Posts Tagged ‘Bible


Those Who Teach

Good Friday morning to you! James gives a warning to those who teach the Word of God. They are held to a higher standard. He writes:

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. – James 3:1 (NIV)

The teaching and preaching of God’s Word is so very important to the life of the church and followers of Jesus Christ. Those who handle it must do so with great care. Not only are we to be concerned with the Word itself, but those who hear it and who sit under our teaching. Hebrews says that the Word of God is sharper than a sword. Many have had their faith cut to pieces because the Word was handled incorrectly and wielded recklessly. May God have mercy on those of us who teach. May God give wisdom and discernment to those who sit under our teaching. May we all honor God and obey His Word faithfully until Christ returns.

Choosing Spiritual Amnesia

Have you ever looked in a mirror in order to check your hair or the fit of your clothing, walked away and forgotten how you looked? James says that when we hear the Word of God and fail to do what it says, it’s as though we forget what we look like. This is what he wrote:

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. – James 1:23-24 (NIV)

The Word of God was not meant to just be heard or read. It was meant to be lived out each day. When the Word says to do something, we are expected to do it. When the Bible says to not do something, we are expected to not do it. Otherwise, we are guilty of choosing spiritual amnesia. We cannot claim ignorance. We’ve heard the Word. We’ve got the Bible in our homes, our churches, our hotel rooms and on our phones. It is up to us to obey it.

Do What It Says

Many people claim to love the Bible, which is the Word of God. They’ll pledge their loyalty to a certain translation or they’ll sing songs about it. They may read it faithfully or listen to it regularly. The real question for us all is, “Are we living it out each day?” James says:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22 (NIV)

When we hear or read God’s Word without any discernible life change, we deceive ourselves. We can say that we love God’s Word, but if it isn’t changing the way that we live, we’re deceiving ourselves. God’s Word is meant to be more than read. It is meant to be lived. We can fight over words like infallible and inerrant, but unless we actually do what it says, we are in trouble. Don’t worship the Scriptures, live them out. Save your worship for the Author by obeying His Word.

Watch Out!

Good Tuesday morning to you! One of my greatest fears is leading people astray when I preach and teach. I don’t want to be a false prophet or teacher. I want to make sure that I am handling God’s Word correctly and with great care. Jesus said:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. – Matthew 7:15 (NIV)

As followers of Jesus, we must be on our guard against those who are false prophets and teachers. There are preachers and teachers who will manipulate God’s Word and God’s people to make a buck or to feed their egos. The best way to guard against false prophets and teachers is to know your Bible. Spend time in God’s Word and listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. You’ll be able to discern between the truth and false teachings much easier. You will not be as likely to be led astray. False teachers and prophets will come and go, but the Word of God stands forever.

Crying For The Lord

Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
for your law is not obeyed. — Psalm 119:136 (NIV)
When was the last time you cried for God?  Have you ever lamented and wept over the evil that is in our world?  Does it break your heart, as it broke the psalmist’s, that God’s Word is ignored (including by His own people)?  Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible.  It is 176 verses dedicated to honoring Scripture.  It is a love letter to God’s Word.
Jesus was devoted and dedicated to the Word of God.  He quoted Scripture on many occasions.  He fended off the attacks of the evil one by quoting Scripture.  He expounded on it in the Sermon on the Mount.  He uttered Scripture (Psalm 22) from the cross.  He knew His Bible.  He loved His Bible.  It fed Him and the Bible should feed us as well.
Do you love the Word of God?  Do you love Scripture?  Do you love the Bible?  What place does it have in your life?  How much time do we spend in reading and studying Scripture (I know.  Not enough!)?  The fact is that we do not spend enough time reading God’s love letter to the world.  We read books that are based on Scripture and books that are about the Bible, but we do not spend enough time in the Bible.  If we spent more time devoted to God’s Word, I believe that we would find ourselves more devoted to its Author.  We might find ourselves, like the psalmist, weeping over the disobedience of God’s Word in our world.
PRAYER: Help me to not only love Your Word, O Lord, but to obey it today. Thank You for Your Word, Lord God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Starving For God’s Word

