Salvation Is Not Like Shongaloo

December 29, 2011 at 10:54 am | Posted in Salvation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Eternal salvation is a life-changing experience. It is dramatic. It is miraculous. It is a real, personal, one-on-one encounter with Jesus Christ the Lord, the Almighty Son of the Living God, the Prince of Glory, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10:9

Therefore, the statement, “I think I’m saved, but I’m not really sure,” is suspicious. Salvation results in a complete change in our ontology – the essence of who we are.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Ezekiel 36:26-27

The Lord Jesus compared the event of salvation to the physical birth of a baby.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3

Therefore, if the answer to the question, “When were you born again?” is, “I don’t really know, I’ve just always been ‘born again,’” there is again reason for suspicion. If someone is asked, “When were you born?” in the natural sense, his response is more likely to be, “October 14, 1980,” than, “I’ve always been born,” or, “I was born over a period of weeks while I read a book about humanity, and contemplated whether I wanted to be born.”

The Bible states that salvation results in a fundamental change in our attitude about sin.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

II Corinthians 5:17

Knowing this, if a person who claims to be saved never experiences conviction and repentance concerning sin in his or her life, there is cause for suspicion.

I grew up near a town in northwest Louisiana called Shongaloo. I once heard someone say that, when you drive through Shongaloo, if you blink you’ll miss it. Salvation is not dependent upon a “feeling,” because it is a factual event. It is not dependent upon behavior because we are saved by grace through faith, not of works. However, it is so magnificent that, if your belief is that it somehow happened to you and you missed it, then it is time for you to stop the speeding car of your life, open your eyes wide, stare deep into the Bible, and call upon the Lord with all sincerity to reveal to you the truth about yourself.

Going Belly-Up

December 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Romans | 2 Comments
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In his letter to the Romans the Holy Spirit had the Apostle Paul save his greetings for his friends and his notes of thanks for the end of the letter.

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

Romans 16:7-9

Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Romans 16:13

Note how the Apostle Paul not only knew his fellow-laborers by name, but he also knew their various accomplishments and things about them personally. It probably makes you feel important when your fellow-ministers at church remember your name, but it’s even better to be remembered for how you’re serving.

I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

Imagine the excitement of Tertius! There he was, taking dictation from the Apostle Paul who was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and all of a sudden he gets the chance to put his own little salutation in there! These words became part of the Living Word – to last and be known for all eternity! You and I will never be inspired to add to the Bible, but let me encourage you to listen closely in church. The Lord was speaking to the Apostle Paul, and Tertius was listening and diligently taking it all down, and suddenly the Holy Ghost was speaking directly to him.

These servants of God listed at the end of Chapter 16 have their names preserved for all time in God’s Word, along with the honor of having their character and integrity mentioned. By the same token there are others who were not worthy to have their names preserved in the Scriptures. Although they were also known for their character, they were known for having a bad character.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Romans 16:17-18 (emphasis added)

Some Bible versions say “watch out” instead of “mark,” but the idea of “watching out” is too general because we are talking about people who have shown their character. Once they have established what they are about, we are to place a mental label, or “mark,” on them. They cause divisions and offenses contrary to the Apostolic doctrine, but the Verse does not say to confront them every chance you get. It does not say to go around telling everyone every bad thing you can about them. It does not say to formulate a plot and plan to get rid of them. No, it says to avoid them. They are such that serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own “belly.” “Belly” is sometimes translated as “appetite,” but the fact is, we can’t always see someone’s “appetite.” Everyone can see a big ol’ belly sticking out. “Appetite” is too neutral. You could have an appetite for good things. But those who “serve their own belly” are guilty of more than just mistaken desire. They have a greedy desire to cause trouble: divisions and offenses. The bigger their bellies get, the greater their hunger is. They see a local church assembly as an all-you-can-eat buffet. They will fill up their bellies with strife, contention, and trouble until someone stops putting more food in front of them.

