Category Archives: Daily Thoughts

Distractions

There is so much more to a verse than what we can see at first glance. Many times, we quote a familiar verse in the time of need in the hopes of finding strength in the moment of weakness. This is one of the many reasons for the Word of Life. The verses in the Bible give us hope, peace and strength to carry us through those firry moments, which help us to stand strong and come out victoriously. Even though this helps the believer in that moment, it is even better when we take the time later on to read the verse within its context to see the whole picture. Then it becomes more precious to us. This then leads to the study of the Word. We are told to “study the Word” as noted in 2 Tim. 2:15. We are also told to hide it in our hearts that we might not sin against Him. Ps. 119:11 We are told to ponder it and mediate on it day and night. Ps. 1:2 How can we do this if we do not search the Word, and become as the Bereans did when they heard the Word preached from Paul? Acts 17:11 That is a lot to consider my brethren—is it not?

I was told by an individual that my “word” should be impeccable. “What in the world does that mean?” said I to myself. Impeccable? I had no idea what that word meant. I did not know what she wanted me to do. For days on end, I would wake up with that word on my mind. I could not be obedient to her direction because of one word. Each day I would think of the word, and each day I would look at the dictionary on my windowsill, which would give me the answer to my dilemma. Then I would think I could look it up on the internet because that would be easier and faster. Guess what? I would turn on my computer and log on. Then I would start doing my everyday stuff, which meant I would forget to look up the word! I would go to bed that night remembering I had forgot to look up that “word” again. I would say I would look it up tomorrow. Tomorrows came, and guess what? I would forget again…are you getting the picture?

How important was the direction she gave me, and the word I did not understand? It was so easy for me to pick up the dictionary on my windowsill to search for the word, but…I would turn on my computer and…Distracted…

How often have you and I received instructions from the Lord, and we have been stuck on a “word” and we decided to look it up? Then we say that we can look it up so quickly because of the tool(s) we have? Then we have a good tool right in front of us, but we choose to use a faster tool, but that “faster” tool becomes our “distraction.” Then we put off until tomorrow what we could have found out today by not using what is right in front of us. Sometimes a “microwave” just does not taste as good as a “home-cooked meal’ from an “old-fashioned” oven…

Wow! I did not intend to go this way… it just hit me that way. When I first was saved, I used to spend hours in the Word. I would look up the Hebrew or the Greek form of the word, and I was my own commentary writer. I even learned how to figure out to find out what tense and form the text was written. I would take hours to discuss maybe three-four verses. I loved it! Then I got married, and had some children. I still found some time with the help of the Lord to do it then. Then I was afflicted, and moved into a convalescent home. I had all the time in the world when I was feeling strong enough to study and write. Then I found out I had gotten lazy…

Where had my precious time gone when it came to the Word of God? I had become “distracted” by this that and the other!!! Distracted by wasting time on things that really had no meaning for me. Distracted by things that would not sustain me in tough times. Distracted by the things of this world you see!

Let this be a warning to you! Do not let the things of this world cloud your mind and push what matters the most to you! You only have one soul! You only have one life to live, and tomorrow is not promised to you! Give what time you have to the Lord today, and stay in His Word today. You must commune in your heart with Him today! You may take your last breath today! Make sure you are ready. Be very sure your anchor holds. Be sure that your anchor holds to his word today. Tomorrow is not promised to you…know who He is today. Obey His Word. Find out what He wants you to do. Walk with him moment by moment every day of your life. You might be gone in the next few seconds. Be very sure. Be very sure. That you are not wasting your life on things of this world. Do not be distracted by the things of this world today. Be very sure your mind is on Him and you are not distracted today!

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How to Eat the Meat and Throw Away the Bones

The last time you and I talked, the discussion centered around how to select a book that is scripturally sound. I ended our conversation by also stating that you should also take the time to Google the author to find out the background of the individual. At that time, I dropped a phrase at the end–truth twister. Did you catch it? I will be expanding on that phrase in this conversation.

