Archive for the ‘Bible Reading’ Category

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Seeing without Sight – 2 Corinthians 4:17–18

March 11, 2020

“For our momentary light affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure and proportion, because we are not looking at what is seen, but what is not seen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is not seen is eternal.”

I see dead people.  I see those who are alive.

I see without sight. I see without eyes.

How do you describe a world to one who has never known light?  You cannot use words to elicit a memory of a sunrise. How do you encourage a view through lenses that don’t exist.  You cannot narrate the details of a vivid event when there is no context of jamboree.

We live by faith and not by sight. 

Often, we forget that we have been given eyes into the eternal.  Eternal eyes are what usher us out of our afflictions and ensnaring cares. It is our focus on what is not seen which frees us to see into the limitless eternal weight of glory.

When we are afflicted and downcas we need to open our eyes; our eternal eyes.  Through faith, we can see His eternal glory if we will only look.  So, close your eyes to the seen and open them to the unseen.

My meditation for the day is to live by faith and not by sight.  I want to see the unseen.

https://ref.ly/2Co4.17-18 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Safety Plan for Dollar Bills – Luke 18:24

March 9, 2020

“And Jesus took notice of him and said, “How difficult it is for those who possess wealth to enter into the kingdom of God!”

I was reading this article 25 Most Dangerous Jobs in America .

I know some who work in these jobs.  They wake every morning and prepare for another day of earning a wage, not considering it might be the last. No one expects to get hurt or killed.  Those who work in the most dangerous of jobs have safety plans, safety supervisors, and even a governmental safety agency.  All these elements exist to keep those in the most dangerous of jobs safe from the complacency of normal.

We are at most risk when danger becomes normal and no longer feared.

Yet, do you know what is most dangerous for your soul?

We get up most mornings as Believers, oblivious to the dangerous cares that ensare. I think a case can be made for the dollar (for those in the US) as being the most dangerous tool in the Christian’s  toolbox.  The Bible speaks often to warnings about money.  Yet, I fear that we are at most risk because the danger of money has become normal and no longer feared.

Money, in the hands of a Believer, is like a chainsaw in the hands of a logger.  You can clear away a lot of brush and branches and fall the tallest of obstacles. Yet, you have the risk in all that good of losing a limb and bleeding out.

Money, in the proximity of a Believer, is like a trench laborer at the bucket end of an excavator.  You can get to the depth of core needs and dig through the hardest obstacles. Yet, you have the risk in all that good of being crushed by the power of a misplaced love.

God knows the risks to residing in a world ruled by money.  It is dangerous to our soul.  Therefore:

  • We need a safety plan.  What are you going to do to make sure you handle money safely? What is your plan?
  • We need a safety supervisor.  Who are you going to be accountable to regarding how you handle money?  Do they have permission to make your money their business?
  • We need a safety agency.  What is your authority regarding your money?  Does the Bible establish the basis of how you are to value and steward your money? Will you obey it?

In my opinion, these are the essential elements for every Christian engaged in activities, which wield the dangerous tools of money.

My meditation for the day is money as a tool, not a purpose.

https://ref.ly/Lk18.24 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Remove the Toxic, Just Not Me – Luke 17:3–4

March 7, 2020

““Be concerned about yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times he returns to you saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him”

I don’t like toxic people.  They make me feel bad.  They frustrate me.  They disrupt my emotional well-being.

Afterall, they would stop being so…toxic…to me…if they were REALLY sorry.

Don’t they know that I am a delicate flower, easily wilted by the negativity of a world, which refuses to treat me with the respect and consideration of which every person is entitled.

Surely, someone who sins against me every 3-1/2 hours, lies to me, cheats me, yells at me, insults me, is bad for me.  What about me?  They are toxic and I should banish them from my presence.  Everyone will surely agree…

But God…there is always the “but God” clause for a world focused on “me”.

I don’t know how often I sin against God. It probably is more than once every 3-1/2 hours when you consider that I am asleep for 8 hours.  However, I can make a case that my subconscious assumes my sinning ways if my dreams are a revelation of my hidden toxicity. So, it is probably worse than I care to believe.

How can I not be toxic to God?

I don’t do what He says to do.  I do what He says not to do. 

