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May all the blessings of God go with you as we live out God’s Word in our life!

Rejoice Always

There are a lot of places in Scripture where it specifically says, ‘this is the will of God”, although it is certainly implied in most places. And, definitely is in the commandments…

Yet, here is one where it’s absolutely clear. It was our kids memory and handwriting verse at school Monday and Tuesday. Originally, until I said something, they looked at three verses and saw them as separate.

I had they take a closer look then zoom back out again. Guys, it’s all one sentence, one thought, one instruction.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 ESV

Back in the Saddle Again

Life can be so crazy and overwhelming sometimes, we know the secret of contentment comes from God alone through His Son, Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the Holy and Appointed One of God. Philippians 4:13 reveals that secret, “I”, Paul says, “can do all things through Him (Jesus) who gives me strength.”
I am praying for strength right now, going through the holidays, working both my full-time job, part-time substitute teaching, both volunteer ministry and occasional pulpit supply preaching plus of course, famil; in the meantime, neglecting to post and write.
I apologize once again for my negligence.
Getting back on the ball, so please like, share, follow, recommend on Facebook  and
God’s Word is Life and we can have peace and contentment through Him who gives us strength!

You Cannot Serve Both God and Theology

Excellent and balanced article. Knowing God better and loving him more. So often, knowledge gets stuck in our heads but never travels to our hearts.

I have known people that could quote chapter and verse, talk about relationship, prayer, and grace; and yet miss the heart of God… Then, others who couldn’t even quote John 3:16, yet had a more profound faith and understanding of mercy, grace, forgiveness and love, than one with a PhD in Theology.

God promised to write his Word on our hearts, not just on the pages we can read.

Quick Update

First, an apology, I have not been posting much for the last couple months nor writing much, for those who are following God’s Word Is Life, I’m sorry. Just really busy with work and family.
Second, I promise to get back on the ball sharing encouragement, perspective, and biblical truth regarding life and recovery.
Third, a request. Please like, share, follow, and recommend both the Facebook page and the website
Let’s get the message of renewal, hope, joy, and contentment to the world through the mercy and grace offered to us ALL through a relationship with our Creator Father through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus the Christ, and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Thank you all for your support!

The Best Defense 05/26/19

Sermon delivered at Second Church of God, Decatur on 5/26/19.

Part four in the series, On Mission, On Purpose: Carry the Message.

Answering the questions of:

How was the canon assembled?

How can we believe a book written over 2,000 years ago is the divinely inspired Word of God and authoritative for our lives today?

10 evidences for the authenticity and authority of the Word of God.

See also the attached article by Charlie Campbell, 10 Evidences for the Bible.

10 evidences


The Basics of Bible Study

The Basics of Bible Study


Joe Hooten


The Bible was not written to be a complicated book. It is meant to be a basic guidebook written from God to man, to guide man back to God. It is the story of God’s glory. We should address it as such. It is God’s Word, divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and written by men carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). It is not written to confuse us. It is written to help us understand.


There are many methods different people have touted over the years to study the Bible. We want to use the OICA method (Observation, Interpretation, Correlation, Application method) when we are studying the Scriptures. This means in an inductive Bible study, we should be looking into the text to pull out what God wants us to know. To do so, we use a literal, grammatical, historical method of interpreting the Bible.


We want to first Observe the text, what does it actually say? We should always exegete, pull out of the text the meaning; never eisegete, read into the text what we want it to say. As we observe the text, not everyone is going to study the text in the original languages, but there are many good Bible study tools that can be used to help get to the intent of the writer.


When using a literal, grammatical, historical method of observation, we must be diligent in our study. To study the text literally means: we first take the text for what it says. We are not looking for hidden allegorical or symbolic meanings in the words on the page. What does it say? Whether in our language or the original language, what does it say? If it says, one thousand years (Rev. 20:1-6), our first assumption should be that the author meant one thousand years and nothing else.


Grammatical observation means we look at what the text actually says in light of how the grammar is being used.Grammatically, how were the words used in the original language? We must follow the same rules of grammar in our interpretation. So far, this is kind of stating the obvious, as it should be…


Historically, how were the words that the writer used being used in other contexts?


