Today we are going to look at John 3:3.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Here we have Jesus talking to Nicodemus (a Jewish religious leader). This conversation is a great example of 1st Cor. 1:18-that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who do not know the Lord, but it is power to those of us who are saved. Being able to "see" the kingdom of God is about understanding the message of the Gospel.
Once a person puts their faith in Christ, the Word of God opens up to them, and all of a sudden, they can understand the mysteries that once laid dormant. Of course, the Lord only opens up a portion of what we will understand once we are with Him for eternity.
We should pray for wisdom and ask the Lord to open our eyes to a better understanding of His word and will for our life.
I can't believe it's already Wednesday! For myself, the first half of this week has flown by so quickly. All day Tuesday my wife and I traveled down to Carlinville, Illinois for my ordination service. It was a great time.
Today, we are going to look at a single verse in James.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.
When I read James 1:19, I see a quick 3 point sermon or devotional that is very applicable to my own life. Although the word "pride" is not mentioned anywhere in this verse, it is often our arrogance that causes us to get angry and speak when we should be quiet. The way I see it, James 1:19 is all about pride and arrogance.
1. Quick to hear: this is all about remaining humble and teachable.
2. Slow to Speak: Often times we speak "out of turn" when our pride rises up.
3. Slow to anger: Anger often comes from a place of pride and arrogance (although, not always).
Think of how often scripture speak of the dangers of pride and arrogance! Here are just a few examples: https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-pride/
Isaiah 2:1212 The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled),
Isaiah 23:99 The LORD Almighty planned it, to bring down her pride in all her splendor and to humble all who are renowned on the earth.
James 4:6 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
James 4:1010 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Pride is devastating to our Christian character and causes us to act and think in ways that are displeasing to the Lord. Having the ability to remain teachable, soft-spoken, and not prone to anger will serve us well, without a doubt.
We had a great day in God's house yesterday, learning about justification and adoption, then spending time at Sam and Abigale's wedding shower. For today, I want to go back to the Old Testament and look at one of the well known Messianic predictions from the book of Isaiah.
Then in that day
The nations will resort to the root of Jesse,
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples;
And His resting place will be 4glorious.
First off, let me say that I am the farthest thing from an expert on Old Testament Messianic prophesy. I know just enough to make me look stupid. That said, I do believe it's important for us to have a baseline understanding of the topic (no different than anything taught in scripture). With that out of the way, the entirety of Isaiah Ch. 11 is a Messianic prophesy, foretelling the eventual Messiah (Jesus). In particular, vs. 10 is talking about the gospel of Christ being preached publicly, and how the nations will rally and begin to follow Christ. The very Messiah that the Jews rejected will be embraced by the Gentiles.
Thankfully, Ch. 11 closes with saying that one day, a remnant of Jews will return to the fold, and follow Jesus.
After the fall of Adam, God put into place a plan-to bless a nation that would follow and serve Him. Unfortunately, that nation (Israel) rejected the one that the Father sent. Eventually, Israel will be restored, and will see the error of their ways.
In my view, Old Testament prophesy should be viewed as a faith booster. Over and over we see things come to pass that were written down long before they happened. This should serve to strengthen and bolster our faith the our Father. Yet, we must always remain humble in how we view and interpret Old Testament prophesy. Problems arise when we think we know everything-and can begin to make our own predictions, based upon a faulty understand of the original intent of the author.
Happy Wednesday everyone, I pray you are having a great week in the Lord. Today, we are continuing to look at vs. that deal with justification-gearing up for Sunday's message.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations ,knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
We could read the book of Romans every day for the rest of our lives, and on our final day, having read the book countless times, still come away with something new. In the beginning part of Ch. 5, Paul is saying that because we have been justified, or been made holy, we can rest assured that we are no longer subject to God's wrath. Because of this, we have the ultimate hope (eternity spent with our Savior). Not only that, but even when things go bad, we have an opportunity to learn from such experiences and grow, to become more like Christ. These words should bring us great comfort-this is the opposite message that we find in the book of Ecclesiastes, where Solomon got to the end of his life and found out that without God, everything is truly meaningless. Paul's words should bring us comfort.
