Tag Archives: Bible

Who Wants To Be Considered A Slug?

Today is the birthdate of the US Marine Corps, and the anniversary of the day my Dad entered that branch of service. It must have been 1943 when Dad finally got to join the fight during WWII at the young age of 18.

Dad was proud to be a Marine, and toward the end of his life, talked about what it was like to train, and go to war. He would describe a group of fit, strong, active, and determined young men who were ready to battle 24/7. I don’t think you could be lazy and wear a Marine uniform.

Hebrews 6, and the memory of my father, challenged me today. The word “sluggish” got my attention because I am afraid that describes me too often. Sitting here this morning, I see dust on my baseboards, and a cobweb on my ceiling. I can sit in front of my computer, or the TV for hours instead of getting out to walk, or visit a friend. And that gets me thinking about my walk with the Lord.

That’s the topic the writer of Hebrews was addressing here in chapter 6. I wonder if there are cobwebs in my heart, the place I’ve invited my Savior to live. Are there opportunities to serve Him that I’ve missed because I’m slow to move?

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His Name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (verse 10)

Being a member of a Bible believing church fellowship means I have work to do for God’s kingdom. There are people associated with my church to pray for, to visit, to encourage, to rake leaves for or fix a meal for. There are people outside my church who need to know Jesus, who need to see Him in me. That can’t happen if I’m content to be a slug.

And who wants to be considered a slug?

I think of the training Dad endured on Parris Island, getting ready to go to war. It was hard. It was intense. It was constant. We need to prepare in such a way to do the things required of us as Christians, too. Oh, I don’t mean target shooting or running multiple miles with fifty pounds of equipment on our backs. But seriously spending time in God’s Word, searching, studying, praying, talking about it, questioning and not giving up until we find answers.

But all the training in the world is worthless unless we use it. Dad finished his boot camp, then went to war. We, too need to prepare – and go! Our world depends on us.

Being a Marine isn’t for the lazy or sluggish. And neither is being a Christian.

Our Heavenly Captain, Our Commander in Chief, we are soldiers (or Marines) in your army. May we be equipped for the battles ahead, may we be willing to serve at a moments notice. May we be intentional about our training in Your Word. And may we not hesitate when you call. Forgive our laziness. Make us fit and capable to do what you would have us do. No slugs here, Lord. We want to win this war!

Inspired

I love to read the Bible. When I do I am often reminded of a Truth that cements my belief in the Author. Or I might read something as though for the first time. When that happens I am often challenged, or convicted, or blessed. When I ask God to teach me, He does. When I ask Him to reveal Himself, He does.

Paul tells us:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Bible was not given to us with the intent it sit on our shelves, waiting for that day when we take it down, open it to some random page, and expect God to give us a sign of some sort. The Bible was given by God to be our map, our owners manual, our text book, our iPhone, our love letter written by the One who loves us more than anybody else can.

When I started this blog in January of 2013, I wasn’t sure where it would go. But as time has passed I realize my burning desire is to encourage you to read and re-read the Bible, to study this precious Book every day, to think about it and talk about it, to pray that God will give you understanding.

Why? Because in its pages are the instructions for all of us to be the people God deserves, people who are holy, who love God and each other, and who are equipped to share the Gospel with a lost world.

Dearest Author, thank you for inspiring men to write down the things you wanted us – me – to know. Thank you that this Bible that I have in front of me is true, it’s understandable, it’s vital and relevant. Thank you that you loved us so much you wanted to put it in writing. May we cherish the pages, may we be faithful to read it every day, to commit it to memory, to think on it, and use it to be people eager to accomplish every good work, the work of sharing the Gospel. You deserve no less.

The Bible and Truth

If you read Psalm 119, you have to admit that the psalmist sure loved Scripture. Just in verses 41-48 we see him say God’s Word is his salvation, his answers, his hope, his liberty, and his testimony. Scripture means everything to the psalmist.

In Jeremiah 29-30 we hear the prophet telling us we need to recognize God’s voice apart from the lies, and obey it. He says God punishes the liars and those who believe the lies. And God delights in blessing His obedient children.

Paul, in his letter to Timothy, tells the young preacher that the law is good, if it is used lawfully. Then he goes on to list the sins that the Law addresses and condemns. These, he says, are contrary to the glorious gospel of Christ. (from I Timothy 1)

There are a lot of opinions being thrown out there these days concerning right and wrong, concerning God among other gods. But there can be only one Truth.

Do you know it when you hear it? We’ve got to be reading the Bible. We’ve got to pray for understanding. We’ve got to think about it, memorize it, talk about it, use it, and love it.

It’s God’s Word to us. It’s personal. It’s relevant. And it’s True.