That’s one reason why it is so important to get acquainted intimately with the people you are ministering alongside at church.

And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

I Thessalonians 5:12

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

Titus 1:12 (emphasis added)

We have to be on the lookout for those who want to push a false doctrine through division and strife. The Bible says they will use good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of those who don’t know better, but by their bellies you will know them.

Marriage: The Long and the Short of It

December 21, 2011 at 11:25 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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There are a couple of old cliches’ when you hit a big anniversary milestone in your marriage. “I’ve been married for 20 years,” says the husband, groaning, “but it seems like a hundred.” Or, “We’ve been married for 20 years,” says the wife with a fake smile, checking over her shoulder to see who’s listening, “but it seems like just yesterday!”

I don’t want to be a spoilsport, but I don’t like either one of those cliches’. Twenty years ago today, God joined my wife and I together into one flesh in a marriage relationship. Aside from Jesus rescuing me from the penalty for my sins and saving my soul, it’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me. And the truth is, there are moments when 20 years seems like the blink of an eye, and there are moments when 20 years seems like 20 years.

My wife is the sweetest, most loyal, loving, holy, caring, compassionate, faithful, smartest, God-fearing, Christ-honoring, and beautiful wife in the world – and she’s only getting better every day! She’s a wonderful mother to our children, to boot!

So, while it’s true that the last 20 years do seem like they’ve gone by very fast, I am not going to minimize the blessings of 20 years of experiences and memories and trials and struggles and victories. 20 years is 20 years, to the glory of God. Jesus has blessed us in ways we didn’t expect. When we’ve been in trouble, He has rescued us. When we’ve been trapped, He has delivered us. When we’ve been hurting, He has comforted us. When we’ve rejoiced, He has rejoiced with us. When we’ve wavered and doubted, He’s been faithful and true. When we’ve been scared, He’s been our assurance and strength. When we’ve lost our way, He’s found us and brought us back. When we’ve drawn near to Him, He’s drawn nearer to us. When we have been confused, He’s been our wisdom. When we’ve been unloving and unlovely, He has loved us beyond measure. We give honor and praise and worship and thanks to His Holy Name.

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

Proverbs 5:18

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Ephesians 5:31-33

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

I Peter 3:7

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Mark 10:6-9

Salt or Scum?

December 19, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Ezekiel | 2 Comments
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God instructed Ezekiel to moan and groan like a man in pain.

Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.

Ezekiel 21:12

God would use Jerusalem’s enemies as His “sword.” They had made friends with, and, even worse, become the sinful lovers of, God’s enemies. God’s people had failed to use the “sword” He had given them to conquer their enemies: the sword of His Word. As a Christian you are supposed to battle His enemies with the Holy Scriptures.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Ephesians 6:17

Ezekiel delivered God’s warning to King Zedekiah:

I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

Ezekiel 21:27

Ezekiel Chapter 22 deals with the overthrow of Jerusalem, which would be particularly bad. The siege, hunger, and pestilence would give way to outright slaughter, matching the wickedness that took place when the idol-worhipping Jewish people began to bring their outside sins into their own homes.

Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness. In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution. And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour’s wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father’s daughter.

Ezekiel 22:8-11

This wickedness mirrors the times in which we live, and sounds like a description of an afternoon talk show or a supermarket tabloid. Like in the days of Noah, God sees that every imagination of the thoughts of men’s hearts is only evil continually.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

II Timothy 3:1-3

Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Ezekiel 22:27-30

The political leaders were corrupt, and they were engaged in wicked cooperation with the religious leaders and false prophets. Ezekiel had attempted, as a son of man, to find a man to make up the hedge and stand in the gap – to fill the hole in the wall that Ezekiel had dug to act out the fleeing king and leaders. But these corrupt leaders were too anxious to dig the hole and escape through it – to escape with their stuff. There were other prophets who were willing, but the fact that God had to seek them out meant there were not enough of them or their sins were so great that Jerusalem could not be spared.