In summary, I talked about the importance of the use of proper scripture to support the presentation of information. When discussing a topic, the information should come from the Bible itself. I am not going against the use of  biblical commentaries and biblical dictionaries. These can be very helpful in our study of the Word of God. There are precautions that the believer should take in using some of the commentaries in circulation today. At a later date, I will bring this to your attention.

Meat, if you are a meat-eater, can be enjoyable and good for you. The meat must be removed from the bone because the bone is not edible.  In fact, even a small bone can choke you. Thanksgiving is coming up this month. On Thanksgiving Day, after the blessing, the man will stand at the head of the table and carve the great turkey. When it is all said and done, nothing will be left but the bones. The skin and meat are gone, and everybody is stuffed! Keep that image in your mind as I discuss it from a spiritual perspective.

Let’s look at some New Testament verses that talk about “doctrine” that is of man–not God.  This is the “bone” that has to be tossed.  Note what Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 16:12:

Matthew 16:11 (KJV)
11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
Matthew 16:12 (KJV)
12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
I am using these two translations to begin our discussion on how an individual can use scripture to support their own interpretation of a topic.  One of the first things that false teaching does is it brings about instability. Paul tells us that we are to be unmoveable, and always abounding in the Word of God. This cannot happen if the message that is being presented is coming from a truth twister.  Note what the following verse says:

Ephesians 4:14 (KJV)
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Ephesians 4:14 (YLT)
14 that we may no more be babes, tossed and borne about by every wind of the teaching, in the sleight of men, in craftiness, unto the artifice of leading astray,

2 Peter 3:16 (KJV)

16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:16 (NASB)
16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Notice that the NSASB in this case uses the word “distort” when speaking of the untaught and unstable person. This same problem is apparent in their study of the rest of the Scriptures. Their lack of understanding leads to their destruction and to those who present their misunderstandings. Truth twisters. It is their purpose to lay in wait for those who are not knowledgeable in the Word of God to give them their own “interpretation” of a verse or doctrine. No wonder there are so many opinions on what one passage of scripture is saying. Everybody has their own interpretation. Let me remind you of a verse located in 2 Peter 1:16-20.

2 Peter 1:16-20 (KJV)
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

When the Word of God is distorted, it is not fit to eat. This is the bones. I hope you are following what I am trying to present to you here. In order to grow physically, we are given a well-balanced diet of meat and vegetables along with a starch. Of course we also have a dessert and fruit. This how we are to eat spiritually. We have to eat a well-balanced diet of spiritual food in order to grow strong in the Lord. That means a daily diet of the Word of God. The real  unwatered down Word of God. That is why you must know what the Word of God says for yourself. When you are reading a book or a post or hear someone quote a scripture, you should recognize whether the individual has said it right. Granted, we as humans are subject to mistakes, but not to the point of making a scripture say or not say what is written in the Bible. Even when you are being taught something new, you have to listen closely. Take notes and pray. When you get alone, go over your notes and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to not only understand the lesson but also to retain the lesson. Commit the Word to your heart and mind. Then you can eat the meat and throw away the bones. You will automatically know the difference because the Spirit of God will raise the red flag in your spirit when something is wrong. You won’t be able to swallow the “leaven.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Scripture

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When I first got saved, my pastor taught me something that I developed into a life long habit. He said that when I wanted to purchase a book to study, it had to pass a certain test. He said to open the book, and flip through the pages. The purpose of doing this would be to see how much scripture the author is using in the text. If there is sufficient scripture seen, then the book’s information should be reliable in its teaching.

There is, of course, one other thing that I would like to point out to you when selecting reading material. Find out as much as you can about the author before you purchase the book. Let me help you understand what I mean. Since you are connected to the internet, use it to check out the authors you want to read. When I am interested in reading someone’s work, I do research on the person. I Google the person. I find out what they believe, and what they write about. That way I do not go in blind reading their work. I know what I am about to read.

