Fulfilled Promises

My mom and I are going Christmas shopping together this week. Yes, it is only mid-October – so why Christmas shop a full two months BEFORE Christmas? One word: anticipation. My mom and I look forward to this time together every fall. We anticipate our shopping day, planning out the stores where we will shop, the gifts that we will purchase, and the restaurant where we will eat lunch – and in doing so, we also anticipate celebrating Christmas with our family.
In our text for today, which is Matthew 2, we read one small part of what we traditionally call the “Christmas Story”. Here, we learn of the wise men visiting King Herod, Joseph fleeing with his family from Jerusalem into Egypt, and their subsequent return to Nazareth.
Today, I’d like us to consider the promises kept and prophecies fulfilled that Matthew references in this chapter. In Micah 5:2, this prophet writes that “one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me.” This prophecy was fulfilled almost 800 years later. Matthew wrote that when King Herod asks his chief priests and scribes where Christ would be born, “They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah are by no means least among the rulers of Judah for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:5) Christ Himself was the fulfillment of this promise.
Let’s look at another example. The Old Testament prophet Hosea explained that God would one day call his Son out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1). In Matthew 2:15, we read that, “He (Joseph) remained there (in Egypt) until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my Son.’” Over 800 years after Micah’s original prophecy was recorded, it too was fulfilled in Christ.
Thinking about these prophetic words which were fulfilled years after they were originally uttered simply amazes me. I hope you take some time to ponder these words today. Approximately 2000 prophesies in the Bible have been fulfilled – 2000! After you let that sink in for a few minutes, consider this verse, found in Isaiah 53:5 (NIV): “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah wrote these words HUNDREDS of years before Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross as a forgiveness for our sins. Oh, what a Savior!

Luke 13

I am a reader. Those who know me will probably smile when they read those words. In my free time, I am rarely without a book in my hand. When I was younger, I read mostly fiction – especially the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden series. My favorite author, though, was Louisa May Alcott. I read and re-read every book she ever wrote because I loved how she created a story. Even though her books were fiction, I felt as though I were reading a true story – her plot and details were that believable. And I always learned something from her books.

Jesus is the master story-teller. Over and over in the New Testament, we read of our Savior using a story to make a point or to teach a lesson. In doing so, He teaches about complex topics like faith and grace and salvation. We see this over and over in Luke 13, our chapter for today.

Jesus uses the parable of a barren fig tree to teach about how to live a Godly life (Luke 13:6 – 9). He compares the kingdom of God to both a mustard seed and to leaven used in baking bread (Luke 13:18 – 21) He uses the idea of a narrow door to represent the fact that “no one comes to the Father except through me” (Luke 13:24 – 30; John 14:6). The people to whom He was talking would have had as difficult a time as we do now understanding concepts like the kingdom of God, faith, and salvation. Fig trees, mustard seeds, leaven and doors, though? They understood those. They were familiar with these objects, because they used them in their daily lives. By using stories, Jesus made complex topics more easily understood.

As Jesus ends this time of teaching, He laments over the lost in Jerusalem, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34). As I finish writing this devotion, it is Monday morning, and our country is waking to the news of the massacre in Las Vegas. Jesus’ poignant cries over Jerusalem remind me that my Savior also weeps today, along with those who grieve.

One Way to the Father

Today’s reading is Luke 3 and Psalm 51.

Our family attends Eastview Christian Church in Normal, Illinois. Our mission statement is, “A fearless church of Christ followers whose ridiculous love and dangerous witness are irresistible.” As we read Luke 3, it’s hard to think of too many people who were more of a “dangerous witness” than John the Baptist. He dedicated his life to preparing the way for Jesus, and we read today how he was imprisoned and it later cost him his life by beheading.

John knew there was only one way for forgiveness of sins and one way to the Father as we read about in Psalm 51. Then, he was committed to giving others the good news of Jesus as Psalm 51:13-15 speaks of, regardless of the risks involved. We live in a world today that tells us to do whatever you “feel” like. Do whatever makes you personally happy. And anyone who doesn’t approve of it is a bigot. However, the Bible tells us there is only one way to the Father in Heaven which by believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior through his death on the cross. John felt it was critical people know Jesus was the Messiah, and we should feel and do the same today. This is the opposite of the society we live in which says you can do whatever makes you feel good, so it would only make sense that are multiple ways to get to Heaven and  if you just do more good than bad you’re in. Wrong. Jesus tells us this in John 14:6 which says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

