A Holy Nation #2

Tuesday, January 21, 2013

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

Atheists, Bible skeptics, and agnostics frequently ridicule the Bible because of the “cruel” God of its Old Testament, His strict laws and merciless chastisements. (Evidently, they seem to miss Old Testament passages such as Exodus 34:6,7: The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin….)

Once JEHOVAH delivered Israel from Egypt, He immediately gave the Jews a series of three tests. The Bible says, “He proved [tested, evaluated] them” (Exodus 15:25)—the bitter water He made potable for them. Again, “…That I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (Exodus 16:4)—the manna He gave them to eat. In chapter 17, He miraculously gave them water to drink. Still, they complained constantly, and Moses became increasingly irritated with them. Within those three chapters, the Bible makes reference to ungrateful Israel’s “murmuring” some ten times. And God heard every complaint those two million Jews made… and provided for them anyway!

Sinful Israel demonstrated that she could not follow God’s directions. The Jews doubted God’s provisions (they said they preferred returning to Egyptian bondage, according to Exodus 16:3!), and when He did provide for them, they disobeyed His instructions when collecting the manna (Exodus 16:16-20, but especially 25-28). They “tempted” (or, irreverently challenged) Him to see what He would do when they lacked potable water in Exodus 17:1-4.

After all this, about two or three months after deliverance from Egypt, in Exodus 19:5,6, God instructed Moses to tell Israel, “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” God is now offering to make Israel’s blessings contingent upon her performance.

Let us see what Israel will decide….

Shallow #1

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34 KJV).

If the professing “Church” is to impact our culture as the Lord Jesus Christ intended, then it had better recognize today’s Scripture as applicable to it!

Society, even here in our beloved “Christian” America, is becoming increasingly secular humanistic. Secular humanism is an outlook/worldview that boasts, “We humans are good enough to solve our problems, without God and His Word.” Secular humanists emphasize man and ignore God. There is no regard whatsoever for the Creator’s will: the only issue is what does mankind think is right, acceptable, and good. How did mankind ever get to such a pitiful condition? What would ever cause such a frail, short-lived creature—made of mere dirt!—to exalt himself to such a deified position?

Let us be clear about three points:

  1. CREATION: Man’s original spiritual and moral decay could have been avoided had he not willfully rejected his knowledge of God (just like the Christians referenced in today’s Scripture). We can, and later will, appeal to the Scriptures to see man’s spiritual and moral decline… less than a week after his creation!
  2. CIVILIZATION: The significant cultural transformation—the willful rejection of the knowledge of God—that we are witnessing today is nothing new (recall the Christians referenced in today’s Scripture). What is happening today in the United States and all nations is something that God has seen many times over. He is not surprised, and neither should the Bible student. We can, and later will, appeal to the Scriptures to see Israel’s spiritual and moral decline.
  3. CHURCH: The professing “Church” has repeatedly—and in many cases, deliberatelyrejected their knowledge of God (just like the Christians referenced in today’s Scripture). This is nothing new, either, as God has seen it many times over. He is not surprised, and neither should the Bible student. We can, and later will, appeal to the Scriptures to see the professing “Church’s” spiritual and moral decline.

The serious Bible student can recognize a pattern in the three above points, which we will now carefully dissect….

Where Was God? #1

Saturday, September 14, 2013

“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1 KJV).

One of the most common questions ever asked….

We in the United States of America recently marked the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the twelve years since those events, the question has been asked myriads upon myriads of times, “Where was God?” That is, “Why did He allow such a tragedy?” There were no miraculous interventions of God, no guardian angels to help the 3,000 souls who would perish on that awful day. The Bible teaches “God is love,” and yet the heavens were silent as the worst disaster in United States history occurred. Why?

One of the most basic teachings of Scripture is that the Lord Jesus Christ created man as a “free moral agent.” Simply put, man is not a robot. He is a creature who can willfully submit to his Creator’s will, or he can willfully reject it. Man can choose to obey the Lord, or he can choose to do something else. This is how much God loves freedom.

Luke 7:29,30 is one of the Bible’s clearest examples of free will: “And all the people that heard him [John the Baptist], and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” Some people accepted God’s will: they declared God “just” (right) by accepting John’s baptism as true. The rest rejected God’s will: they declared God a liar by denying the necessity of John’s baptism.

As free moral agents, we have been granted the responsibility of making our own choices and bearing the consequences (whether good or bad). Again, God will not make our decisions for us. In His Word, the Holy Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ has already declared what is right, good, acceptable, and perfect. Nevertheless, He does not force us to agree with Him. We can push Him out of our thoughts and do what we want in life, pretending as though He did not exist (Romans 1:18-32).

However, God is still there….

Peace of Mind in a World in Pieces

Thursday, August 15, 2013

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4 KJV).

Despite all of the weeping, sleepless nights, and despondency, there is hope in Jesus Christ!

