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The goal of Bible study is to meet God daily through the study of his Word. First I pray that the Lord will illuminate the Word of God to my mind and my heart and then I pray for understanding.

There are many ways to study the Bible and here are some suggestions.

1. Read through the entire Bible. This is highly recommended. At a discernment conference I attended we were told to read through the Bible and when we were done, start over again.

2. Read an entire book. Look through the book first noting the subjects. Take notes and write down any applications you may find that apply in your life. Commentaries are great. You may want to read this AFTER your initial reading. God may want to show to something and when we read commentaries first this may obscure what the Lord wants to show us personally.

3. Concentrate on a passage. This is great for understanding of scripture but you should see how this passage fits in with the rest of the book or chapter you are reading. Many poor interpretations come from taking a single verse and using it out of context diminishing its proper meaning.

What is the content and facts of this passage? Who? When? Where? Why? What is the truth that is being conveyed in this passage? Is it a warning, or are we being commanded to do something? Does God give a promise or an encouragement in this passage? What are the parallel passages?

The parallel passages are important because scripture interprets scripture.

What are the specifics in this passage that we can pray about?

4. The Attributes of God. Go through a part of the Bible and look for attributes that describes the nature of God. Here is a sampling:

Light

Shepherd

Reconciler

Voice

Holy

Wise

Judge

Eternal

Truth

Love

Joy

Creator

Comforter

Forgiver

It is through these attributes that we begin to understand the character of God.

Lets look at Psalms 119: 114-117. I was looking at verse 114 specifically but noticed the many attributes in this passage.

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Away from me you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God! Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live.”

Refuge

Shield

Hope

Word

Sustainer

Law

Promise

Life

Just look at the fountain of information is this single passage. There is a wealth of attributes about God that you can consider and thank Him for.

5. Word Study. Perhaps you want to study faith, perseverance, hope or fear. Whatever it is you want to concentrate on, you might start by looking up the word in a Bible dictionary. Look in your concordance or invest in a topical Bible. There are great websites that allow you to pull up every verse that has the word “holy” in it. Compare all of the verses asking: Who? What? Where? When? How? What can I apply what I have learned to my own life?

The applications of Bible study to our life is where the meat is. What is it that you learned that you can apply to your daily life? What specific action can you take? If you decide you want to spend more time in study, you may want to be specific by setting aside a certain time each day from 7:00 – 7:30 to pray and read God’s Word. Taking specific action is helpful to accomplish this goal.

You may want to apply something you learned to your work, (honesty on a time card), co-workers, ( being kind to someone who dislikes you), or maybe in your personal life, ( waiting on God’s time not your own.) Well, you get the picture. We need to apply the truths we find God’s Word to our everyday lives.

I often sit on my sofa, pillow on lap, with my Bible resting on it. I have 3 translations all handy. KJV, NIV, and a NRSV. Of course there is the computer for on-line versions of the Bible, commentaries and Greek/Hebrew concordances. I use http://www.blueletterbible.org but there are many others.

Many times I am filled with awe and love that God’s precious word is right before me. I am sitting at the foot of my Lord clinging to His feet and worshiping Him and His Word. Last week before writing this I felt like Mary who sat at the feet of the Lord when Martha was busying herself with chores. This is what I sense with Bible in hand. Communion with the Lord. I run my hand over the onion-skin paper and enjoy the crinkle of the pages. Such a sweet sound.

It is here that I find God. It is here Jesus Christ, God’s son lives for me. It is here the Holy Spirit illuminates the words that convict, instruct and compel me to live only for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

If a follow someone’s dream…I may be following another. If I hear another voice….I may be led to the wrong conclusion. If I follow another persons vision….I follow illusion which quickly turns into disillusion. That is why God’s voice is the written word.

We must use the Word of God as a measuring rod against all of man’s wisdom, thought, and actions. If it doesn’t line up with scripture it must be discarded. The Bible is the great discerner. It is the Truth, and so it is rejected by most of the unbelieving world.

But to those who love the truth it contains joy, salvation and guidance for living for the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Homiletics.

What is homiletics?

Homiletics is a study system often used by pastors to extract key information from a passage. This is done by analyzing the passage for key phrases and condensing it to determine its basic content. Once you have the key words or phrases try to summarize the entire passage into a single composed sentence.

