“How are you at defending your faith?” February 16

 

How are you at defending your faith? - How are you at defending the faith and what you say you believe? Do you ever pretend you're not a believer because it's inconvenient or embarrassing? Have you ever said my faith is a "personal thing" when you had an opportunity to "give a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3.15)? Do you ever hold back when it would mean taking a stand or speaking up? I know I have.How are you at defending the faith and what you say you believe? Do you ever pretend you’re not a believer because it’s inconvenient or embarrassing? Have you ever said my faith is a “personal thing” when you had an opportunity to “give a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3.15)? Do you ever hold back when it would mean taking a stand or speaking up? I know I have.

 

Today’s Readings:

Leviticus 3 & 4
Psalm 23
Proverbs 9.1-6
Matthew 27.55-66

 

How are you at defending your faith?

 


Are you prepared?

 

bible study

In this passage, we find three of the women who followed Jesus there at the cross “looking on from afar.” It’s interesting to note that there is no record of any of the women who had followed Jesus leaving Him or denying Him in those last hours, when most of the men fled in fear.

What about you and me?

Do you ever pretend you’re not a believer because it’s inconvenient or embarrassing? Have you ever said my faith is a “personal thing” when you had an opportunity to defend and talk about what you believe?” Do you ever hold back when it would mean taking a stand or speaking up? I know I have.

Maybe we’re afraid someone won’t like us? Or of jeopardizing something we want? Or we’re afraid of the consequences?

Certainly, we need to be wise in the work place, but, at times, we keep silent more because it’s uncomfortable. Other times, we don’t speak up because we don’t really know how to defend our faith and we’re afraid we’ll sound foolish or mess it up.

Yet look at what the Apostle Peter told a earlier generation of believers–people who lived in almost constant danger of persecution or worse:

13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Pet. 3.13-17).

What do you need to do to be better prepared to “defend the faith”? Do you need to get involved in a discipleship class or Bible study so you can learn the basics of the Christian faith? Do you need to pray for boldness or freedom from fear? Do you just need to step out in faith?

Leave me a comment at the bottom of this post if you would like more information about discipleship or check out Fundamentals of the Faith: 13 Lessons to Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

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The Messy Business of Sin

 

The primary theme in Leviticus is holiness. God is holy and He has commanded us to be holy just as He is (1 Pet. 1.14-16).

The need for holiness is attested to by the complicated systems of sacrifices and offerings. The animal sacrifices made temporary atonement for the sins of the priests and the people.

And what a “messy” and costly business the sacrificial system really was.

But then, I’m reminded that sin itself is “messy” business! Think of all the messes we make in our lives: our friendships, our marriages, our families, our finances, and every area of life. It’s not always “pretty” and the only remedy is Christ.

When we see our complete failure to be holy and come to understand that He died as the perfect Sacrifice for all who believe, we can exchange our sin for His holiness.

But sometimes, before that can happen, Continue reading

“Consequences of Favoritism & Deception” January 14

 

Consequences of Favoritism & Deception - Job said that no plan or purpose of God's can be thwarted (Job. 42.2), but He often has to allow the consequences of our sin and self-effort to take effect before we're ready to be used or to receive the blessing without messing it up. Jacob and Rebekah, it seems, had to learn this lesson the hard way. All this should be both a warning and a great encouragement to us: a warning of the consequences of deception, controlling behavior, and selfishness and an encouragement that God can and will use us, in spite of our past mistakes, if we will repent and turn to Him.Job said that no plan or purpose of God’s can be thwarted (Job. 42.2), but He often has to allow the consequences of our sin and self-effort to take effect before we’re ready to be used or to receive the blessing without messing it up. Jacob and Rebekah, it seems, had to learn this lesson the hard way.

All this should be both a warning and a great encouragement to us: a warning of the consequences of deception, controlling behavior, and selfishness and an encouragement that God can and will use us, in spite of our past mistakes, if we will repent and turn to Him.

Also read about the difference between “Righteous Anger & Sinful Anger,” “The Chastening of the Lord,” and the importance of “Defending the Faith in Love.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 27 & 28
Psalm 7.9-17
Proverbs 3.11-12
Matthew 10.1-20

 

The Consequences of Favoritism & Deception

 

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Consequences & God’s Sovereignty

 

Isaac was now 137 years old, blind, and facing his own mortality. Perhaps he was sick since both Jacob and Esau expected him to die soon (). As the story continues we will see that he actually lives forty-three years longer. By the way, Jacob and Esau were not exactly kids either. They were 77 years old!

Isaac planned to give a final blessing to Esau, his favored son, in opposition to God’s declared will (Gen. 25.23). But first he asked him to bring him a meal of fresh game. Instead, Rebekah convinced Jacob, her favorite, to deceive his father into pronouncing the blessing over him.

When the scandal of Jacob’s deception was revealed, it says, “Isaac trembled exceedingly,” perhaps over what Jacob had done or perhaps at the realization that he had favored his rebellious son in spite of what God had revealed to Rebekah before the twins were born.

Esau was already living up to God’s prophecy. He had married two Hittite women, clearly in violation of Abraham’s guidelines (Gen. 24.3). Rebekah and Isaac must have understood all this because says his wives were “a grief of mind” to his parents.

And don’t forget the selfish, “I-want-what-I-want-and-I-want-it-now” attitude that had already cost Esau his birthright as the elder son.

