“The Word of God … Cafeteria Style” December 9

 

The Word of God ... Cafeteria StyleHow do you view the Word of God? As the commands and revelation of the Creator of heaven and earth or is it merely “interesting” to you … one more opinion in a list of options for making decisions and solving life’s problems? Or is it the standard by which you weigh everything?

Before you answer … you might ask yourself if, when talking about some Biblical command or principle, you’ve ever said:

  • I tried that, it just didn’t work.
  • Well, I just believe …
  • I know what the Bible says, but …
  • This is almost 2017.
  • We live in a different world.

As my husband says, “Amen” or “Oh! Me!”

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 9 & 10
Psalm 139.13-16
Proverbs 29.21
3 John 1-14

 

The Word of God … Cafeteria Style

 

Hosea 9 & 10:

Rejecting the Revelation of God

 

Even though Scripture tells us that everyone has enough revelation of God through His creation to recognize there is a Creator and to cry out to know Him (Rom. 1.18-23), many people live in ignorance of the written Word of God.

Sadder still, is to be given the amount of special revelation Israel was given as a nation, and to ignore or reject it.

“I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing” (8.12).

God so desired to reach the heart of His people that He gave them prophets to proclaim the truth to them, but instead of heeding God’s warning, they ridiculed them, calling them fools … insane (9.7).

Little has changed, even though, we live in a day when the Word of God has free reign. He has revealed Himself to us through His Word and the prophets who wrote it. And He has blessed us with pastors and teachers and others who can help us understand His written Word.

 

Divine suggestions?

 

does being good matterThere is such an abundance of good spiritual resources available and, yet, so few take advantage of them. Most people are content to come to church on Sundays thinking they have their ticket punched for heaven and to live life their own way the rest of the time.

The Word of God is “interesting” to them and they like hearing a nice message, but they don’t acknowledge it as God’s written revelation and command to them. It’s optional, depending on whether or not they “agree with it”! They take the Word of God as a suggestion, not the Word of a Holy Sovereign God.  Continue reading

“What can a Christian expect?” November 8

 

What can a Christian expect?What can a Christian expect when he or she comes to God in prayer? Are we to expect judgment and begrudging answers? Or are we to expect something quite different?

And what is it about God’s Word? Why is it so challenging and why does it have the ability to pierce our hearts in a way nothing else can?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 7 & 8
Psalm 120.1-7
Proverbs 28.15
Hebrews 4.1-16

 

What can a Christian expect?

 

Hebrews 4.1-16:

The Living, Powerful Word

 

bible church

Verse 12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The Bible is no ordinary book; it is the living, breathing Word of God. It has the power to speak to our hearts in a way human words do not.

That’s important to remember even when teaching and training our children. It’s important to explain things using God’s Word whenever possible. It’s His Word which doesn’t return void (Is. 55.11) and His Word that has the power to change lives (Rom. 1.16).

 

What can Christians expect when they pray?

 

Prayer

And verses 15-16:

15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

A throne speaks of authority, but this is a throne of grace. I like what Matthew Henry says about these verses:

“In all our approaches to this throne of grace for mercy, we should come with a humble freedom and boldness, with a liberty of spirit and a liberty of speech we should ask in faith, nothing doubting we should come with a Spirit of adoption, as children to a reconciled God and Father. We are indeed to come with reverence and godly fear, but not with terror and amazement not as if we were dragged before the tribunal of justice, but kindly invited to the mercy-seat, where grace reigns, and loves to exert and exalt itself towards us,” Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible, Heb. 4.

Of course, we come, not based on our own goodness, but because of our High Priest and Mediator, our Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ.

And what can we expect? “… grace to help in time of need.” If we will but go to that throne of grace, He will give us all the grace we need for any situation.

And when do we receive? “in time of need.” This is not tomorrow’s grace, but today’s grace, for today’s problems, in whatever measure we need, so we can handle them without sinning (1 Cor. 10.13; Matt. 6.34).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Ezekiel 7 & 8:

The Time of God’s Judgment

 

Even though God had blessed the nation of Israel and had shown them mercy over and over, they had continued to go their own way. Now it was time for God’s judgment.

Not only were the people living ungodly lives and refusing to acknowledge Him as the One True God, they were actively worshiping false gods of every sort. Even their spiritual leaders were involved in a secret society which worshiped demons (8.7-12)!

But even in judgment, God’s purpose was loving and good.

“… Then they shall know that I am the Lord!” (7.27b).

