Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Other World

We live in a supernatural world. But it is easy to forget this. But we are told as Christians that our real battles are on the supernatural plane (Ephesians 6:10-13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; 2 Kings 6:15-23). Now it is possible to exaggerate this aspect of life. To see demonic forces behind every event and as the cause of all our sins. But it is much easier in this present age to be lulled to sleep and to deal with everything on a purely pragmatic basis, and to ignore spiritual realities. And this can lead to our approaching our problems based on a purely naturalistic basis and not recognizing the spiritual dimension. There is no one in more danger in a battlefield then an innocent who stumbles into it and does not realize there is a war going on.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Biblical Musings Romans 8:38,39

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38,39 (NKJV)

What are the implications of these verses for our life? How might we live differently if we are convinced of them?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Biblical Musings 2 Corinthians 3:18

But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASV)

What is involved in this verse? Who does it apply to?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On or Off

Sometimes God's power is pictured like a light switch; it is either all there or totally absent. But Scripture pictures God giving new supplies to meet new situations. At the time of Pentecost the disciples were filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4). But later Peter was filled to stand firm against opposition (Acts 4:8). After this the disciples prayed for boldness and were filled with the Spirit in answer (Acts 4:31). Paul (then called Saul) was filled with the Spirit soon after his conversion (Acts 9:17). But later he was filled again to deal with a magician (Acts 13:9). There is no indication that any of these individuals became carnal and had to be restored to a condition where they were spiritual again. Rather, God filled them in a new and fresh way to meet new circumstances. God gives us what we need to accomplish His purpose (2 Corinthians 3:5,6; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:28,29). Therefore, we should trust in Him to provide us with the power we need when we need it (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 127:1,2; 1 Corinthians 3:6-9).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Biblical Musings Hebrews 12:1,2

Therefore, since we have so great a crowd of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1,2 (NASV)

What is required to run the race? What kind of things can hinder us?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Biblical Musings Matthew 8:8-10

Ruins of Capernaum
The centurion replied, "Lord I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith."  Matthew 8:8-10 (NIV)

What was so significant about the centurion's faith? How might it be relevant to us today?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Facing Opposition

How should a Christian face opposition? We should face it boldly (Ephesians 6:19,20; Philippians 2:15,16; Hebrews 13:6), but with love and gentleness (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Colossians 4:5,6). How do we achieve this combination? We need to have confidence in God (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 127:1,2; 2 Corinthians 2:14), but an awareness of our own inadequacy (2 Corinthians 3:5,6; Romans 12:3; John 15:5). But it also helps not to be surprised by the existence of opposition, as Scripture promises it will occur (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:12). Therefore, we should not react in shock, but in firm and loving admonishment. Being confident in God, who will win in the end.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Biblical Musings Jonah 1:1-3

Mediterranean Sea (near Caesarea, North of Joppa) 
The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.  Jonah 1:1-3 (NIV)

Have you ever run from God? I have tried it and would not recommend it. What can motivate a person to run from God?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Biblical Musings 16

Ruins of the Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem
When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get well?" The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Arise, take up your pallet, and walk." And immediately the man became well, and took up his pallet and began to walk. John 5:6-9 (NASV)

Why did Jesus heal only one man out of the large number of sick who were there? What does this say about God's healing people today?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One Step at a Time

We often want God to show us what His will for our lives is in detail ahead of time. But I have found that God leads us one step at a time. Philip was involved in a great revival in Samaria when God sent him out into the desert to meet one man, the Ethiopian eunuch who God had prepared to hear the gospel  (Acts 8:26-40).  God led Paul through various places and forbade him to preach there until He finally told him he was to go to Macedonia (Acts 16:6-10). But later God led Paul back to one of the places He had originally forbidden him to go, and he stayed there two years (Acts 19:8-10). God often leads us in ways we do not expect, and sometimes it is not clear what He wants us to do. I know in my own life, while there have been times when I have experienced definite leading from the Lord, there have been many other times I was not sure what He wanted me to do next. Many times we need to simply trust God and wait on Him until He shows us where He wants us to go next (Proverbs 3:5,6; Isaiah 40:31; Psalms 25:5).

Monday, August 8, 2011

Biblical Musings 15

Camel at a Convenience Store on the Road Between Jericho  and Jerusalem
And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:9,10 (NASV)

What does mean to seek and to save that which was lost? The man Jesus spoke this to in Jericho was Zaccheus, a traitor and a thief (what tax collectors were in those days). What kinds of people can we write off?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Biblical Musings 14

View Down from Masada
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah  Psalms 46:1-3 (NIV)

What does it mean that God is our refuge? Does this mean we will not have any problems?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Bride for the Prince

The Prince was given the task of interviewing various eligible women in the kingdom, that he might pick a bride. He did not really understand this, as he had thought his bride had been chosen for him already by his Father. But since he always did the will of his Father he proceeded with the process.

The first woman was elegantly dressed, with raven black hair. Her name was Pistos. She was quite formal, and well-versed in all matters of protocol and in the history and customs of the kingdom. (In fact, she seemed to know customs of the kingdom of which the Prince was unaware.) She was very exacting in carrying out and explaining these customs. But she did seem to the Prince to be somewhat rigid and demanding.

The next woman, named Chara, was very different. She rushed into the Prince's presence in casual clothes, with loose, flowing blonde hair. She was vivacious and enthusiastic, constantly cheerful and on the move. There did seem to be a problem, though, in getting her to slow down and stop talking. She seemed to follow every impulse without pause or consideration. And the Prince had to wonder how well she would hold up to the serious business of ruling.

Then entered a woman named Enkrateia, with subdued brown hair and simple, though slightly formal dress. She was efficient but commonsensical and seemed in control of herself and the situation. She believed in organization and rules, but only practical rules, none of those outmoded customs. Also, she opposed all whimsy and foolishness and preferred to get on with the practical aspects of life. But the Prince felt she might be too severe and controlled and might be lacking in compassion to those who did not meet her standards.

The Prince sat and contemplated the three women and wondered which to choose and wished He might have a mixture of the three. He also wondered if any of them might be the one his Father had chosen for him.

Then his Vicar, Pneuma, enters the throne-room and speaks, "There is something you must know about the women you have seen."

"What is it? " asked the Prince.

"They are all the same woman. She has worn different clothes and wigs and acted differently, but she is the same person."

"Is she insane?"

"No, but she is afraid of being rejected by you, so she has tried different ways to please you, hoping you will accept one of her guises. I believe with love and patience she can be healed."

"Is she the woman my Father chose for me?"

"Yes she is," the Vicar replied.

"Then I will exert all my love and patience to heal her," the Prince replied. "But tell her to dump the wigs."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Biblical Musings 13

Nazareth from Below

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

In what way are we a city on a hill? What is involved in letting our light shine?