My next post will discuss with you  “eating the meat and throwing away the bones.” I know. You are saying “WHAT???” Stay tuned to the continuing saga of not being deceived by the truth twisters.

Disconnected

As most of you know, if you’ve read my bio, I do a lot of reading and writing. Well, last Friday I was preparing to study the Righteousness of God. I had been studying Romans 4 that week. My pastor stopped by to surprise me with some dinner he had prepared for me. It was delicious!

After eating the hot meal, I decided I’d start work on my lesson. I reached for my hot coffee and placed it on my table next to my laptop. I guess you know where I’m going with this. Yes. Somehow I hit the bottom side of the coffee spilling it on my computer. The hot coffee spread all over my table and onto the floor and on the side of my bed. I had to call my CNA for help. I quickly lifted up my laptop wiping off the keyboard and laying it face down on my bed. I didn’t care about my bed–only my laptop.  She was very kind to me. She cleaned everything up for me.

After everything was cleaned up, I sat down to consider what kind of damage I had done to my beloved laptop. Well I was deeply wounded because it did not want to work. It did. Then it didn’t. Then it did. Then it gave up and so did I.

I was disconected from my online community. I was disconnected from my work on the Book of Revelation. I was disconnected from my e-mail. I was disconnected period. I found myself with all this time on my hands. You see when I’m not online, I’m typing up research on chapters  from the Bible. I was lost.

Now the reason that I am sharing this with you is not so you will feel sad that I’ve been off the net since Friday. No. I have something else in mind. How would you feel if you were disconnected from the Lord? How long would you be able to be away from Him? What you do in order to reconnect yourself to Him? How fast would you work to get your connection back? What would be your mindset? Oh well. I will eventually get connected again. Or would you be like the song that says “I’m desperate for you?” Would it be a life and death situation? Don’t answer too fast. Be honest with yourself. How valuable is your connection with your Savior? How desperate are you to stay connected?

Defending the Gospel

Understanding Our Part in Connection with the Holy Spirit

As defenders of the faith, we must always remember that Jesus promised that we would receive power after that the Holy Spirit would come upon us. (Acts 1:8) It is this “power” that we must rely upon for all things as we walk by faith and not by sight. He is spoken of as the “Spirit of Truth” in John 14. With this view, we must understand that God is his “own supreme counsel for the defense.” (p. 58) If then sin seeks to frame God, then God Himself is the only one who can actively counter this outrage. Yes, as witnesses, our work is important, but at best our part is to bring the presence of God into the debate through the power of the Holy Spirit. We then must see ourselves as junior counsels for the defense. Therefore we must read the Bible with this in mind. When the law court is seen with God Himself in view as the lead prosecutor indicting the sins of his people and others, then we will understand the following statement noted in Job 38:2-3:

Job 38:2-3 (KJV)
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Isaiah 3:13 (KJV)
13 The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.

Hosea 4:1 (KJV)
1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

Hosea 4:4 (KJV)
4 Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.

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Isaiah 41:27 and 42:1 speaks of one who will be an advocate for Zion. He will be a defending counsel for Jerusalem and God’s servant (NEB) The same prosecuting role can be seen in the self-awareness of Jesus and his promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit who will appear after He leaves. He tells His disciples that He will come for their good. Note John 16:7-11.

With these verses in mind, we must understand that our human role is always one of humility, support and subservient. Notice how Os Guinness words it. “With the Holy Spirit resting upon us as Jesus promised, our part is to host the very presence of God wherever we are, to exercise the very power of God in every situation and to witness to the gospel and what God has done in Jesus and is doing in the world today.” (p. 59) I think that says a mouthful. We are presenting something new. We are pointing to something already established.

We then speaking only on behalf of God. We speak under Him, and we have no authority apart from Him. Notice the prophet’s formula which is “Thus saith the Lord.” The indictment against them was when they attempted to speak for God when God never gave them a word. It is never about us. Nor is it up to us.

