enjoy the following information. What a precious Book we have!

Bible study is a real treasures God gives to each of us!

 

 

January 19, 2004 (Monday)

Jesus said in Luke 18:1 that "Men ought always to pray and not to faint."

I believe this is one of the greatest verses on prayer in all the Bible.

It certainly implies that through prayer our Lord gives us strength!

The verb "ought" is (Greek = dei) a word that means "necessity!"  In the Christian life it is a MUST that we pray!

"Always" combines two words (pan + tote) meaning ALL WHENS!  At every opportunity!  "When" do I pray?  Yes, that's right!

The general word for "prayer" here takes the verb "to express a wish, strong desire or prayer" and combines it with a prefix meaning "towards" or literally "to the face of!"  Do you see what the "word picture" is here?  We, on our knees, approach the very Face of God and share our deepest needs!  (Wow!)

Then Jesus adds a tremendous "side effect" of prayer.  It will keep you from fainting!

"Faint" is a word that means "to be afraid, discouraged, or tired!"  (To despair or to lose heart!)  In 2 Thessalonians 3:13 it is translated "weary."  Look:  "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing."

This verse is NOT saying that when you get discouraged, PRAY!  No!  No!  No!  It IS saying pray all the time ... so you won't even get discouraged!

May we bow our heads ....

                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

January 18, 2004 (Sunday, the Lord's Day)

I have for several days felt that the Lord is leading me to Psalm 143.  It's a prayer that David prayed when he was in trouble!  If you are never in trouble, I guess you can skip this one!  (Ha! Ha!)

The Psalm only has 12 verses and gives several different requests David brings before the Lord. 

His first request is in verse one.  "Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications ...!"  That little verb "give ear" means to "broaden out the ear (with one's hand)!  To "cup" the ear with your hand in order to hear better!  David here is simply asking God to help him in a time of real need!  (Verses 3 and 4 tell us just how bad things are:  "For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate."

Secondly, (verse 9) David asks:  "Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies!"  He by now is focusing on the issue at hand!  Does anyone studying with me here today believe that God can protect His children!  (Isaiah 54:17 states: "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.")

Immediately David next asks for guidance!  Psalm 143:10 --- "Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness."  Teach, "lamad," is the Hebrew word for "goad!"  When God teaches us He gives us repetitive lessons (sharp pointed ones sometimes) in the subject at hand!  He "goads" us!

Lastly in verse 11 David asks to be "quickened" or "revived!"  All the trials had "worn him down" spiritually" (and probably every other way too)!   "Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble."  It looks like this word "quicken" comes from a main verb meaning "to live!"  This is a "stirring up" of David's spiritual life!  (It reminds me of Paul's word to young preacher Timothy:  "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."  2 Timothy 1:6)  It really sounds like David believes his real "trouble" was not his physical enemies ... but the spiritual ones who tried to quench his "fire" for the Lord! 

Literally David is here using his TRIALS to bring him REVIVAL!

What a Psalm!  What a prayer!  Paul said (when speaking of these Old Testament passages) in 1 Corinthians 10:11 --- "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."

If David suffered all this to teach me ... I had just better LEARN!

If not, I likely will face this "goad" myself!

That's today's "nugget!"

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

January 17, 2004 (Saturday)

Yesterday we finished our journey through Psalm 91.  How I enjoyed that trip!  I know of no other Bible passage exactly like it!  It's so very promise-filled!

Yesterday on the phone I talked with a young pastor north of beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.  (In the Mars Hill area)

I asked him (as I love to do) what was his favorite Book of the Bible.  He almost immediately responded "Colossians."

Certainly Paul's little epistle to the Colossians IS one of the most Christ-centered books in all the Bible (and that's saying a lot)!

Listen to some of the things Colossians says about our Lord Jesus Christ:

*  He is the Son of God (1:13)! 

