Tag Archives: Scripture

November 13; On Every Page

Acts 5:17-7:53

Many people find the Old Testament hard to read. It’s repetitive, long lists of hard to pronounce names, accounts of things that happened so long ago, who even cares?

Well, Stephen for one. His 53 verse sermon is an overview of Old Testament Scripture. He knew the Old Testament pointed to Jesus as the Messiah, and he wanted everyone to know it, too.

I hope you’ll read what Stephen had to say about the Old Testament, about how God worked in and through a nation of people to prepare the world for His Son. Then I hope you’ll turn to the pages of the Old Testament for yourself and read first hand what God wants you to know.

Don’t read it merely as a history book, but as God’s love letter to you. Get to know Him by reading about Abraham, Joseph, Job, David, Esther, Daniel… Put yourself in their stories and hear God tell you how much you are loved, how He longs to fellowship with you, and how He works in your life to bring about good. Understand that He is the same God today as He was back then, and He wants you to know Him.

And He wants you to see Jesus. The entire Old Testament is a beacon pointing the way to the Savior. I believe you, like Stephen, will see Jesus on every page.

November 10: Ask Me

Matthew 28:11-20; Luke 24:13-53; John 20:19-22:25

I get that some people have trouble believing Jesus was raised from the dead. I mean, His disciples had trouble believing it, and Jesus was standing right in front of them with nail-pierced hands. The truth is, however, Jesus is alive.

There’s an old hymn we used to sing. “He lives! Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along the narrow way. He lives salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!”

I love that old hymn. But as I read this part of Scripture today I realize it’s not just knowing Jesus lives in my heart. I believe He lives because the Bible tells me He lives.

He’s not just a spirit in my heart (although that is pretty awesome in itself). He’s a living person with a real body who actually lives in heaven. He’s as real as you and me.

You ask me how I know that? Because I know Him personally; first through the pages of God’s Word, then through the precious blood of Jesus. He does walk with me, and He speaks to me from Scripture, He is my ever present help in time of need, and the One I want to share my day with.

Ask me about Jesus. I serve a risen Savior.

October 28; Perfectly Centered

Mark 11:27-12:17; Matthew 21:23-22:22; Luke 20:1-26

Jesus is the Cornerstone, the One on whom the Church is built. There is so much in just that one statement!

My sister was at a Bible study recently where the pastor, filling in for the regular teacher, shared that he and his teenage son had recently built a retaining wall together. Dad showed son step by step what needed to be done.

They put the first stone down and the dad showed the boy how to read the level. When the bubble in the level was perfectly centered, they were ready to move on to the next stone. After wiggling and tapping the second stone until the level was perfectly centered when resting on both the first and second stones, they were ready for stone #3. The bubble needed to be perfectly centered when on it and the already level second stone before they could lay a fourth stone, and so on and so on and so on.

Eventually the dad put the boy in charge of the level, and the wall went up. With each stone, the dad would ask, “Is it level?” When the boy could assure Dad it was, they went on to the next stone. They worked together for quite some time. But around the third layer, the dad realized something was wrong. He measured and found the wall was already several inches off.

How could that happen? The boy assured his dad the bubble was always in the center for every stone. “Show me,” Dad said.

Have you ever used a level? That bubble changes position when the difference on the surface in imperceptible. Is it in the center if it touches the left line, but doesn’t go over it? Is it in the center if it favors the right line a fraction of an inch? The boy found out that mostly centered is not centered.

Being perfectly centered is an exact spot, not an area. The father and son had to remove all the stones, until they got back to the cornerstone, in order to build their wall.

Are you with me? How many infinitesimal deviations has the Church made away from the Cornerstone over the last 2,000 years? What will it take to get back to the Cornerstone? Is there damage we need to correct?

I can think of so many examples. But one has come to the forefront. And that is what I believe to be more than an infinitesimal shift from our Cornerstone. The Church seems to have decided to make the Gospel a bit more palatable, a bit easier to swallow. You never hear a “hellfire and brimstone” sermon any more. Why? Because that kind of preaching puts people off.

There are churches that refuse to use the word “sin” because it offends. We want people to see Jesus as love, to make worship of Him emotional and entertaining. But is that what you see when you go back to the Cornerstone?

Listen to what Jesus said about the Cornerstone: He who falls on the stone will be broken, but the one on whom it falls will be crushed. (Matthew 21:44, Luke 20:18)

A person, face to face with the awfulness of his sin, should be broken! Repentance isn’t comfortable or pleasant. It’s like throwing yourself onto a boulder. It hurts. It breaks our old self into pieces.

But Jesus warns, waiting until that Stone falls results in a final crushing from which there is no recovery.

Jesus is the Cornerstone of the Church, but He is also the Cornerstone of my life. When I put the level of His Holy Word on my life – is it perfectly centered? Or am I off just a tiny little bit?

I want to be perfectly centered. I want to use God’s Word as my level, and line myself up with the Cornerstone according to Scripture. I’m not looking for a comfortable relationship with Jesus. I want to be broken when I deviate from His Holiness. I want conviction to tap me into position. Because if I allow that level just a bit of leeway, it’s not going to correct itself down the road.

Because almost centered is not perfectly centered.

 

 

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.