I don’t acknowledge Him.  I claim the glory belonging to Him.

How can I not be toxic to God?

I don’t understand the grace He has shown me.  The countless times He has forgiven me.  The toxic presence that He continues to wash clean.

So, what about me?

How can I not forgive in a manner that I am continually being forgiven?

I was never called to be a delicate flower.  I was called to the strong tower.  I was called to take up my cross and share in the suffering caused by the lost.  

TOXIC people cause suffering of the redeemed…this should not be a surprise.

Let’s just count it all joy for suffering like our Lord and stop whining about serving the toxic like we will never receive a reward.

https://babylonbee.com/news/god-decides-cut-toxic-people-life-7-5-billion-dead/
https://ref.ly/Lk17.3-4 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Not Hard…To Understand – 1 Corinthians 16:14

March 5, 2020

“All your actions must be done in love.”

Often, we make things harder than they need to be. Doesn’t means they are easy to do.

If my actions are not motivated by LOVE, then I am doing it WRONG.

Often, I need to figure out my mis-directed heart before I figure out my mis-directed actions. Remember the whole log-speck lesson?

My meditation for today will be to base all may actions in love.

https://ref.ly/1Co16.14 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Explain Yourself – Job 23:4–5

February 25, 2020

“I would lay my case before him,
and I would fill my mouth with arguments.
I want to know the words with which he would answer me,
and I want to understand what he would say to me”

I have a day ahead in which I must be braced.  I must engage in a conflict required of my position, but a responsibility that I hate.

I must fire an employee. 

I have done it before, so I know how it usually  goes.  I will provide my explanation for termination, and then allow for them to lay their case before me, and fill their mouth with arguments,  and then I will communicate, hopefully to their understanding, my response.  

This process, I believe, is reasonable and necessary in my role as employer.  It is a process as old as Job.

However, I am reminded that I am not God.  

I am reminded that God is not an employer.  

God is not required to follow the reasonable and necessary procedures of an employer. It is a requirement that Job tried to impose upon God, which didn’t work out too well for him.  God is never required to explain Himself because…

He is God.

My meditation for the day is the Sovereignty of God.

https://ref.ly/Job23.4-5 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Something Worse – 1 Corinthians 6:7–8

February 21, 2020

“Therefore it is already completely a loss for you that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? But you wrong and defraud, and do this to brothers!”

It seems like the greatest of offense is to be triggered, insulted, ill-considered, judged, or maligned.

Have you considered that there is something worse than being ” wronged”?

Have you considered that there is something worse than being “defrauded”?

An unrighteous response to an unrighteous act just makes for a complete loss to unrighteousness!  At that point,there is no innocent party.  

Every wrong we expereience is an opportunity for gain…for righteousness to reign…for peace to prevail…and God to be glorified.

Let’s not waste a good mistreatment!
https://ref.ly/1Co6.7-8 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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True Forgiveness – Genesis 50:19–21

February 20, 2020

“Then Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you planned evil against me, but God planned it for good, in order to do this—to keep many people alive—as it is today. So then, do not be afraid. I myself will provide for you and your little ones. And he consoled them and spoke kindly to them.”

Aside the cross, Joseph’s is one of the most profound examples of forgiveness for me.   Evil was done to him.  He was hated, enslaved and imprisoned by his own family.  Yet, when it was within his own power to return evil for evil, even justice for evil, he did not. 

He actually consoled, spoke kindly, and provided for the needs of those who had planned and implemented evil against him.  That is what forgiveness looks like.

How did he do it?

1. He didn’t focus on the wrongs done.

2. He didn’t focus on the wrong-doers.

3. He didn’t focus on himself.

4.  He focused on God and the goodness of God’s plan.  

5.  He accepted his role in short-term suffering for the long-term glory of God.

Truly, a lesson to mediate upon.

https://ref.ly/Ge50.19-21 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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“PURE WORDS” – April 13

April 13, 2016

“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”  Psalm 12:6

ncfcaThis past week I had the occasion to attend another NCFCA speech and debate tournament with my family.  I was afforded the opportunity to be a parent judge on multiple speech and debate rounds.  As a result, I had the privilege of judging the finals of the Biblical Presentation speeches.

