“The Most Powerful Force in the World” September 19

 

The Most Powerful Force in the World - With the destruction from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey fresh in our minds, few would doubt the sheer force of storm driven wind and rain. And we've all seen images of earthquakes and other natural disasters.   Man made destruction can be just as powerful: war torn countries, the effects of suicide bombers and terrorism, and our own twin towers. Now another enemy threatens with missile launches and nuclear tests.   But are any of those the most powerful force in the world? And, if not, what is?With the destruction from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey fresh in our minds, few would doubt the sheer force of storm driven wind and rain. And we’ve all seen images of earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Man made destruction can be just as powerful: war torn countries, the effects of suicide bombers and terrorism, and our own twin towers. Now another enemy threatens with missile launches and nuclear tests.

But are any of those the most powerful force in the world? And, if not, what is?

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 29
Psalm 108.1-6
Proverbs 25.21-22
2 Corinthians 11.1-15

 

The Most Powerful Force in the World

 

Proverbs 25.21-22:

Three Stories

 

Another Monday morning. Jeannie would have to pray. She and Sue were the only two women on a job that was hard enough without Sue’s constant antagonism. It was made worse by the fact that, as far as Jeannie knew, she had never done anything to warrant her hatred.

The cheating began just a few months into their marriage. Mary had cried, yelled, spied on him, and threatened to leave. Each time Joe would tell her he was sorry and promise to break off the affair. But before long, she’d overhear a conversation, someone would call and hang up, or Joe would stay out all night and she’d know.

Karen’s husband worked hard. He came home every night. He paid the bills. But week-ends were a nightmare. Before the sun set on Friday, Bill was well into a bottle of bourbon and the more he drank, the angrier he got. More than once he had pulled out his gun and waved it around, even pointing it at Karen.

 

Jeannie’s Story

Each workday Jeannie determined to be kind to Sue, in spite of her cursing and cheap shots. But there were days when she went home in tears and cried out to God for another job.

Then one day after a particularly angry outburst, Sue stopped and just stared at Jeannie. “What is wrong with you? Everyday you come back and treat me right no matter what I say or do!” What followed were tears, but this time they were Sue’s and not Jeannie’s, as she poured out a story of heartbreak and abuse. Eventually, she accepted an invitation to attend church with Jeannie where she found the grace to let God heal her heart.  Continue reading

“False Shepherds” July 6

 

False Shepherds - The last days will produce many false shepherds and teachers who will teach outright lies, twist the truth, or leave out those things that are unpopular or politically incorrect.The last days will produce many false shepherds and teachers who will teach outright lies, twist the truth, or leave out those things that are unpopular or politically incorrect. We must learn to recognize truth and error or we’ll be easy prey for them.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 7-8
Psalm 80.1-6
Proverbs 20.15
Acts 13.26-52

 

False Shepherds

 

Psalm 80.1-6:

True Under-Shepherds and False Shepherds

 

Verse 1, “… O Shepherd of Israel …”

Jesus is the Shepherd of Israel, but God also gives us under-shepherds in the form of Pastors, who are under the authority of the Great Shepherd (Jn. 10.11). The Bible teaches submission to authority in the home, in the workplace, in civil affairs, and in the church.

“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13.17).

Our responsibility is to be sure that we are in a church where the Pastor(s) are under the authority of the Lord Jesus and His Word because there are many “false shepherds” and their numbers will increase as we approach the return of Christ.

Those who are truly under the authority of Christ will teach the full counsel of God without omitting those things that are unpopular or politically incorrect.

False Shepherds will add to His Word, take things out of context, or twist the truth. At worst, they will deny the deity of Christ, the reality of the Trinity, the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture, or other essential doctrines.

But, we won’t be able to discern the difference unless we get to know the True Shepherd through His Word. We will recognize a counterfeit by knowing and handling the real thing (2 Tim. 2.15). But if we don’t, we’re easy prey for false teachers.

“The sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (Jn. 10.3-5).

