January 13, 2018

How True is the Bible?

In the December 1974 issue of Time magazine (p. 41), there is a cover story titled, “How True is the Bible?” 

An excerpt from the article it says, “The breadth, sophistication and diversity of all this biblical investigation are impressive, but it begs a question: Has it made the Bible more credible or less? Literalists who feel the ground move when a verse is challenged would have to say that credibility has suffered. Doubt has been sown, faith is in jeopardy. But believers who expect something else from the Bible may well conclude that its credibility has been enhanced. After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived—and is perhaps the better for the siege. Even on the critics’ own terms—historical fact—the Scriptures seem more acceptable now than when the rationalists began the attack.”

More than a century earlier Charles Spurgeon wrote in his commentary The Treasury of David, vol. 1a, “The Bible has passed through the furnace of persecution, literary criticism, philosophic doubt, and scientific discovery, and has lost nothing but those human interpretations which clung to it as alloy to precious ore. The experience of the saints has tried it in every conceivable manner, but not a single doctrine or promise has been consumed in the most excessive heat.” 

That is absolutely true. The infidels of the ages have beat upon this rock. But the Word of God stands firm, and in the end, like Voltaire, unbelievers are broken by the rock rather than breaking it.

God's Word, especially His promises to act are trustworthy and reliable.

Leave a comment and share a time when the Word of God didn't fail you and proved trustworthy and reliable.


REFERENCE

January 11, 2018

God, are you aware of what's happening in my life?

As I was catching up in my Bible reading plan last night, by Professor Grant Horner, I noticed in Matthew 8 and Genesis 8, two similar experiences.

In Matthew 8:23-27, the disciples were in a boat with Jesus but had experienced a terrible storm where they thought they were going to die. Jesus questioned them wanting to know why was their faith so weak when He was with them and by His words, He calmed the storm and they marveled at what He did.

In Genesis 8:1 it says that "God remembered Noah,..." and Noah had just experienced an unimaginable flooding of the whole earth where anything that wasn't in the ark was destroyed by the 40 days and nights of rain.

In both accounts there was a circumstance of danger, even the unknown of what REALLY was going to happen while in the midst of this terrible trial, even a test of their faith.

In both accounts, neither group of people knew what God was going to do in the midst of the storm, i.e., trial, or test of faith.

The only one who knew was God and while He allowed the storm, i.e., trial or test, to occur, each group had to trust God while they were going through the storm and both groups of people survived the storms and were in awe of what God did, to bring them to a new place in their lives, as witnesses to His sovereignty, power and also, something we may often overlook in both of these accounts, God's immeasurable compassion for those whom were going through a very difficult time in their lives.

Maybe there is something you're going through right now and you're asking God, "Help me, Lord! Don't you see what's happening in and around my life?? Won't you do something to help me??"

The lesson for us to learn is that no matter what it is that you're going through, God knows what's happening in your life and the trial (storm) you're going through.

The disciples were chastised for their lack of faith while Jesus was with them and Noah, he had never seen rain falling so massively that the whole world would be swallowed up in water, leaving only him and his family to survive. But he was obedient to God's direction, in preparation for the flood and obedience to God is something that must be strengthened, whenever we're going through a time that our faith is being immensely tested.

It's hard to say and believe it even more, because when you're in great need of help, you need it immediately and maybe don't have too much patience to wait for God to do whatever it is that He's going to do because it's getting close to where you feel like you're not going to survive the storm.

Just remember, Noah and his family didn't die during the flood and none of the disciples perished either in the storm they were in.

But in the midst of that storm, when we don't think God is aware of our situation, He is very aware and He knows exactly how and when He'll deliver you out of it all, at the right time and to the right place.

Last year, I was reading a book titled, Gleanings in Genesis by A.W. Pink while I was preaching a series of sermons about Abraham's experiences of success failure, his obedience and disobedience to God. Pink said, "Profession must be tested and at times the meal in the barrel will run very low. Look not at the famine but unto God's faithfulness." (p. 146)

I hope this may be an encouragement to you today. Stay strong in faith and trust the Lord. He knows what He is doing and He will deliver you, at the right time and to the right place. Things may seem lean right now, or they have been and I need this reminder too, as much as anyone else, but it's important to remember God's faithfulness.