In Chapter 23 God gives Ezekiel the parable of the two sisters who prostituted themselves and committed adultery against God. This is a particularly explicit passage of Scripture and one that is tough to exposit in mixed company. Verses 25-30 describe the punishment and humiliation of a prostitute by an army, including the cutting-off of the ears and nose. When God begins to describe the types of sins that are a sign of terrible judgment coming, and He uses the term covenant-breakers, remember this is a very serious term. Those who have entered into a covenant with God, and then break it, are like a wife who has become a whore or an adulteress, and they are subject to severe punishment.

Aholah is the name of the older sister in the parable, and is used for Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel. Aholibah is the younger sister who represents Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom, Judah. Aholah means “her tent” because the tent associated with the tabernacle in Samaria was not God’s tent. Aholibah means “my tent is in her” because the temple in Judah was still known as God’s dwelling place, even though the glory of God had departed as shown in Chapter 10 of Ezekiel. Aholah sinned first and cheated on God, and Aholibah followed her example. God punished Israel and miraculously saved Judah. However, Judah’s sin was even greater because she ignored the warning. She called out to her lovers instead.

In Chapter 24 God told Ezekiel to utter another parable – the parable of the boiling pot. The imagery goes back to Chapter 11 where the people in Jerusalem considered themselves to be the choice cuts and considered the exiled Jews in Babylon to be the scraps. The false prophets, politicians, and religious leaders accused people of being unpatriotic if they didn’t build houses, spend money, and pile up their “stuff.” There is an old saying that “a watched pot never boils,” but God is always watching.

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great. Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned. Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed. She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall be in the fire. In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.

Ezekiel 24:9-13 (emphasis added)

God’s people are supposed to be the salt of the earth, but instead they were the scum of the earth.

Light Is Stronger than Darkness

December 16, 2011 at 11:38 am | Posted in Biblical Light | 3 Comments
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When we find ourselves in darkness, and that darkness is scary, inconvenient, depressing, frustrating, or confusing, our minds turn immediately to a simple solution: Turn on the light.
The world in which we live, spiritually speaking, is often dark, disturbing, and dismaying. Therefore, it is crucial that we have a dependable source of light. Jesus says:

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

John 12:46

It is difficult to make a room totally dark. Even with the lights all turned off and the windows covered, one little ray of light shining from under a door will soon begin to illuminate the darkness. A tiny spark will, if only briefly, totally defeat the darkest dungeon. The same is true with Christ. His light is stronger than all the powers of darkness.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 4:6

Finally Finishing Five Hundred

December 14, 2011 at 11:30 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration | 2 Comments
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This is the 500th post on this blog. Managing enough consistency to accomplish this insignificant little feat probably shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath with the famous missionary, William Carey, and some of the great things God used him to accomplish for the the Kingdom of Christ, but I am reminded of this particular Carey quote: “I can plod. I can persevere to any definite pursuit.”

I don’t know if “plodding” is considered to be a spiritual gift, such as the gifts of mercy, giving, evangelism, administration, and the like, but, if it is, then maybe that is my one spiritual gift. I have managed, by God’s grace, and by His power, and hopefully to His glory, to plod my way through 500 blog posts. Hopefully He will allow me to continue. I give Him all honor, credit, and praise, in the Name of His holy Son, Jesus, for allowing me to be a steward of what I consider to be His blog, The Deep End. For anything good or encouraging or helpful that has come of it, all glory must go to Him alone.

I say a special “thank you” to everyone who has stopped by to read a post from time to time, leave a comment, or to click a “share” or a “like.” Thank you especially to those of you who subscribe and/or read regularly.

