Tag Archives: Bible study

July 9; Voices

2 Kings 18:13-19:37; 2 Chronicles 32:1-23

How do you know what to believe? The Assyrian king made some good points, used facts and figures to prove his point. It was true that King Hezekiah had removed all the high places and altars the people had used to worship the gods of the surrounding nations. The children of Israel had seen those places and altars removed themselves, so they knew what Sennacherib said was true.

It was true that the Assyrian army had defeated many people in many lands, and not one of their gods had been able to save them against Sennacherib’s forces. Not one. Sennacherib was not lying.

He made a good argument. It sounded right. But he was wrong. Read what he actually said to the Israelites:

Do not believe (Hezekiah), for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my fathers. How much less will your god deliver you from my hand! (2 Chronicles 32:15)

Again, Sennacherib wasn’t lying. He was absolutely right to say he conquered those nations and not one god stepped up against him. So what were the people supposed to do with that?

There are so many voices vying for our attention these days. Some try to do what Sennacherib did and say God is like all other gods. Some voices try to deny God all together, and can give scientific “proof” to support their distorted opinions. There are voices that quote Scripture to convince us that what they say is from God, but they are only twisting what God really says in His Word.

What I learned from theses Scriptures today is this: The Israelites new what God said BEFORE Sennacherib opened his mouth. They’d heard the Truth spoken and, therefore, could recognize the lies.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles. (2 Chronicles 32:7-8a, emphasis mine)

And that’s what I want to get across to us today. Read, meditate on, devour God’s Word. Spend quality time in the Bible every day. Put down the self-help books, the parenting books, the positive thinking books, and open your Bible. Turn off the TV preachers, the “experts” who want you to feel good about yourself, and open your Bible.

There are voices out there speaking your language. But what they say is straight from Satan. Oh, they sound good. They site impressive studies, quote a Bible verse or two. But their opinions are not necessarily God’s Truth.

So how do you know if the voices you are hearing are true? Open you Bible.

 

March 22; Minds, Eyes, and Ears

Deuteronomy 29-31

The Israelites certainly saw God do some amazing things since their rescue from Egypt forty years earlier. Parting waters, manna from heaven, water from rocks… and after forty years, they were still wearing the same clothes and sandals! God had performed a miracle even on their clothes.

Yet Moses told them they had minds that didn’t understand, eyes that didn’t see, and ears that didn’t hear. They just didn’t get it. They may have assumed God did these things because He loved them so much, and favored them above all other nations. Moses wanted them to hear God say, “I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.” (29:6)

It was never about Israel. It was always about God. Warren Wiersbe says:

“What could have been spiritual experiences was only a series of historical events because they did not focus on the Lord.” (With the Word; Wiersbe; Thomas Nelson Publishers; 1991; page 123)

If you’ve been with me very long you know I read the historical events in Scripture as pictures of spiritual truths. I pray for a mind that understands what God wants me to learn from the experiences of the people whose stories are written here. I pray for eyes that see the connection between what happened and what that says about God. I pray for ears that can hear God’s voice through the words He inspired men to write down, every time I open the pages of His love letter to me. In short, I want my time in God’s Word to change me for His glory, to draw me close to Him, to show me how to worship and serve Him better.

If you are reading the Bible for the facts, or to put together a timeline, or to create an authentic model of what is described, you might as well pick up an encyclopedia. (that’s an old hard-copy of Google, kids. Ancient history, I know)

Please don’t reduce this precious book to a series of historical events. See God in every word. Hear what God has to say to you about your own relationship with Him here in 2019. Open your mind to understanding the riches contained in its pages. Allow Scripture to be the spiritual experience God intends for it to be. It will change your life.

Remember, God is in these pages.

It’s all about God.

March 14; Listen, Learn, Labor

Deuteronomy 3-5

The history lesson is over. Now Moses goes on to lay down the Law for the Jewish people ready to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. But before he does, he says this:

Hear, O Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn themFollow them. (5:1, emphasis mine)

Hear them. Learn them. Follow them. I believe God would have us do the same.

We’ve got to be a people who hear what God says. I pray your pastor is faithful to the Truth of Scripture, that you are faithful to attend church and Bible studies, and that you read God’s Word for yourself every day. And I pray that when you hear God’s Word, you really hear Him. Pay attention. Meditate on what you hear. Discern the truth and reject the lies. God’s Word is alive. Let it speak to you. Listen when God speaks.