Though Jacob’s behavior was completely wrong (and the fact that his mother suggested it, was no excuse), God, in His sovereignty, used it to bring about His desired result—not because of their sinful behavior, but again, in spite of it.

And Rebekah! Wouldn’t you just love to have a mother who gives this kind of advice! Continue reading

“Could you explain the basics of the faith?” June 24

 

Could you explain the basics of the faith? How do we know we can trust the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die? How is a person saved? If you had the opportunity to share your faith, would you know how to answer those questions?ne 24" >Could you explain the basics of the faith? How do we know we can trust the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die? How is a person saved? If you had the opportunity to share your faith, would you know how to answer those questions?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 11 & 12
Psalm 77.16-20
Proverbs 19.17-19
Acts 7.1-21

 

Could you explain the basics of the faith?

 

:

Wise as Serpents & Harmless as Doves

Stephen was taken before the Sanhedrin and falsely accused of blasphemy and here in chapter 7, instead of answering directly, Stephen began to speak the truth of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had said:

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you” ( Matthew 10.16-20).

We are living in a society where more and more restrictions are being placed on believers in our schools, in the workplace, and in the civic arena. It seems many in our culture want to give freedom of religion and expression to everyone except believers in Jesus Christ. While we need to be respectful of our civil laws, teach our children to respect authority in their schools and elsewhere, and be the best possible employees, we must sometimes risk censure to speak the truth to a lost world. When we do, we must do it out of a desire to please God and a love for the lost and not self-righteousness or an argumentative attitude.

Though we may not be killed for doing so, there will be times when it will be costly. We should pray that God will help us be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” as Jesus said in Matthew 10. For instance, we can take a co-worker to lunch instead of sharing the gospel at work and we need to be informed of our freedoms under the law and take advantage of them. Many people keep quiet because they are uninformed about the freedoms they do have.

 

The Basics of the Faith

We also need to learn to defend our faith. Many of us hold back because we don’t even know why we believe what we do. It doesn’t mean you have to have a degree in theology, but we should all know the basic tenets of our faith!

basics of the faithne 24" >

How do we know we can trust the Bible?

Why did Jesus have to die?

How is a person saved?

What is “justification by faith”?

What does the Bible really say about homosexuality and abortion and how are we to treat people caught up in life-dominating sins?

If you don’t know the answers to those questions, ask your church leadership if there is a discipleship class or program. Many churches, like ours, offer courses to help you get grounded in the truth.

You can, also, do a self study with books like, Basic Christianity by John R.W. Stott or The Good News We Almost Forgot by Kevin L. DeYoung.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

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Betrayal & forgiveness

1 Chronicles parallels 2 Kings and repeats much of the same narrative story, but because of the viewpoint of the return from Babylon, it emphasizes certain points. So as I said yesterday, don’t be confused by the repetition.

Notice in in the list of David’s mighty men—those who served him so well—the name Uriah the Hittite. He was the husband of Bathsheba. David’s sin of adultery and murder would have been bad enough no matter who Uriah had been, but it was aggravated by the fact that Uriah was a loyal associate.

Yet, though there were consequences, some of which affected David for the rest of his life, Continue reading

February 16 “Defending the faith”

Defending the faith

Could you defend what you say you believe? Do you ever pretend you’re not a believer because it’s inconvenient or embarrassing? Have you ever said my faith is a “personal thing” when you had an opportunity to “give a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3.15)? Do you ever hold back when it would mean taking a stand or speaking up? I know I have.

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 3 & 4
Psalm 23
Proverbs 9.1-6
Matthew 27.55-66

Leviticus 3 & 4

The messy business of sin

Before we talk about defending the faith we’ll discuss our Old Testament reading.

The primary theme in Leviticus is holiness. God is holy and He has commanded us to be holy just as He is (1 Pet. 1.14-16).

The need for holiness is attested to by the complicated systems of sacrifices and offerings. The animal sacrifices made temporary atonement for the sins of the priests and the people.

And what a “messy” and costly business the sacrificial system really was.

But then, I’m reminded that sin itself is “messy” business! Think of all the messes we make in our lives: our friendships, our marriages, our families, our finances, and every area of life. It’s not always “pretty” and our only remedy is Christ. When we see our complete failure to be holy and understand that He died as the perfect Sacrifice for all who believe and receive, we can exchange His righteousness for our sin.

But sometimes God has to allow our choices in life to bring about their natural consequences (Gal. 6.7-8) before we’re willing to see our need for Him.

Even as believers, he allows a certain amount of hardship in our lives. Not because He’s spiteful or unloving, but because He is our Father and we are His children. Like any good father, He trains and disciplines His children precisely because He loves us! Continue reading

January 14 “Rightous anger”

Helping the lost

Can our anger ever be righteous? Are there things in this world that should make us mad? And if so, how should we respond?

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 27 & 28
Psalm 7.9-17
Proverbs 3.11-12
Matthew 10.1-20

Genesis 27 & 28:

The consequences of favoritism, selfishness, & deception

Isaac was now 137 years old, blind, and facing his own mortality. Perhaps he was sick since Esau also expected him to die soon (27.41). As the story continues we will see that he actually lives forty-three years longer. Jacob and Esau were not exactly kids either. They were 77 years old!

Isaac planned to give a final blessing to Esau, his favored son, in opposition to God’s declared will (Gen. 25.23). When the scandal of Jacob’s deception was revealed, it says, “Isaac trembled exceedingly,” perhaps over what Jacob had done Continue reading