*  We have redemption and forgiveness through His shed Blood!  (1:14)

*  He is the "image of the invisible God!"  (1:15)

*  By Him (and for Him) were all things created! (1:16)

*  He is before all things and by Him all things consist (hold together!)  (1:17)

*  He is the Head of the body (the church)!  (1:18)

*  And the Firstborn from the dead! (1:18)

*  He has all preeminence!  (1:18)

*  In Him all fulness dwells!  (1:19)

*  He has given us Peace through the Blood of His Cross!  (1:20)

*  He has "reconciled" us!  (1:21)

*  He is "in" us ... as the Hope of Glory!  (1:27)

*  In Christ Jesus are hid "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge!" (2:3)

*  In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily!  (2:9)

*  He makes us "complete!"  (2:10)

*  He's the Head of all principality and power!  (2:10)

*  He "nailed" our sins to His Cross!  (2:14) 

*  He "spoiled" the devil and "triumphed" over him at Calvary! (2:15)

*  He "sitteth at the right hand of God!"  (3:1)

*  He IS our very life!  (3:4)

*  He is coming again ("will appear")!  (3:4)

*  He is our Master (and our Rewarder)!  (3:24)

Anything with this much "Jesus" in it must be called Christ-centered (Christo-centric)!

Thank God today for our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (and for the Book of Colossians which tells us so much about Him)!

No wonder the first phrase of the epistle is:  "Paul, an apostle of JESUS CHRIST ...."

Now, this today is a real "nugget."

                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

December 17, 2003 (Wednesday)

In 2 Timothy 1:6 Paul tells Timothy something interesting.  "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."

He asks Timothy to "stir up" the gift of God that was in him.

This gift of God came to Timothy no doubt at the time of his salvation and/or at the time of his call to preach. 

The verb "to stir up" is amazing!  It is Greek "anazopureo!"  That combines 3 little Greek terms:  ana + zao (zoe) + pur.  Let's define these 3 and put them back together.  Ana can mean AGAIN.  Zoe means LIFE.  And Pur means fire.  When combined, their meaning is obvious:  keep the fire alive again and again!

Timothy, do all you can to stir up the fires of goodness God has placed within you!  Do not let the fire go out!

Vines says our verb mean: to kindle afresh!  to keep aflame!

Our verb is a present infinitive in the active voice!  That just means that it is something one must continue doing all his lifetime.  It also indicates that no one can do this for you.  You MUST do it yourself.  (Of course one must lean on the Lord for everything in the Christian life!)

Christian friend, don't get stale!  Do not become lukewarm ... and then just plain cold!

This is the only time in Scripture that this verb is used!

I guess one must next ask HOW can the flames be kept stirred?  Good preaching sure helps!  So does attending a good service (revival, etc.) regularly!  Certainly the precious Word of God stirs us!  The dear Holy Spirit is the fire Giver for sure! Godly fellowship also may help!  One must learn for himself or herself what best "enlivens" him or her in the Lord.  Once you know ... get with it vigorously!

That's today's "nugget!"

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

December 16, 2003 (Tuesday)

In 1 Timothy 4:6 Paul uses an unusual word.  Let me show you.  "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained."

Paul longs for Timothy to be nourished in the words of faith! In examining that little term one finds that it has a basic meaning of "being fattened up!"  (What a word picture!) 

That is one of the many things the Word of God will do for you!  It will spiritually "fatten" you.  (We have enough people running around on spiritual starvation diets!)

How much do you weigh today in the Lord's eyes?  Proverbs 16:2 says:  "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits."  I guess how much our spirit weighs depends on how "fat" we are in the Word of God!

Excuse me, I need to go enjoy a spiritual meal!  (Should I feast today on the Psalms ... or the Gospels ... or maybe an epistle or two?)

Bon appetit!  (It means "good appetite!)

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

DECEMBER 8, 2003 (Monday)

Sunday morning I preached from the first three verses of 1 Peter 2.  I am particularly impressed with the list of 5 sins Peters gives here.

"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."  1 Peter 2:1-3

It looks to me like Peter is warning us!  There are five things that will absolutely RUIN our appetite for the Word of God!  I think we might ought to give an invitation every Sunday BEFORE WE PREACH and ask our folks to get these 5 sins out of their lives prior to the sermon being delivered!

Note these sins with me briefly. 

I will not take them in the order Peter gives ... but in the order I believe the church commits them today!

