Name Your Source

Job 21-28

The Life Application Bible I am using this year to read through the Bible does a comparison of the wisdom expressed by Job and his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Eliphaz seems to believe he’s figured God out by observing how God works in lives and in Creation. Bildad says he just needs to learn from those who have lived before us. Job’s observation is that God’s revelation of Himself to man is directly related to the humility of man and the trust man puts in God.

But it’s Zophar who got my attention this morning. He seems to have the idea that he is one of a very few who have an ‘in’ on wisdom. His wisdom has no other source than himself.

Yep. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I’m pretty sure we are living among a bunch of Zophars: people who claim to be the sole authority of their own wisdom. “If I say my truth, you are obliged to accept it as truth.”

We have a society that accepts the rantings of internet influencers as truth, people whose main objective is to get noticed, liked and followed by millions, people who sit in their cars and act like they are authorities, then go home to their bedrooms in their parents’ homes. These are people with opinions, passing them off as truth. So I decided to scroll through Instagram (and believe me I couldn’t scroll fast enough).

There was a girl with rainbow colored hair and face piercings explaining why I should use her made-up pronouns when addressing her. I watched long enough to see her work up some tears as she talked about how threatened she is by people who wanted to call her “she.”

A bearded young man dressed up like a girl started to name all the different genders I am supposed to embrace. I scrolled pretty quickly past him.

A woman who looked like she was in her fifties used some pretty foul language as she told me how phobia-filled I am because I refuse to accept the fact she identifies as a cat. She had a pretty good vocabulary for a feline.

I guess all you have to do these days is turn on a camera and download nonsense in order to be an influencer or authority on just about any subject. Speak the lie, and it’s out there in cyber-space forever. Oh, someone might “fact-check” you and determine what you said is not true. But it’s impossible to pull in the reins of a lie already on the net. One “share” and it’s off and running again.

Sadly, as I was scrolling through some of these posts I paused and read comments that seem to support the sinful choices these people are making. Many of them have hundreds if not thousands of “likes.” Are people actually swallowing this garbage? Evidently.

Once again, I am reminded that all of us need to hold to the Truth that God inspired in His Word. It is the only Truth. And Job will tell us the first step toward wisdom is a healthy fear of Almighty God.

I have been tempted to throw up my hands and say, “Come back Lord!!! End this insanity once and for all.” But as I was scrolling through Instagram a simple phrase passed by:

What Satan intends for evil, God can use for good.

That was taken from something Joseph said to his brothers after they had sold him into slavery. I believe the same can be true today.

The voice of evil is getting louder. Maybe this is just what the Church has needed to happen in order for us to use our voices once again. We’ve been silent way too long, and look what’s happened as a result. Maybe God wants to use this to get us motivated. Let’s start to speak up. Deny the lies. Speak Truth in such a way as to be heard.

Many have been praying for a revival in our country and in the world. I think we are on the verge, forced into repentance by the breaking down of truth. But it might be our last chance at redemption. If we don’t get on our knees right now, then stand together for Truth, we might be looking toward a time when we have no voice.

What is the source of your wisdom, of your truth? All I can say is, it better be the Bible. If it isn’t, you have no more wisdom than that chair you are sitting on. Your truth is a lie if it doesn’t align with Scripture… no matter how loudly or how often you say it.

So tell me what you believe. Name your source. Then I’ll check your source with mine before I believe what you are saying. Satan might think he’s got the Church backed into a corner. But God can turn the tables, if we are faithful.

Let’s be faithful!

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!

Heaven

John’s Revelation

Think about it: God will wipe away our tears. No more night. No more heartache and sin. No more cares and worries, sickness or death. And we we look upon the One who loves us with a love we cannot fathom right now.

I don’t know if there will be a thousand calendar years before we enjoy our eternal home. It doesn’t really matter if John’s revelation has a material interpretation or whether it is meant to be interpreted spiritually. This book, to me, is about hope.

It’s about redemption. It’s about Jesus and the fact that one day I will be in His Presence! I’ll look into those eyes, study that face, see those nail prints in His hands and know at last I am home.

I have no doubt about that. I know it is a fact because I have died, and God raised me to new life in Him. How? I admitted my sins and repented of them from a humble heart in need of a Savior. I’ve accepted the redeeming work of Jesus, His death and resurrection, and I know I can stand before the Holy God without fear because Jesus paid my death penalty and placed His holiness on me. It wasn’t my doing. It’s all Jesus.

Tomorrow marks a New Year, a new beginning for many. I pray that you will welcome in 2023 with Jesus, your Savior, at your side and in your heart. I pray that you will grow a relationship with Him by reading His Word every day, praying every day, resisting Satan every day.

Who knows if the ball will drop on 2024? It may, or may not. Reading God’s Word reminds me when Jesus returns (and He will) it will be too late to change your mind, too late to repent of sin and accept the Savior. Too late.

