“The Second Death & A Righteous Judge” December 22

 

The Second Death & a Righteous Judge - Imagine your loved one had been struck and killed by a drunk driver. And now that driver is standing before the judge. He's sober now, but he’s haughty and unrepentant, even defiant. How would you feel if the judge said, “It’s OK. You’re free to go. No big deal”? You wouldn’t think he was good. You certainly wouldn’t think he was a righteous judge. In reality, that driver would be worthy of death. But would a death sentence be the worst that could happen? Is there actually more than one kind of death?Imagine your loved one had been struck and killed by a drunk driver. And now that driver is standing before the judge. He’s sober now, but he’s haughty and unrepentant, even defiant. How would you feel if the judge said, “It’s OK. You’re free to go. No big deal”? You wouldn’t think he was good. You certainly wouldn’t think he was a righteous judge. 

In reality, that driver would be worthy of death. But would a death sentence be the worst that could happen? Is there actually more than one kind of death?

 

Today’s Readings:
Nahum 1-3
Psalm 145.17-21
Proverbs 30.16
Revelation 12.1-17

 

The Second Death & a Righteous Judge

 

Nahum 1-3:

Patient, Merciful & Righteous

 

Chapter 1.3, 7 sum up this book:

3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
And will not at all acquit the wicked.

7 The LORD is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him.

God is patient and merciful (“slow to anger”). His desire is that all would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2.4).

But He can’t be good and be a liar. He can’t be a righteous judge and give evil a pass (“acquit the wicked”). There is a debt to be paid for sin in the court of heaven. For those who put their faith and trust in what Christ did on the cross, it has been paid in full, but for those who reject the truth, the penalty is death.

But physical death is not the end. We will all live forever. The question is … “Where?”

Death is separation. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden they were separated from God. They no longer had the spirit to Spirit communion with Him they had enjoyed. They didn’t die physically, at least not immediately, though they would since they were, also, barred from eating from the tree of life.

As their children, we are all born spiritually dead and unless Jesus returns before then, we will die physically.

But there is a second death (Rev. 2.11), Continue reading

“God & Satan, Heavenly ‘Battle of the Bands’?” August 5

 

"Satan & God, Heavenly 'Battle of the Bands'?" - The battle is raging and we see evidence of it all around us. Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy all that God loves. But is it really a fair fight?The battle is raging and we see evidence of it all around us. Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy all that God loves. But is it really a fair fight?

Also, read about how “lions” can keep us from moving forward with the plans and purposes God has for us.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 1 & 2
Psalm 91.7-13
Proverbs 22.13-14
Romans 7.1-25

 

God & Satan, Heavenly “Battle of the Bands”?

 

Job 1 & 2:

Adversary, but Not Equal

 

The book of Job may be one of the least understood books in the Bible. So let’s pray that God will give us fresh insight into this book. Remember “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable …” (2 Tim. 3.16).

The book starts out in “God’s heavenly courtroom” and helps us understand that not everything that happens is the result of sin in a believer’s life. Sometimes God allows something for His holy, just and righteous purposes. There were many such purposes in what was going on here in the book of Job.

This wasn’t some “battle of the bands” between God and Satan. First, even though Satan is God’s adversary, he is not God’s equal! He is a created being who cannot do anything in the life of a believer without God’s permission.

Everything in our lives has been filtered through God’s loving hands and He promises to use it all for our good (Rom. 8.28). But we can believe that only to the degree we know Him, know His character, and understand His love for us.

 

God’s Good Purposes

 

Even when, for His divine purposes, God allows Satan some entrance into a believer’s life, He sets limits on it (Job 1.12, 2.6). 1 Corinthians 10.13 says:

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

God knows what we need in our lives to develop us as believers, but will not allow more than we can handle if we will rely on Him. It’s not about what we can handle in our own strength, but about what He wants to do in and through us. One of His good purposes is, often, to help us learn to rely on Him in a greater way.

Even though Job never knew what went on in heaven, God recorded it in His Word for our benefit (1 Cor. 10.11), to help us understand and trust that God is always in control.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 91.7-13:

Satan and Scripture

 

off cliffThis beautiful psalm pictures God’s care for His children. It’s interesting that the devil quoted verses 11 & 12 during Christ’s temptation in the wilderness (Lk. 4.1-13). You see, the devil knows the Scriptures, too, but twists it to suit his evil purposes. In Luke 4 he misused this passage in an attempt to get Jesus to do something foolish. He tried to get Him to jump off the pinnacle of the temple by saying, in effect, “If God has commanded His angels to take care of You, You can just go ahead and jump!” Continue reading

December 29 “Believing lies”

believing liesToday we’ll talk about the danger of believing lies, whether about some false religion or our right to nurse our wounds and refuse to forgive. Even for believers, bitterness and unforgiveness can hinder our relationships with God.