Dear Father, my prayer today is for all of the busy people reading this blog who feel they don’t have time to spend in Your Word. I pray that you would put a burden on their hearts that can only be lessened by opening their Bibles and hearing what you want to say to them. Give us all a hunger to know you better through the words you inspired men to write for our benefit. Help us to be so familiar with Scripture that we can recognize Satan’s lies, and stand for the Truth. Help us to look forward to spending time in the pages of our Bibles every day. May it be as natural and as necessary as breathing.

How Do You Know What is True?

Satan has been twisting God’s Truth since the garden when he told Eve God didn’t really mean what he said. “You won’t really die,” was the lie that changed everything.

Jeremiah, in chapter 14, asked God not to be mad at the people, saying the prophets were telling them they were ok. God said – “my prophets aren’t telling them that. The people are believing a lie.”

No different than today.

The Truth of Scripture is being twisted, and edited, and denied. So how do you even know what’s true any more?

Well, are you reading and studying God’s written Word? Do you pray over it, think about it, talk about it? Are you familiar with the things God inspired men to write for your benefit? God isn’t going to let you believe a lie if you include him in your search for Truth.

You might not like what you read in the Bible. It’s not politically correct. You might recognize yourself as a sinner damned to hell. But you don’t have to be.

The Truth is Jesus died to forgive your sins. He went to the cross so you don’t have to pay the debt you’ve accumulated. He is eager to mark that debt “paid”, if you’d only ask Him to.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and no one, not even you, will go to God without Him. There is no other name – not Mohammed, or Buddha, or some positive energy – that can save.

No other name!

Please read the Bible. It’s God’s word to you. But don’t just read the parts that don’t offend you, or those that make you feel good. Read it all. It’s the only way to be able to recognize when Satan is twisting the Truth.

Don’t miss out on what God wants to say to you today.

Border Wars

I have to admit I don’t know Middle-Eastern geography. I am not familiar with nations and cities on today’s maps, much less those in Old Testament times. So when Joshua is naming territories that were given to the Jews to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham, my eyes glaze over. Not only do I not know where these places are (or were), the names of these places are hard to pronounce.

What can God possibly say to me through this geography lesson?

One word kept repeating itself as I read Joshua 15 and 16 this morning: borders. The Jews were given the Promised Land, but it didn’t come without clear borders. Those borders were necessary to separate the people of God from everyone else. The Jews were to live inside the borders. The enemy’s influence was to stay on the other side of those borders.

Do we have borders as 21st Century children of God, living in the blessed Promised Land of fellowship with God? Let me share just a few borders God has laid on my heart:

Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Be holy as I am holy.

Resist the devil.

Flee youthful lusts.

Pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks.

Preach the Gospel.

Confess sin.

Present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God.

Study to show ourselves approved of God.

Now, none of these will earn us favor in God’s eye. None of these will buy our salvation. The privilege of living in the Promised Land is a gift of God, it’s ours by the grace of God, it was bought by the blood of Jesus, the only way to the Father. No, these borders can’t allow us to get around the cross. But living within these borders is amazing, like living in a land flowing with milk and honey.

These borders, like the borders Joshua spelled out for Israel, separate us from the rest of the world. It’s within these borders we find fellowship with God himself, life and peace, and help in our time of need.

But there is a war on our soul. Satan wants to tear down the walls, blur the line, enlarge our borders by telling us lies like: God wouldn’t send a good person to hell, there are multiple paths to God, there are big sins and little sins and little sins are overlooked by God, you are ok just the way you are, laughing at sin on TV or neglecting study of God’s Word or keeping your faith to yourself is no biggie, intelligent men and women reject the Bible as inerrant.

I am challenged to guard my borders. The walls around my heart can’t be too high, my resolve can’t be too strong, my dependance on God can’t be too complete. I want to live within the borders God has given us in his Word. There is nothing outside those lines that can compare.

Father in Heaven, thank you for lovingly identifying the borders. Thank you for providing peace and joy and comfort and blessing to those of us who walk inside those borders. Forgive us when we fall for Satan’s tactics to blur the lines, to step outside your perfect will. I pray for your people today. May we let you identify the borders as we read and study your Word, and may we be willing to fight to keep those borders secure. This is war. You give us the victory. Thank you. 

A Common Thread

For some time I have read through the Bible each year with a chronological plan. I love reading the Bible that way. But this year I decided to mix it up a bit, rebel that I am. I’m reading the New King James Version with a plan that includes some Old Testament, a Psalm or two, some Proverbs, and a passage from the New Testament each day for a year.