Next write down lessons or truths that can be learned from the passage. It is amazing how many truths can be lifted from a single passage when you really begin to study and contemplate it. Pray before you start that God will open your heart and mind to receive his Word.

Once the key truths are realized then you can start to expand the passage back out with applications that you can use in your life. Think of situations where you can actually apply the truth. How can your behavior be changed to glorify God?

 

Here is an example using homiletics from Matthew.

 

First read Matthew 17: 1-13 —-The Transfiguration

Where is it? High on the mountain.

Who is it? God – Jesus – Peter – James – John – Moses – Elijah

Key words in each verse.

1. Jesus 3 disciples mountain

2. Jesus transfigured bright light

3. Moses Elijah Jesus talking

4. Peter build shelters?

5. Voice Son Love Pleased Listen

6. Disciples Terrified

7. Do not be afraid

8. Saw only Jesus

9. Don’t tell raised

10. Why Elijah first?

11. Elijah will restore

12. Elijah & Son suffer

13. Elijah/John the Baptist

The Sentence summarizing the passage.

Matthew records that Jesus is transformed showing the disciples His true glory.

The Lessons

1. Jesus is the light

2. Jesus will reveal himself to you.

3. Jesus knew the OT prophets.

4. Jesus is truly God.

5. God the Father made it clear his Son is Jesus.

6. We are to listen what Jesus says.

7. Even though we love God we are to also fear him.

8. Do not be afraid of what God reveals to you.

9. Do not be afraid to tell others about Jesus Christ.

10. Jesus would be rejected like John the Baptist.

Possible Applications – I Will’s

I will get to know Jesus by reading His Word, listening to sermons, or fellowship with others. I know that Jesus will reveal Himself to me as I follow Him.

I will be confident explaining to others that Jesus is truly the Son of God, since these word came from the Father Himself.

I will listen to what Jesus tells me.

I will boldly tell others about Jesus because I was told not to be afraid.

I will expect that the very presence of God would cause fear and trembling.

I will go into the valleys to serve as I descend from the spiritual highpoints.

I will ask God what truth He wants me to know so that I can share with others.

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I want to tell you that this was one of the homiletic lessons that I prepared last year for my students. Some see other truths that I did not see so I wanted you to know that this is only an example. The students are to do the above procedure on their own worksheet. At the end of the year there were students who could pick out the content words on their worksheet, write a sentence, find at least one lesson and application and more during discussion, in the 30 minutes we were allowed for this part of the evening. The age group I taught last year were 10-11 year olds. To watch what God has done in these children who seek the Lord is nothing short of amazing. It is totally a blessing and filling of the Holy Spirit.

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My personal summary of Matthew 17:1-13

The transfiguration revealed to the disciples the Glory of God and of Jesus Christ. It looked to the past and it looked to the future. Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to earth as man and then to return after His work on the cross to His resurrected glory. He now abides at the right hand of the Father till He returns and someday we will witness Jesus in all His glory just as the disciples saw Him that night.

The transfiguration gave the disciples a witness account of what he actually and truly looks like. What a gift this was for the disciples who at Pentecost would remember His glory so they would profess to the world as eyewitnesses, the significance of His majesty.

Peter had earlier proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah and he did so without seeing anything like the splendor that had been later revealed to him, and John and James. But once they believed by faith they were given a spectacular view of His glory. He revealed Himself to His servants, and they saw His radiant face and garments, Moses and Elijah and heard the voice of God.

A cloud enveloped them and the voice said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

What a wonderful confirmation of who Jesus truly is. God Himself assured the disciples and us, that Jesus is truly the Son of God.

The disciples fell face down into the ground in terror. (What does this tell us today about those who say they communicate directly with God?) However, Jesus told them not to be afraid, and when they looked up Jesus was alone. How could they ever look at Jesus the same way again? What awe this must have created. And to see Moses and Elijah. What an unspeakable honor to see the Old Testament prophets. Oh, to hear what they spoke of. We are told very little in Luke about their conversation.

They asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first? Jesus explained that Elijah did come as John the Baptist to prepare the way for Him, but he was killed just as Jesus would also be killed.

They then went down from the mountain and back into the world. After this spiritual high point they were to move on and were immediately met by a needy person. What a lesson in itself right here, that after a glorious experience, one is expected to help another.

