Reading the bible as if I never read it before

If you've been a christian for a while, you might be currently experiencing or have experienced the same thing I did.

A couple of years ago when I was reading Romans 8, verse 11 jumped out at me.

"If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you."

After realizing the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in me, I've been relying on him in my prayers and in daily tasks. No matter how mundane it may seem.

I also decided to read the bible as if I never read it before. Strictly relying the Holy Spirit to reveal things to me and give me understanding.

I began in the New Testament, and it was life changing. Right from the beginning in Matthew. The Spirit helped me see things in passages that I've never seen before. I kept thinking, "How did I not see this before?" I relied on my basic knowledge, what I thought the passage was about and relied too much on what I learned in the past from sermons or Sunday school.

Here are some lessons that I've learned through this realization.

-If you are a believer, a follower and a disciple of Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. It's the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. That is a powerful Sprit so rely on it, even when you're reading the bible. The Spirit will reveal to you truths.

-Read and study the bible yourself. The Holy Sprit will teach you.

-A bible study teacher, pastors, or any preacher I listen(ed) to is not the Holy Spirit.

-Avoid the temptation to have lofty views of pastors or teachers who teach well. Their teachings can be helpful but I can't just take their word for it. The same Spirit dwells in each of us and is able to communicate to us and teach us directly. Not just through teachers and pastors. So don't blindly trust them. Avoid them elevating them, putting them on a pedestal and idolizing them.

-Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we're a royal priesthood(1 Peter 2:9), we all have direct access to God, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us(Romans 8:11). These truths gets me excited and motivated see what the powerful Holy Spirit will reveal and show me from the Bible.

-I need to study God's words, wrestle with God's words, read, pray, ponder and meditate on His words and allow the Spirit to reveal wonderful truths.


The Holy Spirit dwells in us

The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you.

This is amazing truth.

Romans 8 is one of the most popular chapters in the bible. I even heard someone refer to it as "the great 8".

A couple of years ago I was reading Romans 8 and verse 11 jumped out at me like never before.

Romans 8:11

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Think about this. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead must have had unbelievable power, right? A resurrection has never happened before in history, but it happened to Jesus.

But the crazy thing is that same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us. That's unbelievable.

This means not only we will be also raised and live with Him for eternity but it also means the powerful Spirit dwells in us right now so we can rely on his amazing power to live for God. We are to live super naturally by the strength that God supplies not by our own strength.

We are powerless on our own. But God in Spirit dwells in us. Direct access to God and he actually gives each of us power through his Spirit. That is crazy and unheard of in the Old Testament. But God made this all possible through Jesus's blood. (See Ephesians 2:13-18)

It's the Spirit who gives us understanding of Jesus' love for us, who gives us affection for Jesus more than anything else in this world, who helps us to love people, even people who are hard to love. The Spirit also helps us to care about things God cares about, who helps us in that moment of temptation, who helps us to overcome sin, who helps us to be generous to the poor and needy, who leads us to share the love of Jesus to those who do not know him here and in countries where there's hardly any christians, who humbles us, who helps us forsake entitlement and helps us not to complain when we receive bad customer service from a store, who leads us to pray, who let's us know what to pray for and give us words to pray, etc.

If the Spirit can raise Jesus from the dead, what can it not do. It is powerful to do anything.

So remember, if you believe in Jesus and claim to be a follower and disciple of Jesus, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you. I want to encourage you spend time thinking about this and let this truth sink in. Then my hope and prayer is that you will come to genuinely acknowledge and trust God and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit each moment.


Two bible verses that humbles me immediately

There are ton of verses and passages in the bible that humble me. Actually the whole story of Jesus humbles me.

Over the last couple of years I've noticed these two verses come quickly to my mind and immediately humble me. I use these as a little kick in the butt often when I catch myself complaining or thinking that this life is about my little kingdom, and not God's Kingdom.

God speaks in Job 38:4

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.

1 Corinthians 4:7

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

Haha, a nice kick in the butt, huh?

Here are also two great passages that display Jesus' love and humility which greatly humbles me also.

Ephesians 2:1-10

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Philippians 2:5-7

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


Unite my heart

This post is last of a 3 part series.
Part 1 Wisdom
Part 2 Fear of the Lord

While studying and wanting to know more about "the fear of the Lord", I came across Psalm 86:11:

"Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name."

