Bible Study, Uncategorized

5 Powerful Rewards for Seeking First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness – Bible Study: The Shunammite Woman, 2 Kings

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you,” (Matthew 6:33).

We see the great favor of God upon this woman, so much so that He saw fit to reward her for all eternity my mentioning her wisdom and great faith in His Word. To use her as a beautiful example and instruction on the principles of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL things will be added unto you.

I. ANSWERED PRAYERS, EVEN THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART – 2 KINGS 4:8-17

Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. 9 And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. 10 Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.”

11 And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. 12 Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.” When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 And he said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’ ”

She answered, “I dwell among my own people.”

14 So he said, “What then is to be done for her?”

And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.”

15 So he said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.”

And she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!”

17 But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her.

II. GREAT FAVOR WITH GOD AND MAN – 2 Kings 4:18-37

God will cause others to go way out of their way to help you and your children and abundantly bless you.

18 And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. 19 And he said to his father, “My head, my head!”

So he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20 When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. 21 And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. 22 Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.”

23 So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.”

And she said, “It is well.” 24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” 25 And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! 26 Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ”

And she answered, “It is well.” 27 Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.”

28 So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?”

29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.”

30 And the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. 31 Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.”

32 When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. 34 And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. 35 He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37 So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out.

III. DIVINE PROTECTION – 2 Kings 8:1-2

God will speak to you and forewarn of coming trouble so you can avoid it.

8 Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.” 2 So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years.

IV. RIGHT PLACE. RIGHT TIME. – 2 Kings 8:3-6

3 It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land. 4 Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done.” 5 Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had (E)restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” 6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him.

So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.”

V. GOD HIMSELF WILL HONOR YOU BEFORE OTHERS – Psalm 91:14-15

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.

Recognition and honor by God Himself.  Faith pleases God, and it takes faith to look at the Word of God and walk in it. Imagine the Shunammite woman in heaven knowing God included her in His Holy Word to honor her story to instruct us on how applying His Word, truth, and principles to our lives and living by His Word brings great blessings and rewards.

God desires that all His children live by faith and walk in all His ways. The world and the ways of it are just not worth sacrificing our relationship with God and all the blessings that He wants us to have when we seek first the kingdom of God and its wellbeing, put Him and all His ways first. Then we never need to worry, God will just automatically take care of all things concerning us and ours.

That’s His Word. He says so, so we say can so right along with Him.

God's Will

Laboring Fervently in Prayer to Stand Firm in ALL the Will of God (Because His Will Doesn’t Always Happen)

The Lord often teaches me by keeping me on certain themes for periods of time (of varying lengths). Lately, it’s about doing His will, being able to do His will, how the devil (the thief) steals from us through sickness, etc. to keep us from God’s will.

What does all this mean?

It means God has His will for each of us but that the VERY will of God doesn’t always happen. So, let’s look to what God has to say about this.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9). 

It’s NOT God’s will that any should perish (in hell for eternity), but because we have free will people will choose to reject His will for themselves through unbelief by rejecting His Son, Jesus. Thus also rejecting eternal life with Him in heaven. Again, not God’s will. Because He loves us, He didn’t create us like robots and lets us choose Jesus and eternity with Him or not.

God’s will: That all confess Christ and none perish for eternity.

God’s will not happening: People reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior for themselves and choose hell instead.

“But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him,” (Luke 7:30). 

God’s will: Receive the baptism by John the baptist (God’s will before Jesus got His ministry going).

God’s will not happening: They outright rejected what God told them to do using John the baptist to speak to them regarding His command at that time.

“They certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it,” (Numbers 14:23-24). 

God’s will: For all the children of Israel to believe Him and His will for them when He said the land was theirs despite the giants there. We see Caleb accepted God’s word, promise, and will for Himself as truth and did enter the land because he didn’t fear the giants there based on God telling him the land was theirs. By faith, he knew that also meant that God would also help them defeat the giants.

God’s will not happening: Most rejected His will for themselves – that the land was theirs – and therefore did not receive or get to enter the land and partake of His promise to them.

“Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God,” (Colossians 4:12).

This is so powerful to me right now! Thank You, Father, for using it to minister to me in such a mighty way by Your Holy Spirit.

See how Colossians 4:12 magnifies the importance of prayer and the massive consequences of prayerlessness? 

Epaphras was led by the Spirit in this. In order for them to stand firm in God’s will, He knew by God that it required “laboring fervently in prayers,” for them.

Wow, my Lord! Thank You so much for this incredible revelation. Colossians 4:12 in the NIV says it like this, “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”

We are in such a spiritual battle that it requires a pray without ceasing, wrestling in prayer, in order to stay in God’s will.

This brings to mind, Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is why prayer is not an option but a must for anyone who desires to stand firm in God’s will. I have often cried, “Lord, keep me! I cannot keep myself.”

Why is this important?