How many people are continually seeking spiritual mountaintops? Meeting after meeting, conferences, seminars, always seeking signs and wonders, desiring only the high points, never serving.

There are times when all I want to do is sit in my little room and think about God’s glory. But I know that this is not what I have been trained to do. I can only serve God by coming down off the mountaintop and into the valleys to serve. But one of things I take away from this passage is the commandment to listen and to obey Jesus. His commandments are laid out in the Word of God. When I have a spiritual highpoint in my life now I take it as an encouragement to go forth and serve God. It is not something to bask in like we see so much of today. We are not to be afraid to do what He asks of us. He showed His glory to the disciples so that they would go out and preach the Gospel.

We can apply what we have learned here by listening to God’s voice in the Bible. We can boldly go forth and tell others because God has revealed himself to us through his Word. Doing so will please God.

Luke adds that Jesus was praying after ascending the mountain. Jesus prayed at all the important steps in His life and this time was no exception. This is a reminder that when we are facing an important decision or step in our life, we need to go the Father in prayer.

Peter later wrote:

“We were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain”

2 Peter 1:16-18

What an affirmation for the disciples who actually heard the voice of God and saw the Shekinah glory. What a confirmation to them that Jesus not only knew Moses and Elijah, but that He was fulfilling their teachings. What a glorious vision to recall as they went out after Pentecost knowing what Jesus truly looked like in all his glory as He sits at the right hand of the Father.

Bible study is your personal time spent with God. Pray first for understanding from the Holy Spirit and let the Spirit guide you into the Truth.

 

This was taken from the International House of Prayer’s website.

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4/18/11 update 

I see that the link below has been broken and that IHOP has pulled this information from their site. If another link can be found I will post it.  Please know that this was copied word for word from their site.

*****

Contemplative Prayer—–Communing with the Holy Spirit who lives within you

I. Know He Lives Inside of You
II. Pray the Scripture

The goal is to search for the Spirit of Jesus in the Word and have depth, not necessarily length, in understanding the passage. Jesus is the Word (John 1) and we want to know Him, the Truth. In Him is life; it is His Spirit who gives life. The words of Scripture are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63). The entrance of the Word gives light and life (Psalm 119:130). As the Word of God enters your heart, the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal body (Romans 8:11).

Make sure you are searching for the Spirit of Jesus, not just searching for knowledge. Just pray the Scriptures. In simple terms, prayer is turning your heart toward God. In John 5:39, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You do not have His Word abiding in you … you search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

Method #1

Choose a short phrase in Scripture.

Begin slowly praying the Scripture in silence.

Focus your prayer toward the Spirit who lives inside you (John 7:38).

Remain on the phrase as long as you feel the Lord’s presence on it. Then move with Him, slowly praying through the passage phrase by phrase.

Method #2

Choose a short story in Scripture.

Read through the story several times silently.

Close your eyes and acknowledge the Spirit who lives in you.

Use your imagination to imagine yourself as one of the story characters or as an onlooker.

Play out the story in your mind applying all five of your senses.

Method #3

We call this “Beholding the Spirit Within.”

The goal is to search for and feel God’s presence inside you, not necessarily to gain more understanding in God’s Word as with the first two methods.

Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit. The Scripture is used to quiet the clamoring of your soul and draw you to God. It is the connection point, the springboard into the spiritual realm.

Once you feel God’s presence, focus on it in a concentrated way.

You will be able to notice His presence now; He has always been there, but now your attention is on Him within you. The outward senses are quiet and your surface thoughts are gone. You are beginning to be consumed by the Spirit.

In this time, feel the freedom to stay quiet. Silently ask the Spirit to show you a vision, or slowly and silently say to Him, “I love You. I love You. I love You.”

Overcoming Distractions

 

Your mind will have to be trained in practical ways to not wander and think on other things. To overcome a wandering mind, simply begin thinking on the Scripture you have been meditating on, and focus your prayer to the Spirit within you. The Lord sees your heart as it searches for Him, and He is smiling upon you. You may become sleepy during prayer. To overcome, sit up straight instead of slouching and do not lie down. You can also begin speaking the Scripture you are meditating on under your breath until you feel the drowsiness subside, then return to the silent prayer.