You can learn to recognize the voice of the Great Shepherd by:  Continue reading

“Handwriting on the Wall: The Party’s Over!” December 1

 

Handwriting on the Wall: the Party's Over! - Handwriting on the wall: Can you imagine the scene at the company Christmas party if a disjointed man’s hand suddenly appeared and began to write on the wall? That was the scene at Belshazzar’s bash! God was letting him know "the party's over"! What does that mean for our nation and the culture we live in?Handwriting on the wall: Can you imagine the scene at the company Christmas party if a disjointed man’s hand suddenly appeared and began to write on the wall? That was the scene at Belshazzar’s bash! God was letting him know “the party’s over”!

What does that mean for our nation and the culture we live in?

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13.8). God has been patient and merciful with us, but He will judge our nation as a whole. In fact, the free fall in morality probably means that judgment is well under way (Rom. 1.18-32).

And on an individual basis, that judgment will happen, as well. Each of us will stand before one of two judgments (2 Cor. 5.10; Rev, 20.11) and give an account. The biggest questions will be: How did we respond to the gospel and was Jesus truly Lord of our lives?

Our New Testament reading warns us of judgment against false teachers whose biggest lies revolve around Jesus. Among other lies, cults, false religions and false teachers always deny His deity, His virgin birth, His eternal nature, His Lordship, or some other characteristic of His nature.

Peter also warns us against believing and following false teachers.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed” (2 Pet. 2.1-2).

 

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 5 & 6
Psalm 136.10-26
Proverbs 29.12-13
2 Peter 2.1-22

 

Handwriting on the Wall: the Party’s Over!

 

Daniel 5 & 6:

The Word of God: His Handwriting to Us All

 

Every chapter of Daniel is packed with excitement greater than any action movie. Can you imagine the scene at your company Christmas party if a disjointed man’s hand suddenly appeared and began to write on the wall? That was the scene at Belshazzar’s bash!

Belshazzar had thrown a huge party for his lords, wives, and concubines? (Ladies, how would you like it if your husband brought a few of his mistresses to your next party?)

Besides the drunkenness and immorality, he had the arrogance to bring out the temple instruments and drink from them. God used this party with all these people present to let Belshazzar know that the party was over!

He thought he was safe inside his castle and his city walls and was free to live any way he pleased. History tells us that very night his kingdom fell to the Medes and Persians and Belshazzar was killed.

Sadly, it will be much the same when Jesus comes back. People will be eating and drinking and living life as they please.

And it is already happening on an individual level every day just like the parable Jesus told in Luke 12:  Continue reading

“Is the Bible True … All of It?” October 25

 

Is the Bible True ... All of It? - How do you view the Bible? Do you see it as a cafeteria line where you pick and choose what you like? Do you cut and paste the Bible at will? Do you view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do you view it as God Word and allow it to direct every area of your life?How do you view the Bible? Do you see it as a cafeteria line where you pick and choose what you like? Do you cut and paste the Bible at will? Do you view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do you view it as God’s Word and allow it to direct every area of your life?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 35 & 36
Psalm 119.65-72
Proverbs 27.22
1 Timothy 4.1-16

 

Is the Bible True … All of It?

 

Jeremiah 35 & 36:

Cutting and Pasting the Bible

Chapter 36.22-26 says:

22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. 23 And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. 24 Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words. 25 Nevertheless Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah implored the king not to burn the scroll; but he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them.

The king was sitting in his house, warm and comfortable, and—with a complete disregard for the Word of God! When the Scriptures were read to him, he simply cut them off the scroll and threw them into the fire!

is the Bible trueI once heard about a liberal theologian who literally cut the first few chapters of Genesis out of his Bible. Others today throw out the whole Bible as being the work of men. Still others, claim they are followers of Christ, but pick and choose what to believe.

Some talk about how Jesus loves everyone, but forget that He ordered the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some claim to love God but don’t do what He says, forgetting His words, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14.15). And others say it’s a book of principles alone. They deny its truthfulness in the area of history and science and eliminate the whole creation account.

Then there are those who cut and paste the Bible with other religious ideas. They take what they like from Christianity, add a little Eastern religion, and toss in some mysticism. Or they say they’re Christians but add other books or some so-called higher knowledge. Still others deny the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth, or the reality of the Trinity.  Continue reading