In addition, we may want to dive deeper in our observation of the text. Are there textual variants we can study? Are there specific words we want to study? Why did the authors use the words that they did to express the thoughts they are trying to get across? Remember, the people writing the Bible were being verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit in the text that they were writing and all of what they wrote was God-breathed, the words are important.


After we have thoroughly observed the text, we will then work on our Interpretation of what the text means. I do not care what the text means to you! That is not what we are studying the Bible for… All I care about is, what did the authors mean when they wrote to their audience? What did their audience understand the text to mean? That is the meaning we should be taking out of the text. Again, it is what the Scripture says that should drive how we understand what it means. All the time, it means exactly what it says!


In the Correlation step, we look at what other reliable commentaries and authors say about the text we are studying, we also compare context in this step as well. We read within the grammatical context of the passage. What do the surrounding verses say? What does the chapter say? What about previous and subsequent chapters? What does it say in light of the entire book? Scripture never contradicts Scripture, so how does the passage you are studying mix with the rest of the Bible? Historically, the writers of Scripture lived in a different time, and faced different challenges. So, we must study in the historical context of when the passage was written. Was it a time of war? Peace? Slavery? Conquest? Reform? These things all play into what was written and why. So, when doing an inductive Bible study, we must ask all these questions. If our interpretation says one thing and reliable sources say something different, we need to check our steps and see if we went wrong somewhere. One of my professors once said, “If you think you have discovered something completely new about the Scriptures, check your heresy first.”


Finally, after all the other steps, we can finally look at Application. However, before we can look at how we can apply the principles we find in a passage (secondary application). We must first ask, how would the original audience have applied this to their lives? Not every passage applies to all people in the same way! Some things were written, for instance, specifically to the nation of Israel during a time of exile… It does not apply to you and me, or even to our country at this time in history. It applied to them and only to them. That is the primary application of the passage.


Other things, however, do apply to us today. For example, grace is still grace and sin is still sin. We can still count on our Lord Jesus for salvation and the Holy Spirit to guide us into all the knowledge we need for life and godliness. We are still expected to be holy as He is holy.


I hope this little guide helps you get more out of your study of the Scriptures. More important, I hope it helps you to know God better and love him more.


Happy studying!


Formational Era of the Old Testament





The Formational Era of the Old Testament is time when God is forming the nation of Israel. The Formation of Israel begins in Genesis chapter 12 with the calling of Abram. The story is carried through in the remainder of the book of Genesis, then on through the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Joshua up until the death of Joshua is Joshua chapter 24, covering a time period of about 715 years[1]. The books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy augment the story and include Israel’s constitution. In the remainder of this paper, I want to explore what the Scriptures have to teach us about this key time in the history of Israel.

In Genesis Chapter 12, in approximately the year 2090 B.C.[2], God called Abram out of the land of Ur for the second time (Acts 7:2-4 record the first call of Abram) and into the land that God would show him. In Genesis 12:2, God promises to make Abram into a great nation. In order to become a nation, three things are required: land, laws, and people. The remainder of the book of Genesis is the story of how God began making Abram’s family into a great nation. The first step for God was to multiply Abram’s descendants.

Throughout Genesis 12-23, the adventures and misadventures of Abram (renamed Abraham in chapter 17:5) are recorded for us. Hebrews 11:8 tells us that Abraham didn’t know exactly where God was leading him, but in faith, Abraham followed after God. The story begins with Abraham leaving Ur with several family members and traveling to Haran. After several years there and after his after died, Abraham traveled to Canaan, where he confirmed his covenant with the Lord. The records of Abraham’s covenant with the Lord are recorded in Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-22; and 22:15-18.

In the Abrahamic Covenant, Abraham was made several everlasting and unconditional promises by God. Abraham was promised personal blessings from the Lord. He would be made into a great nation, have a huge multitude of descendants, and prosper materially. All of these promises have been literally fulfilled. Abraham was also promised blessings to his descendants through the lines of Isaac and Jacob. These descendants were promised greatness as a nation and a land of their own (the Promised Land, see map below). Not all of this promise has been fulfilled, though as with all of God’s promises, we can trust that they will certainly be fulfilled. The last aspect of the covenant was a blessing made to all the families of the earth. This has been fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16).