One time, when I was in elementary school, one of my teachers explained to us what “alliteration” meant by using the example of former Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew. Apparently, he was prone to using strange little phrases of words that all started with the same letter. Referring to the media as “nattering nabobs of negativism” was the one my teacher used as an illustration, and for some reason, that phrase has always stuck in my head. When I am preparing to teach Bible lessons there are times when I am apt to attempt an alarming amount of alliteration. The purpose is that I find it to be a helpful mnemonic device which hopefully doesn’t make me seem like I’m trying to be too “clever” while I’m engaged in the serious business of Bible-teaching.

In honor of the occasion, I’m posting the links to the category, “A Little Alliteration,” for your reading pleasure, or as a cure for your insomnia – you decide:

1. Wholly Holy
2. Noisy Neighbors
3. Acts and the Apostles: Activated, Authorized, Audible, and Accountable
4. Friends or Foes?
5. Panicked Pressing

6. Naming Neighbors
7. From Power to Proclamation to Prayer
8. Pouting Pastoral Pathetic Pity Party Permanently Postponed
9. From Frequent Formal Faithful Following, Flows Full Foundational Fellowship
10. Preaching, Pressing, and Pushing On
11. Insincerity, Inaccuracy, or Incompletion?
12. Porcine Predilection Predates Powerful Prevailing Pardon, Prompting Personal Purity
13. Falling, Flooding, and Facing Facts
14. Lord, Leader, and Ladder
15. Comparisons, Calculations, and Christophany
16. Beware of Fabrics, Frolicking, and Friends
17. Rehearsing Repetitive Roman Reigns Really Recognizes Right Reckoning
18. Bold Mouths, Beautiful Fee, and Blindfolded Eyes (*)
19. Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 1
20. Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 2
21. Sacrificially Submitting Surrendered Sanctified Service
22. Doubtful Disputations Deter Doxological Demonstrations Displaying Desired Decorum
23. Leavnless Lump
24. Heaping Helpings of Holy Hatred? Or Refusing Revenge for the Right Reasons?
25. Saved, Sure, and Serving? Or Suspicious, Sedentary, and Slothful?
26. Preaching and Praying in Prosperity and Predicaments
27. Fresh, Frail, or Fruitful?
28. Prayer, Protection, Praise, and Posture
29. Indulgent, Incompetent, or Industrious?
30. Quick Quiz Quietens Questioning Qualms
31. Inhabiting and Investigating Your Marriage
32. Influence, Intercession, and Inheritance in Marriage
33. Delaying Dutifully During Deliverance
34. Scorn, Schemes, Scoundrels, Schizophrenics, and Scares
35. Learning, Loving, and Living the Word
36. Condemning the Princes, Prophets, and Priests
37. Clear Calls for Christians: Pure Upgrade
38. Clear Calls for Christians: Proper Unity
39. Clear Calls for Christians: Point Upward
40. Omniscience, Obstacles, Opportunities, and Overruling Oversight
41. Properly Promoting the Principle of Personal Property
42. Purity, Prayer, and Possessions 
43. Corrupt Curving off Course (Exodus 32:7-9)
44. The Meaning, Majesty, Ministry, and Maintenance of the Mediator (Hebrews 8)
45. Decrees on Discipline and Divorce (Matthew 18-19)
46. Unveiled Glory and Unguarded Giving (Exodus 34; II Corinthians 3)
47. Don’t be an Abusive, Angry, Absent, or Addicted Parent
48. The Problem with Popular Parenting (Genesis 21:1-11; Ephesians 6)
49. The Problem with Pecuniary Parenting 
50. The Problem with Petulant Parenting 
51. The Propriety of Paragonal Parenting 
52. No More Wondering, Working, and Waiting 
53. Forgiveness, Fulfillment, and Freedom (Mark 2-3)
54. Ministers Must be Managers (I Corinthians 4:1-5)
55. Ministers Must be Meek (I Corinthians 4:6-13)
56. Ministers Must be Mild (I Corinthians 4:14-21
57. Wise Watering (I Corinthians 3:5-6)
58. Winsome Weeding (Matthew 13:7-10)
59. Wary Watching (Luke 12:35-40)
60. Willful Waiting (Lamentations 3:25-26)
61. Disciples, Defilement, and Division (Mark 7)
62. Doubting Disciples Duped by Demonic Distractions (Mark 8:27-36)
63. A Pair of Paradoxes (Mark 10)

* most-read post in series

The POV of Marriage

December 12, 2011 at 10:57 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, Mark | 9 Comments
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It will be extremely helpful in our marriages to be very familiar with the very first marriage. The very first marriage is found in Genesis 2, and part of understanding it fully is understanding from whose point of view the events are being described.