Here's what I learned from this psalmist's prayer: I need a united heart in order to have fear of the Lord.

A focused, undivided heart.

I dug deeper and looked up passages related to having an undivided heart.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35

verses 33-34 says, "But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided."

verse 35 says, "I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord."

As you can see from verse 35 Apostle Paul isn't saying being married is bad, but laying out the reality of our hearts that things of this world divide our hearts. He's urging us of the importance of having undivided devotion to the Lord.

Here was another important discovery.

Matthew 6:22-24:

"The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."

When reading this passage I wondered why the author started talking about healthy and bad "eyes" all of a sudden when he was just talking about "heart" in previous verses.("...for where your treasures is, there your heart will be also.")

What I learned was ESV translation uses the word "healthy" in verse 22, but the Kings James Version uses, "single". When I looked up the original greek word used, it's "haplous", which means "single". Literally it means, "without folds", referring to a single(undivided) focus.

In other words, healthy eyes have a focused single vision, not double vision. If you have bad eyes, you have double vision.

It made sense. My questions were being answered. Matthew 6:19-21 was talking about laying up treasures in heaven, because your heart is where you lay your treasures. And the same topic continues on in verses 22-24 with another illustration of having healthy eyes, single vision, that is focused on God, not on riches and possessions that come along with money. An undivided, single vision.

Matthew is urging us to have an undivided, united heart toward God. A warning to us that we can't serve two masters, God and riches(possessions). A warning against being deeply consumed with building up riches on this earth, because it's impossible to do that and serve God at the same time. Even if you're tempted to think you're an exception and you can focus on both, it clearly says, no one can do it.

Here's the lesson God was teaching me, If I claim to be a followers of Jesus, I need a united heart that is devoted to the Lord.

The lesson is all throughout Matthew 6. "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness...", "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." And what I shared above.

J.C Ryle in his commentary on this passage says, "Singleness of purpose is one great secret of spiritual prosperity."

My heart is prone to wander. At the time when God taught me this lesson, my heart was all over the place devoted to many things. Running my business, making money, anxiety over running my business and making money, paying bills, providing for my family, leisure, sports, watching sports, playing fantasy sports, friends, leading small group, watching the news, watching TV, spending time with kids, next vacation etc, etc, etc.

No wonder fear of the Lord was not functioning in my life. It was clear that I didn't have a united heart, I didn't have healthy, single vision eyes.

They seem like all good things. There's nothing terrible about each of those things, except, it divided my heart.

In my mind I was serving God, but in reality I was trying to serve God and everything money provided.(By the way, the ESV translations say, God and money, but a closer translations to the original term is mammon, riches, wealth possessions, a treasure people trust in.)

Am I free from all this now? No way. Far from perfect. But I'm now aware of my sickness and well aware of my need to ask the Lord for a united heart to fear his name.

I'm so grateful that the Lord gave me grace to dig deeper and he met me while I was prayerfully searching the bible. He showed me his love, care, and power which inspired me to keep doing it, and I continue to search His word everyday.

There's no way I can be devoted to him on my own. I need the strength he provides and the Spirits help and power everyday.

This is now my daily prayer, Lord give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.

This post is last of a 3 part series.
Part 1 Wisdom
Part 2 Fear of the Lord


Fear of the Lord

This is part 2 of a 3 part series.
Part 1: Wisdom
Part 3: Unite my heart

The bible is filled with the phrase, "fear of the Lord".

As I shared on my previous post on Wisdom, I began on a quest to find out the meaning of "fear of the Lord".

I had not studied what it means to fear the Lord before. I simply understood it as being in awe of Him.

As I read the bible, I began to realize that I was barely scratching the surface. Based on what I was reading my life did not represent me 'being in awe of Him' who created the heavens and the earth.

The Proverbs is filled with verses that say, Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, the beginning of wisdom, is the hatred of evil, is the fountain of life, and on and on. Fear of the Lord obviously leads to great things.

After reading these I thought to myself, 'I thought I had some knowledge and wisdom but I'm not so sure if I even have the fear of the Lord. Am I in awe of Him? Do I have hatred of evil? Do I completely hate the sinfulness in me? Don't I justify some of my sins, believing it's not that bad?'