Diligence in Prayer

In time these methods of praying will become easy. You will find the Spirit who lives in you if you search for Him with all your heart, but it will require time and your whole heart.

Keys to Progress

 

Humility-the high and lofty One dwells with the lowly in heart (Isaiah 57)

Disciplined life of prayer, fasting, giving and loving your enemies (Matthew 6)

Total abandonment in love to Jesus and loving nothing of this life (Matthew 7:14)

http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?id=1000000385


                                                       The New Age and Christianity


“Occultism has always involved
three techniques for changing and creating reality:
thinking, speaking, and visualizing.”

(Dave Hunt – Occult Invasion)
* * * *

“…imaging and visualization are increasingly appearing as Christian meditation, “mind-stretchers,” or a consciousness-awakening experience in Christian workshops, and you’d better believe that visualization as a cultivated exercise comes with all sorts of metaphysical and spiritual baggage in tow.”
Visualization and Imaging, Jon Trott

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“It’s not difficult to trace the practice of meditative imaging and visualization back to the mystics.” Visualization and Imaging, Jon Trott
                                                                 ****
 Jon Trott is correct here. If anyone has started to indulge themselves  into meditative practices, just ask them what books they are reading.  

Christians are being duped into mysticism because a sentence has the word Jesus in it or there is a phrase of scripture.

The well-known catholic mystics are Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Thomas Merton, and Matthew Fox. If these authors are in your library then you know that you are entering a mystical realm that will only draw you AWAY from Jesus Christ. They want you to focus on a centering prayer which will invite a feeling of divinity within yourself. This is the lie, that you are divine. You may not think that this is where they are leading you, but this is what Eve thought when the serpent suggested, that “You will be like God.”  Watch out for the new charismatic coined term of DNA which actually means “Divine Nature Activated”

Contemplative prayer sounds so biblical, but it is a dangerous occult method of contacting the spirit world, which is off-limits to the Christian. Visualization is a technique that speeds up the process of reaching into another dimension to either experience visions or transport oneself.

Christian beware, the wolves are telling you that you are divine and holy.  What does the Bible say?

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”

So why should we center ourselves on our own heart looking for our divinity? We shouldn’t.

Instead…..we can have righteousness through faith….

Romans 3:21

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known to which the Law, and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

These phrases from the IHOP article bother me.

“Make sure you are searching for the spirit of Jesus.”

Jesus wasn’t and is not a spirit. He came to earth as fully man and fully God, but He never came as a spirit.  But those who meditate using TM methods often contact a spirit guide named “Jesus”. This is deceiving spirit because Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father.

“Play out the story…apply all five senses”

This is an exercise in guided imagery. Read what Dave Hunt says about this:

“Visualization and Guided Imagery have long been recognized by sorcerers of all kinds as the most powerful and effective methodology for contacting the spirit world in order to acquire supernatural power, knowledge and healing. Such methods are neither taught or practiced in the Bible as helps to faith or prayer.” (The Seduction of Christianity)

Yet here we see it openly being taught and embraced.

“Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit.”

How can you do these two things simultaneously?  Actually the Scripture becomes meaningless as one focuses on something else entirely.

“The springboard into the spiritual realm.”

What is the springboard?…it is the silence, the quiet. They are trying to fool you into thinking it is the scripture, but this is not the case here. The silence is a void used in eastern meditation to stop you from thinking or concentrating.  So now what spiritual realm have you just entered? You have entered a void. It is this void that allows you to enter a spiritual realm that is forbidden in the Bible. This is the realm where the white light enters, and if you know your Bible, then you know that this is Satan. He comes with joy and peace and fills you with ecstasy. If he came any other way he would be instantly rejected.

“Your surface thoughts are gone”.

The Bible never tell us to quit thinking or to empty our minds. In fact we are told the quite the opposite.

1 Peter 5:8

“Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour.”

“Ask the spirit to show you a vision.”

This is exactly how those involved in TM ask to be shown their demonic spirit guides. Exactly. This is so dangerous……

The section describing how to overcome distractions is the same method chanters use when meditating. If they actually have…a thought…oh no…start the chant again to empty the mind.