We’ll also continue our study in Revelation. And I’ll share a comment from a friend about Satan, how he not only hates God’s people, but how he hates those who serve him, as well.

About 2015

There are only two more days in 2014. Have you set a goal for your Bible reading in 2015? Have you invited someone else to join you? Let’s bring others along as we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3.18).

On to the readings …

 

Today’s Readings:
Zechariah 10-12
Psalm 149.1-4
Proverbs 30.32-33
Revelation 19-21

 

Zechariah 10-12:

Believing lies

I found verse 10.2 very interesting. It says:

“For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd.”

Yesterday we talked about “Babylon the Great,” and how the world’s religious and socio-economic system will be destroyed at the end of the age. We also talked about the allure of false religions. So often, what makes it so alluring is because it tells us what we want to hear.

It tells us we’re “ok” if we just keep these rules. It even enables us to feel self-righteous because all those “other people” outside our group don’t get it!

Or it tells us that god in within us and we just need to reach some higher level of spirituality and that we can do so by meditating on this mantra or using this substance. This appeals to the self-delusion that we are more spiritual than someone else.

The lure of false religion is one of the reasons we get so enthralled with things like “The DaVinci Code” and tales of “lost gospels.” It’s the appeal of Gnosticism, the belief in some hidden knowledge, not available to the “less enlightened.” That’s the appeal of the Masonic Temple and many “secret” organizations.

It’s the appeal of martyrdom for Allah and the reward of “100 virgins” or of giving up your life to live in a monastery forsaking all earthly possessions. It’s the deception of Continue reading

December 22 “The Righteous Judge & the death sentence” + LINKUP

The Righteous JudgeImagine your loved one had been struck and killed by a drunk driver. And now that driver is standing before the judge. He is sober now, but he’s haughty and unrepentant, even defiant. How would you feel if the judge said, “It’s ok. You’re free to go. No big deal”? You wouldn’t think he was good. You certainly wouldn’t think he was a righteous judge.

Today’s Readings:
Nahum 1-3
Psalm 145.17-21
Proverbs 30.16
Revelation 12.1-17

 

Nahum 1-3:

God the Righteous Judge

Chapter 1 verses 3 and 7 sum up this book:

3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
And will not at all acquit the wicked.

7 The LORD is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him.

Imagine your loved one had been struck and killed by a drunk driver. And now that driver is standing before the judge. He’s sober now, but he’s haughty and unrepentant, even defiant. How would you feel if the judge said, “It’s ok. You’re free to go. No big deal”?

You wouldn’t think he was good. You certainly wouldn’t think he was a righteous judge.

God can’t be good and be a liar. He can’t be a righteous judge and give evil a pass. There is a debt to be paid for sin in the court of heaven and it must be paid. For those who put their faith and trust in what Christ did on the cross, it has been paid in full, but for those who reject the truth, the penalty is death.

But death is not the end. We will all live forever. The question is … “Where?”

Death is separation. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden they experienced death. The first death was their separation from God. The second death, the process of physical death, began as they were driven out of the garden and barred from eating from the tree of life.

But there is a third death, separation from God for eternity in a place called hell where Jesus said, the fire is never quenched and the worm does not die (Mk. 9.43-44).

God is good, a stronghold to those who trust in Him, but because He is also the Righteous Judge of heaven and earth and He will one day judge sin and evil.

Romans 3.23 and 6.23:

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Have you ever stood before God, the Righteous Judge, in prayer? Have you admitted that you owe a debt you can’t possibly pay—that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness and that there is no just verdict other than death. Romans 10.1-4:

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Have you put your complete faith and trust in what Jesus did on the cross? Have you accepted His payment for your sins? Romans 10.8-13:

 

 

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Have you done that? Have you admitted your guilt? Have you acknowledged Him as Lord—Master, Savior? Have you truly surrendered your life to Him?

If not, don’t let another Christmas season pass without understanding, acknowledging, and accepting the very reason He was born in that stable so long ago.

Why not pray now? There is no magic formula. You don’t need to be in a church. There are no special words. Just talk to Him in your own words and acknowledge the things I have talked about here.

