Monthly Archives: October 2015

Inspired

I love to read the Bible. When I do I am often reminded of a Truth that cements my belief in the Author. Or I might read something as though for the first time. When that happens I am often challenged, or convicted, or blessed. When I ask God to teach me, He does. When I ask Him to reveal Himself, He does.

Paul tells us:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Bible was not given to us with the intent it sit on our shelves, waiting for that day when we take it down, open it to some random page, and expect God to give us a sign of some sort. The Bible was given by God to be our map, our owners manual, our text book, our iPhone, our love letter written by the One who loves us more than anybody else can.

When I started this blog in January of 2013, I wasn’t sure where it would go. But as time has passed I realize my burning desire is to encourage you to read and re-read the Bible, to study this precious Book every day, to think about it and talk about it, to pray that God will give you understanding.

Why? Because in its pages are the instructions for all of us to be the people God deserves, people who are holy, who love God and each other, and who are equipped to share the Gospel with a lost world.

Dearest Author, thank you for inspiring men to write down the things you wanted us – me – to know. Thank you that this Bible that I have in front of me is true, it’s understandable, it’s vital and relevant. Thank you that you loved us so much you wanted to put it in writing. May we cherish the pages, may we be faithful to read it every day, to commit it to memory, to think on it, and use it to be people eager to accomplish every good work, the work of sharing the Gospel. You deserve no less.

I Know Whom I’ve Believed

I know not why God’s wondrous grace to me He has made known. Nor why, when I was so unworthy, Christ, in love, redeemed me for His own. “But I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”

If you went to church before the “contemporary” movement decided the old hymns are irrelevant, I bet you have a tune running through your head about now. I find myself singing Daniel W. Whittle’s hymn every time I read 2 Timothy 1:12. If you get a chance I hope you take the time to read all five verses. It is a wonderful hymn of complete confidence in God.

That’s what Paul was talking about to Timothy in his second letter to the young preacher. Paul was in jail, had suffered quite a bit for Jesus’ sake, and he was encouraging Timothy to see Jesus ONLY in every circumstance of life. Paul says, I’ve had a tough time sharing the Gospel, but I’m not ashamed of any of it.

The Apostle wanted Timothy – and me – to have the same attitude. Don’t ever be ashamed of standing up for the Truth of Scripture, of wearing the name Christian according to God’s Word. It might not be a popular or comfortable stand, but knowing Jesus makes everything else dim in comparison.

And God promises to stand with us until we see Him face to face in our eternal home.

I know not when my Lord may come, at night or noonday fair. Or if I walk the vale with Him or meet Him in the air. But I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day!

The Bible and Truth

If you read Psalm 119, you have to admit that the psalmist sure loved Scripture. Just in verses 41-48 we see him say God’s Word is his salvation, his answers, his hope, his liberty, and his testimony. Scripture means everything to the psalmist.

In Jeremiah 29-30 we hear the prophet telling us we need to recognize God’s voice apart from the lies, and obey it. He says God punishes the liars and those who believe the lies. And God delights in blessing His obedient children.

Paul, in his letter to Timothy, tells the young preacher that the law is good, if it is used lawfully. Then he goes on to list the sins that the Law addresses and condemns. These, he says, are contrary to the glorious gospel of Christ. (from I Timothy 1)

There are a lot of opinions being thrown out there these days concerning right and wrong, concerning God among other gods. But there can be only one Truth.

Do you know it when you hear it? We’ve got to be reading the Bible. We’ve got to pray for understanding. We’ve got to think about it, memorize it, talk about it, use it, and love it.

It’s God’s Word to us. It’s personal. It’s relevant. And it’s True.

Dear Father, my prayer today is for all of the busy people reading this blog who feel they don’t have time to spend in Your Word. I pray that you would put a burden on their hearts that can only be lessened by opening their Bibles and hearing what you want to say to them. Give us all a hunger to know you better through the words you inspired men to write for our benefit. Help us to be so familiar with Scripture that we can recognize Satan’s lies, and stand for the Truth. Help us to look forward to spending time in the pages of our Bibles every day. May it be as natural and as necessary as breathing.

My Heart

Earlier this year a friend of mine posted a picture on FaceBook of her twenty-something son, standing on the beach, a beautiful sunset behind him, looking lovingly into the eyes of another young man. Below the picture she had written, “Comments welcomed.”

My heart broke as I remembered her son who had been a student of mine in middle school. A quiet, shy, nice boy. A really good boy from a good family.

One of the comments I read said, “The heart wants what the heart wants.” And it made me think of Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked above all things.

There is nothing in our hearts that want to obey God’s Law until that heart is given to God. Without a repentant heart we are self serving, ego driven, self centered people looking out for number one. Like Muslims who obey Allah so they’ll be surrounded by virgins when they die, or Christians who go to church for a worship experience.

