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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Dead Serious

Choosing to engage with others in sharing God’s Word with them is dead serious.  Read Numbers 25:4 (here @ Bible Gateway).
Dead Serious
The serious aspect of this – check that – the dead serious aspect, is that the leaders had abandoned the Word of God.

Rather than leading the people to the Lord through His Word, the leaders led them to worship false gods, idols.  The same theme permeates the book of Jeremiah (here @ Bible Gateway).  The climax of that behavior is recorded in Jeremiah 23 (here @ Bible Gateway).

As leaders, and note that as believers all are leaders, the core of what we share with our families, our friends, those in our communities of faith, and those outside the faith with whom the Lord allows us to share the truth, is His Word.

James 3:1 – 2 (here @ Bible Gateway), 2 Timothy 2:15 (here @ Bible Gateway), and 2 Timothy 4:5 (here @ Bible Gateway), support and remind us of this.

Sure there are really good Christian books as those that are really bad.  The Word of God, however, is always good.  It is always appropriate.  It is always true.

In this age there are many who are claiming to have the truth.  They are promoting themselves over the Word of God.  Churches and organizations that were once effective in spreading the Word of God, have abandoned it.

That is dead serious.

Monday, November 12, 2018

It is a Lock

This last week I was asked to resend an excerpt of a book I am reading to a friend.  The book is, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, by Tim KellerThe excerpt is an extended quote from a book by Elizabeth Elliot, No Graven Image.
It is a Lock
One of the individuals who got the excerpt responded, “Difficult stuff.”  I asked him why.  His response was – and I am paraphrasing, and at some level expanding here – That it is hard to live a life following Christ when things do not seem to be working out according to our understanding of God’s promises to care for us.

First my friend is right.  It is hard.

There are a number of passages that come to mind as I reflect on his response.  One is Numbers 23:19 (here @ Bible Gateway).  I know that he has this passage memorized, you may as well.  The import of this passage is that if God has said something, it is essentially a promise, it will be done, it is a lock.

Sometimes though, it doesn’t seem that way.

We pray for our friend who is critically ill, and they die.  We struggle with paying the bills, we pray, and still struggle.  Yet we read in His Word that He will meet our needs.  What is going on?  (Obviously this paragraph can be expanded nearly infinitely, but I will leave that to you.)

Perhaps we need to alter our perspective.  When things do not work out the way we want them to, the way we have prayed, what do we learn?  For one thing, what we were asking for was not the will of God.  We can know that from 1 John 5:14 – 15 (here @ Bible Gateway).  That is a data point for us.  We should learn from what God does that doesn’t align with what we think He should do.

The reality may be that we, like Elliot suggests in the excerpt, expect God to do for us what we want.  We expect Him to fulfil our will, not His.  In fact, that theology, or perhaps better, that idolatry, has permeated and impacts many of the countries in which the Lord has allowed me to serve.

Perhaps we should remember Numbers 23:19 (here @ Bible Gateway).  He does not change.  What He does is always consistent with His nature.  He is faithful, He is love, He is sovereign.  He is also eternal.  His purpose and provision for us is not limited nor is it focused on this world.  Remember John 14:1 – 4.  It is a mistake, I think, to evaluate God by what He does for us in this world.

Note: This post marks the start of the eighth year for this blog.  So far, 1853 posts and counting…

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Consider Summary

We have been examining Hebrews 10:23 – 25 (here @ Bible Gateway).  The import of this passage cannot, I think, be over emphasized.  We have seen that the notions of holding fast our hope and considering one another are not suggestions, not optional, not something that is merely good to do.
Consider Summary

The use of the hortatory subjunctive makes these prescriptive for a community not suggestive.  It is the intention of the writer of Hebrews and through His active inspiration, the Holy Spirit, that this level of engagement of people, the increasingly intensifying and urgent encouragement to hold fast to their hope and to stimulate them into love and good works, is normative, commanded in our communities of faith.

This understanding of Hebrews 10:23 – 25 (here @ Bible Gateway), builds on and sheds light on several other passages in the epistles.  Together, these passages begin to suggest a pattern of behavior that intentionally moves new believers into mature believers who are capable and committed to in turn lead others through the process through which they have progressed.

If this understanding of this sentence is accurate, it begs the question, is this your experience in your body?  If not, why not?  Frankly, it has not been my experience.  That reality is challenging me to pray differently for those with whom I am in fellowship.  If this is accurate, my responsibility is to increasingly, urgently engage with those whom God has placed in my life.

I would challenge you to consider how this impacts what you do in your fellowship.  Further, I would challenge you to look at the following passages in light of this understanding of Hebrews 10:23 – 25 (here @ Bible Gateway):
If you do, let me know what you see.