Bible Study

December 9, 2018

What I read today

Nehemiah 7; Job 33; Zephaniah 1; Acts 17; Revelation 1

The leaders of the status quo just didn’t get it.  Paul and Silas were shaking Thessalonica to its very core.  People were heading out of the church door.  Now driven mad by Jeoulosy the Synagogue leaders strike back.  They scream, “false prophet,”  they then turn and tell the Romans that they have a traitor in their mix.

They’ll do or say anything to prevent what’s happening.

But God won’t be stopped.

Heading out of town for their own safety Paul and Silas head to a small town north of Mt Olympus called Berea.

There the people listen to the message and diligently search the scriptures to determine if what Paul and Silas are saying could be true.  Many come to the faith.  But just like a bad penny, those who chased Paul and Silas out of Thessolinica turn up to stir the crowd and defend the status quo.

Change in the church has always been met with fear.  Allowing blacks into white churches caused a stir.  Allowing women into the pulpit and voting membership was met with anger and rage.  Reaching out to the unloveable creates fear and chaos for those not used to being with them.  When our traditions and structures become more important than spreading the grace of God we need to rethink our religion.  We need to do as the Bereans did and search the scriptures and study the man named Jesus to determine if we are really following his will.

Bible Study

December 8, 2018

What I read today

Nehemiah 6; Job 32; Habakkuk 3; Acts 16; Jude

Habakkuk 3 vs. 17-19, “Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.  God, the Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.”

No matter what, no matter how far, no matter where God is always there keeping his promises and watching over each one of us.

Bible Study

December 7, 2018

What I read today

Nehemiah 5; Job 31; Habakkuk 2; Acts 15; 3 John

In Acts 15 a dispute had risen up.  Jewish Christians had spread out into non-Jewish communities and were confusing believers.  They were adding their worship practices and other legalistic practices to the grace of God.  In essence, they were saying that if you didn’t follow the Jewish customs of circumcision and obedience to the law of Moses, you could not be saved.

It was Peter who stood up and squashed this teaching.  He states the simple facts.

“Why are you trying to impose the law of Moses when we ourselves can’t obey it?”  

These teachers continue to misunderstand that we can’t save ourselves through rituals, through tithing or any other work.  We can’t do it.  Chuck Swindoll recently said that if we are 99.5% in compliance with God’s law, then we are unworthy of salvation.  We have to be right 100% of the time to be saved by works.  That’s just not possible.

Peter then drops a bomb on them.

“On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

In other words, Jesus did the work because we weren’t able to.

Works are taught all over the place.  Church’s require tithing, payment for sins through indulgences, a particular type of baptism, loyalty to a single doctrine, total separation from other believers, the list goes on and on.

We continue to struggle with the idea that it’s not about what we did.  It’s about what Jesus did.  Amazing how 2000 years later we’re still struggling with the magnitude of what Jesus did on the cross.  Maybe that epic moment in history is so profound that our human minds struggle to wrap themselves around the unbelievable majesty of that sacrifice.

It’s not about us, it’s about Jesus.


Bible Study

December 6, 2018

What I read today

Nehemiah 4; Job 30; Habakkuk 1; Acts 14; 2 John

Handling adulation and praise are often more difficult than handling failure.  Success can quickly go to your head leading to pride and ultimately a hard fall.  In offices and job sites countless people walk around and take credit for every success whether or not they actually deserve credit.

In Acts 14 vs. 8-20 Paul comes across a man who had never been able to walk.  Paul was given the ability to heal people as a way of showing Jesus power over all things.  Paul knew it wasn’t a gift to be used to draw people to him.  It was a gift to be used to attract people to Jesus.  So he asks Jesus to heal the man, and he does.

Suddenly, the people try and worship Paul and Barnabus.

It happens in churches everywhere.  The worship is more about the man in the pulpit than it is about the man on the cross. I remember a church I attended when I was younger.  A pastor took a call to another congregation.  Before his leaving over 200 people a week packed into this little church.  After he left attendance dropped to 80 each week.

Where does your true worship lie?   Is it with the man on the cross or the man on the pulpit?

Bible Study

December 4, 2018

What I read today

Nehemiah 2; Job 28; Nahum 1; Acts 12; 1 John 4

1 John 4 verses 9-11 “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” NRSV

People don’t understand what the big deal is about this Jesus character that Christians worship.  They don’t get it, and some never will.

God could have chosen to wipe us out numerous times throughout history.  He didn’t.  Why didn’t he?  Why does he allow people to suffer?  Why does he let incredible evil exist?

God does it because in his Grace and Mercy he wants all people to be saved.  God wants to welcome each one of us into his heavenly kingdom at the conclusion of our lives.  He does it because in his infinite patience he’s waiting for each and every one of us to turn to his son.

Bible Study

December 3, 2018

What I read today

Nehemiah 1; Job 27; Micah 7; Acts 11; 1 John 3

One of my favorite Bible passages of all 1 John 3 vs. 1-3

“See what love the father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.  What we do know is this; when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.  And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”NRSV