First would have to be "evil speakings."  It is a little Greek term:  katalalia.  Kata is a preposition and means "down."  Laleo means "to talk or utter words."  (Without the implication of "logic" and forethought that logos/logeo carries!)  It means to "talk down" about someone.  To criticize them!  To belittle them!  To slander them!  To gossip about them!  This is a backbiter!  The word is translated "backbitings" in 1 Corinthians 12:20.  Peter here is literally teaching us that this sin of the tongue can kill our hunger for the Word of God!

The word "envy" means a feeling of displeasure produced by hearing of the prosperity of others!  It is simply stated "jealousy!"  That involves a lot of church people at times.  (Jealous over who is going to sing or preach or pray or get recognized by the preacher!)  However the sin surfaces ... it will KILL your Bible hunger!

Hypocrisies are sins of pretension.  The church member  pretending to be someone or something he or she isn't.  To "play act" if you want to put it in its original context.  (Acting as if you "like" someone when you've talked about them all week!)  Buttering the preacher up ... when you can't stand him in your heart!  (Goodbye Bible study!)

Guile is the Greek word "dolos" and means deceit or subtilty.  It comes from a root verb meaning to trap!  To use as a decoy!  They layed a trap for Jesus (dolos) in Matthew 26:4!  I really believe some professing Christians try to "trick" others into saying things or doing things. Any uprising against a preacher starts with some tricking others in the church!

Then the word "malice" means worthlessness!  But it also comes to mean ill-will.  It is the desire to hurt someone!  (To hurt their testimony or standing at church, for example)  In James 1:21 it is again listed as a sin that hinders the working of God's Word!

I have noticed something!  All five of these sins are "social" sins ... none are "sexual" sins." (Sometimes Bible teachers make a distinction between the two types.)  These sins deal with our relationships with one another!

We had better mark them!  They will rob us of our desire to consume the precious Scriptures. They are deadly for the growing believer!

That's today nugget!

What do you think?

                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

NOVEMBER 23, 2003 (SUNDAY)

Today's "Nugget" should apply to each of our lives as Christians.  However, I am especially interested in the preachers who read this particular article because they are so much in the eye of the Christian public

Yesterday I had the best time doing something!  What was it?  Simply READING the Word of God!  I was particularly interested in the book of 2 Corinthians (for study purposes) and I started a little "project" I would like to describe to you.

I underlined (really I highlighted) certain of Paul's phrases that impacted me.  I realize that the great Apostle was writing under inspiration, but his vocabulary still amazes me!

(One thing I can't get over about reading the old Puritans!  Their very vocabularies were saturated with Scripture!  They could not write a paragraph without quoting or alluding to some Bible fact.  Their very sentence structure and word choices were governed by Scripture!  They were talking Bibles!)

Here are some of Paul's words!  (I call them "Paul -isms."  The college/seminary professors make an adjective out of "Paul" and come up with "Pauline" as in the Pauline Epistles.  Maybe I should call my "choices" Pauline-isms!)

Anyway, here are a few Pauline-isms I noted.  Expect to hear them in this preacher's speech in the future, Lord willing!  "Ye also helping together by prayer for us!"  Paul asks them, "Did I use lightness?"  Paul was not much of a joke teller!  "We are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours."  That would impact Pastor/Church relations, wouldn't it? 

Here are more:  "We preach not ourselves."   He adds, "We are helpers of your joy!"  He asks them "to confirm their love" to a man!  He declares that "God always causeth us to triumph!"   He believes the antidote to fainting is mercy!  "As we have received mercy we faint not!"  He declares: "We labour that we may be accepted of the Lord!"  That is Paul's major motivation!  He says to his people in Corinth "If I have boasted any thing of you, I am not ashamed!"  He bragged on his people now and then!

That's enough to give you an idea!  Why can't I learn to use Bible phrases in my speech? It sure beats going around talking like some TV personality!  Or some politician!  Or some worldly preacher!

Well, I must close!  All the saints here salute you!  Grace and Peace be with you! 

(Some of you may think I am a "nut!"  If so ... "We are fools for Christ's sake!")

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NOVEMBER 22, 2003 (SATURDAY)

I mentioned to you yesterday how the Lord had impressed upon me the following verse!  It was during one of Brother Joel's sermons.  He was preaching on a hunger for the Word of God.

