Archive | January, 2012

Verse for Today – Philippians 4:8 (click to read mini-blog)

31 Jan

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

 Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of Philippians 4

The Apostle Paul is beginning to conclude the epistle to the Philippians.  In our passage he gives a number of exhortations urging his readers to do the very things that would secure their temporal and eternal happiness.  Sin and sinful desires are pesky things.   They entice and mislead, and always the deliver the same results.  And yet… we find ourselves often sympathetic to their thoughts and desires.  What accounts for this?  Simply stated: the old man of sin… our inherent weakness… our flesh.

In another place the Apostle Paul states it as plainly as this:  Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”  If this doesn’t match your experience, you are probably not pursuing the things of God as you should.
The Apostle Paul continues his exhortation with a wonderful promise:
9 “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”

Verse for Today – John 4:24 (click to read mini-blog)

28 Jan

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

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Read all of John 4


As Jesus is talking to the Samaritan woman in John 4, He speaks about the nature of God and the nature of true worship.  God does not have a body like us.  God is spirit.  In another place we’re told Christ as the second Adam became a Life-giving Spirit (I Corinthians 15:45).   The mutual identification of God the Father and God the Son is clear.
The nature of true worship is equally profound.  Those who would worship the truth God, must worship Him in an acceptable manner.  There are right and wrong ways to worship.  From Jesus broader teaching ministry we learn that God is not impressed with self-righteousness and/or ritualistic worship.  Those who draw near to God must do so with humility or meekness… and Godly fear… they must also do so with a diligent true or genuine faith.  Here are a couple verses that speak of this pretty directly:

I Peter 5:Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Hebrews 11:But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.


Verse for Today – Matthew 7:12 (click to read mini-blog)

26 Jan

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

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Read all of Matthew 7

I mentioned the other day that this verse, which we frequently call the Golden Rule, is in a sense, a summary of the Summary (of the law) of the Summary (the Ten Commandments).   There are hundreds if commands in first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch)… according to some rabbi’s count over 600.  The Ten Commandments are a distillation of God’s revealed will… most all of the other 600+ commands can be arranged under the primary Ten Commandments.

The Summary of the Law, is stated by Christ in the New Testament, but he actually is quoting from Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 6.  

“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40
In today’s verse Jesus states all this even more plainly.   If you ever want to know how you should treat others or whether you should do, pass your decision through this filter and the way will be clear.  Would you want others to do this unto you?  “FOR THIS SUMS UP THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.”

Verse for Today – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (click to read mini-blog)

19 Jan

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

 Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of 1 Corinthians 10

This verse doesn’t so much solve our problems with trials and temptations as it does help to mollify them.   The Apostle Paul exhorts us to remember that everyone has  trials and troubles and what we’re going through isn’t terribly different from what others have gone or are going through.   

He directs us to look away from ourselves and to look to the Lord… to remember that “God is faithful.”  He will support and sustain us no matter what.   The “way out” may be a last minute escape, or it may be the strength needed to endure.
Life can be hard.  Sometimes this “hardness” is used to test and prove our faith… to see whether we’re really trusting and hoping in God or something else.   

Best to you all.  


Verse for Today – 1 John 4:20-21 (click to read mini-blog)

18 Jan

 

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

 

 Read at Bible Gateway

 

Read all of 1 John 4

 

 Today’s verse is one of those gut-check verses that is hard to ignore.  You see the Scriptures are described as being “living and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) and in another place,  “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable…” (II Timothy 3:16). 

 


 

Well, as were read a passage like I John 4:20-21, it reveals what’s in our hearts.  The Word of God is applied by the Spirit of God to the individuals who read and hear it.  Of course, for those who might have a deep and sincere hatred for someone or anyone really, this verse might be a discouragement.  However, the intent is not to discourage but foster transformation… change.   

 


 

What should we do?  How do we get past such thoughts?  Certainly, we need God’s help (grace).  Even with it, it will take earnest effort on our part.  The key is doing the things that we can.  I’m convinced that actions and feelings are connected (part of the same circle if you will)… and that “actions” are best in the driver’s seat.  In time right feelings will follow right actions.  Do what you know is right.  Treat others (even those under your skin) with kindness and respect and if nothing else YOU will begin to feel better.  🙂 


Verse for Today – 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (click to read mini-blog)

14 Jan

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

 Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of 2 Corinthians 5

In these verses the Apostle Paul is emphasizing the centrality of God in providing salvation.  How much more clearly could he state it?  “All this is from God.” He is the one that provided His Son as our Savior. And Jesus would be true to His name, “For He would save his people from their sin” (Matthew 1:21).  

These truths become the basis for what the apostle says next.  God does it all, but He administers His grace through the ministry of Gospel preaching… “the message of reconciliation.”  Ambassadors represent those who send them.  They don’t have authority beyond their charged responsibility.  In the case of Christian ministers, they plead the Gospel message on behalf of God and Christ.  They are exhorted to exhort you: 

“BE RECONCILED TO GOD!”
(If you haven’t already, know that your present and future happiness depend on it.)





Verse for Today – Galatians 3:26-28 (click to read mini-blog)

13 Jan

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of Galatians 3

These verses are found in the middle of the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the churches or Christians in the region of Galatia (central modern day Turkey).  As a whole the epistle addresses the fact that some had tried to unite the free grace of God in Christ to the requirement of formal religious acts of obedience to the law.  In today’s verses we’re actually reading the conclusion to his argument that no one was ever saved by keeping the law or acts of religious service.  

All who will be saved are saved by the promise of God’s grace in Christ whereby they find acceptance in and through His completed work on the cross.  We’re saved by grace not works; by adoption not merit.  This is stated succinctly in verse 24: “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”  

The Galatian churches were composed of both Gentile believers and Jewish converts.  This makes his statement almost remarkable.  He says that those who “were baptized” have become sons of God through faith in Christ…. such that the former distinctions (Jew, Greek, male, female, bond, free) are overshadowed by their greater unity in the Gospel of God’s Grace. 

If you’re a genuine believer, you are in Christ; AND if you are in Christ then you the true offspring of God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:4), as the last verse of the chapter concludes:

29 “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”