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Who to Trust?

July 2, 2014

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It is painful when trust fails

It is painful when trust fails

Trusting unfaithful people when you are in trouble
is like eating with a broken tooth or walking with a crippled foot. – Proverbs 25:19 NCV

This is a two way street. We can give as good as we get on this one.

  • There are those who make a habit of backing out of commitments
  • There are “friends” that disappear at the first sign of trouble
  • There are those that let anger end relationships

We often leave ourselves open to the kind of pain the Proverbs writer describes when we are dependent on others. We have to be very careful of who we trust.

There isn’t much we can do about how others act though.

What we can do, is see this as a good place to apply the golden rule. (Matthew 7:12) When we demonstrate the proper way to be a friend we compel other to be the same way. Never backing out of a commitment demonstrates its importance. Anger should never drive any decision.

Be faithful. Trustworthy. Dependable. This gives you all the power you need to influence others in life, but more importantly toward God.

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What Jesus Sees in Our Heart

May 5, 2014

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Giacomo Franceschini - Gesù e la Samaritana al pozzo - 17th or 18th century

Giacomo Franceschini – Gesù e la Samaritana al pozzo – 17th or 18th century

Sometimes we know too much for our own good.

It’s just an attitude issue though. We see the disciples with a little attitude when they passed through Samaria. (John 4:1-42) Notice how the Samaritan woman understood who she was with and began spreading the word immediately.

She had no predisposition of entitlement or wisdom. She just knew she was with the Christ (John 4:29)

The disciples were not impressed that Jesus was talking to her. (John 4:27) As their tradition would have it, they were too far above these people socially to even bother with them. Yet here was their teacher having cordial dealings with her.

The contrast is that the disciples were in direct contact with Jesus and his teachings, but they still had doubts throughout his ministry. The Samaritan woman had no doubt.

It is a lot like the Parable Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The way we approach any given situation – our general attitude – has everything to do with what is in our heart.

And Jesus can see right down into your heart.

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How to Make the Bible Easy to Understand

April 15, 2014

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Make a connection with an actual Bible and put its contents to memory!

Make a connection with an actual Bible and put its contents to memory!

In our world of search engines, we have the ability to search the entire Bible in seconds.

In our world of smartphones, we can do it anywhere and any time.

I know it is a little bit “old school” – but give me a chance on this:

Bible memory work is still a very valuable part of our growth and maturity in the faith.

Sometimes it seems a little “old school” to even carry a Bible to church. The Scriptures used during the service are often projected on a screen making it seem unnecessary to open one at any point in the service.

In order to get to know the scriptures – to get to the point where we know where we stand, we need to get better connected with what it says. I cannot think of any way better to get to know what it says than to memorize the Bible.

Here’s a few thoughts on why. Memorization will …

  • Clarify the text – When you memorize, the nuances of the text start to appear. The Bible is FULL of great truths that we miss through skimming and mere devotional reading.
  • Grow our faith – If faith comes from hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17) then committing it to memory can’t help but make stronger Christians
  • Clean our mind – Our mind returns what we plant in it. Fill it with the good stuff (Philippians 4:8)
  • Make us ready – We are to be ready in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) What better way to be make a convincing response than to be able to quote the scriptures?

All of the cool devices in the world would have a hard time providing these benefits. They make great supplemental study tools but …

They don’t connect us to or help us fall in love with God’s word!

Challenge:

  • Take an inventory of Bible scriptures you either know or once knew by heart (There are more than you think!)
  • Try to think of passages that you know where to find if you need them, but don’t really have memorized.
  • Work on memorizing everything on the two lists.
  • By the time you have done this, you will have discovered more passages you want to add to the list. Memorize those too!
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Greater Than Moses

December 4, 2013

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[This is part two of a deeper study of the article 6 Ways Christ was Better than the Law. To get better context and a link to the other parts, you can click there and read it first.]

The Jews held up Moses as the one who brought the Law down from God, so it makes sense that the Hebrews writer would point to him. Moses and Jesus compare and contrast so well, that those who knew the Old Law would have a better understanding of just who Jesus was with a little study of those Scriptures.

Moses and Jesus Compared

  • Both were Israelites, there was a prophesy of the Messiah coming from the countrymen. (Deuteronomy 18:15)
  • Both were rejected (Exodus 2:14)
  • Both left better circumstances to serve: Moses from Pharaoh’s palace and Jesus from heaven
  • Both performed signs and wonders (Their first: water to blood/water to wine)

Moses and Jesus Contrasted

  • Moses a servant, Christ the Son
  • Moses was sinful, Christ is sinless (Deuteronomy 32:51,52; Hebrews 4:15)
  • Moses delivered from physical bondage, Christ from the spiritual bondage of sin
  • Moses’ mission pertained only to Israel, Christ’s, ultimately, to the “whole creation” (Mark 16:15)

Hebrews 3:1-6 appeals to the Jew’s heritage and reasoning to prove that Christ was the one appointed from God and was faithful to God’s house, just like Moses. Since Christ was the Son of God, his faithfulness is better and Christians are a part of God’s house as long as they persevere. (Hebrews 3:6)

Part 3: The Greatest High Priest

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Encouragement for Troubled Christians

September 2, 2013

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This morning on Facebook, I read a general comment from one of my friends about the inconsistency of the American Christian (used here as a follower of Christ, regardless of denomination.) He made some observations that I believe were right on the mark.

Where has the troubled Christian in America failed?

Where has the troubled Christian in America failed?

  • There is a lot of talk about violation of rights and even “persecution” of Christians in an attempt to make followers of the false religions feel better.
  • There is a lot of confusion as to what the Lord’s kingdom is all about.
  • They have forgotten that being persecuted for Jesus’ sake is a blessing. (Matthew 5:11-12)

If I had to pull one reason out of the air as to why this has come about, it would be because the American Christian’s Bible is left in the corner untouched. If the American Christian were as familiar with their Bible as were the people that came to this “new world”, the events of today would unfold far differently.

  • They would have better responses to a non-believer’s challenges.
  • They would not have allowed non-believers and false teachers convince them the Bible says things that aren’t in there.
  • They would be energized and motivated by the attacks of the lost.
  • They would be able to defend it with confidence.

Jesus, Peter, Paul and James said that Christians can expect to be reviled in any number of ways and can expect blessing and reward from it. (Matthew 5:10-12, 1 Peter 1:3-9, Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4) The book of Revelation is all about encouragement of the Christians facing some tough times. Knowing this, the American Christian has a choice to make:

  • He can capitulate or ignore the problem and be lost with the rest
  • He can be invigorated by the trials as the passages above suggest and work harder to get the word out.

A fully developed and fed faith gives us the hope to continue. It helps us understand what being a member of the Lord’s spiritual kingdom entails. It enables us to keep planting the seeds.

We weren’t promised an easy path to our reward, but it is a path we need to be proud to follow.

Daily Bible reading for September 2

Psalm 31
1 Samuel 20
Daniel 3
Luke 2:1-21

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