Bible Study

Feb 2018
More Than He Bargained
Some people are bargain hunters, and others want a whole lot more than they are capable. A humorous letter was written from a “We Buy Gold” company to one of their prospective client who was definitely “prospecting.”
“We are sorry to inform you that the one-ounce gold coins you sent us are in actual fact chocolate coins in gold foil and would not warrant the thirty thousand pounds you requested…Just to clarify that when we offer to buy gold we specify that it is of the precious metal variety…We hope this clarifies the matter and we please ask that you not send any more items unless they are of the gold variety.” 
How many letters could God send to us like this? We have a very dim view of the exchange rate in heaven. We often do not comprehend what we are truly asking from God, like Job.
Job cried for a “daysman” who could stand between God and him. He wanted an arbiter who would represent his case to God and hopefully return with an answer to his question, “Why?” This is so one-sided, and as we will see later in the book, God never answers why Job suffered. Instead, God shows Job how incapable he is to comprehend all the decisions God makes flawlessly every day.
However, we do see the “Daysman” in the New Testament. Jesus Christ is our “Apostle and High Priest” (Hebrews 3:1). Instead of a one-sided representative, we need someone who understands the inner-workings of the celestial system and one who has experienced man’s plight to a degree he will represent us authentically. God is incomprehensible, so the only one who can understand Him is…Himself. Yet, we also can’t have a corrupted representative. Someone who is tainted with sin would suddenly fall into our same selfish trap!
Jesus Christ, as the Apostle, represents God in all His glory to us. God spoke in “sundry times and in divers manners…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2). The Word was the full revelation of God—”the express image of his person” (Hebrews 1:3). before an audience with the One “which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number,” we must understand His greatness mutes any grievance we have (Job 9:10). He could snuff out the light of our life, but in His purity and power, He remains merciful.
As our Great High Priest, His compassions fail not because he has been “touched with the feelings of our infirmities” and “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He was willing to declare himself fully and die for us completely, he is the “author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9)!
I would say, Job got more than he bargained. He wanted a chance to represent his complaints, but Christ absorbed these in himself and sacrificially made an eternal way to glory.

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!

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