He said something like this:  "Here are some sins that will KEEP YOU from having a hunger for the Word!"  And that's exactly the context in which these sins are discussed! Let's look!

"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings; As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" 1 Peter 2:1-2

We all know that when we're sick ... the appetite grows weak.  We just aren't able to eat!  In fact, those who love us almost insist we eat.  "Force yourself," they say!  In like manner when we are spiritually sick (maybe especially with these 5 sins) we lose our desire for the milk (and meat) of the Word of God!

Let's examine these sins! 

"Malice" comes from the Greek noun "kakia."  It often carries the idea of "worthlessness."  It usually indicates sin intrinsically (within oneself) and not sin as it works out and injures others.  (This is sin at the very root!)  Of course ... in time it will fester and work out to inflict others!  This is a fact for the spiritual diagnostician. (Loss of spiritual appetite is a bad "sign" that sickness is developing. Outward signs of sin may not yet have surfaced ... but inward sin is present and growing!)  The word further develops to mean: a desire to injure.  It can indicate the presence of ill will!  It is used 11 times in the Scriptures.  (8 of which are either translated "malice" or "maliciousness.")  Once each it is translated: wickedness, evil, and naughtiness.  (In 1 Corinthians 14:20 Paul tells us to be like little children when it comes to "malice!"  That means be inexperienced and ignorant of this sin!)  James (1:21) also groups this word with other hindrances to the Word of God!  (In reviewing these 11 uses in the Word, I see each of the foregoing definitions in action!  There is no commentary as good as the comparing of Scripture with Scripture!)

Next is "guile."  The Greek word is "dolos," meaning deceit or subtilty!  It indicates a "trick!"  (From root verb "to entrap" or "to decoy.")  It is used only 11 times in the New Testament.  It is sort of a "sneaky" verb!  See how they sought to arrest Jesus by "craft" in Mark 14:1 and Matthew 26:4.  The absence of this sin in a Believer's life will bring blessings according to 1 Peter 3:10!  This sin absolutely cannot be a part of one's preaching!  So says Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:3.  Jesus was never guilty of this sin (or any other sin)!  See 1 Peter 2:22.  Neither did Nathaniel commit the sin of guile!  (John 1:47)  We cannot be deceitful and misleading one to another ... and still have a hunger for the Word of God!

Then there are "hypocrisies."  This word is transliterated into English from Greek letter for letter!  It is a word picture used for Greek stage actors!  It means to play a part that is not you!  To pretend!  (hupo + krino)  It is used about 35 times in the New Testament if the whole "family" (nouns, verbs, etc.) is considered.  In 1 Timothy 4:2 Paul associates this sin with lying! "Speaking lies in hypocrisy!"  In Luke 12:1 we have a classic definition of the word!  There we're told that the Pharisees were guilty of hypocrisy!  We know the lifestyle they practiced.

Next are "envies."  The Greek word is "phthonos."  It is "the feeling of displeasure produced by hearing of the prosperity of others!" (Jealousy over the good success of others!)  One lexicon even says "spite" is a good definition!  (State of ill will toward someone because of some advantage they have experienced!)  At least that's the meaning negatively ... as it is certainly used here!  This is why the Chief Priests, etc., delivered Jesus to be arrested according to Matthew 27:18 and Mark 15:10.  In Philippians 1:15 some even preached Christ in "envy" of Paul!  Apparently somehow the study of the Word can produce envy!  I base that observation on 1 Timothy 6:4.  (In a positive sense the word can indicate "God's protective jealousy!"  See James 4:5)  To learn the Word of God (which is our context here) one must put himself UNDER a teacher!  Either the Holy Spirit or some mature believer (likely a Preacher, etc.) will direct you in the process.  That means it is essential to SUBMIT yourself to their authority!  A person with envy just may not do that!

Lastly are "evil speakings."  This is an unusual expression.  It is "katalalia," and means "talking down!"  It is to defame someone.  (to talk against or to slander)  A "backbiter" is indicated!  In its whole semantic field the word is found about 15 times in Scripture. 