This was the first time I had witnessed Biblical Presentation as it is a new event this year in the NCFCA.  “Biblical presentation is a speech that creatively develops and presents one or two selections of scriptures in an effort to foster understanding of God’s word, deepen the speaker’s Christian faith, and encourage the listener”.  NCFCA Speech

I now have a new favorite speech category.  I could not get enough of these speeches.  Each speech presented warmed my soul because at their core, each speech was the pure Word of God.  I got to listen to approximately 80 minutes of teenagers presenting 8-10 minutes each of memorized biblical passages, word for word,  in extremely engaging and creative ways.

There was one in particular that is still blessing me.  The speaker was not the most creative.  She did not have the most powerful or engaging voice.  She did not have the most dynamic interpretation.  However, she made the most significant impact on me in her 10 minutes.  She presented two of her favorite passages from Isaiah in such a genuine and heart-felt manner that tears welled up in my eyes from the unadulterated beauty of God’s word.

It was almost startling to hear sacred words simply spoken.   I was not preoccupied by her presentation.  Her interpretation was not a distraction.  On the contrary, I was drawn into the words.  I was captured by the Spirit.  I was renewed in the wonderful truths that filled the room with each utterance.

In recollecting that speech, I have been struck by the reality of how rare it is for us to simply hear the Word of God earnestly spoken in its entirety as the author intended.  So often, we sit silently reading our Bibles or we hear a few verses read before a Pastor spends an hour telling us what they mean.

Both are needed and good so I am not being critical.

However, the presentation of Isaiah reminded me of the power of the Word of God and the benefit from simply listening to the pure words of the Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the opportunity to hear anew the purity of your Word.  Thank you for showing me the beauty of inspired scripture.  I pray for all of those who are memorizing and sharing your Words through the NCFCA.  I pray that you will bless each one of these competitors and write your word on their hearts.   I pray that the purity of your words will abound and refine all those who hear for their enrichment and your glory.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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AM I SICK – Dec 29

December 29, 2014

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

After a month of eluding, it has happened.

An occasional dry cough has mined down into my bronchi to produce the rattling notes of illness. My sinus passages refuse to work in unison. They are contented to take turns passing air while the other throbs with the pressure of an impassable clog.

I am sick.

I had successfully managed to avoid this cold as it passed through our household. Germs have filled the confined atmosphere of a house sealed against the frigid winter weather. These germs have systematically progressed through my family – son to daughter to wife… and now to me.

I thought I had successfully eluded the buggers since wellness prevailed through our home for more than a week. Yet, there were signs that all was not well for a few days.

Sleep has been restless;
Sinus pressure has built;
And a tickle has been maturing in the back of my throat.

My wife asked me how I felt this morning and made an observation as to why my immune system may have now succumbed when it had been able to fend illness off for so long. “We haven’t been eating well lately,” is what she said.

It is true. We came off of our diet cleanse (SOUL CLEANSE) through the Christmas festivities. We have not been eating horribly but it surely hasn’t been as well as before.  Our diet might not be the sole reason for my illness, but I surmise that it was a significant contributor.

I came across a survey at Ligonier Ministries recently. The survey purported to take the temperature of America’s theological health.

TheStateOfTheology-InfographicThe survey concludes:

  • Answers are reflective of our “made-to-order” god.
  • The majority of Americans perceive “goodness” to be a better description of people then “sinful”.
  • The majority of Americans aren’t convinced of a literal heaven and hell.
  • Pluralism is rampant within our culture.
  • Our culture is anti-theological – we are in a new dark age.

The survey demonstrates that many professing Christians are theologically sick. After writing this blog for a couple of years, these survey conclusions do not surprise me. I regularly get emails and comments from individuals purporting beliefs that are anti-theological.  I wonder if one of the contributing reasons for the theological illness of America is our typical Christian diet.

I read Psalm 63 as part of my daily Bible reading this morning. I was struck by three words.

Earnestly
Thirsts
Faints

We will not earnestly seek after someone we don’t value. We will never wait for our thirst to be quenched by someone we don’t trust. Surely, we will never exert ourselves to the point of passing out for a belief we doubt.  I find these words very convicting because they do not describe me to the degree that I would like.