I pray that you are memorizing Scripture, digging into God’s Word to really learn the Truths it contains. Don’t just listen to a sermon, or read a chapter, then walk away and forget it. Every time you listen to God’s Word you have an opportunity to learn something. I pray that you will listen with understanding. That you won’t just be a hearer of God’s Word, but a student of God’s Word as well.

I pray that you are using what you’ve learned. I pray that your time in God’s Word translates into action. What does your relationship with Jesus LOOK like? Do you base your decisions, your actions, your relationships on what you have read and learned from God’s Word? As you serve God, does your labor come from obedience to His Word?

The thing is, some of us are good at one, maybe even two of the three. We can listen intently on Sunday morning, pat the preacher on the back and tell him how good the sermon was – and mean it. But we walk out of those doors and never give it another thought.

Some of us can quote entire chapters of God’s Word. We can tell you the names of every disciple, and can quote the Ten Commandments in order. But we never hear God’s voice, and our lives are no different than the unbeliever. I am reminded Satan can quote Scripture, too.

Some of us are good people. We volunteer at soup kitchens, give generously, attend church, and serve on committees. We don’t drink or smoke, we don’t use vulgar language, and we love everyone. I know a lot of really good people who have nothing to do with God. And if God isn’t in it, we labor in vain.

Moses suggests we can’t do one without the other two, and please God. Being a child of God takes intention. Listen. Learn. Labor. In that order.

February 7; Miracle Food

Exodus 16-18

Did you eat breakfast this morning? I sure did. I can skip lunch, and an occasional dinner, not so much breakfast. Even if it’s just a bowl of cereal like this morning. I’ve been known to say my motivation for getting out of bed is breakfast! And if you see me in a restaurant that serves all-day breakfast, you’ll most likely see an omelet and bacon on my plate. What can I say. I love breakfast.

The chapters we read today introduce us to manna – the miracle food God provided for His people very morning while they were on their way to the Promised Land. Every day the people received exactly what they needed for the day at hand. Not too much. Not too little. And they could not live on the manna they had collected the day before. If they wanted nourishment, they had to gather the manna every morning.

Did you read your Bible today? It’s the miracle food God has provided for His children. The thing is, some of us are malnourished because we partake only occasionally, or not at all. We put ourselves on a spiritual diet and expect to be fed once a week by a preacher behind a pulpit. We are starving our souls.

Now I don’t believe morning is the only acceptable time for believers to read God’s Word. The Jews ate manna for lunch and dinner, too. But if you are like me, days can get busy. Schedules are interrupted on a regular basis. And often, time alone with God’s Word is the first casualty.

Let me suggest that you take the time every morning to open your Bible and hear God’s voice, read the words He wrote to you before you jump into your busy day. Even if it means setting your alarm fifteen minutes earlier. The Jews gathered the manna every morning, then used it throughout the day. Doesn’t that seem like a good pattern to follow when applied to time in the Word? Gather its treasure in the morning, then use it throughout your day.

I’m glad you are reading this post today. It humbles me to know you are taking time to read it. I know there are lots of great blogs, and books, and articles that enhance our understanding of God’s Word. But, dear one, there is no substitute for God’s Word. I’d rather you stopped reading what I write, if you use it instead of reading the Bible. Don’t live on snack food.

God’s Word is that miracle food that will give you exactly what you need for today. Don’t neglect it, don’t try to substitute it, don’t even nibble at it. Devour it. Every. Day.

January 12; Something More

Job 27-19

Job tells his friends: “Let me tell you what I know about God. I’m going to give it to you straight, even though He’s revealed Himself to you exactly the same way He revealed Himself to me. Maybe it will put an end to this meaningless talk.” (from 27:11-12)

God is still revealing Himself to all of mankind in the same way He showed Himself to Job and his friends. A beautiful sunset is seen by millions. Winter always turns into spring, which always precedes summer, summer leads into fall, and back to winter. Year after year after year. The tiniest insects or the largest animals are all unique by species, yet uniquely similar to others within their species.

