Archive | May, 2013

Fleeing From God

May 31, 2013

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Jonah didn’t want to save Nineveh.

He said so. (Jonah 4:1-3)

So he tried to hide. (Jonah 1:3)

A little like Adam and Eve when they heard God coming. Like a person that is not doing what he knows God has asked of him. Jesus said that the wicked hate the light and avoid it so their sins are hidden. (John 3:20)

There is no hiding and everyone that tried found that out all through the Bible.

We see a lot of people these days trying to make some sins seem new and popular. To help their cause they deny God or laugh at the thought of a living God.

Just remember they are trying to hide.

Daily Bible reading for May 31

Psalm 150
Deuteronomy 1
Jonah 1
2 Timothy 1:1-7

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The Good Confession

May 30, 2013

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Paul mentions the “good confession” twice in two verses (1 Timothy 6:12-13.) We usually refer to moment one confesses that he believes Christ is the Son of God when he is preparing for baptism as the “good confession.”

Why call it the good confession?

  • Christ made it under oath to Pilate, (Mark 14:62) then he died for making it.
  • God made it at Christ’s baptism (Matthew 3:17)
  • God made it at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:5)
  • God made it before the Greeks (John 12:28)
  • Everyone will eventually make it (Philippians 2:11)
  • It is vital to the plan of salvation (Romans 10:10)
  • Christ will confess those that make it to God (Matthew 10:32)
  • Even angels (Luke 2:11) and demons (Mark 5:7) have made it

The good confession is the sum total of the Christian doctrine. Everything in the Bible depends on Christ being the Son of God so believing and confessing his name are the first steps to salvation.


Here are some more who made the good confession:

  • Nathaniel (John 1:49)
  • Peter (Matthew 16:16)
  • Timothy (1 Timothy 6:12)
  • Nicodemus (John 3:2)
  • Thomas (John 20:28)
  • Judas who betrayed him (Matthew 27:4)
  • the judge who tried him (Matthew 27:24)
  • Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19)
  • The centurion in charge of his execution (Matthew 27:54)
  • The greater thief on the cross Luke 23:42).

Daily Bible reading for May 30

Psalm 149
Numbers 35-36
Joel 2:28-3:21
1 Timothy 6:3-21

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See Through the Chaff

May 29, 2013


Le vanneur (The Winnower) - 1846-1847 - Jean-François Millet

Le vanneur (The Winnower) – 1846-1847 – Jean-François Millet

He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. – Psalm 1:3-4

His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire. – Luke 3:17


Chaff is the husks of the wheat seed that is removed before being ground into flour. It is used throughout the Bible as a metaphor for the sin, or sinful people and the treatment they will receive at the judgment.

We know who or what chaff is, but what does it do?

For just a minute, I want to think about the military version of chaff rather than the husks and stems in wheat. Chaff is a very simple and effective defensive weapon used to fool missiles and other devices that use radar. It is comprised of flakes and strips of material that are highly reflective to the radar signals. The net result is when chaff is launched into the air, a cloud of this stuff forms around the target and is obscured in a way that causes the weapons to miss it.

Let’s look at all of the opportunities that the world offers us for diversions and time wasting

  • TV
  • Video games
  • The Internet
  • Hanging out with Friends that don’t share our godly goals

To keep our chaff metaphor going, one might say that Satan is launching chaff to counter our goal to get to heaven. Nothing is wrong with these activities in and of themselves, but how much is leeched from our visitation, our Bible study or our family time?

Now think about some of the “overlooked” sins

  • Social drinking
  • Clothing that isn’t as modest as it should be
  • The lottery
  • Dancing

Even if we are good time managers, many of today’s activities are desensitizing us to things that should be offending us. Even so called family shows and cartoons are riddled with innuendo and “mild” curse words.