I believe that I am noticing something here.  These sins are all "social" sins!  They deal with our relationships either vertically with the Lord or horizontally with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  (No sexual sins are listed.) 

Whatever they are, they are "killers" when it comes to a real desire (epipotheo) for the Word of God!  (That verb means "to yearn!  Also it can mean "to dote upon!")  To grow in your Bible knowledge, you MUST stay away from these 5 sins! 

Notice that Paul COMMANDS (It is imperative mood!) that we "lay aside" these sins!  It is an aorist middle verb.  It should be a one time decision. Get in the altar and rid yourself of these deadly sins!  The middle voice says that doing so will impact (influence and change) you in the process!

Lord, help us to do so!

That's today's "Bible Nugget."

                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

                               

 

NOVEMBER 16, 2003 (THE LORD'S DAY, SUNDAY)

Would you agree with me that your "Pastor" is a spiritual authority in your life?  (Hebrews 13 verses 7 and 17 certainly teach that he is!)  That dear man of God is a spiritual leader for you!  He's the under-shepherd of the church you attend!

If so, we need to be praying for him!  Our pastor (like Paul) needs our encouragement in prayer.  (Paul asks for prayer from his people repeatedly throughout his epistles.  For an example see 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2.  Remind me to comment on those 2 verses sometime soon.)

WHY?  Brother Bagwell, WHY would I need (or maybe even want) to pray for my Pastor?

I've got the answer.  Not just because it's the right thing to do!  Not just because you love and respect him.  Not just because it sets a good example to your children.  Not just because it will help him better feed you God's Word.  There is (among many others) at least one more Bible reason!

1 Timothy 2:1,2 say:  " I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;   For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty."

Notice the phrase "all that are in authority."  That would include your Pastor!  (also your President and your boss, etc.)

See the various words for prayer!  Each is interesting ... but you have to go to church soon and looking at them all in detail would make you very late!  Supplication means specific requests!  Prayers is the general word for all types of prayer.  Intercession is one Christian praying for another!  Giving thanks is self explanatory.  (Ever thanked God for your Pastor?)

BUT HERE IS THE POINT!  I BELIEVE IT IS A NUGGET! 

IF we pray for our Pastor (really for any of those in authority) we shall reap some benefits

Be careful now.  The "benefits" should NOT be the reason we pray for the Man of God!  Love (energized by the good Holy Spirit) should be our motivation!

What are the BENEFITS?  We shall have QUIET lives!  (The word carries the idea of being "unbothered!")  Also our lives will be PEACEABLE!  (Interesting word:  It combines the verb "to be seated" with a verb that means "to have!"  It means to be still or undisturbed!)

Furthermore, "godliness" (reverence for the things of God) and "honesty" (honor!  Maybe even meaning your will be honored for your respect to others!) will be your lot in life!

All that!  (4 major "blessings") And they come from the Lord for just praying for the Preacher!

Excuse me.  I'm going to talk to the Lord a while (about some preachers)!

                                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2003

The Lord willing, we shall get back to Jude Monday morning.  Meanwhile, here's today "Nugget."

As a teenage boy I heard my Uncle, who was an evangelist, announce that he was going to preach on "God's Strange Act!"  I wondered and wondered about that!  What was God's strange act?

I got to hear that sermon!  I still remember it these many years later!

The text is found in Isaiah 28:21 --- "For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act."

There's your answer!  God's strange act is His act of judgment

God is such a God of Grace and Mercy and Love that He calls His judgment a "strange act."

Now, don't misunderstand me.  God IS going to judge sin!  He will fulfill everything He's ever said about hell!  He will make wrong right when He comes!  But when He does ... and all the blood is shed and all the souls perish ... that will be His "strange act!"  He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked! (Ezekiel 18:32 and 33:11)

Dear friend, if you've never been saved, please don't bring God's "strange act" upon yourself.  Respond to His convicting Holy Spirit and be saved today!  He is a God of Love Who sent His Son Jesus to die on the Cross for the lost!

The sad thing is this.  America just might be about to the place (in her rebellion) that she will soon experience GOD'S STRANGE ACT!

Ponder that a while today!  It will cause you to love and serve the Lord more than ever!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

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