Hungry for Scripture

Luke 24.32 recalls our hearts burning within us while He explained the Scriptures to us.

Do our hearts burn within us when we hear the Scriptures thoroughly explained to us?

Some complain they cannot understand the Bible. These people must come to God in fear and trembling repentant of their sins for all those born of God hear the words of God but the unspiritual man cannot understand the things of God.

Our Father Who dwells in heaven and is Lord over all that is and was and is to come, has communicated to us in the Scriptures the height and breadth and depth and length of His love for us in Christ Jesus so that we may love Him and be reconciled to Him.

If we have no taste for the Word of God we very well may not be children of God for the Word of God is life and our very bread for spiritual living.

Far too many who call themselves Christians ignore reading and studying the Bible to their own spiritual stagnation. A sermon attended once a week is insufficient for making a person mature in Christ even as eating one meal per week would lead to our physical immaturity.

The Bible declares God’s word to be living and active piercing to the depths of our soul and so it is to all those who diligently seek God through its pages.

God has provided everything we need for knowing Him and doing His will through His Holy Spirit and the Scriptures He has given to us.

When we stand before the Judge of all men we will be without excuse if we have not lived on this earth in such a way as to glorify God.

God dearly loves us and invites us into a relationship with Himself; the Scriptures are our primary means for doing this.

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How Smart are We?

1 Corinthians 2.7 proclaims we speak the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God Paul contrasts with the wisdom of the world.

The world finds the wisdom of God foolish and because the Spirit of God is not in the worldly they cannot believe the wisdom of God.

What is the wisdom of God?

Among this teaching would be that all things were created by God for God. Evolution denies God whereas creation glorifies God. Evolution is the origin of life story among those who deny the existence of God yet many Christians who wish to appear learned agree with this godless teaching.

Those who prefer science over Scripture struggle to accept the rest of God’s wisdom.

Second, is the teaching that Jesus Christ is God Who lived as a man, was crucified, rose from the dead and will alone return to Judge all humanity for determining their eternal dwelling whether heaven or hell. Worldly wisdom proclaims all religions are the same; all roads lead to heaven; and flatly rejects the reality of hell. This teaching belittles the sacrifice of God in Jesus and denies the deity of Jesus.

Jesus is the only religious leader Who claims to be God, accepting or rejecting this wisdom from God is the determining factor for acceptance or rejection by God.

Third, is the teaching that while humanity was created good originally, we are now born broken and in need of God’s pardon from birth. Worldly wisdom blames the environment for humanity’s evil deeds but God declares we are born inclined to do evil. A two year old proves God’s point but many choose to reject God’s truth in order to believe a popular lie.

Before whom do we choose to appear wise, God or man?

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Living as Saints

1 Corinthians 1.2 acknowledges those who are sanctified and called to be saints.

The problem with humanity is that within our DNA is the pre-disposition toward evil and rebellion against God.

The Good News is that Jesus Christ was punished for us and now pardons everyone who humbles themselves and comes to Him for forgiveness.

Jesus invites all people everywhere to be reconciled to God through Him, giving Himself to live within the body of all those who love God through Jesus the Lord.

This indwelling presence of God within the people of God leads to our becoming more like God in Jesus – this process is known as sanctification.

God both proclaims His people as holy, because of Christ in them, and is making them holy through the power of Christ in them. Thus the people of God are both sanctified, already accepted by God, and are becoming saints of God, those who do acceptable works for God.

The saints are sanctified in three key areas this passage of Scripture teaches; in knowledge, in speech and in conduct.

In knowledge we know there is One God, one Savior and one Lord of all Who lived among us as Jesus, was crucified for us and rose again from the dead to return again one day to establish His eternal dwelling upon the new earth. Saints know they were created by God for God to serve God.

The speech of the saint reflects the words and ways of God. Saints speak truth to all people, in love they tell others of God’s love and encourage His people to remain in God’s love. The speech of the saint glorifies God.

In conduct the saint serves God by doing those things that please God. The life of the saint increasingly looks like the life Jesus lived while living among us.

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What it means to follow Jesus.

Luke 9.23 commands those who would be reconciled to God through Jesus to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. What do these things mean practically?

The Lord Jesus continues His teaching on this subject in the following verses revealing that to follow Jesus is to change our self, our wealth and our stealth.