In the end, an active Christian in good standing with his peers might find himself off target when it is all said and done. Just like an experienced radar operator can pick out his target in the midst of the chaff, we need to keep our sights on the target. We became Christians when salvation became our objective. When the chaff is “burned away,” will you still be on course?

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Coming of Age

May 28, 2013


A lot of attention is given to age in our society. At thirty four, one is considered to be getting too old to play professional sports (or at least the athlete is considered extraordinary if he is hanging in there) and too young to be president.

When Paul told Timothy not to let people trick him out of his authoritative position because of his age, (1 Timothy 4:12) he gave us a signal that there are no age limits in either direction for being a teacher or a Christian example. Our young men that have obeyed the gospel should be given every opportunity to serve the church. We often refer to them as tomorrow’s church, but we should offer them the opportunity to take mature roles as soon as they are scripturally ready, not based on just some arbitrary age.

Our attention is to be given to the doctrine. The word, the manner, the love, the faith – these are the aspects that we all should be giving our attention. Physical health and ability is important, but it is godliness that important now and in the future. (1 Timothy 4:8)

 Daily Bible reading for May 28

Psalm 147
Numbers 33:1-49
Joel 2:1-17
1 Timothy 4

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Growing Tomorrow’s Church

May 27, 2013

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It doesn’t feel like we are all teaching our children to be the best they can be in God’s kingdom anymore. We need more people that can proclaim the word of God and we need more examples of how great life as a Christian can be.

In 1 Timothy 3, the qualifications of elders are deacons are laid out and are pretty straight forward. We appoint men that have attained these qualities, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t all supposed to be trying to attain them! These aren’t a list of qualities directed only at local church leadership – these are qualities of Christians in good standing.

These qualities will give us:

  • Patient and loving fathers
  • Strong families based on God’s pattern
  • Well-grounded teachers
  • Respect from the communities we serve

I wish we were all teaching our children to desire to become elders in the Lord’s church. I hope we can begin to teach them all to preach a gospel sermon. We can begin by making them all young Timothys by taking an interest in teaching the young ones in Bible class and being sure to always honor the leaders, preacher and other hard working men in the church.

Daily Bible reading for May 27

Psalm 146
Numbers 32
Joel 1
1 Timothy 3

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Are You Dressed For Jesus to Stop By?

May 25, 2013

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With the weather consistently warm now (at least in my area,) it is once again time to think about how to dress modestly.

There is a woman in a popular TV show that has a tattoo covering her entire chest. When she has that thing exposed, she looks like a trashy woman. When she wears a T-shirt with a crew neck, she looks pretty and natural. What would the Lord prefer?

In 1 Timothy 2:9-10, Paul directs a woman to dress in a way that enhances her inner beauty and her good works. (Modesty, self-control, etc.) Peter said she should depend on her gentle and quiet spirit to show off her beauty.(1 Peter 3:3-4)

Is it any less sinful for men to walk around uncovered? Of course not. One example is when Jesus returned to visit the disciples, Peter was out of his outer garment and working. When he realized Jesus was close, he put the outer garment back on and swam to him. Notice how the Bible describes him as naked! (John 21:7)

As followers of Jesus, our first duty is to bring good credit to his name. Peter’s example might just be the benchmark for modesty we’re looking for – Would you run up to meet Jesus in what you have on?


For a great blog on modesty aimed at young ladies, Check out Marvelously Modest.

Daily Bible reading for May 26

Psalm 145
Numbers 31
Obadiah 15-21
1 Timothy 2

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Lie Detectors

May 25, 2013

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Guarding against false teaching is a challenge now just like it was when Paul sent Timothy out to preach. (1 Timothy 1:3)

The first line of defense in protecting the gospel is your ears. Whether you are studying with a person you know well or someone new, listen to what they teach:

  • It should harmonize with what you already know.
  • If it doesn’t, then either you are wrong or they are.
  • This becomes a study point and an opportunity for growth and correction.
  • Ideas that are new to you aren’t necessarily wrong, but are also study points.