Just look around. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of His hand… (Psalm 19:1-6)

There are a multitude of other truths God reveals about Himself every minute of every day. Job uses mining as an example. Beneath the surface, there is treasure. It doesn’t come easy, But for those who dig for it, it is life-altering.

Yes, God reveals Himself in nature to all of us, so no one has an excuse if they refuse to acknowledge HIm. But there is so much more. And knowing God in an intimate way requires some digging.

Job calls it wisdom, understanding. “…The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” (28:28)

No one, not even Job knows everything there is to know about God. William Cowper, who wrote the hymn “There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood” said, “Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more.” Job’s friends may have had a knowledge of God, but Job realized there was something more, something worth digging for.

Friend, are you digging? Are you reading and re-reading God’s Word? Are you praying? Do you take God with you throughout your day? Do you know Him better today than you did yesterday?

I pray so. Because whatever your relationship is with Him now – there is always something more He has in store for you

 

 

Isaiah 28-30; Obstinate

Obstinate: Stubbornly adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, argument, or persuasion. (Mirriam-Webster)

Someone close to me began accepting the so-called “progressive” view of religion. When I tried to engage in conversation about spiritual truth I was told, in effect, that they would not talk to me about that because, “You are not going to  change my mind.” (those words haunt me yet today)

God, through Isaiah, says:

Woe to the obstinate children… to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin. (30:1)

As I read Isaiah I pray that God will speak to me about my own walk with him here in 2018. When Isaiah speaks about enemies, I am reminded Satan is mine. When Isaiah says, “Woe to…” I want to be sure that if he’s putting a finger on sin in my life, I’m quick to repent.

Today I’m asking myself if there are things I’m stubbornly holding on to that God is asking me to change. Are there things He wants to teach me, ways in which He wants to grow me, but I’m being obstinate while holding on to what I’ve always done or thought?

In verse 10, when talking about children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction, Isaiah says:

They say to seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right!” Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.”

Now I know this is a problem in our society, rampant in many churches, and it would be easy to shake my head and lament over the state of things in our world. But God isn’t interested in talking to me about the world. God’s not asking me to change the world. He’s demanding to change me.

So I ask myself, when I open His Word, am I sincere about being taught? When I go to church do I want to be uplifted or broken? Do I want to hear the truth, or am I looking to hear only pleasant things? Because often the truth hurts. Growth hurts. Conviction is never pleasant.

Now there is one thing I will adamantly adhere to: that is the Truth of Scripture. The Bible is like no other book. It is God breathed, and therefore 100% trustworthy. It’s not my opinion. The Bible proves itself over and over.

Last night in Prayer Meeting, the pastor shared that recently he was sharing the Gospel with someone who wanted to know what the pastor thought about abortion and homosexuality. The pastor was quick to tell this person, “My opinions are only opinions. Let’s look at what the Bible says.”

Can you say the same? Or are you obstinately holding on to your opinions as some kind of truth, with the attitude, “You’re not going to change my mind.”

I’m not just talking about conversations with loved ones. I’m talking about your quiet time, every time you open the precious pages of God’s Word. Are you teachable? Are you pliable? Moldable?

Or obstinate?

Proverbs 25-31; Can You Hear Me Now?

I love how God speaks to His children through the words He inspired men to put to paper thousands of years ago. I hope you aren’t squandering this precious pipeline to God’s heart.

These last chapters of the book of Proverbs have a lot to say about a lot of topics. But honestly, as I read them today I found myself skipping over some of the verses without much consideration. The topics of those don’t apply to my life as much right now. Work ethic, honesty, material possessions, alcohol aren’t things God is dealing with me in 2018.

However, anger is. Quarreling is. Relationships in my life are challenging today, this minute, and God nudged me every time I read those verses that speak to those things. I hear you loud and clear, Lord.

Once again, I was tempted to point fingers. I’d think, “Boy, So and So should read this verse.” Or, “Yeah, that describes So and So.”

And once again, God reminded me that I need to take care of the plank in my own eye before I worry about a speck in someone else’s.

I believe, according to what I read in Scripture, there may very well come a time when I need to address that speck in the eyes of my loved ones. But not before I have a clean heart, pure motives, and God’s leading first.

Not that I’m a “Proverbs 31 Woman,” by any stretch of the imagination, but I would like verse 26 to describe me:

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Speak, Lord. I can hear You.