Happy Monday everyone, I pray you had a great day in God's house yesterday. This week I would like to look at some of the passages I will be preaching on this upcoming Sunday (the 22nd). Think of it as a warm up to the message.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
There is a lot of good stuff in those few verses. Because this is a "blog" and not a book or novel, I will only focus on one "idea" found in these passages. The idea (or word) is that of "propitiation." This word is not used in our society. I would venture to say that most people do not know exactly what it means, yet are able get an understanding from the context of what Paul is saying in vs. 25.
Simply put, The word propitiation carries the basic idea of appeasement or satisfaction, specifically toward God. Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person and then being reconciled to him. When Paul says that Christ is our propitiation, he is saying that through Christ's death and resurrection, Christ settled our debt before the Lord. Our sin separated us from God, a holy, perfect God can not be in the presence of sin-but Christ, having taken on our sin, declared us "not guilty" before the Lord. Thus, Christ is our propitiation. We are reconciled to God, or reunited with God because of the death and resurrection of Christ.
Hello friends, today we are going to look at Col. 2:6-12. Go ahead and give it a read.
6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so [e]walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established [f]in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing [g]with gratitude.8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, [h]rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made [i]complete, and He is the head [j]over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Here we have Paul writing the church in Colossae. Paul points out early in the chapter (before vs. 6) that he is proud of the church for their self-discipline and the stability of their relationship with Christ. Yet, in the above verses, Paul is warning the people to stay away from faulty doctrine and beliefs that do not measure up to the Gospel they have been taught.
I believe that faulty doctrine and deceptive practices have plagued the church since it's very founding in the book of Acts. Those who have been a part of "the church" for a long time have seen certain fads come and go. Unfortunately, these false beliefs and doctrines can cause great division within the body. The most recent example, and one that has cause me great distress is that of politics within the church. I realize that a certain amount of politics have always been prevalent within God's house, but it has exploded since 2016, and shows no signs of slowing down. Internet "prophets" who have no system of accountability have been spouting off predictions left and right over the past 5 or so years. This is so sad to me, mainly because it give the charismatic "movement" a really big black eye. 99% of these so called "prophets" are VERY political and divisive. I feel sorry for the people who have been deceived into following these men and women-they are being led astray and do not realize it. My prayer is that God would open the eyes of those who have been captivated by these false "philosophies," and turn back to the solid teaching of God's word.
Hello there friends, I pray you are having a day filled with God's goodness and grace. Today we are going to be looking at: Ephesians 4: 17-19.
17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, [m]excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality [n]for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
While I was growing up I remember multiple scandals in the A/G (or other charismatic) churches. There was Jim Baker, Jimmy Swagart, Marvin Gorman, and a few other, less notable men who had big falls. More recently the scandals were more outside of the A/G, but nonetheless very devastating for the "Cause of Christ". All of the pastor's who end up falling do so because they become too big for accountability (in their eyes). While this does damage to the Church, these scandals are a mere blip on the radar, compared to what society see's from ordinary Christians on a daily basis. What ends up doing far more damage to the local church is plain ol' carnal Christians. The men and women who walk around, claiming to be followers of Christ, but live "like the Gentiles" (as Paul puts it). Carnality slowly chips away at the reputation of the local church. One of the most common reasons that young people give for not wanting to come t0 church is because "the church is full of hypocrites". I won't get into the problem with this thinking (I'll save that for another entry), but the point being made is that these non-Christian's constantly see people claiming to be Christians, but are not living the example. When I say carnality, I do not mean just the "big stuff"...a mean spirited and angry believer does just as much damage to the reputation of the church, as does the Christian that cusses all the time. There will always be carnal Christians, therefore, those who desire and strive to live out our passion for Jesus must be intentional about setting a good example. None of us are perfect, but we must be sure to live in such a way that brings glory to Christ.