This is from God’s point of view:

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Genesis 2:18

The next Verse is also from God’s point of view:

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

Genesis 2:19

Verse 20 is Adam’s point of view, but we know that it matches God’s point of view because of Verse 18.

And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

Genesis 2:20

Verse 21 is back to God’s point of view:

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

Genesis 2:21

The same with the next Verse:

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Genesis 2:22

Now back to Adam’s point of view:

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Genesis 2:23

When we determine whose point of view we are getting in Verse 24, it will help us to see that we are getting that same point of view in the very strange Verse 25:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:24-25 (emphasis on v. 25)

Remember, marriage was invented by God. Marriage is also an illustration designed by God. It is an illustration of Christ and the Church: Christ is the Bridegroom; the Church is His Bride. At a wedding, God is not visibly present. However, He is there presiding, holding the bride and groom to their vows, and doing the joining together into “one flesh.” In the reality which marriage illustrates, He is, in a sense, operating in the same way.

And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Mark 10:2-9

Jesus taught that Genesis 2:25 was from God’s point of view. Knowing this, we realize that, when there is a marriage, God (not the wife, not the husband, not the officiator, not the parents of the spouses) is the main Actor. God is the One doing the joining together into one flesh. God did not create marriage and then decide that He would fashion the sacrificial atoning death of His Son so that it would look like marriage. No, He designed marriage for the express purpose of making a picture – an illustrated sermon – of His Son the Bridegroom winning a Bride through sacrificial love and joining her to Himself in one Spirit. The Lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8) What I’m trying to show is that when we read Genesis 2:24 and realize that God was already sending grace to His redeemed in advance of the Fall, then we can understand why Genesis Chapter 2 ends with the strange words: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

From this we can also know at least two things definitively about God’s perfectly designed first marriage:

1. The husband and wife were naked.

2. They were unashamed.

Why was there no shame in their nakedness? Because they themselves were innocent. God had made them that way, and everything God made was good before the Fall. This means that their bodies were objectively beautiful. It also means that their bodies were glorious and expressed something about God in their design and function and how pleasing they were to the touch, sight, smell, and even taste. The innocence and the “goodness” of Adam’s and Eve’s condition was lost when they sinned, but next time we will see how that condition can be regained.

What Are You Hungry For?

December 9, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 5 Comments
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Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

Jeremiah 15:16

I enjoy eating. I like the taste of delicious food in my mouth. I like the act of tasting and chewing and swallowing. I like the feeling of satisfaction that comes with hunger being quenched. But the real benefit of eating is what happens to the food after I consume it. It goes down to the innermost parts of me. It gives me strength and energy and helps to keep me healthy. When I was younger it even helped me to grow.

How is the Bible like food? Like eating, Bible reading is something that can be observed externally, but the real benefits of it happen on the inside – when what we read goes down into our innermost parts. The nutrients in the food we eat actually become a part of who we are. In the same way, earnest and diligent Bible study causes God’s Word to become a part of who you are.

Whether you enjoy the food you eat usually depends on two factors:

1. How hungry are you? People that think they already have all the answers typically do not enjoy reading the Bible all that much. Those who realize they need help from Someone wiser than themselves have a hunger for God’s Word.