After reconfirming his covenant with the Lord, Abraham’s journey continues. He traveled through Canaan and down to Egypt, eventually returning to Canaan. Abraham had two sons, Ishmael (born of the concubine, Hagar), and the child of promise, Isaac, and then other sons with his new wife after his wife, Sarah, passed away. Through Isaac God continued to fulfill his promises to Abraham. Isaac’s story is relatively brief and is contained in chapters 24-26.

Isaac had twin sons, born to his wife, Rebekah, named Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:24). God selected Jacob to be the child through who the covenant promises would be fulfilled. In Genesis 32:28, the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel and blessed him. Twelve sons and one daughter were born to Jacob, they would become the twelve tribes of Israel. Their names were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin; and the daughter, Dinah.

The grand story of the Old Testament shifts in Genesis chapter 37 to Jacob’s son, Joseph. Joseph, the spoiled second youngest son, was hated by his ten older brothers. They conspired against Joseph and sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:2). Joseph became a slave in Egypt and eventually became the second ruler in Egypt (Genesis 41:46). When a famine struck all the lands of the Middle East, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food. They did not recognize their brother, whether because he was twenty years older now, or because he looked so much like an Egyptian at that point, we don’t know. After messing with his brothers a little bit, Joseph reconciled with them and the entire family of Israel ended up moving down into Egypt.

In Egypt, God continued to work out his plan and fulfill his covenant with Abraham. When the Israelites moved down to Egypt in Genesis 46, there were approximately 75 of them. By Exodus chapter 1, the population of the Israelites had grown into a nation of around 2.5 million people. It was now time for God to continue the fulfillment of his promise to make them into a great nation by moving them out of the land of Egypt and into the Promised Land. He began this process through the man, Moses in the book of Exodus, eventually finishing it through Moses assistant, Joshua in the book of Joshua.

The book of Exodus records how God supernaturally delivered Israel from the bonds of slavery in Egypt and the giving of the law. The story begins with the birth of Moses and his growing up in the palace of Pharaoh. After the murder of an Egyptian, Moses runs away into the wilderness of Midian and lives there for 40 years. Finally, Moses receiveed a call from God (Exodus 3:2-4:23) and instructions to go to Egypt and confront Pharaoh. Moses returned to Egypt and confronts Pharaoh, and eventually after ten supernatural plagues are exacted upon Egypt, the Israelites are allowed to leave. Pharaoh’s heart was then hardened once again against Israel and he pursued them to the Red Sea. There God delivered the people again by parting the sea to allow them to cross and then released the waters upon Pharaoh’s army, killing them.

Exodus 20 begins the record of the giving of the law. God had already fulfilled the first requirement of a nation by multiplying Abraham’s descendants into a nation. Next, the nation needed laws to live by. Through the end of Exodus, the book of Leviticus, and the book of Deuteronomy, God lays out Israel’s 613 commandments, all the laws by which the people were to live.

The book of Numbers carries the story forward as the nation of Israel is forced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. God’s plan had been for them to travel straight into the Promised Land after the giving of the law to begin its conquest. However, the people disobeyed God and grumbled against him after 10 of the      12 spies sent into the land brought back a bad report, claiming that Israel could never defeat the inhabitants of the land (Numbers 13-14). The people conspired against Moses and intended to return to the land of Egypt. God punished them for their unbelief and sent them to wander in the wilderness until all of that generation had perished save Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who had believed God and told the rest that they should obey God and move into the land.

At the end of the wandering, Moses passed the mantel of leadership, with God’s blessing, to his assistant, Joshua. Moses died never having set foot in the Promised Land because of his own disobedience toward God (Deuteronomy 34).

Joshua, then, prepared the people to enter the Promised Land and begin its conquest. The book of Joshua was the record of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land and the dividing up of the land among the twelve tribes. However, it should be noted that because of Israel’s disobedience, they never did conquer all the land (see map below) that God promised to them. To this day, that part of the covenant has remained unfulfilled. However, in the coming Kingdom, Israel will have all God has promised them.

At the end of the book of Joshua, and with the death of Joshua, Israel’s formative years were finished.

The Promised Land[3]








Benware, Paul N. Survey of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1993.

Click to access Promisedlandmap.pdf

[1] Paul N. Benware, Survey of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1993), 23.

[2] Benware, pg. 23.