Tag Archives: Scripture

Revenge. Seriously?

Joel

I know someone who, because a member of the church his parents attended said something that offended him, quit going to church. He was a teenager at the time. He’s in his thirties today. And he will give that incident as the reason he still doesn’t go to church today.

I’ve heard of others who see injustice in the world and say, “If God causes such bad things to happen, I don’t want anything to do with Him.” or “There must not be a God at all.”

Do you wonder how God feels when people convince themselves of such?

What do you have against me, Tyre and Sidon and the cities of Philistia? Are you trying to take revenge on me? (3:4a)

Do people who judge God and find Him guilty think they have the upper hand? Seriously?

If you are (taking revenge on me) watch out! I will strike swiftly and pay you back for everything you have done. (4b)

Everything YOU have done.

Joel goes on to remind us we all enjoy the blessings of God. We all live in a world where the sun shines, the rain falls, wounds heal, crops produce fruit, hearts beat…

But we have taken those blessings and carted them off to pagan temples. (vs 5) Instead of using them to glorify God, instead of being grateful, we turn it around and use them against Him

But be warned. Especially when God repeats Himself:

… and I will pay you back for everything you have done. (verse 7b)

Here’s the good news:

But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (2:32)

If you have any excuse why you haven’t called on the name of the Lord, if you have put yourself above God, found Him guilty, or blame your present circumstances on that old church lady who hurt your feelings – get over yourself!

Are you trying to teach God a lesson? Get even? Punish Him? That, my friend, is foolishness. Do you have any idea who it is you are dealing with?

Here’s the deal: obey God according to His Word, the Bible. Or not. Just remember your decision will stay with you for eternity. And in the end you won’t judge God. He will judge you.

I pray that when He does, He will be able to judge you according to the righteousness of His Son Jesus. The flip side of that is unthinkable.

Just Asking

Nehemiah 7

The reading of God’s Word was taken so seriously in Nehemiah’s day. When Ezra stood up and began to read, the people stood and listened closely… from early morning to noon! (verse 3)

Everyone listened, including children who were old enough to understand.

Hours.

Standing.

Listening closely.

Ezra didn’t preach. He read God’s Word.

Does your church stand for the reading of God’s Word (the whole 90 seconds it takes to read the morning passage)?

Do you read for hours, comfortably sitting in your home with a cup of coffee, listening closely to God’s Word?

Just asking.

God’s Word Written To You

Jeremiah 42

The people of Israel asked God what they should do, and they promised to do whatever God said. So God gave them His message – and they rejected it.

He had told them to “stay where you are and I will save you. Don’t go to Egypt because there is death waiting for you there. No matter how scary it is right now, trust Me. Stay put.”

When they received God’s Words, they called it lies. Their plan made more sense to them. So they went to Egypt. And they died.

It’s no different today. So many people who grew up going to Bible believing, rock solid churches, hearing, memorizing, and believing God’s Word begin to listen to other voices, then come to the conclusion that God’s Word is a lie. Their ideas make more sense to them, and the Holy Bible is viewed as just another religious document among many.

Others hear God’s Word for the first time, and because it goes against every other doctrine out there, they come to the conclusion that it’s a lie. Or that if it works for you that’s great, but it doesn’t have to work for me.

Folks, God’s Word we know as the Bible are the words of the Creator God, Holy, All-Powerful, All-Knowing, eternal, King of the universe, and the only one whose words are 100% true. To hear them, then reject them isn’t ok.

That’s not merely my opinion. It’s not even a matter of what I believe to be true. It’s a fact. It’s true according to the God who created you. For you to reject it, is foolishness at best, and an eternal death sentence at worst – according to God’s Word.

Read the Bible and let God speak to you about His heart. Hear Him tell you what He requires and know He’s serious about the consequences of disobedience. Let Him tell you what He’s done to save you, and hear His invitation to come to Him. Shut out all the other voices that would have you question God’s Word. And open your heart, your mind, and your ears to His voice.