Before I get to that, I must warn, because love warns, that there are a great many in the church who have been taught and have not checked the Word and sought the Lord for themselves to make sure what they were being taught was His truth, and therefore, spread lies about the will of God in ignorance. Many believe that God’s will always happens and happen automatically. This is far from what the Word teaches. And He’s our go to on the truth, of course. That belief is inspired by satan and has made its way into the church like a snake, vice gripping it into passivity as believing God’s will just happens makes for prayerless, apathetic, inactive children of God. We don’t have to be this way though. With God’s help, we can make that change right now and choose His truth and a life of prayer to be able to stand firm in all His will for us.

It’s important because it highlights prayer as a need if we desire to stand firm in God’s will for our lives and that His will clearly doesn’t always happen (because of prayerlessness and free will).

Praise

Father, thank You for being the best Teacher ever. Apart from You, we can do nothing. Not even understand Your Word. All glory and honor and praise to You for the revelations found in this word (post)! I bless Your name forever. Hallelujah!

Bible Study (Short), Exposing False Teachings for Jesus' Namesake

3 Ways Man Used Scripture to Birth False Teachings by Making it Self-Centered Instead of God-Centered and Glorifying

3 false teaching man created from self centeredness

Yes, I believe the Word of God is a love letter and instructions from God to us, but I also believe because of it and because the Word IS God (John 1:1) much of how He teaches us to live and the ways He blesses us are always intended to be Christ-centered and to glorify and point to Him, not man.

Three ways man used scripture to birth false teachings by making it self-centered instead of God-centered and glorifying

I. Matthew 16:13-18, “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Context: Jesus is asking His disciples who they believe He is.

Way man made this self-centered instead of God-centered: There is a false teaching out there that says Peter is the rock on which He will build His church. Incorrect interpretation. This is why we must fully rely on the Holy Spirit to help us interpret the Word, so we cannot boast and He gets all the glory.

So, what is the Rock?: Let’s re-read verse 16, “Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Going back to context, they are discussing who Jesus is. Peter answers by revelation from God the Father (not of himself, so he could boast), and Jesus tells him that on that revelation from the Father that Jesus “is the Christ, the Son of the Living God” is the Rock on which He will build His church. THE Messiah and Savior of the world had come and is the Rock of all we as His believe to this day and forever.

II. “Healing, the gifts and signs of the Holy Spirit are no longer for today.” Firstly, I can find literally zero verses to support this false teaching. But it states that all manifestations of the Holy Spirit died with the last apostle and that they were only intended by God to confirm the apostles.

Context: Entire God-inspired Word.

Way man made this self-centered instead of God-centered: This false teaching makes all that God did in His Word point to a small group of men and is man-centered and not at all God-centered and glorifying.

What does God say?:

Mark 16:20, “And they [the disciples] went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word through the accompanying signs. Amen.”

God used and continues to use His Holy Spirit in us, working WITH us, to confirm the Word which IS Him (John 1:1). This is God-centered and glorifying as He intended and still does.

Hebrews 2:3-4, “How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”

“Spoken.” Jesus spoke what? Words. Words about how to be saved, and God confirmed His Word, thus confirming and glorifying Himself using signs, wonders, and miracles, not the confirmation of man.

Isaiah 44:26, “Who confirms the word of His servant and performs the counsel of His messengers.”

God is He that confirms His own Word for His glory, so that we come to saving faith and heal the sick, etc. It is Him and Him alone who performs.

Dear Lord forbid that any man being used by God as a vessel of the Holy Spirit say God is confirming his or her words or power but His Word, power, and the words He gave them through His Spirit.

III. 2 Corinthians 12:7, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” To gain very important understanding and background of this controversial verse, you can also check out my post, The Thorn in the Flesh False Doctrine and Healing. The Holy Spirt is our absolute best Teacher for understanding the Word in a revelatory way as He intended. Not just knowing it secondhand from anyone else, including pastors which is where these false teachings come from to begin with.

Context: Entire God-inspired Word.

Way man made this self-centered instead of God-centered: This one requires a much more in-depth, Holy Spirit dependent study through the Word, but I tried to summarize it the best I could prayerfully and with God’s help.

Paul’s thorn in the flesh wasn’t a sickness, and he wasn’t at all concerned about himself but that the demonic spirit was hindering him getting the Word (Jesus) to the people that he so loved and wanted to reach for Christ.

What does God say?:

By the goodness and the grace of God, the Holy Spirit gave me a very powerful revelation on this regarding Paul’s thorn in the flesh.

The TRUE WHY behind him persisting in prayer to be relieved of the thorn, a demonic messenger that stirred up persecution to hinder the gospel, is not about him but all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul’s asked three timed for God to remove the thorn in the flesh that was stirring up so much hindrance and persecution against him that it was very difficult for him to preach the gospel and for it to take root in people.

If we read Pauls’ writings, we see his heart and character come through. Asking God to remove the demonic messenger that hindered the gospel was all about Jesus, His true gospel (salvation, healing, and deliverance), and his love for people (also a command of God).

Additionally, in his writings, we discover him to be a selfless man who didn’t even care if he died and who was heartbroken when the people he loved and taught the gospel of grace and word to strayed from it. To say that Paul was overly concerned about a thorn, the demon, attacking him directly would greatly discredit and downplay his character that shines through and who he was as a person in Christ. Not perfect but far more about Jesus and others than himself.