I came to a conclusion that I didn't have fear of the Lord. If I had it, how could I say that I have any wisdom or knowledge when fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge?

Proverbs 16:6

"By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil."

Proverbs 3:7

"Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil."

Why do I keep on sinning and not turning away from evil? The answer was simple. I do not fear the Lord.

I've been fooling myself thinking that I have a some wisdom and knowledge. God humbled me.

Luke 12:4-5

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!"

I came to a place where I was on my knees, "Lord, what does it mean to fear you? I don't want to just say that I fear you. I want to really fear you."

I needed to search for an answer like it was hidden treasures to understand the fear of the Lord.

Psalm 86:11 was a crucial verse in my discovery.

"Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name."

What I discovered was a united heart is necessary to have fear of the Lord. Simple, right? But what does it mean to have a united heart?

Another discovery came from Malachi 3:16 where I noticed that to fear the Lord is to esteem His name.

A more recent discovery comes from Proverbs 28:14:

Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always,
but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

So a hardened heart contrasts with having fear of the Lord. Makes sense. So I need a soft, humble heart toward God. I'm not wiser than God. He knows best.

We need to meditate and be in awe of His steadfast love, His greatness, so that I will fear His name.

By the way, here are two verses that immediately humbles me big time.

God speaks in Job 38:4

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.

1 Corinthians 4:7

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

Based on my findings in scripture so far, it was becoming clear that wisdom comes from reading God's word, praying, asking God, meditating(thinking, pondering about things read), being devoted to him, and having fear of the Lord.

Still there was a question still lingering in my heart. Based on Psalm 86:11, a united heart is necessary to fear the Lord, and I wanted to search the scriptures to find anything related to 'unite my heart' to know what it really means.

Next post, Unite my heart.

This is part 2 of a 3 part series.
Part 1: Wisdom
Part 3: Unite my heart



This is part 1 of a 3 part series.
Part 2: Fear of the Lord
Part 3: Unite my heart

We want to be wise, don't we? We want wisdom as we journey through life.

One of the things that I often pray is, "Lord, give me wisdom and understanding." I think I added this to a list of things I pray for because I heard someone pray it, and I liked it. There wasn't much thought put into it.

Where do we get wisdom from? Do we automatically become wiser as we get older and experience life more?

One morning in March of 2012 God put these questions in my heart, so I searched the scriptures for answers.

The search resulted in a wonderful journey of digging through scripture, praying, meditating and the Holy Spirit opening my eyes to the wonderful that are in His words regarding wisdom, the fear of the Lord and having a united heart.

The book of Proverbs is where I began.

Proverbs 2:6 says, "For the Lord gives wisdom."

We see from Solomon that he asked God for wisdom. And God was pleased at the fact that Solomon asked for wisdom and not possession, wealth, honor etc., and God granted him wisdom and knowledge.

1 King 3:9-10

"Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this."

2 Chronicles 1:10-12

"Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?"

God answered Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you."

My first discovery was this: God is the one who gives wisdom and asking him for wisdom actually pleases him. Ok then, I'm on it!

But, now that I know that God is the one who gives wisdom, do I just pray for wisdom then sit back and relax?

Not according to the following verses. It requires some work: call out for insight, seek it like silver, search for it as for hidden treasures.

Proverbs 2:1-5 says:

"My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God

Also, Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,..."

There are multiple verses that says the following: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the beginning of knowledge, the fountain of life, the hatred of evil etc....

First of all, it's clear that the fear of the Lord is a big deal. According to multiple verses, it became clear to me that fear of the Lord is necessary if I want any kind of wisdom or knowledge.

I asked myself, "Have I searched to understand the fear of the Lord as for silver or hidden treasure?" The answer was a clear "No."

When it's time to purchase any item for myself or my family, I put in a lot of energy and hard work to search for the best product I can get at the best price. I care about myself way too much. ME, ME, ME ME. What a selfish little booger:)

God convicted me of my lack of pursuit of Him. So the pursuit of Him and the pursuit for "beginning of wisdom and knowledge" began.

A quest began to find out, "What is fear of the Lord?" and "What does it mean to have the fear of the Lord?"

Read what I learned on the next post, Fear of the Lord.

This is part 1 of a 3 part series.
Part 2: Fear of the Lord
Part 3: Unite my heart