God inspired men thousands of years ago to write you a love letter, an instruction manual, a message from his heart to yours. Read it for yourself. Don’t reject it. It’s the only truth that will matter in the end, because it’s the only truth.

Another Jesus

The King of Assyria sent his thugs to threaten the children of Israel, to bully them into surrendering. They pointed out that Assyria had successfully defeated the nations around them, that none of their gods we’re able to saved them from the mighty Assyrian army, and that the writing was on the wall. Israel was next.

Surrender or die.

Then these representatives of the Assyrian king said something that has me thinking today:

What’s more, do you think we have invaded your land without the Lord’s direction? The Lord Himself told us, “Attack this land and destroy it.”

One of two things could be true about that. Either God is using Assyria to punish Israel for their sin, and indeed instructed the enemy to be His judgment on the Jews, or the men representing the Assyrian king were lying.

Today, Satan is to us what the Assyrian King was to Israel in this portion of Scripture. He is the one threatening to destroy God’s people, and bullying us into submission. And he is using the Name of God to do it.

Bethel names the name of God. Benny Hinn names the name of God. Joel Osteen calls himself a Christian minister. I could go on. And so could you.

The question is, are we going to stand with God according to His inspired written Word, or are we going to be bullied into surrendering to Satan?

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse. (Galatians 1:8)

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

Guard your heart, dear one. Know what Scripture has to say so that you can recognize Satan’s lies. Then stand firm. Because the truth is, there isn’t another Jesus. There is only the One who is revealed in the pages of the Bible. If anyone says they have had a special revelation concerning Jesus… they are lying

There is only one true Gospel. There is only one true Jesus.

Do not be deceived.

The Voice of God

Genesis 31

Have you ever thought, “Well, if God spoke to me like He spoke to Laban, I’d know exactly what He wanted me to do and I’d obey like Laban obeyed. How could I say ‘no’ to the voice of God?”

It’s true that God doesn’t speak audibly to people today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hear His voice. In fact, we can hear it any time of the day and night. He wrote down His Words for that very reason.

You just need to read it, memorize it, spend time hearing His voice in the pages of the Bible.

You want Him to tell you what to do? It’s in there. You want Him to tell you how to think, what to believe, what your attitude should be? It’s in there.

If you think God is silent, that just means you aren’t listening, or perhaps sin is preventing you from hearing His voice. But don’t think for a minute God is not trying to get your attention.

Read the Bible. God is speaking loud and clear.

(Matthew 10) Voices

There are so many voices out there these days: voices that use Scripture, compassionate voices, tolerant voices, loving and encouraging voices, voices that sound like Jesus’ voice but are really the voice of Satan. These voices can be sung in some worship services, preached from too many pulpits, written in some Bible commentaries, blogs, and study guides.

Some voices are more easily recognized as lies. They are in the news and social medias, on the lips of government officials, Hollywood, etc. At least they should be recognizable. They call good evil and evil good, they say males are females and females are males, the Constitution is bad and history needs to be erased or tweaked.

I say those voices are easily identified as lies and, with that, should be rejected. But obviously from what we see going on in our world, that is not the case. Those lying voices are loud and clear and believed by what may be the majority.

The reason for this is that we don’t recognize the voice of the Shepherd any more. We are lazy and irresponsible. We let others do our thinking for us. We follow this voice, then that, as those voices lead us further and further away from the Truth. And as we move further from the Truth, the Shepherd’s voice gets weaker and weaker.

Do you know the Shepherd’s voice? Can you distinguish it from the voice of the wolves that would lure you into death? If you find yourself beginning to fall for the alternate truths being shouted today, you need to stop and listen. Open your Bibles. Hear the voice of the Shepherd through the words He wrote to you. Reject the lies and stand on the only Truth there is.

I’m praying for you. I’m praying for us all.

(Matthew 16-18) Satan Loves Rabbit Trails

Evidently there are some Bible critics who say that, because the Gospel writers differ in their accounts of Jesus’ words and actions, one cannot trust Scripture to be infallible. That, my friend, is an argument that cannot hold water. I’ll tell you why.