There is a heaven for God’s followers. And there is a hell for anyone who hasn’t accepted God’s saving grace.

Choose Jesus. And have a blessed 2023 as His precious child.

Love Like God’s

Jude 17-23

Jesus told us that the second greatest commandment, after loving God with our whole being, is to love one another. It’s that important. People will know we are followers of Jesus if we love one another.

But the modern Church has perverted the meaning of love to mean tolerance and acceptance with a “do not judge” theology that is antichrist. I hope you’ll read what God has to say through Jude in these verses. Pay special attention to verse 23:

Show mercy to still others, but do so with caution, hating the sin that contaminates their lives. (NLT)

HATING THE SIN THAT CONTAMINATES THEIR LIVES.

You might say, “Hate is a pretty strong word.” It’s not my word, it’s God’s. He tells us to hate sin. HATE.

Why would God use that word in regard to sin? Well, sin leads to hell, and He doesn’t want anyone to go there. The only way to avoid hell is to deal with sin, not tolerate or accept it. That knowledge should make every Christian hate sin.

There are progressives who call themselves Christian and will tell you they have a deeper understanding of Scripture than the rest of us. So I laughed out loud today when I read what John said about that in his Revelation. In regard to false teaching he said:

‘deeper truths,’ as they call them – depths of Satan, actually. (Revelation 2:24)

These ‘deeper truths’ people are claiming to have are, according to Scripture, deeper into Satan’s theology. Beware!

I will stand by Scripture that tells us to love people enough to address the sin in their lives so they can repent of it. I stand by Scripture that tells us there is no other way.

Real love, God’s kind of love, is NOT tolerant or accepting of sin, according to Scripture.

For Love

1 John 4:9-10

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life though him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

I think these are some of the most beautiful verses about Christmas in the Bible. Would you do something? Re-read these verses and insert your name in place of the “us,” and “we,” and “our.” Hear God speak these words to YOU this Christmas day.

The baby whose birth we celebrate today was born for love of you. Yes, YOU!

Merry Christmas!

It’s Not Their Fault

1 John 1-2

I hope you’ll read John’s introduction to this letter. You can feel his love for Jesus, and his desire for you to love Him, too. John saw Jesus, the Creator God, with his own eyes, touched the flesh and blood body of Jesus, and knew for certain that Jesus is the Word of life!

Then John says this:

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. (1:5)

At all.

We can look at what is happening in our world and recognize the darkness. John told us that people love darkness rather than light. Why? Because their deeds are evil. (John 3:19)

Today, they don’t even hide their sin in the darkness. It’s out in the open, in our government, on our phones, and forced on innocent children. It is out of control. The world is corrupt. Satan is on a roll.

Is it because Satan is getting stronger against God? Or is it something else? I think John has the answer there in 1 John 1:5. There is no darkness in God, only light.

You understand darkness NEVER wins over light, don’t you? Where there is light, there cannot be darkness. Not in your living room, not in your hearts, and not in the world. But there’s a problem.

So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness, we are not practicing the truth. (verse 6)

Jesus told us that we are the light of the world,

A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glory your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

And there you have it.

The world isn’t getting worse because sin is winning. It’s getting worse because Christians aren’t shining the Light, not exposing sin, not showing sinners the way into the Light through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

John goes on to say all of us need to admit our sin, repent of it and accept God’s forgiveness and cleansing.

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (2:6)

So the fault of our world’s sinful condition does not lie on the shoulders of sinful people. It lies squarely on believers who have stopped shining the Light of Truth. It falls on Christians who want to blend in with the world and wonder why the world doesn’t recognize the light in us.

Darkness isn’t winning. Christians have just stopped living in the Light.

Next time you lament over the increasing darkness in the world remember:

Darkness CANNOT exist where Light is.

The question is: what are you doing with the Light you’ve received?

For The Sake of Christ

Hebrews 11:24-28

The other day in Good News Club, one of the children asked if Old Testament people went to heaven since they lived before Jesus went to the cross. I said, “Yes. They had to believe in Jesus just like we do, only they called Him the Messiah. they didn’t know His name. But if they put their in faith in God to keep His promise, they went to heaven.”

Then today I read Hebrews 11 and, maybe I’ve seen it before, but Scripture actually says Moses not only believed in Christ, he gave up the treasures of being the son of Pharaoh’s daughter to suffer for the sake of Christ. And that was thousands of years before Jesus was born!

Jesus! The baby whose birth the whole world is celebrating this weekend.

Jesus! The real flesh and blood Son of God who went to the cross to redeem us all.

Jesus! Our Savior who lives in heaven preparing a place for all of us who believe.

Jesus didn’t become the Savior. He was always the Savior. And there is no other name anywhere that will bring us to the Father. People have been putting their faith in Jesus since the beginning of time.

Have you?