That statement was repeated over 60 times in this book, but the people had so hardened their hearts that only pain and suffering could reach them. Psalm 32: Continue reading

“Are you under God’s umbrella of protection?” October 28

 

Are you under God's umbrella of protection? - What is God’s "umbrella of protection" and how do we stay under it? How, also, do we put ourselves outside His protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection for its members?What is God’s “umbrella of protection” and how do we stay under it? How, also, do we put ourselves outside His protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection for its members?

How does this apply:

  • Within the Family
  • In the Church
  • In Our Nation

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 41 & 42
Psalm 119.89-96
Proverbs 28.2
2 Timothy 1.1-18

 

Are you under God’s umbrella of protection?

 

Jeremiah 41 & 42 & Proverbs 28.2:

Umbrella of Protection for a Nation

Interestingly our verse in Proverbs today is 28.2:

“Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; but by a man of understanding and knowledge right will be prolonged.”

John MacArthur says, “Unrighteousness in a nation produces political instability with many vying for power …,” on the other hand, “Wisdom promotes social order and long rule.”

We see that truth in operation here in Jeremiah 41 and 42, and in the following chapter. Ishmael sees an opportunity to seize control and is shortly overturned himself by Johanan. But, because he lacked righteousness and trust in God, Johanan soon leads the people to ruin.

There is also a beautiful picture of God’s willingness to protect His people in chapter 42. When the people were in a desperate situation, they turned to God, asking Jeremiah to intercede for them and seek His wisdom. But when He provided it, they were unwilling to listen.

The place of protection was where God had placed them and commanded them to stay. But since it didn’t make sense to them, they left and went their own way, only to be destroyed as we’ll see in the next chapter.

Remember 9-11? After that horrible tragedy people flocked to churches, but few actually made the life changes they needed so they could truly live under God’s protective authority. And as a nation, we have totally rejected the spiritual lessons we should have learned.

What can we do today? If you remember much of our reading in the historical Bible books, God would often show mercy on the whole nation because of a godly leader or one who turned to Him in times of trouble. In a democratic republic like ours, let’s pray He gives us the wisdom to make the wisest choice possible and that we listen.

But what about on a personal level, how do we either stay under God’s protective authority or leave and go to Egypt? Continue reading

“The Rapture & Uncle Levi” October 17

 

The RaptureImagine your family sitting around the dinner table one night and there is a knock at the door … and there stands “Uncle Levi,” whose funeral you had attended a few years before? And imagine what it will it be like a few seconds after the Rapture of the Church? What do those two scenarios have to do with each other?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 19 & 20
Psalm 119.1-8
Proverbs 27.13
1 Thessalonians 4.1-18

 

The Rapture & Uncle Levi

 

1 Thessalonians 4.1-18:

The Rapture

The Rapture

Verses 15-18 speak of what is called the Rapture of the Church.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The word “rapture” means to be “caught up.” Paul said those who have died in Christ will rise first. So when Christ returns for His church, the bodies of believers who died previously, whose spirits are already in heaven, will be resurrected and changed. And those of us who are alive will be caught up and our bodies will be changed, as well.

There was a foretaste of this event right after Christ’s death in Matthew 27:

50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

So even though these resurrected believers would die again, it was a preview of what is to come in the future.

Can you just imagine what it must have been like—the family is sitting around having dinner and there’s a knock at the door … and there stands “Uncle Levi or Cousin Benjamin” who had died a few years before!

Now imagine what it will be like when the Rapture happens. The graves of the dead believers will be opened, but this time they’ll be gone, along with believers who were alive at the time of the Rapture!

I would imagine there will be more than a few family members who had rejected what their husbands and wives and mommas and brothers were telling them, who fall to their knees and cry out to God. It won’t be too late for them to be saved, but it will be too late for them to escape the Tribulation, seven years of famine, disease, earthquakes, disasters, and persecution the likes of which the world has never seen. We’ll talk more about this when we get to the book of Revelation.

Let’s pray and stand up for the truth now while there is still time for those who may listen.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Jeremiah 19 & 20:

Is the Word like fire in your bones?

Rather than believe the truth, the leaders of Jerusalem tried to intimidate Jeremiah into silence. Have you turned on the news lately? Sound familiar?

Even though Jeremiah was tempted to keep quiet, he said, “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (19.9).

Is that you? Are you so full of God’s Word that it’s like fire in your bones? So much so that you would risk mistreatment, persecution or death, as Jeremiah did?

 

Psalm 119.1-8:

Mind, Will, and Emotions

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and is an acrostic psalm. As it was written in the original Hebrew, it contains a literary device to drive home the truths contained in it—something like what we do when we say “A is for apple; B is for ball; … or when we use an acronym to help us remember the name of an organization.

While it’s long, it contains some of the greatest truths about God and His Word, beginning with verses 1-2: Continue reading