Of course to recognize new, false, different or wrong ideas, you have to be well grounded in the scriptures. This takes some work and commitment, but it is a part of loving God. (John 14:15)

How do we get that grounding?

  • Study
  • Attending church AND the Bible study sessions.
  • Daily Bible reading
  • Daily Bible study

If we were all like the Bereans, (Acts 17:11-12) we would all be quick to pick out false teaching and there would be just one church that looks like the church in the Bible.

Daily Bible reading for May 25

Psalm 144
Numbers 30
Obadiah 1-14
1 Timothy 1

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Deciding How to Give

May 24, 2013


We are almost exactly six months from “Black Friday” so it seems like a good time to have a refresher on the spirit of giving. Giving is a subject that to some, is highly personal and sensitive. Some preachers even have a hard time talking about it from the pulpit.

While the Bible teaches us to be liberal givers, there is some amount of balance required. Solomon stressed a strong work ethic (Proverbs 21:25-26) because of the folly of idleness. Paul taught us to do good for all (Galatians 6:10), but gave a warning in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 to not be careless in our giving, thus allowing some to “work the system”. There are a number of reason why:

  • Idleness is a sin and the recipient is not motivated to work
  • The giver becomes an accomplice to the idleness
  • The truly needy lose out
  • Idleness spreads through the community as a way of life

probably worst of all, the spirit of giving is stretched thin when idle people are encountered claiming they are needy.

Paul advised us not to become weary of doing good (2 Thessalonians 3:13) and Solomon taught that generosity creates blessing (Proverbs 22:9).

Sooooo … How do we balance our charity since there is no quick and easy formula for learning how? Perhaps we gain wisdom from the actual practice of generous giving.

Daily Bible reading for May 24

Psalm 143
Numbers 28-29
Isaiah 66
2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

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God’s Refuge

May 23, 2013

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In a previous post, we briefly considered the outcome of whether or not we include God in our lives.

In Psalm 143 we find David hidden in a cave, feeling as low as any man can go. He found himself alone and without the earthly comforts of family and home. If we routinely wait until we are in desperate need to go to God, we might find ourselves in that same darkness and afraid to go forward. Using David’s example we see the way to handle those times of need:

  • He asks God to help (Psalm 142:1-2)
  • He tells God how overwhelmed he is (Psalm 142:3-4)
  • He identifies God as his refuge (Psalm 142:5-7)

We need to make a habit out of talking to God. When we do, we will start to find ourselves in dark times less often. Refuge in ourselves or in the world will always fail too soon.

Daily Bible reading for May 23

Psalm 142
Numbers 27
Isaiah 65
2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5

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Including God

May 22, 2013

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We have often heard God asked to guide, guard and direct us in prayer – Maybe to the point of it being cliché. In Psalm 141, David expands upon that sentiment. When we invite God into our lives and protect us from sin, he helps us by protecting us from even the desire to do sinful things.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 shows us the other side of the coin. When we exclude God from our lives, we become suspect to a hardened heart, the lies that Satan tells us and an attitude of enjoyment when we do sinful things.

Be sure and call on God often.

Daily Bible reading for May 22

Psalm 141
Numbers 26
Isaiah 63-64
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

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Ready to Forgive

May 21, 2013

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The judgment day is coming. We don’t know when, but we know how God will divide those who are worthy from those who are not. Paul gives us a good look at the rewards that are being prepared in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12. Those who think they can somehow “squeak through” haven’t studied their Bible very much.

Thankfully, we have a God that is quick to forgive and desires to find us worthy. God forgiveness is shown in a number of ways throughout the Bible:

  1. He is good and ready to forgive. . .” (Psalm 86:5)
  2. He removes sin far, far away from us (Psalm 103:12).
  3. He helps us to forget our sins and move on (Isaiah 38:17).
  4. He forgets our sins as soon as he forgives them (Isaiah 43:25, Jeremiah 31:34)
  5. He is compassionate (Micah 7:18).