He's been faithful throughout history in the Bible and there is no doubt that God has been faithful in the past to you, as He has to me and I must remain hopeful and believe that God will continue to be faithful today and tomorrow too.

I may not understand it for myself even at this moment, but God does and I've found this encouragement from reading His Word last night and I'm glad I did.

I hope tonight you'll be able to sleep peacefully as Jesus did, in the midst of the storm.

God is faithful and He won't stop being faithful to any of His children now.

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January 2, 2018

Walk with Integrity

The blessing of God’s wisdom to a person’s life is because of a lifestyle walk of integrity, as a Christian.  Job was known as a man of integrity before God (see Job 1:1).  He wasn’t a perfect man, but his walk with God was considered blameless; above reproach.

In addition to receiving God’s blessing to give a person wisdom for their lives because of their walk with God, He also protects their way too.  The word saints in this verse describes those who have a covenant relationship with God and they are faithful to Him.

To know the Lord is to know how to live.  How is your walk with God?  If you answer that it could be better, you're not alone.  The good thing is that every believer needs to have a better walk with the Lord.

Everyone’s walk with God could be better, so let’s strive together to live more closely with God, by reading His Word and obeying what He says.

READING PROVERBS DAILY
Day 2: January 2, Proverbs 2
Proverbs 2:7-8

January 1, 2018

Reading Proverbs Daily Each Month

Several years ago, I had heard Edwin Louis Cole encourage the men attending the conference he was speaking at, to read the book of Proverbs daily throughout the month, gaining wisdom to face the day.

Dr. Cole advised that following this simple daily reading plan, "the truth and revelation in this book will give you knowledge, understanding and wisdom so you may exercise or practice your faith until you become skilled in righteousness, being able
to discern good from evil."

Another quote that I've enjoyed from Dr. Cole is when he said, "The principles and promises of the Bible are the keys to the Kingdom."  How true!

There was a man whom was part of the church I was fortunate to pastor, and reading Proverbs every day was his daily discipline.  I have heard that when he spoke, he spoke with wisdom and it wasn't so much that he may have been quoting a verse from Proverbs explicitly, but the Bible became his daily source of strength and for him, the exercise of daily growing in knowing God.

So here begins a new year, 2018, and I'll start again to read one chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the date of the month.  If you follow this format, you will read the book of Proverbs twelve times throughout the year.

DAY 1: JANUARY 1, PROVERBS 1

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: 
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  
Proverbs 1:7, ESV

The starting point of becoming a wise person is to know that God is supremely wise above all.  Only an arrogant person would believe themselves to be wise because they arrogantly reject the teachings of Scripture.

The Hebrew word for fool is the word evil, pronounced eh-veel and it describes a person who arrogantly rejects the God’s teachings from Scripture, as foolish, or an idiot.

So, someone who is foolish enough to reject the teachings of God from Scripture, it reveals the non-existent relationship that they have with Him.  However, someone who does have a relationship with the Lord, the level of knowledge gained is relevant to the depth of the revelation they have received from His Word.

Essentially, the deeper one grows in their relationship with God, the greater and stronger their relationship will be with Him because of how well and how much they know who God is, for themselves.

Surely, there are some wise people whom a person may benefit from their counsel, but there is none wiser than God and to have a healthy and proper understanding of the wisdom of God from Scripture is where we must all begin.

Whenever a believer reaches out to another believer for counsel, the counsel given should always be based on the Word of God and you can sense it too.

Many people are looking for direction for their lives at the beginning of this new year and God’s Holy Word is the place to begin to find wisdom in that direction.  

A direction that ultimately leads to Himself.  

Are you following His direction, or do you despise the wisdom that God has to offer for your life?

December 27, 2017

Mirror, mirror in the World


Our physical reflection is inescapable when we look at ourselves. So too is the reflection of the heart is inescapable when we, and others, look at ourselves. People are able to determine the character of a person by their behavior, e.g., actions, attitude, speech.

It is wise to make sure that we carefully compare ourselves to the word of God on a daily basis. The Bible is the most confronting and convicting word from God, to help each person live in such a way that is pleasing to God.

