Category Archives: Bible

Ready To Give An Answer

Genesis 50; Exodus 1-2

Our church is conducting an Apologetics class Wednesday evenings, led by our Youth Pastor, a young man gifted by God with insight into God’s Word beyond his years. I am loving this study.

What DO I believe? Why do I believe it? How do I know what I believe is true? And can I share what I know in love to someone whose beliefs are void of God?

I love the Bible. My whole life is grounded in God’s revealed Word. But what does that mean to someone who doesn’t believe the Bible is even true? For me to say I believe because it’s in the Bible would mean as much to them as their telling me they believe what they believe because Santa Claus said it’s true.

Can I, grounded in God’s Word, share what is in there without chapter and verse? I thought of that when I read Exodus 3:14. God reveals His Name as I AM THAT I AM. In other words, God is self-existent, self-sustaining, stable, unchanging. He is who He is and always has been, always will be. He is the supreme authority.

Last night we briefly touched on something called the Ontological Argument which starts with the premise that there is a higher power, a highest, greatest conceivable being. An honest look at nature, at science would lead you to that conclusion. There is order, there is purpose, there is design. And it fits together to become life as we know it. That didn’t happen without a greatest conceivable being.

The beauty of this orderly universe is that this greatest conceivable being invites us to know Him, intellectually, and relationally. He is the Great I Am.

Now, I am in no way ready to sit with an atheist, walk them through what I believe, and lovingly point them to the Truth. But I want to be ready to do that because I have people close to me who need to hear it and believe it. I imagine the same is true for you.

So, what DO you believe? Why do you believe it to be true? On what authority do you stand? Are you ready to give an answer for the hope you have in I AM?

Please Join Us

Genesis 1-5

I am so excited! If this isn’t your first time reading my blog, you know I have been reading through the Bible every year for a while now. And you will probably know that my favorite way to read it is chronologically. So imagine my excitement when yesterday morning the pastor invited our church family to read the Bible TOGETHER this year… chronologically! We are using the reading plan from the YourVersion Bible app. What can I say? I’m in!

So to start the year out in Genesis, something occurred to me about Adam and Eve’s original sin. It seems contrary to Paul’s teaching that we ought to strive to be like Christ. Paul even tells us to have the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:5-11). So why, then, was Satan so wrong to tell Eve she could achieve the goal of being like God by eating the fruit? Why is it ok for Paul to tell us to be like God, and wrong for Satan to suggest the same thing?

The obvious answer is: Eve was told not to eat the fruit. That bite was blatant disobedience, and that is NOT being like God.

The lesson for us is that becoming godly men and women, having the mind of Christ is not easy. There are no shortcuts. Saying certain words, working up an emotional worship experience, attending church or reading a quick devotional in the morning doesn’t necessarily translate into becoming more like Jesus.

Sometimes there are growing pains. Sometimes there are surgeries, pruning, the cutting away of sin in our lives. And it hurts! We call it sanctification, and it doesn’t happen any other way than walking with God… one step at a time. It takes falling down and allowing God to pick us up and set us on the right path again. It takes confronting sin and humbling ourselves in order to receive God’s grace.

It takes an intentional effort on our part – like reading God’s Word every day, meditating on it, questioning it, talking about it, memorizing it, using it… every day. I can’t think of a more valuable New Year’s Resolution!

So, dear one, I hope you will join the Frederica Baptist Church family and read through the Bible in 2023. Then let’s talk about it. Let’s let God grow us into people who are more and more like Jesus every day. I’m excited about the prospect of doing this with you!

Woke Is No Joke

Acts 21

Man, we have not changed in 2,000 years. The parallel between what happened to Paul in Jerusalem, and what is happening today is unmistakable. Someone started a rumor using a half truth (which is a whole lie), and a mob formed; an angry mob that wanted to cancel Paul. (Ok. The wording in Scripture is actually “kill him.” But you get the picture).

I am convinced the Woke mob of the 21st Century are up in arms over lies. And that movement wants to cancel anyone who dares point that out. I couldn’t begin to list all the lies they’ve adopted as “their truth.” But it ranges from sexual identity to racism, global warming to the very definitions of love and truth.

They blindly follow the liars who tell them that when they are “woke,” they are free from the restraints of bigots, religion, white men, and capitalism. But these woke folks are walking in their sleep. Their eyes are tightly shut, even as they are told they are seeing for the first time. They join a mob of the blind leading the blind.

1 Corinthians 3:19a says:

For the wisdom of the world is foolishness in God’s sight.

Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2-3)

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about fools (which I interpret as woke). Google Bible verses about fools if you want to know what God has to say about people who think they know more than He does.