A true believer obeys God for Jesus’ sake. They go to church, resist sin, share the Gospel, not for what they gain, but because they just love Jesus so much they can’t help themselves. They don’t go to church to be entertained or to avoid hell. They go to church to give God the worship due Him.

Scripture tells me to guard my heart. And the best way I know how to do that is to give it to God. Take myself, my control, my desires, out of the picture. I want to love Him like He deserves to be loved, serve Him like He demands, fellowship with him through prayer and reading His Word like he longs for me to do, and share Him with those who don’t know Him because he died for them.

Here’s my heart Lord. Guard it. Use it. Take it. Keep it beating or don’t. It’s Yours. For Jesus’ sake.

Today

This is the day the Lord has made. (I) will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

Even when the circumstances of life weigh heavy. Even when Satan is at the door and my resolve is weak. Even when, because of unconfessed sin, God seems far away. I am reminded that He has given me another day.

It’s a day in which He wants to walk with me, to bless me, to use me. It’s a day He wants to reveal Himself through the singing of birds, the colorful leaves, the vast ocean or an ant hill, the warmth of the sun or a clap of thunder. He wants me to see Him in the innocence of a child or the shaky smile of an elderly saint.

He wants me to lay the circumstances of life aside and experience the joy of sins forgiven, the privilege of fellowshipping with the God of Creation, the intimacy of loving His Son.

The Lord has made this day for He and I to experience together. I’m glad about that.

Choose Me, He says.

And I do.

How Do You Know What is True?

Satan has been twisting God’s Truth since the garden when he told Eve God didn’t really mean what he said. “You won’t really die,” was the lie that changed everything.

Jeremiah, in chapter 14, asked God not to be mad at the people, saying the prophets were telling them they were ok. God said – “my prophets aren’t telling them that. The people are believing a lie.”

No different than today.

The Truth of Scripture is being twisted, and edited, and denied. So how do you even know what’s true any more?

Well, are you reading and studying God’s written Word? Do you pray over it, think about it, talk about it? Are you familiar with the things God inspired men to write for your benefit? God isn’t going to let you believe a lie if you include him in your search for Truth.

You might not like what you read in the Bible. It’s not politically correct. You might recognize yourself as a sinner damned to hell. But you don’t have to be.

The Truth is Jesus died to forgive your sins. He went to the cross so you don’t have to pay the debt you’ve accumulated. He is eager to mark that debt “paid”, if you’d only ask Him to.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and no one, not even you, will go to God without Him. There is no other name – not Mohammed, or Buddha, or some positive energy – that can save.

No other name!

Please read the Bible. It’s God’s word to you. But don’t just read the parts that don’t offend you, or those that make you feel good. Read it all. It’s the only way to be able to recognize when Satan is twisting the Truth.

Don’t miss out on what God wants to say to you today.

Hands in the Air!

I was raised in the era of Green Stamps. If you are a Baby Boomer, you probably remember those stamp books, too. Kids, they were like those points you rack up by shopping at the grocery, or like frequent flier miles. You earned them when you spent money. Then, and this was fun, you poured through their catalog and picked out things you could “buy” when you redeemed your stamps.

Hang on. There’s a point to this.

Time might be one of God’s special blessings. Yet I know I am guilty of squandering it away. I sit in front of the TV, or curled up with a book, or surf the net. None of these are sins necessarily. Unless it is time I could be spending with an unsaved friend talking about my Savior.

Paul tells us, in Colossians 4 to redeem the time. Cash it in. Use it by walking “in wisdom toward those who are outside.”

Time is precious. But it is also fleeting. I might die today. Or I could live a few more decades. The reality is, no matter how many years I spend in this skin, it is a blip in eternity. Whether you believe the earth is thousands or billions of years old, that too, is a blip in eternity.

I like watching cooking and baking competitions on TV. Chefs and bakers can create amazing dishes in a short period of time. And I notice that during the last few seconds of their allotted time the pace quickens, the hands shake, the focus is laser sharp until the host says, “Hands in the air.”

I’ve never seen a competitor surf the net during those last few important seconds.

Dear one, the clock is ticking. We, unlike the TV participants don’t see the clock or hear God counting down the seconds. But rest assured, He is counting. Time will end. We have now to make the best of it, to finish strong, to redeem the time.

Let’s cash in our Green Stamps for the prize set before us. Let’s redeem the time we have today by reaching out to a lost soul in Jesus’ name and for His sake.

Father, may your children be excited about sharing you today. May we use every second you give us in ways that please and honor You. And may a heart be drawn to You because we didn’t waste an opportunity to talk about You, the One who loved us, who gave Himself for us, and who longs to forgive that person you’ve laid on our hearts.