A One-Question Quiz for Boys

April 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Psalm 119:9

It’s one of the greatest Q&As of all time, packed into one clear and vital verse.

Q. How will a young man clean up his act and live right?
A. By purposefully and vigilantly moving through life with the Bible as his guide.

The psalmist asks and then answers his own question without hesitation, but are you and I convinced of this solution? I hope we are, because a wrong response has dire consequences: Psalm 34:16; Ephesians 5:3-6.

We sometimes use the colloquialism, “young men,” when we refer to boys – even those who are fairly far from the age (or maturity) of true manhood, and Bible does the same thing here, translating it from the Hebrew na’ar. Boys do not come into this world with clean hearts, and they do not start their journeys through life on clean paths. No, they start off with dirty, sinful, corrupt, and foolish hearts, bent toward heeding the world’s beckoning call to travel down its own dark, dangerous, deceitful, and disobedient alleys. Thus, the question in the first part of the verse presupposes that a young man’s “way” has need of purification (cleansing).

Thankfully, the Lord God Who reigns over this sin-sick world has provided a ready-made and easily-obtainable means for such cleansing. This antidote is not, however, a one-time vaccination or smoothly coated pill, quickly ingested and then forgotten. No, it is a remedy that requires young men to “take heed” – to look and listen carefully.

The Word of God is to be kept ever before their eyes. It is to be ingested through reading, and through attendance on teaching and preaching by trained and ordained men of God. Its principles and precepts are to be applied thoughtfully and rigorously as sign posts, warning lights, fuel for the journey, and dutiful directions at every twist and turn, every high-speed straightaway, and every providential detour along life’s course.

Bible Verses Don’t Always Feel Good

October 1, 2015 at 11:44 am | Posted in Q&A, Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | Leave a comment
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Question: Why would you throw Bible verses at gay people? It doesn’t feel good to be accused of something you can’t help. You need to research how many “ex-gay Christians” struggled to be heterosexual, but then returned to a gay lifestyle because that’s who they really are.

Response: If you want to state that the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual practices must be wrong because some professing Christians are hypocritical, or because it just doesn’t feel good to hear the Bible verses that you don’t happen to like “thrown at you,” then I would like to point out that such an opinion makes no logical sense. The existence of hypocritical professing Christians doesn’t change the truthfulness of the Bible any more than the hypocrisy of some gay people changes the fact that gay people do exist. And as far as our “feelings” being the barometer for truth, think about it this way: It never “feels right” to your toddler when you tell her that she can’t have as much candy as she wants, but, let’s face it, the occasional denial of candy-all-the-time is good – objectively good – for a toddler, despite her strong feelings. In other words, nobody likes being told what to do when we are told we can’t have something we want really badly, or when it’s something we feel like we have to do, or something that we think we were born to do. We live in a culture deeply affected by what is known as “postmodernism” and it has become very common for people to horribly confuse “preferences” with “truth.” However, there is such a thing as absolute truth. If you love someone who is in danger, you warn him or her of the danger. If you don’t really care for the person, you just let him do what he wants, or, worse, encourage and celebrate his “right” to do it.

Catechism Question 10

August 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 5 Comments
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Question 10: Who is the Author of the Bible?
Answer: God the Holy Spirit is the Author of the Bible.
Prove it.

All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

II Timothy 3:16

The Bible self-attests to its own truthfulness and reliability, which is not surprising, considering it is the Word of God. However, there are other ways to demonstrate its veracity, including its internal consistency, its fulfilled prophecies, its life-transforming power, its extant manuscripts, and, most importantly, the fact that the Lord Jesus Himself – God incarnate – taught that it is the Word of God.

To have God’s Word in our hands makes it imperative that we have it also saturating our minds, and hidden in our hearts. It is likewise imperative that we live according to its principles, precepts, and explicit commands.

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Isaiah 8:20

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:17

God’s Revelation of Himself

February 27, 2012 at 10:27 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 7 Comments
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Psalm 19 is considered to be a “wisdom” Psalm. Wisdom Psalms generally do two things:

1. They promote God’s Word, and pronounce blessings on those who study it and practice it.
2. They deal with theodicy.

Theodicy is normally phrased like this: If God is all powerful (omnipotent) and all good (omnibenevolent), then how can there be evil in the world? However, we know from the Bible that this is not the correct question. The real question of theodicy is this: Since God is all powerful and God is all good, why does He bless any of us wicked folks with any good at all?

Psalm 19 focuses on God’s revelation of Himself in this world. Did man discover God? Or did God reveal Himself to man? Here are some examples of how God has revealed Himself to man:

1. The Cross of Jesus Christ. (This revelation appears further down the list in most systems of theology, but it is my personal preference for No. 1.)
2. His acts of creation.
3. His “natural” laws (consistency and beauty in the material world, which we can identify in the studies of areas like physics, chemistry, and mathematics).
4. Miracles (acts whereby God bends His Own “natural” laws in order to demonstrate His Ownership and power over His creation).
5. The Bible
6. Internal moral law
a. People inherently know there is a right and a wrong.
b. People find themselves unable to consistently do what is right in their own power.