2. How does it taste? Some food tastes good, so obviously it is enjoyable to eat. Some food tastes bad, but it’s still good for you. There are passages of Scripture containing comforting promises from the Lord that can be downright delicious. We savor them and read them over and over again. There are some passages that taste like your most-hated vegetable casserole or a bottle of liquid antibiotics because they speak directly to your sin and they tell you the unpleasant truth about yourself. The “enjoyment” in these types of Verses derives from their ultimate benefits, not their current “taste.”

Just as food can satisfy physical hunger, Bible-reading can bring great joy. Just as food gives you energy, the Holy Scriptures motivate us to service. Proper nutrition keeps us physically healthy; Bible study helps keep us spiritually healthy. Food makes children grow. The Bible helps God’s children (along with the “spiritual exercise” of ministry) to grow into spiritual maturity. It is good for a Christian to “fast” once in a while by abstaining from physical food in order to concentrate on prayer and devotion to God, but we need to make sure that we are sitting down each and every day to balanced meal of Biblical promises, encouragements, exhortations, rebukes, instructions, admonitions, and commands.

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Luke 4:4

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Psalm 34:8

Acts

December 7, 2011 at 9:53 am | Posted in Acts | Leave a comment
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The Books of Acts records the organization and spreading of the Christian Church at its beginnings. Many of the things we do today in church – evangelism, preaching, praying, singing, fellowshipping, sharing meals, ministering to the needy, missions and missionary support – are patterned on the way things were done by the early Church in the 1st Century. Acts is an invaluable resource for Christians today. Below are links to lessons which feature some of the highlights from the Book of Acts:

1. Powerful Changes
2. The Power of the Resurrection and of the Holy Ghost 
3. Praying in Between
4. In One Place in One Accord
5. Unction in Church
6. For the Ladies…
7. Acts and the Apostles: Activated, Authorized, Audible, and Accountable
8. From Power to Proclamation to Prayer *
9. God’s Decretive Will
10. The Blessing and the Cost of an Honest Report
11. Beware the Fear that Falls
12. Exposing the Enemy and Going Forth with the Truth
13. Changing Names and Calling Names
14. Catechism Question 18
15. Testing Your Testimony

16. Preaching, Pressing, and Pushing On
17. The Life of a Missionary: Having a Fit, Making a Tough Choice, and Singing in Jail
18. The Most Important Question in Life
19. Don’t Get Caught Up the Creek Without Your Oars
20. Varied Results
21. Time Is Running Out
22. Insincerity, Inaccuracy, or Incompletion?
23. Promoted with Straight “A”s
24. The Man Who Fell out of Church (Narrative)
25. The Man Who Fell out of Church (Application)
26. Conscious of the Conscience
27. Innocent Bystanders
28. The More You See, the Better You Look
29. The Backstroke

30. When in Rome, Preach to the Romans

*most read post in series

Saved, Sure, and Serving? Or Suspicious, Sedentary, and Slothful?

December 5, 2011 at 10:52 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Romans, Uncategorized | 14 Comments
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Wife: What are you doing today?
Husband: Nothing.
Wife: That’s what you did yesterday.
Husband: I didn’t finish.

Regardless of whether this type of exchange makes you chuckle, or hits a little too close to home to be funny, one thing is sure: As Christians, we need to stay busy.

Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Romans 12:11

“Slothful” is a word that describes exceedingly slow movement due to laziness. There is even an animal named the sloth, which is known for its slowness of movement.

https://swimthedeepend.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/slothsleepinginatree.jpg?w=300

A sloth may spend a whole day hanging from a tree branch in the Brazilian rain forest, and only move a few millimeters.

If you are a Christian, one of the main reasons that God did not bring you to Heaven the moment you were saved is because He had some good works, some great opportunities, and some specific tasks which He wanted you to accomplish both for the good of others and yourself, and for His glory. Christians, in other words, must be about our Lord’s “business,” and we must not be slothful in doing it. Our attitude ought to be one of fervency in spirit: an impassioned enthusiasm that gives us joy in serving the Lord.

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