Acts 21:10-14, “And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ ”12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”

Then if we also read the book of Galatians, we see the heart and character of Paul as well, that it’s all about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, thus Jesus, thus God-centered not self-centered.

The thorn being removed is about the gospel to Paul and not how he was affected directly but because he was persecuted and hindered that the RESULT was people were kept from the gospel. So, that’s why he really persisted in asking for the thorn (demonic messenger) to be removed – he couldn’t stand that the gospel (Jesus) was being hindered/kept from people. He loved Jesus and people that much.

Also, Paul and the disciples had the irrevocable power and authority to heal the sick in Jesus’ name. No need for Paul to beg God to heal him. The thorn was a demonic spirit stirring up persecution/hindrance of the gospel (Jesus) to the people, Paul’s TRUE heart concern, not himself.

I pray this brief study blessed you.

All of these things are about God and God-centered but man making the Word about themselves, in these instances, has caused and created false teachings that have led people astray. God always gets the glory, and we are called to glorify Him. Man can dangerously misrepresent God to people by making things in the Word intended to be about Him incorrectly about themselves.

The Holy Spirit is your best Teacher,

His Warring Handmaid

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Healing

The Thorn in the Flesh False Doctrine and Healing

thorn false doctrine

The ‘thorn in the flesh doctrine’ is a false one that is widely taught regarding healing.

“Thorn in the flesh” has also been adopted by unbelievers and is used to describe annoyances or annoying people in their lives. So, it’s also been widely secularized in addition to being misused in the church.

Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” is NOT a sickness God refused to heal him from. This lie against God is still widely taught in the church.

That’s why we have to study the Word ourselves. ❤️

2 Corinthians 12:7 says, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a THORN in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!”

We must keep 2 Corinthians 12:7 in context of the chapter, book, books, and the entire Word, not use that one verse then willy-nilly substitute any old thing for it and falsely accuse God of refusing to heal Paul. In context, Paul is talking about persecutors. NOT sickness.

The Holy Spirit used this to lead me lead me further into the truth about this pesky thorn.  He said, “Paul knew the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures) well and often quoted from it.” So, I did recall that he was used to be a Pharisee and looked it up and found the confirming verses in Acts 22:3, Acts 23:6, and Acts 26:5.

Keeping in mind that Paul knew the Old Testament well and often quoted from it in the New Testament, let’s read the following verses:

  • “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and THORNS in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell” (Numbers 33:55).
  • Because of Israel’s disobedience God says to them regarding the ungodly inhabitants of the land, “Therefore, I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be THORNS in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’” (Judges 2:3).
  • But evil men are all to be cast aside like THORNS, which are not gathered with the hand. (2 Samuel 23:6)
  • And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. (Ezekiel 2:6)
  • No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 28:24)

So, we now see by ‘thorn’ Paul means, persecutors as in people, NOT sickness. God, in both the Old and New Testament, always intends for thorn to mean: a person or people who persecute, torment, and harass His people. Jesus said we’d be persecuted for the gospel, so He didn’t deliver Paul from persecutors that were being inspired by a religious spirit – NOT sickness. 2 Corinthians 11:4, Paul says, “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” We all know that “we wage not against flesh and blood.” You can read more about Paul’s persecutors here.

Again, pastors/people can’t just substitute what they want to make a cute message for the praises of man. Look at the damage it causes both to how people see God and how people who are praying for healing would be greatly affected by this lie.

I’m saddened at what this false doctrine does to the name of the Lord as it continues to be spread amongst the church by the inspiration of father of lies – Satan. I have heard many “popular” pastors teach this wrong and substitute a MULTITUDE OF THINGS for thorn in the flesh which spreads lies against God and His character.

Lord, I pray someone here is helped by this in Jesus’ name, amen.

In order to believe that Paul’s thorn was a sickness, a NEW COVENANT believer must DISBELIEVE or reject THROUGH UNBELIEF a significant part of the atonement  (Jesus’ finished work) and so much more.

One would have to reject through unbelief:

  • “But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises,” Hebrews 8:6. New Covenant believers in Christ are under the best covenant yet. We are not under the law nor any covenant that predates the law.
  • Paul and all New Covenant believers were purchased, through the blood of Jesus, the IRREVOCABLE POWER by an IRREVOCABLE contract (covenant) with God to heal the sick. Spoken in command form by Jesus: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give,” Matthew 10:8. No need for Paul to beg God to heal Him when He and the disciples could simply exercise their authority to heal the sick.
  • “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you,” Luke 10:19, which is preceded by, Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you,” Luke 10:8-9. 
  • “Surely He has borne our [a] griefs and carried our [b] sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed,” Isaiah 53:4-5. The original Hebrew for [a] griefs and [b] sorrows are sicknesses and pains respectively.
  • “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed,” 1 Peter 2:24. In fulfillment of Isaiah 53, this is now given in the past tense. Jesus ALREADY paid for for healing for ALL, but we must receive it by faith NOT reject it through unbelief.
  • “He sent His Word (Jesus) and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions,” Psalm 107:20. 
  • “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases,” Psalm 103:2-3.
  • “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities AND bore our sicknesses,” Matthew 8:16-17.