Tag Archives: Scripture

October 17; Do You Wonder?

Mark 9:2-37; Matthew 17:1-23, 18:1-5; Luke 9:28-48

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the school year, I have the privilege of volunteering at Good News Clubs in two of our local elementary schools. Between the two schools, we are sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with almost 100 children.

I wish you could see their faces and hear their comments and questions as God begins to reveal Himself to them, and draw them to Himself. Some children have never heard the Biblical accounts of real people with whom God walked and talked so many years ago. And some who have already heard the stories, begin to understand the meaning behind them. I’m telling you, it’s a blessing every week. Their wide-eyed enthusiasm is contagious.

Jesus told His disciples that all of us must approach Him through the eyes of a child. Oh, to have that wonder, that excitement in hearing God’s Word, to have open hearts and uncluttered minds eager to learn.

I think sometimes we might open our Bibles after years of walking with the Lord and think, “I’ve heard it all before.” But friend, if we go to God with the understanding that we are as ignorant as children concerning spiritual things, God will continue to teach us. If we close ourselves off to more, we’ll stay right where we are.

Now, please, I am not talking about a new revelation that is extra-Biblical. I’m not talking about twisting what God says in His Word to come up with a new enlightenment, or new religion. But there are things we can learn from God’s Word that are backed up and true according to Scripture.

Let’s not miss what God wants us to know at this time in our lives, thinking we are already mature in the Lord. Oh, maturity is a good thing. We are told to grow in grace and knowledge, to study to show ourselves approved.

But let’s not lose the wonder, and the blessing that is God’s Word.

 

October 12; Guard Your Heart

John 5:16-47; Mark 6:6-11; Matthew 9:35-10:42; Luke 9:1-5

God gave the twelve disciples the ability to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” (Matthew 6:8) Jesus charged them with the mission of preaching His message throughout the territory: “The kingdom of heaven is near.”

What I am going to say is going to be controversial to many. But hear me out. The fact is, Judas Iscariot is listed by name as one of the twelve given this ability. Judas followed Jesus as much as the other eleven, was used by God along with the others, had the same message, and the same gifts.

I’ve heard people say Judas didn’t really believe. Scripture does not say that. We know from Scripture that something happened in Judas, and he eventually walked away from the Truth, betraying Jesus. But what we read here in Matthew gives us every indication that he and the other disciples were on a mission for God together.

Most people I know firmly believe a believer can’t stop being a believer, once saved always saved. I think that is a dangerous theology, according to Scripture. I read account after account of God’s “chosen people” walking away from Him, worshiping idols, blatantly disobeying God after worshiping Him. I think of Solomon. I know there are arguments against that point of view, but let’s forego the debate for a minute.

Here’s my concern and it’s being played out in 2019 through the “Bethel Movement.” Christians all over the world are gravitating toward this lie. Bible believing churches are singing Bethel praise songs, Christian radio is playing Hillsong, Amanda Cook, Jeremy Riddle, and others. People who love the Lord get satisfaction praising God with abandoned while repeating, “You’re a Good Good Father.”

What’s wrong with that, you might ask. I would encourage you to look into this movement for yourself. It is gaining strength, and Christians are abandoning the Truth in hoards. The god they are praising is not the God of the Bible. But they would have you believe the Bethel Movement is the awakening of true Christianity.

Look into it, but not before you know what the Bible says. Don’t look into Mormonism, or the Bethel Movement or any other cult without knowing what Scripture says. Not a verse here and there. The Bible is the complete Word of God. Period.

Guard your hearts. Stand for the Truth of Scripture. I think it’s more important today than it has been at any time in my lifetime. This is serious.

It’s true that no one can snatch a believer out of God’s hand. Satan will never have the power to override your will to be true to God.

Unless you let him.

October 9; Seeds

Mark 3:31-4:29; Matthew 12:46-13:23; Luke 8:1-21

I imagine if you are reading this blog you have some interest in the Bible. I, of course, hope it’s more than mere curiosity, that you read the Bible for yourself, and are growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus through God’s Word to you. I pray that the Scriptures are your very lifeline, fertilizer for your blossoming faith.

Jesus told the parable of the seed, and all of us can identify with one of the examples He used.

Is your heart hardened toward anything God would say to you? Do you insist you have all the answers, and don’t need a Savior? Then you are the seed that squanders God’s Word, the seed that allows Satan and his lies to come in and twist and steal the truth God is speaking to you.

Have you heard and accepted the fact that Jesus died for you? You believe the Bible is true, but you don’t really read it for yourself. You hear the preacher on Sunday morning, but by the time the big game is on Sunday afternoon, you can’t remember what he even said. You are the seed with shallow roots. Beware of the storm.

Are you trying to balance the truth of Scripture with fitting in with the world? If you haven’t separated yourself, don’t think you can grow where the weeds of the world are putting pressure on you. You are the seed trying to thrive among thorns.

Or are you planted on good soil, growing and producing fruit? Have you not only received the Savior, but are working with Him to clear the land, grow strong roots, and be exactly what God intends for you to be?

Jesus called this parable “the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.” He promises if we receive the Truth like the last seed, the growing seed on good soil in His example, we will receive even more: more understanding, more growth, more fruit.

But, He warns, if we fit into any other category of seed in His parable, “even what (we have) will be taken from (us).” That is a sobering thought.