We have a ready and willing God. We  just have to take the action to get his forgiveness.

If you are not a New Testament Christian (or don’t know if you are) take a look at God’s plan for becoming one.

Daily Bible reading for May 21

Psalm 140
Numbers 25
Isaiah 61-62
2 Thessalonians 1

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God Knows You

May 20, 2013

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Is it good or bad that God can peer deep into our heart and know everything in it? (Romans 11:33-36) There are no walls or doors to block God from a complete inspection of us. For each of us, I supposed the answer lies in whether we are trying to hide from God!

David celebrated that God knew him inside and out in Psalm 139. In that psalm, he helps us understand that:

  • God knows everything about us (Psalm 139:1-6)
  • There is nowhere we can hide (Psalm 139:7-12)
  • God knew us before we were born (Psalm 139:13-16)

When we focus on the goodness and knowledge of God, we can use that focus to guide ourselves in a way that is pleasing to him – a little like Jeremiah realizing that God knew he was to be a prophet long before he was born. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Daily Bible reading for May 20

Psalm 139
Numbers 23-24
Isaiah 60
1 Thessalonians 5:23-28

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Growing Through Hope

May 19, 2013

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If “faith is the substance of things hoped for …” then 1 Thessalonians should be a key part of any believer’s growth. This letter contains:

  • Inspiring hope for the young convert (chapter 1)
  • Encouraging hope for a faithful servant (chapter 2)
  • Purifying hope for the a believer (chapter 3)
  • Comforting hope for the bereaved (chapter 4)
  • Rousing hope for the slack or sleepy (chapter 5)

As you prepare for your next worship, center it around the hope of Christ’s coming.

If Christ were coming today, what do you have left to do? A great list of action that reinforces hope is in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22.

Daily Bible reading for May 19

Psalm 138
Numbers 22
Isaiah 59
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

*List of hopes adapted from The Outlined Bible by Robert Lee. Page 52.

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Encourage One Another

May 18, 2013

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We have another group Bible reading like I’ve mentioned before happening today. We have scheduled 7 hours of reading.

It has taken the entire week of mental preparation and anticipation to be completely ready and excited about it this morning, but I am ready to get started!

One of the verses that jump out at me in anticipation of the event is 1 Thessalonians 4:18 – “encourage one another with these words.” There is so much hope between the lines of God’s word – so much promise, that the time spent together doing a deep reading can be nothing but encouraging. I believe this is why God made the church.

Try it once and you’ll be hooked.

Daily Bible reading for May 18

Psalm 137
Numbers 20-21
Isaiah 58
1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

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Do So More and More

May 17, 2013

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Life isn’t a static condition.

  • Without physical exercise, the body decays.
  • Without mental exercise, the mind fails to learn more and doesn’t retain what it does know.
  • Without social exercise, our influence and respect from others suffers.

Paul liked to use the metaphor of the “Christian walk” the way he does in 1 Thessalonians 4:1. This helps reinforce the idea of Christianity being an active and progress oriented lifestyle.

We are to take what we have learned and try to gain momentum with it. The more we get out there showing off God’s love and power, the better we get at it, and the more influence we’ll have. This becomes a life that pleases God. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12)

With that momentum we can do a number of things:

  • We easily avoid misusing our bodies. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4) This is a difficult habit to break for many.
  • We can live peacefully and avoid being busybodies. (1 Thessalonians 4:11a) This is a difficult habit to break for many.
  • We can become productive and avoid being a burden to others. (1 Thessalonians 4:11b-12) This is a difficult habit to break for many.

These are some of the cornerstones of an influential lifestyle – A lifestyle that helps us become the salt and light that Jesus was talking about in Matthew 5:13-15

Daily Bible reading for May 17

Psalm 136
Numbers 18-19
Isaiah 56-57
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

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