Fools, how long will you love being ignorant? How long will you make fun of wisdom? How long will you hate knowledge? (Proverbs 1:22)

The mob in Paul’s day wanted to kill him. And they were wrong in their belief.

They were wrong.

And so is anyone who bases his or her belief on anything other than the authority of God’s Word.

Wokeness is foolishness whether it’s proclaimed by people wanting nothing to do with God, or by people calling themselves Christians. And, like the mob that wanted Paul dead, the woke mob is dangerous. They may want to silence the Truth, may want to silence you and I who proclaim the Truth, but they are mostly a danger to their own eternal souls.

This is serious. Woke is no joke.

The Bible Tells Me So

Acts 18

The more I read the Bible, the more I let it speak for itself. My decades of sitting through sermons, studying Bible study materials, and searching trusted commentaries used to shape my interpretation of Scripture. I’d read a passage and something I’d heard in a past sermon would come to mind, or something I’d read in one of the many books on my shelf would remind me of what the author had said about the passage.

But every day for the past 9 1/2 years, I’ve opened my Bible and let it be the single authority in my quiet time with the Lord. Now, when I read a passage that makes me pause, God brings to mind other Scripture that speaks to the same issue. I’m learning to read the Bible through the lens of Scripture.

It’s not that I don’t read commentaries or refer to Bible study materials while I’m preparing my Sunday School lesson. I’ve been known to Google references. But now, instead of allowing the opinions of these Bible scholars to tell me what God means, I let God show me if they are truly saying what He means according to His Word.

Priscilla and Aquila knew the power of God’s Word. When Apollos was preaching only partial truth, they sat down with Him and used the Scripture to explain to him that Jesus was the Messiah. (vs 28)

Paul, in his letter to Timothy tells us:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (1 Timothy 3:16-17)

God-breathed. That’s incredible. What an amazing Book I hold in my hand.

A You Tuber (Brylan and Lisa) interviewed Andy Stanley, who has stopped referring to the Bible when he preaches. He downplays the virgin birth. He calls it a “story” about Jesus’ birth, and doesn’t think it’s all that important. He says the Bible is not how we know about the resurrection. I encourage you to watch this, “BEWARE This False Teacher/Andy Stanley” on the Brylan and Lisa You Tube channel.

I say all this to challenge you to know for yourself what God has written to you so that, no matter who is speaking or writing, you will be able to recognize what aligns with God’s point of view, and what is merely the opinion of imperfect people. Let Scripture be the authority… BECAUSE IT IS!

Andy Stanley is not the authority on Scripture, neither is your pastor, and certainly neither am I.

Prayerfully read the Bible from cover to cover. Then read it again. And again. Join a Bible study. Go to church and Sunday School. Read a trusted Bible scholar. BUT LET GOD’S WORD INTERPRET WHAT THEY SAY, RATHER THAN THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

Sorry, Andy. Your opinion of Scripture is wrong. The Bible tells me so.

Just Asking

Nehemiah 7

The reading of God’s Word was taken so seriously in Nehemiah’s day. When Ezra stood up and began to read, the people stood and listened closely… from early morning to noon! (verse 3)

Everyone listened, including children who were old enough to understand.

Hours.

Standing.

Listening closely.

Ezra didn’t preach. He read God’s Word.

Does your church stand for the reading of God’s Word (the whole 90 seconds it takes to read the morning passage)?

Do you read for hours, comfortably sitting in your home with a cup of coffee, listening closely to God’s Word?

Just asking.

God’s Word Written To You

Jeremiah 42

The people of Israel asked God what they should do, and they promised to do whatever God said. So God gave them His message – and they rejected it.

He had told them to “stay where you are and I will save you. Don’t go to Egypt because there is death waiting for you there. No matter how scary it is right now, trust Me. Stay put.”

When they received God’s Words, they called it lies. Their plan made more sense to them. So they went to Egypt. And they died.

It’s no different today. So many people who grew up going to Bible believing, rock solid churches, hearing, memorizing, and believing God’s Word begin to listen to other voices, then come to the conclusion that God’s Word is a lie. Their ideas make more sense to them, and the Holy Bible is viewed as just another religious document among many.

Others hear God’s Word for the first time, and because it goes against every other doctrine out there, they come to the conclusion that it’s a lie. Or that if it works for you that’s great, but it doesn’t have to work for me.

Folks, God’s Word we know as the Bible are the words of the Creator God, Holy, All-Powerful, All-Knowing, eternal, King of the universe, and the only one whose words are 100% true. To hear them, then reject them isn’t ok.

That’s not merely my opinion. It’s not even a matter of what I believe to be true. It’s a fact. It’s true according to the God who created you. For you to reject it, is foolishness at best, and an eternal death sentence at worst – according to God’s Word.

