For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. -1 Corinthians 2:2 NKJV
So many doctrines and opinions are used to separate brothers and sisters in Christ. Not only is the work of advancing the kingdom left undone, but Satan’s work is often accomplished in the process. How much more simple to preach the message of salvation given to us by our LORD through His death and resurrection. Keep it simple. Share the gospel. It must begin with that before there is any point of discussing other doctrine (important though it may be).
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. -John 15:7 NASB1995
A favorite of the “word of faith crowd,” but let’s take a closer look at what the Bible is actually teaching here. The key is in the first words: “if you abide in Me.” If we abide in Him, our heart’s desire should be harmonious with His. I somehow doubt that our LORD cares whether we acquire private jets, big homes, expensive jewelry, etc. In fact, I think He might well tell us to sell it all and follow Him.
Where have I heard that before? Oh yes, the words of Jesus Himself: Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” –Matthew 19:21 NASB1995
Recently on Facebook, members of one the groups I’m belong to have been talking about the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible. As a result, I pulled my copy off the shelf and began rediscovering this wonderful Bible that is so rich in resources. In case you haven’t guessed, I wholeheartedly recommend the Life Application Study Bible — in any of the available translations.
“It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” –Genesis 3:3-5 NLT
Today I read about Satan’s plan against us. This plan involves sewing doubt (makes you question His word), discouragement (making you look at your problems instead of God), diversion (makes the wrong things seem attractive so you want them more than the right things), defeat (if you feel like a failure, you won’t even try) and delay (put off doing things so they never get done). You may find this segment in the third chapter of Genesis in the Life Application Study Bible — at least the second and third editions.
Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” –Genesis 3:13 NLT
Satan has a way of making the wrong thing seem right. Eve was so taken in by what she thought she wanted that, once doubt about God’s words to her crept in, she robbed herself of the life God had in mind for her and the whole human race. Remember what Jesus said about Satan:
For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. –John 8:44 NLT
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1 ESV
These are troubling times, of that there is no doubt. But, couldn’t the same be said of any time in which people have lived? Were not the times that the Apostle Paul lived under a brutal, sadistic dictator troubling? What of the evil slaughter of millions by Adolf Hitler? History is replete with troubling times. Now, enter a new villain to the world stage.
For many of us, the tyrant that threatens life as we know it comes not in the from of a person or group of people, but a tiny virus that has spread across the world. This has caused death and sickness in many forms from the soul outward. People rush to get vaccines (that are not as effective as we had hoped) in an effort to feel safe, only to be left with the same restrictions and fears they had before.
This is not to say that the vaccines don’t help by lessening symptoms and shortening the time it takes to recover. I will take that on face value until proven otherwise. (As a matter of full disclosure, I am fully vaccinated myself on the advice of my doctor). I will not inject politics into this, either. But I would remind people that the real sense of peace and security comes from Christ and not a laboratory.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:7 ESV
We very often take things for granted when they are in abundant supply. Sometimes it takes a sudden, drastic change of circumstances to see the value of what we might think we are entitled to.
While such changes can be often painful and frightening, for a child of God they can be beneficial if they cause in us a renewed sense of dependence on our Creator. The Bible is replete with verses to support this position. Take, for instance, Psalm 119:71: My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. (Psalms 119:71 NLT)
My personal and recent experience with this began on December 17 when I found myself on the way to a large hospital from a smaller one in an attempt to save my life from a serious heart attack. How long had doctors warned me about unmanaged diabetes and the damage it would (not could) do to my heart? Answer: a long time. A cardiac catheterization with placement of two stents, combined with several days in the ICU and main hospital, gave me some time to reflect on [and come to terms with] my need for sincere gratitude to my Sovereign Creator. He saved me when many people would have died from something as severe as I suffered. I know He has His reasons. May I do my part to carry out His will for me as I move forward from here.
Where do I go from here? Where He leads. My outcome is uncertain, but only from my perspective and strictly physically speaking
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. (Psalms 34:19 NLT) On face value, one can say that this speaks of certainty. What is uncertain is when and in what manner the Lord chooses to rescue us. Sometimes, my plans are not His! The goal is for me to align my will with His.
Hoping you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year in service to the LORD!
I wrote this on the last day of my sojourn in Hartford Hospital (Christmas Eve):
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” – Luke 2:14 ESV
Jesus, our Prince of peace, offers a peace unparalleled in human history -not something temporary or contingent on special conditions that are constantly changing or impossible to meet.
Recovering from a serious heart attack that almost cost me my life has been an obviously stressful thing. A week in the hospital can give anybody cause to reflect on their life, thereby doing the “would have, could have” routine and coming up short.
Being here in the cardiac care unit, hoping to be released today on Christmas Eve has opened my eyes to the precious nature of Christmas more than ever.
Hebrews 3:13 TLB: Speak to each other about these things every day while there is still time so that none of you will become hardened against God, being blinded by the glamor of sin.
Too often, people regard sinful lifestyles as the way to achieve tangible results that bring some sort of satisfaction. What I have always found in my life is that such “rewards” are short-lived and leave one wanting. I have also found that the things of God are satisfying – both now and forever.
I recently suffered a major heart attack and am recovering, thanks to the efforts of all the medical professionals God has put in my life to steer me back to health. As I have been reminded of numerous times, many who suffer my cardiac malady do not survive. I was supposed to die, if I follow statistics.
Interestingly, the Bible already gave me the diagnosis of death way back in Genesis when the fall of mankind occurred. Christ, on the other hand, has given me life that transcends death (Isaiah 25:8; 2 Timothy 1:10).
The eternity He has put in my heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11) is realized in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. For that I am eternally grateful.