If you do, please email me (contact info below) and I’ll send you some information about where to go from here. Please include a mailing address. I will not use it for any other purpose.

 

prayerPsalm 145.17-21:

All who call upon Him

Verse 18, “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”

What an amazing thing Continue reading

August 5 “Satan and Scripture”

imagesCA012OTT

Unless you read and understand God’s Word for yourself, Satan can twist it and use it against you.

Today’s Readings:
Job 1 & 2
Psalm 91.7-13
Proverbs 22.13-14
Romans 7.1-25

Job 1 & 2:

God’s heavenly courtroom

The book of Job may be one of the least understood books in the Bible. So let’s pray that God will give us fresh insight into this book. Remember “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable …” (2 Tim. 3.16).

courtroom, judge, gavel,

The book starts out in “God’s heavenly courtroom” and helps us understand that not everything that happens is the result of sin in a believer’s life. Sometimes God allows something for His holy, just and righteous purposes. There were many such purposes in what was going on here.

This wasn’t some “battle of the bands” between God and Satan. First, even though Satan is God’s adversary, he is not God’s equal! He is a created being who cannot do anything in the life of a believer without God’s permission.

Everything in our lives has been filtered through God’s loving hands and He promises to use it all for our good (Rom. 8.28). But we can believe that only to the degree we know Him, know His character, and understand His love for us.

Continue reading

May 13 “White magic, Jesus and how to resist the devil”

Is there any such thing as white magic? Is it ok for Christians to read their horoscopes or study astrology or numerology? Is there anything wrong with tarot cards, cleansings, Ouija boards, and palm reading?

Have you ever dabbled in those things? Would you know how to talk to someone who has? How do you resist the devil?

resist the devil

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 28
Psalm 61.1-4
Proverbs 16.6
John 3.1-18

1 Samuel 28:

Mediums and spiritists

This is one of the more bizarre stories in the Bible and difficult to understand at first glance. The chapter opens by telling us that Samuel has died and that Saul has banished all the mediums and spiritists from the land. Then when God won’t answer Saul, he resorts to seeking out a medium himself.

How about you? How to you respond when answers to prayer are slow in coming? Do you continue to wait on God or resort to your own solutions?

We can’t put God in a box or demand that He do things on our timetable. Just because we have decided to walk in biblical love and forgiveness toward our spouse, doesn’t mean God is, immediately, going to cause him or her to change.

Just because we give financially doesn’t mean all our debt will disappear or we’ll instantly have the job of our dreams. In fact, our expectations are often part of the problem. We are to obey God out of a desire to please Him, not to get some desired result and then trust Him for the right result. It’s not that blessings don’t come as a result of our obedience, but our attitude is not to be one of “giving to get something.” Continue reading

March 17 “Dumb as an ox”

God says there is a time when men and women can truly be “dumb as an ox,” but it has nothing to do with intelligence, rather with our attitude toward correction.

dumb as an ox

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 31 & 32
Psalm 35.1-8
Proverbs 12.1
Mark 14.55-72

Numbers 31 & 32:

The war rages on

Here in chapter 31 God ordered the destruction of a nation by ordering the killing of all the males and women of child-bearing age. This would prevent them from becoming a nation again and trying to curse Israel as they did with Balaam (Num. 22-24).

It would, also, prevent them from drawing the Israelites into idolatry and sexual immorality as they did in Numbers 25. The Israelites who had participated in those acts had already been put to death and now Divine justice was carried out on the adulteresses themselves and the ungodly nation as a whole.

It’s hard to read some of these Old Testament passages without a clear understanding of God and His essential goodness. The Scripture says, “… God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1.5). There is no evil in God. What He declares is always right. Continue reading

January 3 “The fruit of genuine repentance”

fruit of genuine repentanceToday’s Readings:
Genesis 5 & 6
Psalm 2.7-12
Proverbs 1.10-19
Matthew 3.1-17

What does genuine repentance look like? Is it merely a feeling of sorrow or something more?

Genesis 5 & 6:

Total depravity

It didn’t take long for sin to take its toll, did it? Chapter 6.5-6 says, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

This is sometimes called “total depravity.” Even though sin doesn’t make us all as bad as we could be, it makes us all as bad as we need to be to deserve an eternity separated from Him.

God is still grieved over sin today. All too often we mistakenly believe that when we sin, we are only hurting ourselves, or, at worst, it’s just against another person. But sin is first and foremost against our Holy God! Continue reading