The passion of the Psalmist is the natural manifestation of a healthy soul. It is the result of someone regularly grounded on a dietary foundation of sound doctrine. It is through sound doctrine that the value of Christ is expounded; the trustworthiness of God is demonstrated; and doubts are answered.

Doctrine is not a bad word.

Doctrine merely means knowing what you believe, why you believe it, how to live it, and how to share it. It is anti-theological to reject doctrine just because it is doctrine.  This attitude resigns us to a life of chronic spiritual aliments.

Let’s embrace a regular diet of theology and the passion that will come from a spiritual healthy life.  If you are interested in my thoughts on how to cure bad theology, check out CURING BAD THEOLOGY.

“People are cutting themselves off from 2,000 years of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of the Word of God. We never want to exalt tradition over Scripture, but we still need to recognize that we are par of the historic body of Christ.” ~ Stephen Nichols

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your word.  Thank you for the centuries of ministry by the Holy Spirit to your children.  Lord, I want to be passionate about you.  I want to thirst for you.  I want to seek after you earnestly.  Give me that commitment to follow you and be obedient to you.  Draw me closer to you.  Heal me of my chronic spiritual aliments.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LOSING KNOWLEDGE – Oct 14

October 14, 2014

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:29-30

What is the function of a conjunction?

Volumes surround me; books standing in perpetual attention upon my shelves, clothed in dusty neglect. Familiar titles call out to me:

Process Geomorphology
Organic Chemistry
Applied Numerical Methods
Differential Equations
Probability and Statistics
Corporate Finance
Cost Accounting

 

 

The intellect of generations and genius are contained within these tombs of knowledge. I once communed among their concepts. I excavated their principles and deciphered their puzzles. I cursed the forced regurgitation of their laws and theories, consumed in short bursts of intellectual gluttony. Yet, I proved to be competent as an educated man.

I have the diplomas to prove it.

However, each text has found a forsaken place on my office shelf; set aside in a head-long pursuit of a profession. Years have swept aside those inquisitive days of study.

Theory replaced by practice;
Integration and derivation yielding to empirical;
Schedule triumphing over intellectual indulgence.

These books have become more decoration than source. They are a reassurance to visitors that the diplomas and licenses that hang on my wall have a foundation. I have learned my profession through years of practice. Yet, I have lost something through the years. Specific knowledge has faded to general in many subjects; conceptual understanding has replaced hard achieved competence.

Knowledge is not perpetual…at least not in my mind.

I do not have the mind of Solomon but neither does anyone else. God gave Solomon a wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and a breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore. The limits of my wisdom and understanding are easily delineated in a game of “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader”, and the scarceness of my mind is more like the occasional sand dollar on the seashore than the sand.

The typical mind has a very limited capacity for the specific. Time erodes away a mind’s competence, when study is neglected, leaving a hollowed relic to the practical. The scores of educated adults who prove that they are not “smarter than a 5th grader” is testimony to our mind’s inability to retain knowledge absence the reinforcing power of study.

The surrender of the knowledge of a conjunction’s function may be a reasonable acquiescence to the pressures of a busy life.

What about the gospel?
Are you willing to surrender the knowledge of the gospel to the pressures of a busy life.

What is the function of the gospel?
Can you clearly present the gospel to someone who has no knowledge of it?

 The ability to clearly explain a principle is demonstration of competent, specific, knowledge of that principle. If you can only generally explain the gospel, it demonstrates a general knowledge.

We have been called to more.

God has revealed Himself through His Bible. We can know our Lord and Savior more and more through the study of His Word. This is why David delighted in God’s commandments and law. It is why David studied.

 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. (Psalm 111:2)

 How are you doing studying the Bible?
Are you demonstrating your delight in God by studying His great works?

We must remember the minds we have been created with. We must remember that every moment that we spend away from the Word of God, time is eroding the razor edge of specific knowledge down to a blunt instrument of a general understanding. We must not acquiescence our time in God’s Word to the pressures of a busy life. We must not forget His Word.

 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:16)

 

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your Word.  Thank you for speaking to us perfectly even though we are imperfect.  Thank you for giving us everything that we need to follow you today.  Help me to glorify you from the place where I am today. Forgive me for thinking I need a special word from you. Teach me obedience in the everyday. Help me to live upon the nurturiousment of your Word, the Bible.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

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