Our self must change from self-centered living to God-centered living practically displayed through loving others. Denying ourselves means placing God’s will and ways and the needs of others above our own. The Christian no longer pursues his own status, security or comfort but rather, like the Lord Jesus, surrenders his life by doing everything he can to reconcile men to God through as many acts of charity and kindness as necessary.

Our wealth must change as we no longer seek to accumulate treasure on earth but treasure in heaven. This means the follower of Jesus spends as much as He can for reconciling the world to Christ. The disciple of Jesus uses money to influence people toward Jesus. The Christian’s goal for money is to spend more for the glory of God than we keep for personal use.

Finally, the disciple is not a stealth Christian where no one knows the hope he contains within him. Jesus gives a strong warning toward those who would live ashamed of mentioning their allegiance to Him. Rather the disciple tell others about the Savior for there is no other name under heaven by which people can be reconciled to God other than Jesus. People must hear the gospel to be reconciled to God and they hear through the testimony of those who have already become children of God.

The people of God are now ambassadors for God doing everything they can personally and financially while boldly sharing with everyone who will listen, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ so that all people might be reconciled to God.

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Have Faith? Obey God!

Romans 16.26 observes the obedience of faith.

Most Christians agree that it takes faith to get into heaven.

The Bible declares that it is indeed by faith alone we are saved though this too is a gift from God. Furthermore the Bible teaches that without faith it is impossible to please God.

Unfortunately the word faith has become synonymous with belief for many people. While faith certainly includes believing it goes beyond mere intellectual agreement with the concept of God.

Faith takes action upon belief. Often the actions taken are counter-intuitive and counter-culture.

Examples of faith are forgiving the abuser, not taking revenge but overlooking, giving generously even when personal funds are low, serving others when we don’t have to and telling others about Jesus while fearing they might reject us. Faith is obeying God Who demands we place other’s interests above our own which forces us to become an odd people in a world that is increasingly absorbed by pleasure and personal gain.

People of faith forgive much because they have been forgiven much. People of faith give much because they trust God to supply their needs and they are not seeking to accumulate the treasure of this world. People of faith serve because God came to serve and not be served so they live like their Master.

The enemy of God believes but he has no faith for he has no works that glorify God or benefit people.

If we claim to have faith in Jesus then we will have works of obedience to prove it.

How are you proving your faith?

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Are you playing offense or defense?

Romans 12.21 commands we overcome evil with good.

It is often said that the best offense is a great defense but as is the case with many cultural beliefs, the Bible portrays a different truth: the best defense is a great offense.

Much attention is given to not sinning against God by the Church. In the past accountability groups were developed to try and keep men from sinning against God by asking questions about sins men are prone to making.

Not sinning against God is a good thing for all disobedience is bad.

The problem with focusing on not sinning is that we are consumed by sinful thoughts! In essence, we are always on defense.

The Biblical solution to our propensity for sin is to always be about doing good. The cup full of milk has no space for water. If we are always playing offense we have no thoughts toward defense.

The necessary attitude for always doing good is to focus on the will of God and the needs of others.

The reason we sin so much is because we are consumed by our own selfish interests whether physical or material.

To do good always is to be always working on expanding God’s glory on the earth by helping people experience more of God through us.

Doing good is centered upon serving God through serving people.

To play Biblical offense we need to fill our minds with God’s Word then apply it daily through consistent acts of service, care, compassion and love toward all those we meet in our daily activities.

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Do You Ignore God?

Psalm 41.12 proclaims permanent access to God’s presence.

All religions are an attempt to appease God so that eventually that god will welcome them into his eternal dwelling: all religions except one. All religions require certain performance standards for appeasing this god though one can never by quite sure this god is truly appeased: all religions except one.

One religion alone leads people to God Who has provided appeasement Himself and Who now declares that He is satisfied giving people permanent access to Himself.

This religion, the Christian faith, declares that all people are incapable of appeasing God so He Himself came to appease His requirements in the man Jesus Christ being punished on the cross for the disobedience of all people everywhere.

Now God is willing to pardon all people for their rebellion against Him and allow them permanent access to Him through Jesus the Christ.

All people need to do to receive access to God is to cry-out to Him for pardon, stop their willful disobedience and seek God through the Bible, prayer and the Church for living lives pleasing to God.

Many have cried-out to God particularly when things get difficult. Some people have even stopped doing those things that displease God and for which Christ was crucified. But few people seek God regularly for His presence in order to know Him more deeply and to love Him more fully.