The first six Verses in Psalm 19 deal with God’s revelation of Himself in what we see outside of ourselves.

[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.] The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

Psalm 19:1-2

The ungodly see the majesty of nature and worship the creaTION. Godly people see the majesty of nature and worship the CreaTOR.

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Psalm 19:4

The word translated as “line” contains the idea of a “sound” or “influence.” It is reiterated in the New Testament:

But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Romans 10:18 (emphasis added)

David was excited just to see the sun coming up each day. To him that was a bigger deal than how his favorite contestant would perform on Israelite Idol that night. How excited are you about the wonder and majesty of God’s creation?

Verses 7-11 in Psalm 19 deal with God’s revelation of Himself in Words (the Bible). God didn’t create the physical universe and then develop words later on; He created everything that has been created by His Word.

Note some of the names and functions of God’s Word:

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 19:7 (emphasis added)

God made the “law” to be our teacher. The “testimony” is God’s explanation of Himself.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Psalm 19:8 (emphasis added)

God’s “commandments” are His orders, and they are beyond question. They are “pure,” and they help us see where to go when the path looks dark to us.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

Psalm 19:9 (emphasis added)

Worldly fears are polluted and unclean; the “fear of the Lord” is a “clean” fear.

“Judgments” describe how God deals with men: rewards, punishment, chastisement, rebuke, etc.

For a Christian the Word of God is more important than food.

Things New and Old

October 12, 2011 at 11:49 am | Posted in Biblical Teaching, Matthew | 6 Comments
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Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

Matthew 13:51-52

I have read this passage of Scripture so many times, but it still surprises me that the disciples could say “yes” when Jesus asked them if they had understood everything He said. Over 2000 years later we are still studying, but that’s the job of a Bible teacher – to be instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven – to learn from the Bible and to bring out of it treasures both new and old.

We are supposed to be reinforcing the great truths that have been taught since the beginning, but every time they are taught, these “old” truths are new to someone.

Furthermore, we are teaching new and old truths to new and old students. Some Christians are “new” as to their age, and some are “old” in years. Some are “new” to the Christian faith, and some have been Christians for many years. We learn more and more about God every week, and He never gets “old.” Is it possible that your spiritual life has become routine? You attend church. Maybe you pray at home and have devotions at home. Maybe you tithe and live a somewhat holy life. You don’t get drunk or swear or abuse your spouse. You are living on “old” things that you got settled early in your walk with Christ. Old things are good, but they become familiar. Familiarity costs us our sense of “awe.” You are going to lose your sense of awe and excitement about the Bible unless you are willing to take a dare. Take a chance by committing more of your time, talents, resources, effort, and gifts to the Lord. Ask Him to excite you as you as you study His Word. Neither the God of the Word, nor the Word of our God are ever boring or dry. They contain treasures – and few things are more exciting than discovering treasure!

The Strait Gate and the Wall that Will Not Fall

October 27, 2009 at 8:01 am | Posted in Nehemiah | 10 Comments
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In about 443 B.C. Nehemiah led a brave group of Jewish exiles back to the city of Jerusalem to rebuild the walls which had been destroyed by Babylonian invaders. As he systematically assigned different groups of workers to work on different sections of the walls, we can see how these different sections were divided by different “gates.” The Bible outlines these different gates in such a way that we might glean a spiritual lesson.

Among the various gates, there was a fountain gate (Nehemiah 3:15) and a water gate (Nehemiah 3:26). In Scripture water for drinking (a fountain) is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Water for washing is a picture of the Word of God. The names of the workers who repaired the fountain gate are recorded for posterity. The people of God need the power of God (the Holy Spirit) to do the work of God. However, there is no record of repairs on the water gate. This reminds us that the Word of God stands forever, and will not fall. Neither will it ever need to be “repaired” or “improved.”

LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Psalm 119:89

The Backstroke

January 12, 2009 at 9:51 am | Posted in Acts, BiblicalSwimming | 7 Comments
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According to USA Swimming, the different types of recognized repetitive swim motions are called “strokes.” One of these, the backstroke, “consists of an alternating motion of the arms with a flut­ter kick while on the back.” Anyone who has seen this type of swimming in action knows that the swimmer is in the unusual position of being flat on his back, looking up, yet moving swiftly.

Scripture is silent on the subject of exactly what type of swimming stroke the Apostle Paul used, or whether he used a 1st Century “floatation device,” to make it safely ashore when he experienced a shipwreck.

And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.

Acts 27:41-44

What is certain from Scripture, however, is that the Apostle Paul was someone who, despite being knocked flat on his back many times, always looked up to God, and kept moving forward. The soldiers were afraid of escaping prisoners, but Paul was a man of faith, not a man of scheming. Some saw the storm and shipwreck as reasons for despair, but Paul saw an opportunity to glorify God, and to serve others. Can we say the same when we’re in the midst of a “storm,” or when we find ourselves in “deep water?”


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