Tag Archives: God

For God Gave Us A Spirit Not Of Fear…

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 – Scripture Of The Day (January 7, 2014)

About eleven years ago I had a Bible study with a potential convert at the International House Of Pancakes.  This young Air Force officer came from a denominational background and had initially thought that one church was as good as another, but was intrigued by the simple and powerful message of the Bible (Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Cor. 1:10-13).  We were in a booth talking over pancakes, eggs, and bacon about how God’s Word teaches that there is only one church and one faith when suddenly I heard a loud sniff from the booth across the aisle, followed by a harsh clearing of the throat.  I looked over and saw an older woman sitting there fixing me with a very disapproving stare.

“I can’t believe you are telling this man that he is mistaken about what he believes in!”  she said, clearly very angry with me.  To make a long story short, she rudely rebuffed the invitation I gave to join our Bible study, and then slapped the card out of my hand when I invited her to come to church.  My friend looked like he wanted to drop down into the floor, and to be honest I had that familiar tightening in my diaphragm and flushed face that comes from fear.

And yet…what did we really have to be afraid of?  Eleven years have passed, and I haven’t seen that woman since that day.  Before that day, God had already been blessing me “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3), he continued to do so even while that woman was chastising me, and he has continued blessing me ever since.  As a Christian, I still had my salvation and forgiveness of sins, I still could approach my Maker and Redeemer in prayer.  I still possessed the wisdom and knowledge of God to guide me through the hard times of life which I received through continual meditation and obedience of the Spirit-inspired Word.  I still had my inheritance in heaven.  Plus, I still had the physical blessings of life which God graciously gave to me.  Regardless of that woman’s disapproval, I still had a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food on my table, a bed to sleep in, and many luxuries also.  Not long after that, God would bless me with a wonderful wife, and then with a sweet daughter…along with many, many more blessings.

Christians, God has not given us a spirit of fear, timidity, and cowardice.  We have nothing to be afraid of.  Even if that woman had killed me because of the faith I was sharing, she would in actuality be doing me a favor because my name is written in that Book, and eternity with God is waiting (Phil. 1:23). So there is no reason to be afraid to do what God told us to do and share our faith with the lost so that their souls might be saved.  The gospel is God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16), and if we have the love and self-control he wants us to have then we will take advantage of every opportunity to exercise that spirit of power and love and self-control he gave to us by sharing that saving message with all (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20).

Remember this, Christians:   “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”  (Heb. 13:6)

What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’

Luke 10:25 – Scripture Of The Weekend (January 4-5, 2014)

What a great question!  Even more than that, what interesting answers man has proposed over the ages to answer it!  The atheist would say, “There is no eternal life and no God to give it to us.”  The agnostic would say, “I’m not sure God or eternal life exist.”  The deist would say, “God doesn’t care enough about us to grant us eternal life.”  The Muslim would say, “Go on a jihad and eternal life is guaranteed.”  The universalist would say, “Nothing, because God will grant eternal life to everyone.”  The Calvinist would say, “Nothing, because God has already decided whether or not you will receive eternal life.”  The current Pope would say, “You don’t even have to believe in Jesus to receive eternal life.”  Numerous Catholics and Protestants would say, “Just be a basically good person, regardless of what church you go to or what doctrine you follow, and you’ll receive eternal life.”  I could cite many more answers man has given to this lawyer’s question.

What is most important, in fact what is solely important, is the answer the Son of God gave to this lawyer’s question:  “He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law?  How do you read it?’  And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’  And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live'” (Luke 10:26-28).  To love God means to obey him (1 John 5:3; John 14:15), and those who obey him will receive eternal life (Heb. 5:9; Matt. 7:21-27).  To love our neighbor the same way we love ourselves is best illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus immediately gave to illustrate his point to the lawyer, and in the definition of love Paul gave to the Corinthians (Luke 10:29-37; 1 Cor. 13:1-7).  When we obey God with all our being and love our fellow man the way in which God commanded us, eternal life is ours…not because we earned it (we could never earn it due to our sin – Rom. 3:23), but because of the grace of God whose instructions we followed (Eph. 2:8-10; Tit. 2:11-12).

My Thoughts On John 1:1-3

Words of Christ in redI love the way the Gospel of John opens.  John talks about Jesus without referring to him by that name, instead referring to him as “the Word” (John 1:14).  This should remind us that there is no difference between God’s Word and Jesus Christ.  It is through Jesus that God speaks to us today (Heb. 1:1-2), and Jesus speaks to us through his Word, which will also judge us in the end (John 12:48).  So when the publishers of your Bible say that the words of Christ are “in red,” they should consistently print the entire Bible in red ink.

It is interesting how John writes that Jesus, the Word, was in the beginning with God, and in fact was God.  This reminds me of Gen. 1:1, in which “God” is taken from the plural Hebrew word “Elohim.”  From the beginning, the Bible spoke of God as being plural in nature, and John reiterates that notion by speaking of the Word as Deity existing alongside of Deity at the beginning of the world.  God is made up of the Father, the Son or the Word, and the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14).  Jesus, the Word, was at the beginning, and in fact made this universe, a fact both John and Paul speak of (Col. 1:16).

John also writes of how life, the light of men, is found in Jesus, the Word.  That light shines in the darkness, but the darkness doesn’t appreciate it.  Jesus would later say that humanity loves the darkness rather than the light, mainly because the light exposes their actions to be truly evil (John 3:19-20).  Those who love Jesus love the light, and come freely to him (John 3:21).  As 2013 begins, may we make it our goal as Christians to not hate the light of the Word of God when it shows our deeds to be evil, but instead to humbly and faithfully embrace the light through our penitent obedience!