Saturday, 30 December 2017

BUYING THE TRUTH


“Buy truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.” 
(Proverbs 23:23, NASB). 

The term “buy” here reminds us that there is a cost involved in owning the truth. We live in times where there is a plethora of theological opinions that are popular, but the truth is not. Every theological camp proclaims they have the truth, even if it doesn’t fully square with the Scriptures. Every man is comfortable in his or her theological opinion, but is not willing to test it with Scripture. When we discover the theological view we hold to does not line up with what the Bible teaches, are we willing to “buy” the truth? Changing our view is hard, but necessary to be in the truth. The phrase, “do not sell it” speaks of the infinite value of God’s truth. Do we value God’s truth so much that we will not part from it? The truth brings wisdom, instruction, and understanding. "Wisdom" is the experience gained by the truth; "instruction" is the knowledge gained from the truth; while "understanding" is what you comprehend of the truth. The truth where one gains insight from comes from any topic or issue. For instance, the truth in regards to eternal security we have in Christ’s salvation or can a believer lose his salvation? The truth always gives an answer that is always sure, whereas opinions don’t. So don’t part from the truth and the truth will not depart from you. Love the truth and sell it not, nor rent it.

Heavenly Father, You are the embodiment of truth; while the Lord Jesus Christ is the truth come in the flesh, undefiled and divine truth that frees us from the lies that ensnare us. Lord, you have instructed us in your truth, and we have gained wisdom and understanding from it. Lord, give us such conviction to never depart from your precious truth from your Word. In Christ we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

WORRY OR CONCERN?


“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?”  
(Matthew 6:31, KJV). 

Often Christians mistake their worry for concern. They get the two mixed up by believing if they worry about something or someone, like a loved one, then they are showing concern. So in a sense they believe they are caring about someone by worrying. However, worry is sin, because it is not trusting God, or taking Him at His Word (see 1 Pet. 5:7; Psalm 55:22); whereas, concern for someone is showing empathy and care for that person.  The phrase “take no thought” in our text would be better translated, “be not anxious.” Noted commentator H. A. Ironside from a past generation wrote:

“When Jesus said, “Take no thought,” He did not mean that His disciples should be careless or improvident. But they are forbidden to be anxious, to become distressed and perplexed as they face the future. He who has saved and cared for us thus far can be depended upon to undertake and provide for us to the end.”

Like Mr. Ironside said, God can be trusted to take care of the details in our lives. However, the Lord is not obligated to do it according to the way we want to see things done. This passage in Matthew 6:25-34 is Jesus answer to the Christian who struggles with worry. To worry is akin to doubting God’s goodness and ability to take care of us and those we love. Since we trusted in Christ for our salvation, can we not trust Him to take care of our needs as well as those we care about? I’m sure we both know the answer to that question. If we know this, why is it we still live with the full weight of worry, fear, and distress on our shoulders? The Lord Jesus’ words are clear, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-30, NASB). Rest is not possible if our hearts are restless in the grip of doubt. The Lord Jesus even uses examples from nature to illustrate His point. 

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

FALSE HUMILITY



“False humility…” (Colossians 2:23, NIV).

Humility is one of those virtues that are very elusive and difficult to cultivate in one’s life. It is very elusive when we most think we are humble, we are not, and when we least think we are humble, we actually are. It is in human nature to put forward our best face to the world. We like to pretend and try to convince people we are humble, when we are not. This is false humility when we claim to have this virtue we do not practice. False humility is nothing more than pride masquerading as humility. Some commentators say humility is “being forgetful of oneself,” still others say humility is “putting others before yourself.” Perhaps Fred Smith is correct when he said the best definition he ever heard was this: "Humility is not denying the power you have but admitting that the power comes through you and not from you."  I believe Paul states it best in these words: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3, ESV). 

Below is a diagram on "True Humility," "False Humility," and "Pride." Trust this diagram will shed a bit of light on the subject at hand:



Monday, 25 December 2017

WHO WAS AT THE SEPULCHRE?


There are three alleged Bible contradictions that atheists and skeptics like to throw at Christians. Here they are as follows and my answer to this supposed contradiction:

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” (Matthew 28:1).

“And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.” (Mark 16:1).

“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre."  (John 20:1)