Entering God’s Rest

Hebrews 1-4

This morning, a dear lady from my church entered the rest the writer of Hebrews describes. She may have struggled to take her last breath in this life, but she is now breathing freely in the arms of her Savior. The cares of this life are over for her, because she followed Jesus in the midst of heartache and physical pain, with the joy of the Lord.

But her’s is not the same end for those who choose to live this life apart from God. These chapters in Hebrews not only explain who Jesus is and what He did, it explains who it is that can receive the eternal blessing He offers, and who will never receive that blessing.

Today when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. (4:7b)

You might want to believe there is nothing after this life. But there is.

You might want to believe everyone goes to a better place when they die. Not everyone does.

You might want to think that identifying as a Christian is your ticket into God’s rest. It isn’t.

Ii might be a good idea for all of us to take time to read the book of Hebrews because the lines between right and wrong, truth and lies, good and evil are becoming so blurred we are all in danger of falling away. “Don’t harden your heart” applies to you.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (4:12-13)

The Wealth of Godliness

1 Timothy 6

True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. (verse 6)

Can you have godliness without contentment? I doubt it. But you can go through the motions of godly living and be miserable.

Paul speaks of people who make a show of godliness, believing it is a way to become wealthy. He says their minds are corrupt and they have turned their backs on the truth. (6:5) That’s serious.

I believe first of all, Scripture tells us a truly godly person will have the mind of Christ, who didn’t cling to the riches of heaven, but instead chose to become a human being, to live and die for sinful man. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Jesus’ example of godly living was love, compassion, purity, hating sin, and doing everything to reveal the glory of God. (John 1:14)

A truly godly person wears, not his own righteousness, but the righteousness of Jesus through the cleansing blood of the Savior. (Ephesians 4:23-5:2)

A truly godly person learns to be content in every situation: wealth or poverty, health or illness, life or death. (Philippians 4:11-18)

After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. (1 Timothy 6:7)

Paul gives a warning to those who pretend to be godly in order to get some windfall, some check in the mail, or win the lottery:

But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (6:9-10)

So, if not money, what is this great wealth Paul insists comes from true godliness?

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

You can’t buy those things even with a Trump or Musk bank account.

The great wealth from true godly living is the very Presence of God in this life and in eternity. It’s hope. It’s forgiveness. It’s Jesus!

“Well, that doesn’t pay the bills now, does it?” you might argue.

Why do you think God should pay your bills? Scripture has a lot to say about working and having a good work ethic. But that’s not what Paul is talking about here in his letter to Timothy. Paul is talking about people who want more than simply having their needs met.

Paul is talking about priorities. Why do you follow Jesus?

Paul is talking about what is truly important, eternally important. And Scripture tells us nothing is more important than your relationship with your Savior.

Are you in it for the money? There’s a health and wealth gospel that says you can have it, and have it abundantly if you go through the motions of godly living. But Paul is here to tell you that’s going to plunge you into ruin and destruction.

My prayer is that you will choose Jesus for who He is, not for your bank account. Choose Jesus for the riches of Himself, today and forever. There is absolutely nothing that compares to the wealth of godliness.

A Church Divided

Colossians 3

I’m sure it grieves God when there is division in the church. It ought to grieve us all. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, has some ideas about that. I think we all should hear him out.

Since God chose you to be a holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony, And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (vv 12-15)

First of all, the responsibility of harmony in the church is yours. It’s my responsibility. It’s the responsibility of every individual Christian.

“But she criticized my parenting.”

“But he took the elements to the nursing home when he knew it was my turn.”

“She thinks she’s such a good singer, but she can’t carry a tune.”

“He dresses like a farmer when he comes to church.”

Whatever! Any petty complaint left unchecked will grow into a full-fledged war. All you need is one person to agree with you, then to pass it on until they find someone to agree with them, and so on, and so on.

I’m not talking about theological differences. Any false teaching must be addressed immediately and forcefully. Paul will address that elsewhere. From this text in Colossians, I believe Paul is talking about something quite different.

Any division in a church begins with sin. Pride? Deceit? Look at Paul’s list:

sexual immorality, lust, evil desires, anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, dirty language.

These things aren’t going to heal themselves. And, in fact, become a cancer that destroys. So what does God through Paul say we should do about those things?

Put them to death! Get rid of them. Strip off your old nature and all its wicked deeds.

But wait. Doesn’t God automatically take care of that for me when I’m saved?

Nope. Not usually.

But He promises to give us the strength to take care of those things. The doing is up to us.

Then, and here’s the kicker, we must replace those things with other things. Look back at verses 12-15. Put on mercy, kindness, gentleness, patience. And forgive.

Can you imagine a church where Christians wore those things instead of hurt feelings and pride?

“But she doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.”

Maybe not. But God deserves your forgiveness of her.

Paul leaves us with the following. Are you concerned about division in your church fellowship? Then I challenge you to…

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (vv 16-17)