Tag Archives: God’s Word

November 7; Four Days

Mark 15:6-21; Matthew 27:15-32; Luke 23:13-32; John 18:39-19:17

It was four days from the Triumphal Entry to what we read in today’s passages. Four days from when the people had shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” to when they cried, “Crucify Him!”

Four days.

Jesus had done nothing out of the ordinary in that time. He had not committed a heinous crime during the week. But the people had listened to the lies, they got sucked into the negativity. In four days.

Sounds hard to believe that such a drastic change could occur in such a short time. But as I sit here I am reminded of times in my life when I had experienced an euphoric worship and praise of God, when I promised I would always love and obey Him, only to end up listening to Satan’s lies and negativity and commit a sin I never thought I would again.

“That’s not fair,” Satan would whisper, and feelings of resentment would pour over me.

“You deserve what she has,” and jealousy would take root.

And most of the time it didn’t take four days for that to happen. Four minutes, maybe.

Today, God is encouraging me to make my relationship with Him personal, not based on an experience, but grounded in His Word; not dependent on popular opinion, but on the Truth that is Jesus.

The lies and negativity are out there as much as they were that week in Jerusalem. May we all stand firm, to hold on to the Truth, and to resist what Satan would do to destroy our relationship with our Lord.

Because that Man we read about today is my Savior and yours. He loved us all the way to the cross. And what He did there is available to all of us who believe. A relationship with Jesus is so worth protecting!

 

 

October 30; Stand Firm

Matthew 23:37-39, 24:1-28; Mark 12:41-13:23; Luke 21:1-24

The end is near. Or at least nearer than it was the day Jesus spoke these words. But the reality is that life on planet Earth will come to an end.

Jesus wants us to be prepared, to watch out, be on guard, stand firm. Is the abomination that causes desolation already in our pulpits? False prophets will deceive some, some will turn away from the faith, the love of most will grow cold.

Don’t be one of them.

Let’s determine to stay in God’s Word, to grow, to put on the whole armor of God, and to stay true to the truth that is Jesus. “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Stand firm.

October 16; A Little Yeast

Mark 8:11-9:1; Matthew 16:1-28; Luke 9:18-27; John 6:60-71

The first time I ever tasted pizza was at my Aunt Doris’ house in the early ’60’s. I remember standing next to her in the kitchen and watching as she opened an Appian Way Pizza box, and pulled out three bags and a tiny tin can. She opened the larger of the bags and poured its contents into a bowl. Looked like regular flour to me.

Then she opened one of the smaller bags. The contents looked like a bit more flour. A little coarser, perhaps. And it had a strange smell. She told me it was yeast. (never heard of it). She poured it on top of the flour in the bowl, and mixed it together. Then she took some water and slowly moistened the flour mixture until she could use her fingers to push and squeeze it into a ball. I remember the sticky dough all over her hands.

Next she covered the bowl with a kitchen towel, and put it on top of the pre-heating oven. Then we waited.

While we waited Aunt Doris took a log of pepperoni and cut it into thin slices. She grated some cheese, and opened the tin can of red sauce. She took out a weird round pan and coated it with a thin layer of Crisco.

Then I witnessed a miracle.

Aunt Doris took the towel off the bowl on the stove and showed me what was inside. The dough had grown into a giant blob! It had taken on a life of its own. It was magic.

Needless to say, we finished compiling the pizza on that flat greased pan, and popped it in the oven. I can only say, it was love at first bite. I still could eat pizza every day.

I thought about this today as I read God’s warning concerning yeast. We all know He wasn’t talking about pizza dough, but used the magic power of yeast to warn us about false teaching.

I have shared my heavy heart as I witness how false teaching is infiltrating the Church at what seems like break-neck speed. That’s really nothing new. Jesus was talking to people 2,000 years ago about this happening right then, too. Why does Jesus give this warning?

Because false teaching, like yeast, takes on a life of its own. It might resemble the Truth. But if allowed to mix with the Truth, it grows, it changes what was into something very different.

Please be aware. Please don’t allow Satan’s Christian-sounding lies to enter your heart or your mind. Know the Truth that is God’s Word. Don’t base an enlightenment on a verse or two, but read the Bible and keep reading it ALL.

Be on guard, Jesus tells us. Be on guard.

 

September 29; God Speaks

Matthew 1; Luke 2:21-40, 3:23-38

I’ve heard it said that, of course Joseph believed his fiancé was carrying God’s child. An angel appeared to him and told him about it. Who wouldn’t believe if God sent angels to us like that?

It’s true Joseph believed the baby was the Son of God after that dramatic encounter with the angel. But it occurred to me that Simeon recognized who Jesus was without an angel introducing them. Anna believed Jesus was the Messiah, and I don’t read anything about an angel visit her, either. Simeon and Anna believed the moment they met Jesus.

We have something more wonderful than mere angels relaying messages from God today. We who have accepted His grace, have God Himself living in us. We don’t need to hear from a third party, even one as glorious as an angel, to receive God’s message. He Himself wrote us a love letter, telling us everything we need to know for this life and eternity. We can read His heart any time of the day or night in the pages of Scripture.

Meeting Jesus through the pages of His Holy Word results in the same realization as we see in Simeon and Anna. Jesus is God. He is the Messiah. He is my Savior, and yours. Some people will reject the Truth. But they cannot deny the Truth forever.

God speaks through Scripture. Are you listening?

 

September 27; How?