Not sure how I feel about that yet. But I’m excited to see what God has in store for me as I read His Word. What has occurred to me this first week of 2015, is how the Bible isn’t just a book of one thought after another, once account after another. It is an incredible piece of literature, inspired by God Himself, and it has a message that is consistent from Genesis to Revelation. Like what I read today.

The book of Genesis tells us that several years after the flood, people were beginning to feel pretty powerful. They began to build the Tower of Babel (11:1-9) and with each brick they laid. they felt more prideful. They were going to build their way to God.

Solomon tells us there are seven things God hates: pride, lies, murder, wickedness, choosing evil, slander, and troublemakers. (Proverbs 6:16-19) Pride heads Solomon’s list. Jesus tells us not to give, fast or pray in order to receive praise. (Matthew 6:2,5,16)

One of the biggest stumbling blocks in our walk with the Lord just might be pride. Receiving Christ as our Savior involves humbling ourselves, pouring our “selves” out, relinquishing control, and admitting our worthlessness.

For some, that’s too much to ask. Some would rather climb a mountain or fight a giant instead of falling on their knees in repentance. Even some who know Christ still battle pride, and want their walk or their sacrifice to be noticed by others. God hates that. God cannot bless that. And I believe unsaved people label that attitude in a believer hypocrisy.

God is asking me about my motives. Am I doing something in Jesus name in order to get to him on my own terms, like the Jews at Babel? Am I volunteering at church so that people will tell me how great it is that I do? Do my public prayers consist of flowery words meant to impress those in attendance, my weekly offering in the collection plate given so someone will comment about my sacrifice?

I love how the different passages I read today all share the same message. This Bible I have in front of me is truly amazing. May I read it, learn from it, and be the woman God would have me be for Jesus’ sake, not mine.

So what is the common thread I’ve seen as I read from the entire Bible? Put simply: this life isn’t about me. It’s all about Jesus. All of it.

Dear God, thank you for your Word. Thank you that it is relevant, powerful, and true. I pray that your children will spend time in these precious pages, that we will think on it, learn from it, and use it to lead others to the Savior. I also pray that in all we do, the sin of pride will not have a foothold. May we look to you and not ourselves. And may you find us faithful, in Jesus’ name.

Figure What Out?

It seems some people think God gave us the law just to trip us up, to prevent us from having fun, to condemn us, or to test us. I was reading Romans 2-4 this morning and heard Paul tell us God gave us the law because he loves us.

My sister is a science teacher. God has gifted her with the ability to help the students in this small Christian school experience God’s creation, not just learn about it. She has been a successful teacher for over 20 years and has touched the lives of thousands of people.

Recently, her principal gave her a new assignment: Teach church history. There is no curriculum for you to use, and I don’t want you to teach it the way you normally teach. I want you to teach it the way I would teach it, but that’s all the help you are getting from me. I know you studied science, not Bible. I know you never had a class on church history. Figure it out. Oh, and by the way, I am basing my evaluation of you as a teacher on how well I think you handle this assignment.

I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. This assignment is neither fair, nor loving.

Thankfully, God hasn’t done that to us. He gave us an assignment: Be holy as I am holy. Then he spelled it out in words we can understand, and prompted Moses to write it down. He gave us the curriculum, so to speak, so we can refer to it at any time.

Next he showed us examples of obedience and disobedience in the lives of the Jewish people. He blessed and punished, and prompted men to write it down, again so we can refer to it any time.

Then he sent Jesus to live with us. Jesus demonstrated holiness, he spoke about sin, the law, obedience, forgiveness. Then he went to the cross and showed us with his own blood what the penalty of disobedience looks like. And God prompted men to record the life of Jesus on paper so we can read it for ourselves two thousand years later.

He also inspired the likes of Paul, and Peter, and John, and others to teach us through their letters how to be the people God would have us be.

And he has been demonstrating this every day since creation.

Why the law? God didn’t make up some random rules after he got Adam and Eve in the Garden. God is Truth, and he is Holy, so those things have been around as long as he has. What he did by giving us the law, was to put it all out there. He is as honest with us as he wants us to be with him. These are my rules, he says. Let me help you obey them so we can have fellowship now and in eternity.

My sister’s job depends on how she handles her assignment. Friend, our lives depend on how well we handle the assignment God has placed before us. Holiness? Me?

Read God’s curriculum and see that he offers his own holiness to us. He is willing to place his righteousness on our shoulders. And he’s able to do that because he’s already paid the price our sins require. I’m not going to give you chapter and verse because I want to challenge you to read it all. Spend time in God’s word. Let him tell you how much he loves you, what he expects of you, and what he has already done on your behalf.

You don’t have to figure it out on your own. It’s right here in black and white.