No Individual is the Same

I am reading a book that considers the Christian’s approach to witnessing to an individual about Jesus Christ. I have not gotten too far in the book because I am forever arrested by the author’s words. At one point, he states that Jesus never approached any two people the same way. This made me pause to reflect on the individuals He talked to. The author was right. Jesus did not use a “formula” or “steps” to minister to individuals. Instead he met them where they were.

Dr. Guinness uses the phrase “cookie-cutter evangelism” to describe the method that most churches use when reaching out to the lost. This made me think about the church where I first got saved. My enthusiasm for my newfound faith in the Lord motivated me to join the evangelism team. They taught me the “method” to witness to souls. It was okay to put it in my own words, but certain things had to be covered before walking away from the candidate.

There was an apartment complex located down behind the church. It was on the next street. Once a month, the evangelism team would have a service there on Saturday. We would gather at the church around 10:30 a.m. for prayer. Then we would walk down to the apartment complex as the church van played gospel music announcing our arrival.

Once we got to the complex, we knocked on doors, and passed out gospel tracts, and then we gathered to sing songs. Then someone would encourage people to gather to hear the message of the day. There would be some soloists singing before the speaker brought forth the Word. Then altar call would be made before we left. The workers would get upset because the majority of the tracts were thrown on the ground. Now I know why. We used the same method every time we saw these individuals. They knew the routine, and they knew what we were going to say. It was old and outdated. No wonder they were hard to win to Christ! It was never fresh. The Word of God should be fresh—not stale!

I hope this makes you think about how you approach an individual who you are trying to win to the kingdom of heaven. It does make sense doesn’t it?

 

Stepping into What God has Called You to Do

I just published a post about the disciples of Jesus Christ. He had told them that He would rise from the dead. After His resurrection, He appeared to different people, and they testified of His appearance. Their testimonies served as evidence to the truth of His words. Their testimony was met with unbelief.

I am not here to discuss that portion of John 21 with you today. I want to talk about how the gospel said at one point they were seen as hiding because they were afraid for their lives. In another gospel, they went back to doing what they were doing before they met Jesus, which was fishing. For 3 1/2 years they traveled with Jesus hearing His teachings and watching the miracles He performed. Recorded in Matthew 28:19:19-20 Jesus gives them instructions on what they must do as His followers. Notice the first word “go.” Get moving disciples! You have a divine assignment to do because you have a call on your life!
Let me bring my thought home. If we’ve gotten to the place in our lives where we are seeking the will of God for our lives, and He tells us, are we doing it?
Are we obedient or are we on the run? Have we chosen to remain in what is familiar? People are waiting for us to fulfill what we have been called to do. Somebody is waiting for us to speak that word that we have been given by the Lord. That song that we hesitate to sing will bless and encourage somebody and help them to hold on a little while longer. Whatever it is somebody is waiting for it. We are needed somewhere, and He has anointed and equipped us for the task He has called us to.
Yesterday we should have gone forth to do what God called us to do. Will you go forth today? Time is moving fast, and we need to be about our Father’s business!

A Clean Slate

This week, we may see the beginning of a new year-2015. Why did I say “may?” Because we are not promised tomorrow. We should say if the Lord will, we will do this and that. For all the promises we may make for the New Year, we might not make it. I am not attempting to be morbid, but I am saying that we should be realistic.

We should ask the Lord for His guidance and direction as we face a new year with new challenges and changes. We should seek to find out what the will of the Father is for our lives.

Happy New Year-2015!

How Would You Respond?

I’m reading Job 3 now. I just want to share with you what came to mind when Job heard all the bad news found in Job 1. I wondered how I would feel if I got such bad news. He lost his children along with all his possessions. His wife turned against him telling him he should curse God and die. She believed Job had nothing to live for. Job’s response in verse 21 amazes me every time I read it.

Job 1:21 (KJV)
(21) And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

I wonder could you and I respond if this happened to us?