With the recent passing of a Christian couple’s newborn baby, the sudden demise of a Christian brother and ministry fellow-laborer, and the death of my great aunt yesterday, I can assure you that the member of the Church the Body of Christ, although guaranteed a blissful eternity in the heavenly places, is not spared from pain and grief in this fallen creation. My, what horrific, constant suffering all around the world! In fact, this very reality is often used as an “argument” against God’s existence (but is likened unto the folly of, “I do not believe in the existence of law enforcement officers because of the widespread criminal behavior!”).

Dear saints, sin produces division, disruption, disease, despair, decay, and death. What we see today are merely the remnants of the original perfect creation, what is left of that paradise before God cursed it so Satan could not use it in all its glory for his own purposes (Genesis 3:14-19). As each day passes, this ruined creation comes closer and closer to the day when that “bondage of corruption” will be lifted, when paradise will be restored on earth and in heaven (Romans 8:18-25). Much needs to happen before that glorious day arrives, so we Christians must patiently remain here on earth until our program finishes.

As our Apostle Paul wrote in that awful Roman prison cell, “Rejoice in the Lord alway [in every instant]: and again I say, Rejoice” (today’s Scripture). We cannot rejoice because of our dire conditions, but we can rejoice in these difficulties. Right where we are, whether good or bad circumstances, we should rejoice in our identity in Jesus Christ, in who He is and who we are in Him, what He has done for us (saved us spiritually), and what He will do for us in the future (deliver us physically).

Remember, God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9,10) and we “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us]” (Philippians 4:13). 🙂

What’s the Bible Got to Do With Me? #6

Saturday, May 18, 2013

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8 KJV).

One frequent charge the lost world levels against Christians preaching and teaching the Holy Bible is, “That ‘old’ book has nothing to do with me!” Is this a valid objection?

What is the greatest confirmation that the Holy Bible is relevant to the 21st century? When we Christians walk by faith in God’s Word to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—the doctrine will show itself to be the greatest life ever lived. The lost world will not like to see it, but it will literally be the life of Jesus Christ for all to see! They will see the Holy Scriptures manifested in your life, and they will be forced to admit the Bible is relevant… otherwise, it would not be on display in your life.

We have briefly analyzed the “‘old’ Bible is irrelevant” objection from four angles—the historical, the scientific, the literary, and the practical—and we briefly demonstrated that it is nothing more than the lame claim of the sinner easing his conscience and avoiding accountability to a holy, righteous God.

The Bible (1) is often used by secular works as a source of world history, (2) it is a wealth of scientific concepts and facts the mainstream scientific community has only discovered within the last few centuries, (3) its literary value (phraseology, rhythm, terminology, wisdom, majestic style) is unparalleled, seeing as to over 5500 manuscripts support its New Testament and thousands of manuscripts form the foundation for its Old Testament, and (4) its doctrine is used by millions of Christians as the basis for their worldview and lifestyle.

In closing this devotionals arc, and considering what we have discussed, the Bible rejecter is now left in an unenviable position—he can ignore the testimony of all these, thereby allowing himself to keep his anti-Bible worldview, or he can set aside his foolish pride and finally put his trust in that Book that literally takes an eternity to fully grasp…. After all, “the word of our God shall stand for ever.” 🙂

What’s the Bible Got to Do With Me? #1

Monday, May 13, 2013

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8 KJV).

One frequent charge the lost world levels against Christians preaching and teaching the Holy Bible is, “That ‘old’ book has nothing to do with me!” Is this a valid objection?

Genesis 1:1, the Bible’s first complete thought, declares, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Most people cannot get past that first verse, so they struggle to believe the next 31,000. Genesis 1:1 is such a simple verse, and yet it is much too difficult for many to believe. As one dear brother in Christ said, “The Bible is not hard to understand, the Bible is hard to believe!” If one were to believe Genesis 1:1 as is, he or she would have no problem believing God exists, and that He created heaven and earth for an intelligent purpose. These two basic facts would then imply that divinely-ordained laws and principles are in place, a methodical system to accomplish that original purpose of creation. But, sin disrupts this clear-cut scenario….

To avoid accountability, to ease one’s conscience, to blame-shift, and so on, the unbeliever simply ignores the testimony of creation’s existence as confirmation of an intelligent Creator (atheism), and/or he or she pleads ignorance regarding any knowledge of a personal relationship with that Creator (agnosticism). Either way, they discount the Holy Bible (which says there is an intelligent Creator God whose name is the Lord Jesus Christ, who wants us to intimately know Him).

Romans 1:21 summarizes: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” When one recognizes the God of the Bible as the one and only true God, but fails to worship Him, he or she is unthankful toward that God. The only result is an empty imagination and a darkened, foolish heart. It really is that simple.

Now that we know why arguments against the Bible are raised, we can proceed to analyze the common “the Bible has nothing to do with me” assertion….