Read the Bible and let God speak to you about His heart. Hear Him tell you what He requires and know He’s serious about the consequences of disobedience. Let Him tell you what He’s done to save you, and hear His invitation to come to Him. Shut out all the other voices that would have you question God’s Word. And open your heart, your mind, and your ears to His voice.

God inspired men thousands of years ago to write you a love letter, an instruction manual, a message from his heart to yours. Read it for yourself. Don’t reject it. It’s the only truth that will matter in the end, because it’s the only truth.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Lamentations 3

“Great is thy faithfulness,” O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not.
As Thou hast been Thou forever will be.

“Great is Thy faithfulness.” “Great is Thy faithfulness.”
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided –
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me.

That beautiful hymn is probably familiar to those of us over 40. I always hear the words and music in my head whenever I read Lamentations 3:22-24. “Morning by morning new mercies I see.”

But did you know these words of assurance are found smack dab in the middle of suffering and pain in the book of Lamentations? God has told the prophet that Israel will receive their just punishment for sins against God. And God will exact judgment without mercy. There is no escape.

Yet the writer has hope in the truth of God’s faithful love and mercy. Here’s the reason, though:

The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. (vs 25)

Over and over Scripture equates God’s blessings with our obedience. His presence, protection, and provision are not just a blanket promise thrown over the earth. If we aren’t obedient – God will not bless. If we reject Him – He will not hear or help us, at all.

I love that old hymn. But there have been times I have been falsely comforted when singing it while harboring unrepentant sin in my life. Those words don’t apply to disobedient people, even if singing them makes us feel good.

God is faithful to keep His promises. And He promises to reject people who reject Him, to punish those who disobey. Great is His faithfulness.

But also great is His faithfulness to those who confess sin, repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus for salvation. Great is His faithfulness to bless and keep those who belong to Him through the blood of His son. Great is His faithfulness to those who seek Him. He WILL be found!

So it is good to wait patiently for salvation from the Lord. (verse 26)

A Wall of Righteousness

Ezekiel 22:30-31

I don’t know many people who would say they believe the US is on a healthy trajectory, whether monetarily, morally, or spiritually. Evil is called good. The economy is in the tank. The number of people who profess to be Bible believing Christians is dwindling, and what is scary is that some people think that’s a good thing.

A nation established under God has rejected Him. So we should not be surprised at what is happening here. Are we looking at the end?

God, through the prophet Ezekiel, told Israel why they were facing their own destruction. It was clearly God’s judgment for their unrepentant sin.

But God said something that made me think about our situation in 2022. He said:

I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. (Ezekiel 22:30-31)

A wall of righteousness that guards the land.

For 200 years the USA was blessed beyond any other nation in the world. Oh, it wasn’t perfect. But there was something different about this country that made it stand out. I believe it was a wall of righteousness; a core group of God-fearing believers who worshiped God and, because of their relationship with God, they prayed, read the Bible, and weren’t ashamed to call on God in private and in public.

I believe it was a wall of believers wearing Jesus’ righteousness that guarded the USA.

Oh, you can try to erase our spiritual history, deny the intent of our Founding Fathers. You can be foolish (or woke, which is the same thing in my book), and deny God’s grace and mercy on this land. But the truth is – America enjoyed years of prosperity and peace as a direct result of our dependance on God.

Somewhere along the way a crack appeared in the wall. But instead of repairing it, we ignored it, accepted it. It didn’t stay a crack, did it? It became a gaping hole which grew until the wall began to crumble. Is there any portion of the wall still standing today?

Dear Christian, if we want to see this amazing country of ours survive, we have got to rebuild the wall! You and I need to not just wear the righteousness of Jesus in the privacy of our own homes. We need to flaunt it. We need to wear it loud and proud.

I AM A BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN!

I STAND FOR THE TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE!

I PRAY. I WORSHIP GOD ALONE.

I CHOOSE HOLINESS!

I FOLLOW JESUS AND WANT YOU TO FOLLOW HIM, TOO!

Can we join hands and hearts and pray for each other, our political leaders, our schools, our churches, our neighbors? Can we humble ourselves and pray God’s will be done in our own hearts, as well as in our country?

God was looking for SOMEONE to stand in the gap. Could that someone be you? I’m afraid if we don’t repair the wall of righteousness to guard this land, our future might look like that of Israel in the Old Testament.

Build the wall! It’s not too late.

Does God Speak Today?

Ezekiel 13

First let me say an unequivocal YES! But I think we need to be careful what words we put in His mouth.