Then you asked "Who was at the Tomb? Is it..." FIRST, there are four accounts as follows, not three: Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1. You left out the account in Luke's Gospel. SECOND, there is no contradiction here. What we have is four accounts of the women at the sepulchre [tomb]. The fact that each of the accounts differ from one another, does not disprove that the accounts were not true, nor does it contradict it. Instead, it rather confirms more strongly the genuineness of the accounts. Had each account been written the exact same, word for word, then that would certainly cast doubt on the accounts given, and weaken the authenticity of the incidents in question.  THIRD, not all of these events of the women occurred at the same time, like in the case with Mary Magdalene weeping at the tomb. Actually, the Gospel accounts tell us that Mary Magdalene made more than one trip to the Tomb. FOURTH, the details in some of the accounts of the names of the women mentioned, differ from each other. Again, such details of names that differ from each account rather strengthens, not weakens the integrity of each Gospel writer. FIFTH, the account mentioned in Luke 24:1 uses the phrases "they came" and "they had." There is no mention to who "they" are by name. Not until verse ten are the names revealed of the women that visited the Tomb that resurrection morning. SIXTH, finally, looking at each of these accounts is like viewing four different sections of the same picture an artist painted. Each part of the painting compliments the picture as a whole. The same truth can be conveyed, when construction workers build walls in each room of a house they are constructing. The construction workers don't knock down the walls just because the walls in the master bedroom differs in details from the walls of the bathroom or the living room. Of course not! All of the walls are needful and necessary for the completion of that one house under construction. The same truth is conveyed in the differing accounts of the women at the tomb. 
Lord Jesus, thank You for discernment and understanding of Your Word. The number of women at the sepulchre is a good example of how important it is to compare Scripture with Scripture to gain insight and clarity in what had been said in regards to properly understanding which women were at the sepulcher at a specific time and who wasn’t. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

CHURCH SOCIAL CLIQUES


“For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?” 
(James 2:2-4, NASB).

Have you ever been in a local Church where when you observe the place, you see the young around the young, married couples around married couples, the elderly around the elderly, the rich hanging around the rich, and the poor hanging around the poor, etc.? What’s more is that after being in this Church for a short while, you will notice a certain prominent group of people, particularly a family who have a strong influence within the congregation. They are the ones running the show in that local Church. After being in this congregation for awhile, you notice you don’t fit in with any of the groups there. And because you don’t conform to the way things are in that Church, you feel alienated and left out in the cold. You also notice that preferential treatment is given towards those in the congregation who are either wealthy or are popular. 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE SETHITE VIEW?


“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” 
(Genesis 6:4, NASB).

I am not entirely convinced on the idea that the "sons of God" in Genesis 6:4 were only human men. Some Christians are under the assumption that "sons of God" can never refer to angelic beings, even fallen ones. If that is the case, then consider Job 38:7 where angels are referred to as the "sons of God." One thing Job does make clear that the "sons of God" along with Satan presented themselves to God. The passage in Job 2:1 which reads, "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD." (KJV). Notice the phrase "sons of God" here refers to "angels" (see the NIV). These are not mere "men' presenting themselves to God. Now we are not told if these "divine beings" (ISV) are fallen or unfallen angels. Now to argue that the "sons of God" mentioned in Genesis 6:4 refers to human "men" is reading into the text what isn't there. The context makes it clear that a distinction is given between the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men." According to the Sethite view we are to believe the "sons of God" in this text were men from the godly line of Seth. Meanwhile, nowhere in the text, nor in Genesis 6 are we told from what line the "sons of God" were from, nor are we told from what line the "daughters of men" are from? It is assumed these women are from the ungodly line of Cain. Where is that stated in the passage? Furthermore, why does Genesis chapter 6 specify that "giants" (Heb. Nephilim) were borne from this union, when this is never mentioned elsewhere in Genesis, nor anywhere else in the Bible? Doesn’t it make better sense to allow the passage to interpret itself, instead of reading into the text what is not there? It sounds to me those who hold to the Sethite view are humanizing the passage to force it to fit their interpretation. 
Lord, there are times when we your children do not agree on certain controversial passages from your Holy Word, grant unto us patience and understanding with one another. Most importantly grant unto us a humble heart that desires nothing but the truth of your Word and not our preconceived notions about it. Lord Jesus, give us a teachable heart to the precious truths of your Word, in Christ name, Amen.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

THE LANGUAGE OF SMILES



“A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” 
(Proverbs 17:22, NASB).

There is nothing more pleasant when greeted with a warm smile when first meeting someone. There are eight smiles that I have come to appreciate from people over the years. FIRST, there is the smile of warmth and interest; SECOND, the mischievous smile of playfulness; THIRD, the smile of determination; FOURTH, the flirtatious smile; FIFTH, the smile of compassion; SIXTH, the smile of love and endearment; SEVENTH, the smile of joyfulness; EIGHTH, the smile of innocence. All such smiles like the many facets of a diamond are beautiful to behold. Not only that, they are penetrating. They leave their mark on us, they impact us in ways that move our emotions in a positive manner. Who doesn’t like a beautiful smile? Smiles are the currency people enjoy in relationships, whether close or distant. Today’s text says, “A joyful heart is good medicine…” A genuine smile, or a person who smiles a lot bares evidence to a “joyful heart.” It is hard to smile when depression poisons and darkens the heart, as the text says, “but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Or I like how the NLT puts it, “a broken spirit saps a person's strength.” The great news is joy acts like a medicine, it restores the strength that a depressed and broken spirit robs us of; for joyfulness is the elixir that heals and brightens the heart. Now I’m not talking about the fickle joy of the world, I’m talking about the firm joy of the Lord. How fitting are Nehemiah’s words here, “for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10, NASB). I don’t know about you dear reader, but this sure brings a smile to my face.

Lord, you are the true Author of joy. The world’s view of joy depends on happenings, whereas true joy is from You. This joy is not depended on happenings, but rather draws its strength from the Lord above; thank you Lord Jesus that you are my source of joy, Amen.