Christianity promises full and permanent access to God; if there really is a God shouldn’t we long to know Him?

It is God Who alone can heal our inner brokenness, Who can fill our inner void for love and significance, for He is our Maker and the only giver of true life.

Why would we not seek Him as often as we can and as much as we are able since He is both our God and our Father?

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Zeal for God that Counts

Romans 10.2 observes they were zealous for God but their zeal is not in line with the truth. Being zealous for God is good but a zeal for God that is not in accord with the ways of God is bad.

In the kingdom of God the ends does not justify the means. People are to serve God in the ways of God if they are going to please God.

The Muslim zealot who destroys the lives of innocent people through his suicide vest is an abomination to the One True God. While zealous for God his zeal is not in line with the truth.

Many people who pursue God do so according to their own means thinking that as long as they live a good life, by their own standard, God will be pleased with them.

But God is not pleased when we live apart from His commands. Feeling good toward God is not the same as loving God or obeying God.

God has come in Jesus the Christ to teach us what He requires from us. God has recorded for us everything we need in order to live lives pleasing to Him in the Bible so that people are without excuse on that day when He judges every person for how they lived in obedience to His commands.

There really is only one God, one way, one truth and we must align ourselves with Him if we would hope to pass from this life to the next and be accepted by God in His eternal kingdom. There are false religions and false religious books for the enemy of God seeks to keep people from loving God and from living according to His will.

God is not aloof, He very present, He has lived among us physically and He has recorded for eternity His character, His will and His ways so we could know Him and how we are to live.

God loves the zealous person who is zealous in accordance to His truth.

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How Hard are we Working?

Jeremiah 48.10 declares a curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work.

Imagine hearing the Pastor conclude his Sunday sermon with, ‘cursed is anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work:’ many would leave that place cursed!

What is the Lord’s work? Jesus said, ‘the Father is always working and He too had come to do His Father’s business.’

What is that business? The reconciliation of the world to God through Jesus Christ.

Practically this work is carried-out by telling people about Jesus then helping those who respond to Him grow in their faith.

We can measure our work effort by determining how many people we ourselves have come to help know personally Jesus as Savior and the number of people into whom we regularly invest spiritually so that they follow Him more closely as Lord.

The work of God is summarized in the Great Commission which commands all of God’s people to make disciples through going to people and telling them about God’s work in Jesus leading them to repentance and faith in Christ symbolized by baptism then teaching them to obey all of Jesus’ commands so that they continue to grow in Christ becoming fellow workers with us and Christ.

Simple work but as Jesus declared while there is an abundance of it, few are those who have placed their hands upon the plow and not looked back.

God measures our faith not by our feelings nor by our intentions but by our deeds done in obedience by faith for His glory.

The work of God requires our focused effort and energy.

This work cannot be relegated to others for as part of the body of Christ each member is to do their part at building God’s Kingdom.

What kind of worker are we?

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What are you praying for?

Luke 11.13 promises the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. Are Christians asking for the Holy Spirit from God or are our prayers consumed by asking for lesser things?

When we ask God for the Holy Spirit for what are we really asking? The Holy Spirit is God and by asking for Him we are asking for God to dwell within us so that we might know Him and live lives that show Him.

Regrettably most of Christendom misses the Holy Spirit because a small part of the Church has emphasized seeking Him for personal gain.

This part of the Church thinks His presence means the demonstration of power and blessing in our lives in order to prove to the world how great God is and how profitable it is to be His people. Indeed, God is great and it is certainly the blessed life to be a child of God but they are sorely mistaken for why the Holy Spirit seeks to live within His people.

When God encouraged us to ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit He did so as He taught His disciples what to pray.

The Holy Spirit in us makes possible the experience and the doing of that which we are to focus upon in prayer. What are these things?

Worship of God, ‘hallowed be Your Name;’ building His kingdom, ‘Your kingdom come;’ His daily provision, ‘our daily bread;’ forgiveness of our sin and the ability to forgive others regardless of their sin, ‘forgive us as we forgive others;’ and the overcoming of temptation, ‘lead us not into temptation.’

Jesus as God Who was filled with the Holy Spirit always, did not model a life of health and wealth but of holiness and obedience.

Those who are truly filled with the Holy Spirit deeply know God and are humbly living lives that glorify His Name on earth as it is in heaven.

So what are you praying for?

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