What would possess someone to say they’ve had a vision or prophecy from God when they haven’t? Can someone who truly knows God lie about such a thing? There are whole religions based on lies claiming came from God. Some even use the Name of Jesus, but have fashioned a Jesus that’s not in the Bible. Do the leaders of these churches sit back and chuckle at the gullibility of their followers? Or have they deceived themselves and are actually convinced God has given them a special word apart from Scripture?

I think there is a test to know if what you are hearing is actually the voice of God. Simply put, if it’s not in the Bible, it’s not God’s Word. I think we need to be careful about what we attribute to God’s voice.

Years ago I heard a woman say God told her she would live in a certain house by a certain date. “God told me as clearly as anything,” she said. But the deadline passed and she didn’t live in the house. Had God lied to her? Could God not make His promise to her happen? Or had she put her wishes in God’s mouth?

I think we need to be careful to claim God has told us anything we can’t put chapter and verse to. It may sound very spiritual to say you’ve had a special word from God, it may seem to give your words more weight. But it’s a serious thing to speak for our Holy God. God has already said everything He wanted too say, then closed the Book.

Jesus IS the Word. God’s Word is alive and active and powerful and used for our correction and growth. God’s Word is Scripture.

So if you are hearing God speak, you’d better write down the words so we can all read it, memorize it, and live by it. (1 Susie 3:16)

I believe God speaks to His children today through the Words He inspired men to write in what we refer to as the Bible. Those are God’s Words. Often I am reading a verse or passage and it jumps out at me and it speaks to a question I have or a circumstance I’m facing. Sometimes I am praying and a verse comes to mind that speaks to a need I have. Those verses are God’s voice to me. And I believe to all of us.

In Ezekiel, God is going to punish people who claim to have a word from God, and don’t. He’s going to punish people for putting words in His mouth, and misrepresenting Him. God is very protective of His Word.

I hear God saying the same today. I want to be very careful what I attribute to God’s voice. Because He takes His Word very seriously.

Praying For Healing

2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38; 2 Chronicles 32

I sat here and wondered for a time why, when Hezekiah reminded God that he had been faithful to serve God and do what pleased Him, did God heal the king suffering from a fatal disease, and give him fifteen more years of life? I kept thinking how often Scripture tells us our best deeds are like filthy rags, that salvation is a gift and can’t be earned so that no one can boast. So why was Hezekiah saved from that death sentence because of works?

He wasn’t.

I believe he was saved because he went to God, laid it all at the feet of the Great Physician. Scripture says he wept bitterly, but it doesn’t tell us what those tears represented. Were they bitter tears, tears of regret, angry tears, or tears of repentance? It seems to me they were probably tears of surrender (my opinion only), the kind of prayer God still answers today.

However, this is not a recipe for healing. God doesn’t simply heal those who come up with the right attitude, or the right words to pray.

Here’s the thing: if we are faced with a terminal illness or another seemingly impossible situation, and we go to God and pray expecting to be healed, we aren’t really going to God. We are using Him.

But if, when faced with that diagnosis, we go to God, lay our illness or situation, heartache or anxiety at His feet, submit to His will with no strings attached, the outcome of our prayer will be everything He wants it to be!

When we truly put our faith in God, we release all expectations.

That’s why I am convinced the name-it-and-claim-it theology is anti-Christ. God is not our personal genie in a bottle to grant our wishes. How dare we reduce Him to that, and think we are being obedient.

Here’s another thing, and I believe it demonstrates what Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

If you or I or anyone else is saved from sin or disease, we are saved because of God. Period. It’s not about us. It’s about God.

Sadly, after God saved Hezekiah, he became proud. He seems to have thought he had something to do with his healing in light of all the good things he said he had done for God in the past. And he squandered the fifteen years God gave Him.

Then he died.

I guess I feel God would have us consider Who He Is, not just what He can do for us. Do we really trust Him? Do we really have faith in Him? Can we honestly pray, “Not my will, but Thine be done?”

Then it doesn’t matter if we are healed in this lifetime or in death. I believe God wants us to pray for healing:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Ephesians 4:6)

That includes physical healing. Don’t worry about it. Pray about it. Pray with thanksgiving. Present it to God.

When you present something, you don’t hold back, do you? When you present something you trust the receiver with whatever you’ve given. Can we do that with our illnesses and sin?

So pray for healing for yourself or your loved ones. Pray for the salvation of those God lays on your heart. Do what God nudges you to do, go to the doctor, eat more vegetables, take that 20 mile bike ride, spend time with that person, whatever and wherever God leads.

Pray.

Then trust Him. Leave your request at His feet. No expectations, just God. Then Paul tells us that after we present our requests to God:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 4:7)

I honestly believe that’s how we should pray for healing or anything, knowing God hears and answers our prayers. And we can have His peace knowing for sure that He will answer our prayers according to His own good will.