I taught school for 37 years. So I saw 100 or more children walk through my classroom door 180 days during each of those 37 years. I would teach the same lesson to different groups of children throughout the day. Sometimes I’d teach a lesson to one group on one day, and the same lesson to a different group of children the next day. And sometimes I’d teach the same lesson to yet another group the next school year.

The message of those lessons didn’t change, but the audience, the exact words I used to convey the message, the location of the classroom I was in, and sometimes the school in which I taught changed. The message of the lessons stayed constant, however.

If Johnny wrote an account of my first period lesson, and Jimmy wrote an account of the same lesson given during third period, chances are their accounts would not be word for word. And if Johnny’s little brother wrote an account of that same lesson a year later, I’m pretty sure there would be some differences there, too. The message of the lesson would be the same. Some of the illustrations might be similar. But each boy would tell their own accounts from their own vantage point, using their own words.

Do you think Jesus taught his lessons only once? Or could it be possible he shared the same lesson in one city to one audience, and again in another city to a different audience?

My point is this: don’t get bent out of shape if you notice subtle difference in Scripture. Don’t miss the message God wants you to hear. And don’t think you can’t trust Scripture because of chronology or numbers or names.

Those are rabbit trails not worth pursuing. Satan loves it when we chase rabbit trails because it gets our focus off the truth he does not want us accepting. Read God’s Word for the message.

It’s a good one!

(Luke 7) Who’s Doubt Is It Anyway?

I have appreciated considering the opinions of Bible scholars as I read through my Apologetics Study Bible this year. (Holman Bible Publishers; 2017) It often amazes me at the issues they address, indicating the lengths some people go to try and disprove the Bible.

Evidently there is a discussion about what kind of roof tiles that were on the house the paralytic’s friends dug through to get him to Jesus. Yeah, roofing.

And, is it the Sermon on the Mount, or the Sermon on a Flat Area on the Mountain? There is actually a debate about it. Why?

Skeptics use these kinds of things to suggest because the Gospel writers differ on certain details, the Bible must be full of errors, and therefore untrustworthy. I usually just shake my head and move on, but thankful that should someone use arguments like these, I’ll be prepared to point them back to what is really important.

But sometimes the comments in the Apologetics Study Bible are just plain wrong (in my opinion). One such opinion jumped out at me today, and I’d like us to consider 7:18-30. The apologist would have you take for granted that what you read here is the fact that John the Baptist is “expressing doubt” that Jesus is the Messiah because he sent two of his own disciples to ask Jesus point blank if they should be looking for someone else, or was Jesus the real deal?

First of all, all we know is WHAT John did. Scripture does not tell us WHY. So I read what the apologist said as his opinion. You can read my comments as mine – because that is all they are.

Based on John’s life, not just his imprisonment, here’s why I believe we are seeing something other than the prophet’s doubt:

  1. John recognized Jesus before either of them were even born. (Luke 1:44)
  2. John grew up spiritually strong. (1:80). He dedicated his whole life to preparing the way for the Messiah. (Luke 3:4-6)
  3. John had no hesitation in identifying Jesus as the One he’d been telling them about. (John 1:14-15, 29-35)
  4. From that moment on, John’s ministry was all about retreating into the shadows. “He must increase, I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
  5. Now Jesus’ ministry is in full swing. Some of John’s disciples began following Jesus. But obviously not all of them had made the switch. John was in prison, and maybe he was pretty sure he wasn’t going to get out of there alive. Maybe he wanted his remaining disciples to accept Jesus before he died. They needed to believe Jesus was the One to follow. So just maybe John sent them to Jesus because of their doubt, not his.
  6. Here is my final observation on the subject, and maybe the most telling. Jesus proceeds to talk to the crowd about John. Read it for yourself in Luke 7:24-28. Is there a hint that Jesus thought John was doubting? “I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John…”

My point is this: we’ve all made assumptions based on a verse or two. Let me challenge us to let Scripture speak for itself as we consider it all. Think about what you are reading, don’t just assume you know what it means by looking at the face value. Question, then dig deeper into God’s Word to find the answers. Use your ability to reason, and ask God to direct your thoughts.