So my challenge for all of us today is, let’s get growing. Let’s be the last seed, firmly established on the Root, which is Jesus. Let’s be growing by reading God’s Word every day, praying, and walking purposefully with our Savior.

Let’s be seeds that produce fruit for God’s kingdom. Any other kind of seed is worthless.

October 7; The Miracle Worker

Luke 6:17-49, 7:1-17; Matthew 8:5-13; John 4:46-54

Jesus was the miracle worker. He turned water into wine, made sick people well, and dead people alive. No wonder people followed Him around. Even if they weren’t sick themselves, who would want to miss seeing crooked legs made straight, and people being raised from the dead?

Jesus said something in John 4:48 that I’ve always read as a bit of a rebuke. He said to the dying boy’s father:

Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.

Today as I read Jesus’ words I didn’t hear a scolding. I heard the fact.

Jesus was a great preacher. He was wise, authoritative, and could hold a crowd’s attention for hours at a time. But He knew that wouldn’t be enough to reveal the fact He is God. So he healed some people to prove he was not just another gifted public speaker.

I know there are people, even some “Christian” movements obsessed with miracles today. There is a great argument in the Church as to whether God even does miracles today, or are we missing something if we don’t pursue miracles in 2019? But I am reminded we have something better, something even more convincing as to Jesus’ godship.

We have the Holy Spirit. God living in us. We know Jesus is who He says He is by the changed life of a redeemed soul. We have His Word in the pages of the Bible. And that is all the proof we  need.

The fact is, Jesus didn’t heal anybody to make them healthy, or raise a dead person so they could live a few more years before they died again. Jesus performed miracles so people would believe in Him.

That’s the fact.

I would encourage us all to stop obsessing about miracles. God never intended for anyone to come to Him because of the miracles. That’s why so often He asked people to not talk about what He’d done. It was never about the miracles.

Do you need to see a healing? Read the Bible. Do you need proof Jesus is God? Give your life to Him. Then you will realize the greatest miracle of all.

 

 

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 26; It’s Sin

Nehemiah 13; Joel 1-2

Sometimes when we read God’s Word we tend to think, “this account was written to people long ago,” or “this one is about things in the future,” and we neglect to realize God is able to speak to us concerning our lives in 2019 through every word He inspired men to write in Scripture.

I have to confess I was reading Joel this morning trying to put the prophet’s words into either the past category, or the future category. It was a bit frustrating. Now, I’m not saying Joel wasn’t speaking about historical events, or events that had not yet happened when the prophet allowed God to use his pen to write His words. But my prayer every day is that God would speak to me, too, through His Word about my walk with Him. And He always answers that prayer.

So I started to read it again, and in verse 2 God seemed to ask me, “Has anything like this happened to you?”

“Like what?” I thought. “Locusts?” God prompted me to think again.

Verse 4 stood out as a picture of devastation. One bad thing happened, then another, and another. Has anything like that ever happened to me? Have I felt at a loss with nowhere to turn, crushed by life’s hardships?

Yes. Who hasn’t at one time or another? “Then read on,” God seemed to say. “Wake up and weep, you sinner. Sin has invaded your life.”

“Now wait a minute,” I argued. “I’ve repented of sin. You promised to forgive me. I am wearing Jesus’ righteousness. What sin are you talking about?”

As I continued to read I saw that sin has invaded God’s creation. At prayer meeting last night, someone prayed that God would shatter the teeth of Satan, and here in verse 6 God reenforces that idea by saying the enemy, sin, has the teeth of a lion, the fangs of a lioness. It is sin that has destroyed what God created as good. It is sin that brings the heartache and loss. Sometimes we experience the consequences for our own sin, but sometimes we are hurt as a result of living in a fallen, sinful world. It’s my sin, your sin, the sins of the world.

God seems to be saying, “Wake up! Call sin sin. Identify the enemy. Don’t pretend it isn’t there.”

“So,” I think, “Social reform isn’t the answer? Tolerance isn’t going to bring peace?”

“Exactly,” He seemed to say. “Sin has taken the joy of mankind.”

“So, what is the answer, Lord? Where do we find that joy again?”

I read words like mourn, grieve, despair, wail. And I ask myself if I am truly broken over sin in the world, and in my own life. Am I truly grieving the state of hearts that are dried up, withered, ruined because of sin?

Then in verse 13 God says, “Come.” He asks us to fast and pray, go to church and cry out to God. To turn to Him to come and heal our land, which is really the lives of people in our families, and communities, and the world.

“Heal our parched and worthless lives God, when we turn to You according to Your Word,” I pray. “To you, O Lord, I call, for sin has devoured our hearts, sin has burned up all the good You created. We, Your creation, pant for you. You alone are the answer.”

It’s not about luck, or Karma, or positive thinking, or tolerance. It’s sin that is the problem, and the repenting of sin that is the answer. It is sin that causes all the bad, and only through the blood of Jesus can there be any hope of anything good.

We have got to stop playing around with sin. It is the enemy. It is the cause of all the bad that happens in this world. And God, through Jesus, has destroyed sin’s hold over us. We just need to turn to Him according to His Word.

So today, God has brought some personal sins to mind, and I have repented. I want my heart to be fed and nourished by the living water that is Jesus. And God has challenged me to stand up for what I know is true according to His Word. I don’t want to take lightly the very thing that is destroying the people I love and the world God created.

It’s not God that is causing bad things to happen. It’s sin. It’s not God that is to blame for hardship and loss. It’s sin. My sin. And yours. What are we going to do about that?