Good Morning everyone (at least it's morning right now). I pray you are having a great week, looking forward to being in God's house on Sunday. At this particular time in my life I'm probably busier than I ever have been. I just started a new lead pastor position, I am doing school full time, my son is getting married in just a few short weeks, and we are fostering a beautiful little girl. We have had our foster daughter for just over a year at this point. She has been a wonderful addition to our family. Just when I thought Laura and I were going to enjoy an empty nest, we decided to start all over again. At times I become overwhelmed by the responsibility on my plate. Do you ever have times when you feel as though you are living this life alone, despite having a spouse? Do you feel like you are shouldering all of the burden in your family? We all have times like this.
18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
This may seem like a bizarre scripture for me to choose, but I'll explain why it fits my narrative today. Whenever life seems unmanageable, like you are too busy, and have too many things going on-often times this is because you are not receiving the support you need at home. I've found that life can seem out of control when one of the things mentioned in these passages are not in line with each other. Growing up, the men would love to quote Col. 3:18. Unfortunately, the same men that love vs. 18 do not truly follow vs. 19 or 21 for that matter. Husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). I do not think most men even understand what this looks like. In scripture, love is self-sacrificing, preferring the other person rather than ourselves.
Men, when our lives are crazy and seemingly out of control, take a hard look at how you are treating your wife. While it's not always the case, sometimes we do not receive the support we need because we are not loving our spouse like Christ loved the church.
Thank the Lord I have a few days in-between semesters. I pray you are doing well. I've been praying about going a different direction on my blog. Today we are going to start something new. I hope you are able to glean much. Instead of looking at Proverbs, I thought I might post a "verse of the day." I will then share my thoughts on said verse.
Today's verses is:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This is a good verse for me today. I tend to struggle with anxious thoughts sometimes. The Lord has brought me far, that is for sure, but it can still be a struggle. I do not worry about the routine, everyday things, more about the "big picture" things. For example, now that I'm a lead pastor, my worries are: Am I leading in the direction the Lord would have for us? Am I setting a good example in speech and conduct?
While these concerns are valid, our "worry" says that we can control the situation if we try hard enough. Phil. 4:6-7 says the opposite: the more we rely on the Lord and trust him with those concerns, the less we will tend to worry.
"Lord, I place my worry at your feet, I replace my burden and pick up yours. I trust you Lord, and know that your yolk is easy and your burden is light"
Well, it's been a few days. I'm sorry about that. We had our vision casting service on Sunday, and I'm in the middle of finals for school. Who would have thought a Bible major needed to know about Meteorology. Hope you have had a blessed day. Go ahead and read Proverbs 2, my comments will be at the end.
Proverbs Ch. 2:
1. My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, 2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; 3 For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5Then you will discern the fear of the Lord And discover the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. 9Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you, 12 To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things; 13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness; 14 Who delight in doing evil And rejoice in the perversity of evil; 15 Whose paths are crooked, And who are devious in their ways; 16 To deliver you from the strange woman, From the adulteress who flatters with her words; 17 That leaves the companion of her youth And forgets the covenant of her God; 18 For her house sinks down to death
And her tracks lead to the dead; 19 None who go to her return again, Nor do they reach the paths of life. 20 So you will walk in the way of good men And keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright will live in the land And the blameless will remain in it; 22 But the wicked will be cut off from the land And the treacherous will be uprooted from it.
I know I always say this, but Proverbs 2 is a great chapter that contrasts those who see and pursue wisdom vs. those who do not. If you consider yourself born again, a follower of Jesus, then you should most assuredly be pursuing wisdom and understanding. We can love the Lord and be faithful in all areas, but if we do not have wisdom, then what use is our faith? That may sound harsh (because it is, I guess), but our faith in God should be more than simple "fire insurance"-we must be working to fulfill the Great Commission-without having wisdom, this is very difficult. Wisdom teaches us what to say and when to say it. Of course, the number one place for wisdom is God's Word, We must spend time reading it and praying, asking God to give us wisdom and discernment.