In Amos chapter 8, the prophet delivers a powerful and terrible prophecy against Israel:

“The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread or water
but of hearing the words of the LORD.
People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from border to border
searching for the word of the LORD,
but they will not find it.
Beautiful girls and strong young men
will grow faint in that day,
thirsting for the LORD’s word.
And those who swear by the shameful idols of Samaria—
who take oaths in the name of the god of Dan
and make vows in the name of the god of Beersheba*—
they will all fall down,
never to rise again.” – Amos 8:11-14 (NLT)

One of the definitions of famine is “any extreme and general scarcity.”  When Israel fell on hard times, they would turn to God and seek His Word from His prophets.  Amos told them that a famine was coming.  Not a famine of food and drink, but a famine of the words of the LORD.  No more prophets.  No more prophetic messages.  A time was coming when God would be silent.

One of the most painful things one can give in a relationship is the silent treatment.  When you have done something so egregious to someone that they refuse to speak to you.  OH!  It hurts so much!  You crave the sound of their voice.  You want to apologize and hear the words, “I forgive you.”  But there is nothing.  Just silence.  God was going to give Israel the silent treatment and they deserved it.

We live in a very blessed time where we have access to God’s Word, the Bible, in many different ways.  We have physical books, e-books and the Bible on the internet.  Yet we seem to be living in a time of unparalleled Biblical illiteracy.  We can access God’s Word 24/7/365, but we don’t!  We have created our own famine and it is tragic!

Get in the Word!  Read your Bibles!  Spend time with God and hear Him communicate with you through His Word!  Feed your starving soul with the powerful, loving message of the Bible.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to love Your Word.  Help me to read it and live it out in my life.  Thank You for revealing Yourself and Your Son in Your Word.  In Jesus’ name I thank You, amen.


Do What It Says!

James 1:22-25 (NIV)
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Week after week, we sit in a room and listen to someone speak from God’s Word.  Perhaps you’ve heard countless sermons on countless subjects from countless passages of Scripture.  I’ve preached somewhere in the neighborhood of 900+ sermons in my ministry (18 years * 50 sermons/year = 900, give or take).  I wonder how many of them were memorable.  I wonder how many of them were life transforming.  I wonder how many times I heard the words, “Good job, preacher!” as the people walked out of the door and quickly forgot everything I said.
We hear God’s Word preached every week, yet, if we’re honest, we would admit that it rarely changes our lives.  It’s not the fault of God’s Word.  It is living and active, according to Hebrews 4:12.  Perhaps it is the fault of the listener who zones out each week with a glazed look in their eyes.  More than likely, though, it is the fault of the earthly communicator.  God has given us a powerful message and yet it is communicated poorly.  The problem is that preachers, myself included, forget about James 1:23.  We don’t challenge people to do what the Word says to do.  We’ll spend a lot of time getting into the text to determine its meaning and we’ll tell people what it means and we’ll feel really good that we told them these things, but we fail to tell them what they should do with it.  On the day of Pentecost, the people asked Peter what they should do with his message.  He responded with definite action.  Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, gave the people concrete applications of His message.  We need to do more than just understand what a text of Scripture means.  We need to do what it says to DO!  That means that preachers must preach application as well as explanation.  That means that Christians must think about the ramifications of what they rad as they read their Bibles.  It means that we cannot read a passage of Scripture and say, “I know who needs to read this!”  The point of Scripture is to change YOU, not those around you.  Let the Holy Spirit convict others.  At that moment, the Spirit is convicting YOU!
Scripture is more than a text book for gaining trivial knowledge.  It is an instruction manual for how to live and please God.  When we do what it says, we not only live better lives, we please the Father and we will be blessed in all that we do.
PRAYER:  Father God, I thank You for Your Word.  I ask that it would penetrate my heart today.  Help me see how living it out will not only result in blessings for me, but how it will please You.  Help me to not only understand what it means, but how to live it out each day.  Thank You.  Amen.

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