Anyone who does not see the eastern mysticism in this occult prayer method…does not want to see. Even a cursory study of meditation easily shows the parallels but people aren’t listening, or they don’t care, or maybe they hate to admit they have been deceived. This pride is fateful. It is eternal. It keeps you in touch with the New-Age Jesus, (who does not exist) and separates you from the true Jesus Christ in the Bible.

“It is not an advanced spiritual state, but one that is primitive and regressive, and consequentially results in bondage to spiritistic powers.” ( Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs) Ankerberg and Weldon  pg. 238

How is it that the church has fallen into such a sad state of affairs? It is simple. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not being preached anymore. Without repentance, without turning away from sin, without faith, there is no conversion.

The unconverted are hungry for God because they have no way to be sanctified. So in order to hear from God, in order to fill the void, they need to resort to false fire. Gnostic strange fire. This spiritual false fire replaces a true move of God which would cause conviction and make us fall on our faces and weep. We would weep because when the holiness of God shines His light on our sin, magnifying our true nature, it is unbearable. This in turn causes us to hate our sin, and search the Word for how live a holy life pleasing to the Lord.

When the Word of God is not enough, when it is not sufficient, the alternative is deception.

How to get drunk without drinking – via Derren Brown

The anointing that Brown gives this young man, is the same anointing that many are receiving in our churches today.

Derren Brown –  The so called Messiah Part 3 0f 8.

In Part 1 Brown is headed for the US where he is basicallly unknown and he going to approach people with “paranormal belief systems” to see if he can convince them that he is the real deal. He says that he uses magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection, and showmanship when he is performing. He is going to slay people in the spirit and “convert” them.

There are those who have claimed to be “drunk in the spirit”, or feeling out of control because of the overpowering of the Holy Spirit. But in these videos these people are being “slain” and “intoxicated” by a well-known medium, who admits to be conducting an experiment and posing as someone religious. Brown is an atheist.

Derren Brown – The so called Messiah Part 4 0f 8

These two videos are very interesting to watch in tandem. It is actually difficult to tell if Bentley really knees this man in stomach. I have watched it over and over and I do see his leg lifted, but I am wondering if a different power was transferred to this man to knock him down. A power like the one Derren Brown calls on.

Next watch Derren Brown deliver his “One inch punch.” The effects on the two men are very similar. Remember that Brown is an atheist and does not believe in God.

Why should you be watching these videos clips?  For one thing they show that a spiritualist, can recreate the experiences that are happening in our churches. Why is this?   Simple ….the spirit is the same spirit. A deceiving spirit.

Our churches are being invaded by false, masquerading spirits and we need to educate ourselves about the paranormal/occult world so we can recognize them. Unfortuneately, the deceiver Satan make these experiences pleasant.

From his website:

Derren Brown: Mind Control, with Derren Brown’ quite literally aired. It was an immediate success, and gained Derren a cool, underground kudos which he described as “not enough”.

Mind Controls 2 and 3 followed, then a series, then a brief spell in prison, and then in October 2003 Derren caused an international furore with ‘Derren Brown Plays Russian Roulette Live’. This secured his notoriety with the public and his big apartment in London. “Bristol can shove itself”, he said.

The Seance followed soon after, which was Derren’s first look at the area of spiritualism and paranormal phenomena, and the first show where his intelligent scepticism could be expressed. Derren says of the show, “By now I was properly famous and could pretty much buy whatever I wanted”. Further specials have followed, including ‘Messiah’, which took him undercover to the US to see if leaders in paranormal belief systems would wrongly endorse him as the real thing.

I am unsure that Brian Flynn knows the extent of the service he provided when he wrote, “Running against the Wind.”  The information he shares about Mind Control and TM are really invaluable. He was taught how to access information from the netherworld. The spirits he contacted gave him real life information about the people he was dealing with. The power from the supernatural world is there and available. But Christians are clearly not supposed to delve into this world and access demon power.

At the beginning of this article I quoted Brown about how his magic is done. But there is much more than meets the eye here. Brown is deeply entrenched in the paranormal world and has attained demonic talents. Others videos on his site  demonstrate his ability to convince the bereaved he was communicating with the dead, and he can definitely astral project.

It is no wonder he doesn’t truly explain the source of his abilities because he may not know….or is not telling. But as we compare the demonic abilities against similar abilities being demonstrated in the church, we must sit up and take notice.

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