Category Archives: Bible study

Prepare

Genesis 16-19

This past Sunday in Sunday School we talked about worship, our responsibility and God’s acceptance of our worship. We agreed that our present day Church seems to have adopted a more casual approach to worship, more so than when we were young. We wondered if God was pleased.

Today I read In Exodus what God told the Israelites to do before approaching Him. And I was interested in what my study Bible said about 19:9-11:

“Moses was told to consecrate the people. This meant getting them physically and spiritually ready to meet God. The people were to set themselves apart from sin and even ordinary daily routine in order to dedicate themselves to God. The act of washing and preparing served to get their minds and hearts ready. When we meet God for worship, we should set aside the cares and preoccupations of everyday life. Use your time of physical preparation to get your mind ready to meet God.” (Chronological Life Application Study Bible (KJV); Tyndale House Publishers; 2004; page163) (emphasis mine)

So often we approach worship in the same way we attend a sporting event, high-fives and laughter. Some attend worship service with less thought than they put into going to a neighborhood picnic. Many churches have foregone a prelude because, either no one listens anyway, or it is deemed “traditional.” The worship service begins when the song leader, over the chatter and noice, says, “Good morning!”

Is that how you pursue worship of our Holy God? Are your actions before approaching Him important? The Bible seems to think so. Thinking about this today has me considering how I approach my quiet time each day as well. I am convicted.

Let’s prepare our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls for worship this week, and every time we dare approach God. Sunday’s primary objective is not to catch up with your friends. Take time to greet them after you worship. The primary objective is God, and only God.

As you shower, tie your shoelaces, drive the car, walk through the doors of your church, direct your attention to the important reason why you do those things. Take a seat, bow your head, quietly lay your sins at the feet of the One you are there to worship. Prepare your heart. He doesn’t accept our worship if we don’t.

Are you prepared to worship? Really prepared? You need to be.

God Is Here.

Exodus 12-15

I’ve known about the times God appeared as the Angel of the Lord to people in the Old Testament. It’s called “theophany,” God appearing in a physical form. I’ve always thought of it as God in human form – which is true.

In Genesis 18, God appeared to Abraham as one of three men going to Sodom and Gomorrah. Jacob wrestled with the angel in Genesis 32. Afterward, Jacob said he had seen God face to face!

But appearing in human form isn’t the only theophany in Scripture. God revealed Himself to Moses in a burning bush, to Balaam in the form of a talking donkey. But until today I didn’t consider the fact God showed up in the form of the pillars of fire and cloud when the Israelites were traveling the wilderness for forty years. It was God Himself who led them. It was God Himself who protected them.

God didn’t just send help. He WAS the help!

I am comforted and encouraged by that realization today. God is not a distant, uninvolved being who merely points to an angel and tells him to rescue me. God is not pushing buttons on some cosmic control panel. He is right here in the trenches with me!

HE is my guide. HE is my protector. HE is my ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Today I am overcome with the knowledge that God is all I need. I can rest in His arms, trust HIs will, and stand firm because He promises never to leave or forsake me.

God is here in this room, in my heart. And He will absolutely go with me into the day. God: all knowing, all powerful, ever-present.

I trust you know Him, too.

It’s Not About The Plagues

Exodus 8-11

The plagues were sent by God to reveal the Truth of Him to Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the Jews. There could have been redemption if Pharaoh had humbled himself and believed. But the plagues only made Pharaoh dig in his heels in rebellion.

I believe two things about this:

  1. God did not harden Pharaoh’s heart against Pharaoh’s will. God didn’t make Pharaoh sin in order for God’s plan to come to fruition. God doesn’t tempt anyone with evil. Yet God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, according to Scripture. God would have us understand that the consequences of rejecting God result in a hardening of the heart against God’s revelation of Himself. The more you reject Him, the easier it is to reject Him. That’s how God created us. That is God’s doing.
  2. Pharaoh wasn’t the only one ignoring God’s signs. His wasn’t the only heart hardening. And the same thing is happening today. God reveals Himself to the world every morning when the sun comes up, when a paper cut heals, when there is joy and laughter in a child. He reveals Himself in storms and sickness and earthquakes. God is drawing all people to Himself every minute, every breath, every heartbeat. We see His love, His protection, His grace and mercy, as well as His righteous judgment, if we just pay attention.

