Showing posts from 2022

Do Some Have Better Spiritual Gifts?

Does it ever feel like people you know are more “spiritual” than you are? Like they have more opportunities to influence people for God’s kingdom than you do? Do you ever struggle with the comparison game: “if I had more charisma, I could lead more people to Christ,” or, “why can they understand the Bible so easily and I can’t”, or even “they must be a better Christian than I am, look at all their talents they can serve the church with!” The struggle in comparing ourselves to others is a legitimate one that everyone faces—even the people who appear the “most talented” or “most spiritual” can struggle with this. Does God really bestow better spiritual gifts to some and not others?  The answer is both yes and no. Differing Gifts “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think ; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith . For just as we have many members in one bo

Words of My Mouth and Meditation of My Heart: Psalm 19:11-14

 Psalm 19 is one of the most popular psalms in the psalter.  It beautifully speaks about creation declaring God’s glory and the value of God’s revelation for his followers. While most of the psalm is objective, focusing its attention on describing what is outside of the speaker, it becomes subjective as it closes in focusing on the speaker himself. The closing lines to Psalm 19 connect what is external to the psalmist (God’s word) to what is internal in the psalmist, his own sin.  Verse 11 marks a shift from describing what God’s word is to how it impacts the poet (representing all believers). “Moreover, by them is your servant warned [illuminated]; in keeping them there is great [positive consequence].” – Psalm 19:11  The law of God illuminates the best way to live and it creates positive life effects. The psalm then leaves God’s law as its direct topic and moves to what the law is implied to reveal, personal sin. Secret Sin First, the psalms speaks of secret sins,  “Who can discern e

Jude's 3 Evangelism Tips (22–23)

Jude’s epistle is a short letter addressed to all Christians, imploring them to fight for the true Gospel against false teachers who have infiltrated the church. While originally wanting to address the doctrine of Salvation (verse 3), the circumstances of the day compelled Jude to write a letter of warning. Toward the end of his letter, Jude switches from addressing the problem of false teachers to how Christians should behave (verses 17 and 20). Specifically, Jude gives some tips for reaching people who are not connected with God, potentially those who have been led astray by these false teachers, “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” - Jude 22–23 Here, Jude is presenting a plan to engage three groups of those disengaged with Christ. This plan is not surefire a guarantee of their salvation, but the means by which we obey God’s will in an effort for them to be sav

What is Truth?

 Introduction We see the word "liar" and "lie" bantered about by many from all sides. When opinion is shared, or a story from current events is published, "fact-checkers" come out with the context, or sometimes just opposing opinions to counter the story. So, can we know the truth? When Jesus was on trial for blasphemy, disguised as "treason", Pilate asked "Are you a king?". Jesus answered that he was, and that his purpose was to "bear witness to the truth". Pilate reacted, saying, "What is truth?" (John 18:37-38). Jesus remained quiet, but earlier he had told his disciple Thomas, when he had asked, "How can we know the way?", that "I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life"(John 14:5-6). Later, in praying for his disciples shortly before his betrayal and trial, Jesus prayed to the Father: "Sanctify [my disciples] through the truth: Your word is truth." (John 17:17) But, what does th

The Lost Art of Honoring Your Parents: Deuteronomy 5:16

 What it does mean to “honor your parents?” In western society, this phrase may feel outdated, antiquated, and irrelevant. As believers in God’s Word, we know the Lord repeatedly admonishes us to honor our father and mother. Yet, our society gives us a different message, making it difficult to decipher how this applies in today’s world. “Honor your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you.” — Exodus 20:12 Deuteronomy 5:16 elaborates upon this in more detail, “Honor your father and your mother, as Yahweh your God has commanded you , so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you.”  A Weighty Ask The Hebrew word for honor means, “to give weight to”, or “to consider heavy.” When you add weight to an object, like weights to a barbell, it makes it more difficult to carry but also more important to carry. If you carry a heavy weight incorrectly, it can lead to injur

Why Hasn't Jesus Come Back Yet?

 One of Jesus’ pivotal teachings is that he would bring an end to the world as we know it. Jesus made this promise over 2,000 years ago. The early church was convinced that Jesus’ return would be imminent because he said that he would be “coming soon” (Rev 22:12, 20).  Now here we are all this time later and Jesus still hasn’t returned. What’s the hold up? Why is there a delay? What is so exciting is that Scripture gives us a direct, explicit answer to this very question; we don’t have to make an inference or an implication. Peter shares God’s direct answer to this question in the third chapter of his second letter. The “Hold Up”  — More to be Saved The explicit answer is found in verse 9 (with some important context to strengthen his rhetoric), “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” It seems as if the Lord is taking a long time to return. Viewing this

God's True Character: Exodus 34:6–7

 Who is God, or more specifically, Yahweh—God as defined and worshiped in the canon of the Bible? Our instincts may lead us to the New Testament—the revelation of Jesus Christ. But how did the Hebrews (and later the Jews) understand who God was? We hear of the supposed dichotomy between the “God of the Old Testament”—wrathful, punishing, and selective and the “God of the New Testament”—loving, merciful, and inclusive . Yet one of the most important, if not the most important, thesis statements about God’s character in the entire Bible is found in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible/Tanakh). Its the most quoted verse within the Old Testament, Exodus 34:6–7: “Yahweh, Yahweh, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third an

Consolation for all Israel

A month has past since the world celebrated the birth of Christ. But the birth of any child is but a moment. What was the purpose of the coming of Jesus into this sin-cursed world? Two moments after the birth of Jesus set the course for his life's work. The first was his circumcision eight days after his birth. At that time, his name was confirmed by a priest to be "Jesus" (Gr. Yesou, Heb. Yeshuah), which means "The LORD saves". The name was familiar to all Jews as the hero who lead the people in conquering Canaan, the land promised to Abraham. It was a name given to countless boys in hopes that they would grow up to be the one to deliver them from tyrannical empire builders like the Caesars of Rome. On the eighth day a new week begins.  How appropriate that the eighth day of Christmas is our secular "New Year's Day".  The second moment, required by the Law, was the sacrifice at the temple on behalf of the child when its mother became ceremonially

Jesus The Disrupter: Luke 2:34–35

 Some forty days had passed and it was time for Mary to purify herself, according to Levitical law. By a miracle, Mary had bore the baby Jesus but had not slept with any man at this point.  Here we meet the famous Simeon, who had been promised to see the Savior in the flesh during his lifetime. He praised God and announced to everyone in the temple courts how the baby would bring Salvation to all people. CC-BY-SA Sweet Publishing Yet, those were not his last words concerning Jesus. Imagine Simeon holding baby Jesus in his arms and declaring the future Salvation, but then pivoting his stance towards Mary to speak a blessing to a her: “. .  . this child is appointed for the fall and [rise] of many in Israel, and for a sign that is [spoken against] (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34–35 ESV Jesus was the Savior, and this required a great disruption to people’s lives. He later said about himself:  “Do not think