Sometimes it’s hard to get the voice of our third grade Sunday School teacher, or our youth pastor, or some renowned evangelist or popular author out of our heads. My prayer is that, as we read Scripture we won’t be able to get the voice of God out of our heads, that another verse or passage or story from the Bible will come to mind to help us consider what God is saying to us today. Let’s not just read the Bible verse by verse, but lesson by lesson, truth by truth.

And may God grow us, bless us, and find us faithful to the Truth of His Word.

(Jeremiah 14) Accountability

Let me make something perfectly clear: I have never seen a sixty foot Jesus, I have never heard God’s audible voice, I’ve never received a new revelation from God. This blog, my entire walk with the Lord is based solely on the words God inspired men to write thousands of years ago – the Bible.

That being said, I am a teacher. I read God’s Word every day, and do so with an ear to hear God speak to me through it’s pages, to teach me what I need to know for today. God’s voice is heard in the written Word as a verse that stands out as I read, or when I read something in a passage that applies to me in the moment, or when a parallel Scripture comes to mind and reenforces what I need to consider.

Then I often share what I’ve learned in this blog, or when I teach a Bible Study or Sunday School lesson. But I take the sharing of those lessons very seriously, because God takes it very seriously. And judgment is severe for those who claim to speak for God but are “prophesying to you a false vision, worthless divination, the deceit of their minds.” (14:14)

Makes a person think twice before taking on a teaching ministry. Or it should!

But as always, I encourage you not to read the “them” as you read the Bible. God has a warning for all of us who sit under the teaching, or read the opinions of Bible scholars, teachers, and preachers. God is very clear to tell us that when the false teachers are judged for their lies, those who believe their lies will be judged as well.

Brian Houston, Brian Johnson, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Jospeh Smith, Peter Popoff, Joyce Meyer, Buddha or Krishna or Mohammed, etc. Do you know what they preach? Do you believe what they say?

You are responsible for what you believe. God told Jeremiah it didn’t matter that the people were being fed lies. The problem was the people believed the lies.

Dear One, there are a lot of lies being tossed about these days under the guise of Christianity. They are being preached and sung in churches all over the world. Maybe in your own church. Don’t just sit there and accept it just because it sounds Christian. A lie is a lie even if it makes you feel good.

And you will be held accountable for what you do with that lie.

Thank you for reading my blog. Now put it away, and open up your Bible to Jeremiah 14 and read for yourself what God says. If my opinions align with Scripture, accept them. If they don’t, throw them away and let me know why you did. I need to know so that if I am wrong, I can recognize it as sin and repent of it.

Whatever you do, don’t accept everything I say, or what your preacher says, or what that praise song says without first checking it for yourself in the pages of Scripture. Because you will be held accountable for what you believe.

And you won’t be able to blame someone else if you believe the lie.

(Jeremiah 5-9) His Heart Is Breaking

People who have the audacity to question God’s love on the basis of evil in the world and judgment for those who deny Him, haven’t allowed themselves to hear God’s heart in Scripture. Reading these chapters today, I cannot help but recognize His pain as He watches His children make choices that will end up destroying them.

Yes, that destruction will come from His hand. Yes, that judgment is inevitable. But our Holy God – who can’t NOT be holy – wants us to know He will only go so far before judgment comes. He loves us enough to warn us about the dangers.

He’ll send people to speak the Truth. He’ll show Himself in nature, His power in circumstances of life. He’s given us His Word. But He won’t make you love Him. He won’t force you to obey Him.

He’s very clear to tell us if you don’t choose Him, He won’t relent and simply suspend your death sentence. You will pay severely for your rejection, and your rejection will (and does) break His heart.

If you listen, you can hear His heart breaking in the pages of the Bible.