The lesson here in Exodus is clear. Your response to God not only effects you, it effects your children, your co-workers, friends, neighbors. It effects a nation if the people reject God’s revelation of Himself.

The lesson in these chapters isn’t about the plagues. Don’t waste time trying to figure out the logistics. The lesson here is that there are devastating consequences for rejecting God. Those consequences start in our hearts, and extend out to touch the lives of others.

So don’t blame God when we are faced with our own modern-day plagues. We have no one to blame but ourselves, as long as we refuse to acknowledge the God who wants us to know Him.

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!

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.

Look Up

Psalm 57

David didn’t have Google. He couldn’t pull a MacArthur, Henry, or Moody Commentary off the shelf, turn on the TV to a Charles Stanley sermon, or listen to a podcast by a popular preacher. David didn’t look to Kay Arthur or Joel Osteen for answers.

In 1 Samuel 23 we see David go directly to the Lord for answers. And in Psalm 57 David shares what that entails.

  1. I look to you for protection
  2. I hide beneath the shadow of your wings
  3. I cry out to God most high
  4. I cry out to God who will fulfill his purpose in me
  5. I place my confidence in God
  6. I thank and praise God
  7. I praise God for his unfailing love and faithfulness

If you read 1 Samuel 23 you’ll see God did answer all of David’s questions.

Now, if you’ve been with me for awhile you know I don’t discount the wisdom of people shared in sermons, blogs, and commentaries. In fact, Matthew Henry said something that got me thinking along these lines this morning, and prompted me to take a closer look at Scripture.

In regard to Psalm 57:3 Henry points out “that all (David’s) expectation is from God… Those that make God their only refuge, and fly to Him by faith and prayer, may be sure of salvation, in His way and time.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume; Marshall, Morgan & Scott; 1960; p 636)

Did you catch the word “only” in that? Henry goes on to say that we can look for answers on earth, but if we do “refuge fails, no help appears.” Have you found that true in your life? I don’t care if it’s my blog rantings or the careful study of men like Matthew Henry. We can’t be your refuge! Only God can be that, and really, you shouldn’t want or need another!

Henry also says on page 636 that “those who lift up their hearts to things above may expect all good.” If we look at the Bible, in the accounts of people like Moses, Joel, David, Paul, James, etc. we will hear the exact same thing. God is the giver of good things, including insight into His Word and the rules and ability to follow them.

Oh that the Church – you and I – would put aside the books and blogs and TV shows and open our Bibles. Oh that we would not depend on the teaching of man, but would allow God to teach us by His own Words. Oh that we would stop fashioning our religion, our worship, our churches according to what makes people comfortable, and look to heaven above.

Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.

Everything We Need

Psalm 34

Sounds like another health and wealth gospel. But don’t let that fool you.

In reality, there are Christians who are sick and starving, homeless and without means to provide for their families. So how can we make sense of verses 9-10 which clearly say if we fear God, we’ll have all we need. If we trust God, we will lack no good thing.

Tell that to the Christian living on the streets with a cancer diagnosis.

But why is it people who truly fear, worship, stand in awe of God, and people who trust God and submit to Him are some of the most joyful, most contented people around? It’s because God is true to His Word.

God does give us everything we need. The Apostle Paul expressed that beautifully in Philippians 4:11-13, and again in 2 Corinthians 12:9. I hope you’ll take time to read those verses and hear what someone who had a tough life says about what God gives.

Matthew Henry, on page 610 of his Bible Commentary published by Marshall, Morgan & Scott in 1960, that if we look at this psalm as merely promising physical comfort we miss the most important thing. God not only works FOR us, He works THROUGH us. To me that means God is right there with the Christian, leading, directing, comforting, strengthening, and revealing Himself in marvelous ways.

The psalmist encourages us to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” and there is joy when we attach ourselves to Him in all circumstances. God is a personal God, intimate, present.

Romans 8:28 tells us that God works things out for our good if we love Him. 2 Corinthians 4:17 reminds us that our troubles today are leading toward an eternal glory that far outweighs any hardship we face in this lifetime.

So yes, God does give us all we need, and we lack no good thing when we taste and see that He is good!