Bible Study

Feb 2018
Wash Your Hands

The fool has said in his heart there is no God (Ps. 14:1). There are many people in this world who readily say that there is no God. The very word atheist has often caused me to wonder. I know that “theist” means a believer in God and “atheist” means a non-believer basically speaking. Those, who stand behind the moniker of atheist, do not believe in the God of Heaven and they simply ignore His existence. Can I deny the water in the glass I am drinking from? I can ignore the obvious, but not deny it. I do not believe that there are any true atheists in our world. Instead, they are God-haters for some reason known only to them.

This usually manifests itself in their hatred for believers (John 15:18). If you (as theists—believers in a Holy God) ever meet up with a supposed “true” atheist you will see that they have nothing but raw disdain for the likes of the child of God. But remember, the root of their hatred of a God that loves them is foolishness. God calls them fools.

Years ago, while living in Las Vegas, NV, I was walking through the parking lot of Walmart. I still remember as if it were today. I will live with it until the day I die. It was a time when the Holy Spirit was prompting me, and I disobeyed. I quenched the Holy Spirit (1 Th. 5:19).

There was a large, well-built younger man, with children (sad to think they will grow up under his tutelage), walking out of the store. He presented as an angry man, based on his facial expressions. I was sure I could have lit a self-strike match on his chest—he looked that tough. But what bothered me was the slogan on his t-shirt “wash your hands after touching Christians.”

I literally stopped and stood there, my mouth agape, in disbelief. As the Holy Spirit prodded me to ask him about his shirt, my flesh started to reason (make excuses). Rather than rely on the power of God (Mk. 13:11), I caved to thinking that this guy would probably wrap me up and stuff me back in my car. After all, who needs that?

This man, undoubtedly, had a dislike for God and His own. The man was a fool according to Scripture. I too played the fool in not following the Spirit’s direction. Yet, my deepest prayer is that someone has spoken to him since I did not. I pray that he has turned from his foolish ways and accepted the Savior.

Even fools deserve a chance at saving grace (1 Co. 1:18). After all, we all played the fool before we came to Christ; whether in thought or deed. Fools need God!

Jan 2018

One Christian radio personality loves to ask his guests one particular question. It’s a daunting question, but one which allows you to summarize your life. The question: What is the most courageous moment in your life?

It is a crucial question because most western Christian’s have grown comfortable with the “inhabitants” in their heart. For a time they fought valiantly to eradicate the enemy, but they grew weary of the fight. Once upon a time, they were vigilant, but now they have grown satisfied because they are better than their friends. They halt just shy of total possession.

Possession is an interesting concept. We look to possess all of God’s blessings and yet we do not offer ourselves in toto. With God, it is all for all. You possess all His blessings once He possesses all of you. No other arrangement will satisfy. This is the reason Joshua challenges the people to be courageous. “Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book” (Joshua 23:6). These people have fought the enemy. What could be more courageous? The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh left their families unprotected across Jordan. What could trump their courage?

The most courageous thing you can do is to commit to doing all of God’s command. Complete obedience requires you to empty yourself of pride and self-proclaimed wisdom. It requires turning your back to the gods of worldly wisdom, pragmatism, indulgence, and satisfaction. It requires a choice. Choose this day whom you will serve! As for you and your house, the most courageous decision you will ever make is to serve the Lord.

Jan 2018
Big God

Late last year, the nightmare for all who love liberty upset the world’s romance with technology. China endeavors to develop facial-recognition software which can identify any of it’s 1.3 billion people in three seconds! It grows worse because it is reported they plan to establish a loyalty monitoring system which will estimate a citizen’s trustworthiness based on their obedience, attitude, and patriotism.

Quite disturbing isn’t it? We are mortified with the very idea of such invasive research. People with that much power will certainly use the technology for an ignoble reason.

In Genesis 16, Hagar flees her abusive employer but is confronted by the angel of the Lord. She realizes she is not alone. The Lord heard her cry and chose to bless her. She calls the place where she encounters this truth Beer-lahai-roi which means “God who sees me.”

Later, Abraham falls upon his face in a posture of worship, but says in his heart, “Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear” (Genesis 17:17)? He said all this in his heart while everything else about him was “worshiping.” Did he fool God? Not for a moment. “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed,” God said (Genesis 17:19).