Joel 3; Malachi 1-4

I don’t know about you, but reading Malachi makes me uncomfortable. Every time God says something, the people question Him. It almost seems like they are insisting God defend His position against them. Just the thought of demanding God explain Himself makes me feel uncomfortable.

But it must not have bothered Israel at the time. God told them He had loved them. “How?” they asked. God told them they were showing contempt for Him. “How?” they asked. And when God said they’d shown contempt by offering defiled food on the altar, the Israelites asked, “How?”

Oh, it doesn’t even end there. The Israelites questioned God when He told them to return to Him, and when He accused them of robbing Him. “How are we to return?” “How do we rob You?”

I might talk like that to a co-worker. It’s doubtful I’d talk like that to an employer. I’m pretty sure I’d never talk like that to my dad. But I can’t even imagine a time when I would be so arrogant to talk like that to a Holy God.

That’s not to say I don’t have questions once in a while. I noticed two key verses in Malachi that tell me how to handle my questions.

(3:7) “Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.

(4:4) Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.

If I want to know how I’ve offended God, how I’ve disobeyed, and how I’ve grieved Him; if I want to know what sin is I need look no further than Scripture. Every answer to every question is lovingly written there by God Himself.

So after reading Malachi today, I realize the only “How” I want to come out of my mouth when talking to my Lord is the one followed by, “…can I serve You?”

September 21; A Layer At A Time

Psalm 119:73-176

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. (verse 130)

I like the word the NIV uses as the “unfolding” of the understanding of God’s Word. The truth is, no one completely  understood Scripture the first time they read it. No one. Not even Billy Graham or Ravi Zacharias. God unfolds understanding through His Word one layer at a time.

For years I would begin with Genesis 1:1 on January 1, determined to read it all by New Year’s Eve, only to find myself still in Exodus in May. Life, my job, stuff took priority over my time in God’s Word.

I began earnestly reading through the Bible every year when I retired in 2011. Before that I may have made it from Genesis to Revelation maybe four times total. But this year, before we welcome 2020 in January, I will have read the Bible cover to cover for the seventh time in eight years, God willing. (I slowed down in 2017-18 and read it through in two years. You can read that journey in the archive of this blog)

I have sat here and considered how God has unfolded understanding of His Word to me over the years. For many years I would read a passage and my thoughts would go to a sermon I had heard about those verses, or a lesson my Sunday School teacher had taught on the subject. I’d remember some author I’d read, and be assured that what I’d always heard was true, that my denomination had a lock on Scripture.

Even when I’d come across a verse that seemed to contradict what I’d always been taught, I’d get out a commentary from a like-minded theologian and rest in his or her take on it. I read the Bible through other people’s eyes.

But today as I consider what the psalmist said, I realize that isn’t the case so often any more. In fact, now when I am reading the Bible, instead of recalling a sermon I’ve heard, my thoughts often go to a parallel Bible verse I’ve read in the past. I recall a Bible story that illustrates the truth I’m reading. I realize God is unfolding understanding of His Word by His Word.

Verse 169 says:

May my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word.

According to your word.

Folks, I am not an intellectual. I was never in gifted classes in school. I graduated from college right in the middle of the academic standings. I am a simple woman.

But God is unfolding the understanding of His Word one layer at a time, because I’m reading it. I’m thinking about it, praying about it. I write about it, but even that is just my personal way of recording what I am learning. The point is God is helping me understand Scripture because I am reading Scripture.

I promise you, if you read the Bible asking God to unfold understanding – HE WILL! He wrote it with you in mind. Of course He wants to help you understand it.

Read it. Then read it again.

September 20; A Real Life Author

Psalms 111, 112, 117, 119:1-72

When I worked in the middle school, we invited one of our students’ favorite authors to come and spend a day with us. This woman had written a series of books about children which had captured the imagination of pre-teens all over the country. And she was coming to visit us!

The kids were in awe when that woman entered a classroom. I have to admit I was a bit awe-struck myself.

Here’s what I remember about that day. The students who had read the books were attentive, and asked great questions. It was almost like they already knew and loved her. They couldn’t get enough of this woman’s story. The students who hadn’t read the books looked bored, either didn’t participate or they asked silly, meaningless questions. And those who hadn’t read the books were the students who were first out of the door when class was over. The others had to be pried away from the author.

The author of Psalm 119 spends 176 verses writing about his love for God’s Word. He believes it, studies it, cherishes it, lives by it, considers it precious. The psalmist knows and loves the Author because he’s spent time reading and learning what the Author has written.

Sometimes I think we put so much emphasis on worshiping and serving God we forget to get to know Him. And the only way we can know Him is by reading what He wrote. I find that the more I read God’s Word, the more I love reading God’s Word. The more I get to know God through His Word, the more I love Him. The more time I spend in God’s Word, the more I want to worship Him in Truth, serve Him out of gratitude for the privilege of knowing Him through His Word.

As I look back on the day that real life author came to town, I realize some of the kids got to hear about her books, the plots and characters, through what other people said about them. But the kids who had spent time actually reading the books got to know the author, could understand the plots and characters because they had experienced them first hand on the pages of the books. It seemed they shared an inside secret with the author the others could not understand.

One day we will all meet the real life Author. Will I know Him as a result of having had the first hand experience of getting to know Him through His Word? Or will I look into His eyes and only know what others have told me about Him?

Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to hit “publish,” and re-read these psalms today. I’m going to spend some more time with the real life Author.