“Just as gazing into the mirror-like qualities of a still water-pool reflect the detailed features of a man’s face so the standards and qualities residing deep within his heart reflect his character and display the innermost caliber of his soul. Just as we are enabled to study the physical characteristics of our facial features through the mirror-image, reflected in a clear standing-pool of water.. so an examination of the inner thoughts of the heart give a reliable indication of our spiritual standing – or perhaps uncover a hypocritical facade.” (Knowing Jesus Devotion)

If a person’s heart is corrupt, it will produce corruption in all that they do and possibly even in others. A heart though that has been cleansed by God, through the regeneration Holy Spirit begins to become more Christlike in the reflection of their lives.


James 1:22-25 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.”

So, the question that must be asked is, do others see Jesus in me? Am I a good reflection of Jesus, not for the satisfaction of others, but to the honor of God?


As in water face reflects face, 

so the heart of man reflects the man. 

Proverbs 27:19

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Read a chapter a day in proverbs for the month.
December 27, Proverbs 27
Proverbs 27:19

December 19, 2017

What is sin?

What is sin?
It is the glory of God not honored.
The holiness of God not reverenced.
The greatness of God not admired.
The power of God not praised.
The truth of God not sought.
The wisdom of God not esteemed.
The beauty of God not treasured.
The goodness of God not savored.
The faithfulness of God not trusted.
The commandments of God not obeyed.
The justice of God not respected.
The wrath of God not feared.
The grace of God not cherished.
The presence of God not prized.
The person of God not loved.
That is sin.

― John Piper

Think about this verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV), "For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

At the end of each sentence, add the words by and add your name, i.e., The person of God not loved by Kurt.  Say your name after each sentence.  I could hardly think that anyone could not add their name to any sentence and still feel they have not sinned against God.

All of those statements that are quoted above by John Piper, God punished the sin of those things that we have committed against God, who did not deserve to receive such, but we did.  

THIS is what makes the cross Good News to tell others about!

October 14, 2017

Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report

This morning, I read a story titled, Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report, which is about how much the persecution of Christians has increased worldwide, which was published online at The Christian Post.

Christians in the West don't face this kind of persecution, as they do in countries like Iraq, Nigeria, Syria and China.

The article states, "In Iraq, the Christian population declined from 275,000 in mid-2015 to below 200,000 two years later – and possibly as few as 150,000, the report says, warning that "if this decline were to continue at the same rate, it would show that" the previous report's "prediction of a virtual wipe-out of Iraq's Christian community by 2020 remains on track."

What's causing this is not people leaving the faith, but rather radical Islamic terrorism that seeks to eradicate any living example of the Christian faith.

Those who have been martyred for Christ are amazing witnesses for Jesus, but more importantly to the world, to show how vastly different Christianity is compared to radical Islamic terrorism.

I am also reading a book titled, I Am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Muslim Extremism and it is an inspirational book, challenging is a more accurate description because of the way that many of the Christians who were once Muslims, who now live and even die because of their faith in Christ.  

In the face of death, they would not renounce their faith in Jesus.

Last night, I read and highlighted this statement from the book, "Every day in communities in Iraq and other countries where Islamic extremists exert control, Jesus followers stand firm in their commitment to trust God and obediently fulfill his purpose for their lives. They pay a high personal price for persevering in their faith. They endure fierce hostility, brutal cruelty, and unthinkable atrocities, yet they remain true to God."

Could Christians in America endure the same experiences as those in this book and still remain firm in their faith in Christ?

I also read this small portion of commentary by Michael Green regarding Matthew 5:10-12 that Christians can be happy when they are persecuted and if you read the book, I Am N, you'll understand even more why so many Christians who were once Muslims live with this kind of joy and understanding that Michael Green writes.
"Even the persecuted can be happy. They may appear to lose all: it is not so. They gain the kingdom of heaven. All down the centuries there have been a peace and a joy about those who for the sake of conscience have been willing to face opposition and death, and never more than in the last hundred years. Jesus is, however, speaking not of persecution as such but, as verse 11 makes plain, of persecution because of him. It is moving and significant that the suffering church in lands where it is oppressed does not want to be like the church in the West. It looks for our prayers, not that it may have an easy time, but that it may be faithful unto death, and know the joy of utter faithfulness to Jesus. There is no joy like that."

Green, M. (2001). The message of Matthew: the kingdom of heaven (p. 91). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
May we all live with a greater joy for Christ, in the face of persecution like our brothers and sisters in countries that despise Christ and His church.

How True is the Bible?

In the December 1974 issue of Time magazine (p. 41), there is a cover story titled, “How True is the Bible?”  An excerpt from...