We live in a culture where we are accustomed to hiding. We disguise who we really are and what we really think. We take cover behind positions, platforms, and personalities. We conceal the parts of our lives that cause us shame or embarrass us. We hide behind social media posts and pictures, attempting to show the world the identity we want them to see.

Are you genuine? Do you have all the right motions and postures of worship, but in your heart cords of doubt hold you down? We might be able to disguise portions of ourselves from the world around us, but we have no masks when it comes to God and how He sees us. We can’t hide from God or convince Him we are something we’re really not.

Do not fear the Lord’s watchful eye. Already knowing everything about you, He still chooses to love you. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He sees your obedience, attitude, and loyalty, but not for some twisted purpose. Instead, He wishes to reward those who are faithful.

Jan 2018
From Start to Finish

Many of us at some point in our lives have spent at least a little bit of time on some type of an assembly line. During my college years, I worked for awhile for a printing company. This company employed hundreds of people who worked on different stages of an assembly line. Some oversaw the printing, some the cutting and stapling, while others worked with the stacking and storage of these printed materials. In our passage for consideration today, we see an “assembly-line” of sorts that culminates in someone calling upon the Lord for salvation.

Romans 10:13-15 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

This passage starts with someone calling upon the Lord for salvation and then takes us back one step at a time for us to see how that moment calling was even made possible. Paul starts in verse 14 by asking how someone can call upon the Lord if he first doesn’t believe in Him in one’s heart. This truth is mentioned again in vs 10, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness”. These verses indicate that saving faith takes place in someone’s heart even before the expressing of that desire in the form of the words of a prayer.

Paul then asks how someone can believe in Christ if they have not heard of Him; which then leads to the next obvious question of how someone can hear without a preacher. Clearly, this “preacher” needs not be a pastor, but instead anyone who takes it upon themselves to share the gospel.

Next, this preacher needs to be sent, as we see in vs. 15. This sending could be in the sense of a church sending out missionaries or evangelists or it could be in the sense of God doing a work in someone’s life as to cause them to be an active witness, i.e. God doing the sending. This idea is mentioned in Matthew 9:38. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.”

This assembly line ends with high praise for those who are actively doing their part to spread the Gospel, symbolically the “beautiful feet” of those who are out preaching the gospel. May we be looking for opportunities to do just that this week!

Jan 2018
Trash Or Treasure

My wife has an eye for treasure. For two years we lived in an area where people left things on the street for garbage which were nicer than what you might find at the second-hand store! She could spot was was a treasure in the midst of everything else on the street which was trash. What at a passing glance would have been missed, she found saw value and had me bring home.

Job feels like trash at this point. He says, “My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; My skin is broken, and become loathsome” (Job 7:5). His friends are the only ones paying any attention to him, and right now he wishes they would take their “encouragement” elsewhere. Job does ask some very interesting questions, and, in the end, you will see the transformation from trash to treasure.

He pleads his insignificance: “Am I a sea, or a whale, That thou settest a watch over me” (Job 7:12)? This is a very insightful question. How do we compare? We are more reckless than the sea and less responsive than the whale. As unpredictable as the sea might be, it can be tamed by the Master’s bidding. The command, “Peace, be still,” silences the fury and stops the raging power of the sea (Mark 4:39)! The whale comes when beckoned. The Lord can prepare a great fish to swallow his messenger and three days later vomit him upon dry land (Jonah 1). Such a behemoth is as docile as a child’s pet in the Creator’s hand.

The will and whim of man is the wild frontier. The heart of man requires the firm hand of the Lord to cultivate it’s potential, to untangle the vines of defiance. In pure frustration, Job asks, “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? And that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him” (Job 7:17)? In effect, Job is asking, “Why won’t you leave me alone?” The answer is God sees a treasure, not trash. If the value is measured by capacity, the sea is more valuable than a man. If the value is measured by capability, the whale is more valuable than you or me.

However, God measures value by companionship. He desires a relationship with the crown of His creation which for a little while has been made a little lower than the angels. He has set his heart upon man with such devotion, He moved heaven and earth to pursue him. He visits him with the daily and divine measure of mercy that He might preserve him forever (Job 7:18; Lamentations 3:22-23). The only thing standing between God’s desire is your determination. God has pardoned your transgressions and taken away your iniquities (Job 7:21)! Jesus faced the rejection Job felt here. Jesus was crushed by the weight of your sin so you may find the pleasure of His companionship for all eternity.

God sees you as a treasure.

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