One of my biggest take aways from a recent mission trip was when we asked people how they get to Heaven nearly every one said “be a good person.” Then, when we shared we believe there was only one way, through belief in Jesus, they would say, “yeah..that’s what I believe too,” because they would in fact call themselves a Christian! Many of them grew up in, and some even still went to, the church. How often do we have conversations with friends and family who call themselves Christians and may even go to church about what they believe? Do they know there is only one way to Heaven which is through Jesus? Do they truly believe what Jesus says in John 14:6? Let us follow the example of John the Baptist by being a dangerous witness, not only internationally and in our local communities, but also in our own homes, families, churches, and personal relationships. Even better news is that we don’t have to wear camel’s hair clothing and eat locusts and honey to do so!

How Many Kings…

Today’s reading is Hebrews 1 and Psalm 9.

My bible has the heading “The Supremacy of God’s Son” for Hebrews 1. Both Hebrews 1 and Psalm 9, as well as when God the Father speaks to Jesus in the Gospel, make it clear that Jesus is set apart and supreme above the angels and prophets of the Old Testament. He is God in the form of a man. He was there when the world was made (Hebrews 11:10, John 1:1-4), and He now sits at the right hand of the God the Father (Hebrews 1:8, Hebrews 1:13, Psalm 9:7, Psalm 9:11). However, when I read both Hebrews 1 and Psalm 9, I think less of the supremacy of God and His Son Jesus. We know this to be certain. As I reflect, I am in awe of his love, humbleness, and servant leadership.

I recently returned from the Spread Truth Ministry trip to New York City doing street ministry. It was life changing for me, and I pray that it was for others we shared the Gospel with, too. When you talk to 10-20 people a day about what they believe about God, you get some insight into who people think God is or is not. When do we even talk with our family and best friends about who they think God is and what they believe? Sadly, there were many false beliefs not only from non-believers, but also from many raised in church who also would likely label themselves as a “believer.” This makes me not want to take for granted what I think those close to me believe and not hold back deeper conversations about God that I would have shied away from previously.

One common theme was many did not want to believe God existed because they feel like God is on a throne in Heaven judging us for what we do and condemning us from above like He is a kid with a magnifying glass burning us like ants in the sunlight. If that’s who God is, they didn’t want to believe there was a God. Can you really blame them? This makes my heart ache that this is who they think God is. While God does have rules for right and wrong and condemns doing wrong (sin), He does so for our protection because He knows what is in our best interest. This however, does not define who God is. I’ve heard it said, “If you miss Jesus, you miss everything.” What they were missing was Jesus. They missed the fact that just one sin of not only commission, but omission too, permanently separates us from God and no amount of good deeds can outweigh even one wrong. Romans 6:23 says “The wages of sin are death..” Note sin in singular.. just one sin separates us from God. Thankfully, God did not want us to be separated from Him by our wrong(s) though! He loves us so much that He sent Jesus down from His throne in Heaven to experience all the trials, tribulations and temptations of this life we face and even though He did not sin like us, He suffered the painful death we deserve on the cross for us. Wow! John 3:17 says “God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” While God does judge right and wrong, He is not “looking to condemn us” as many believe. If He wanted to do that, He would have never sent Jesus! He did not have to do that…He wanted to. He wanted us to be saved and to NOT condemn us. 1 John 4:16 says “God is love.” Hebrews 1:3 says, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature…” This tells us we can truly see who God is by looking at Jesus. His most important action to show His love was His sacrifice on the cross but I love looking into it even deeper into His life and other actions. Not only did Jesus heal the sick and the lame, but He spent time with pronounced sinners like prostitutes, adulterers, and tax collectors. He even invited Matthew, a tax collector, to be one of His twelve disciples. He renamed Simon, giving him the name Peter or Cephas which is translated as the rock, and built His church through him, even though He knew Peter would publicly deny Him not once, but three times. Does this look like a God that want to condemn us?… Hardly. Praise God!

I will end this with the lyrics and a link to “How Many Kings” by Downhere which so wonderfully articulates the message I’m trying to convey. As we go into our day today, let’s make sure we don’t miss the love of Jesus, and we don’t let others either. If we miss Him, we miss everything.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF952rzG3Yk&list=RDzF952rzG3Yk

“How Many Kings” by Downhere

Follow the star to a place unexpected

Would you believe, after all we’ve projected,

A child in a manger?

Lowly and small, the weakest of all

Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother’s shaw

Just a child

Is this who we’ve waited for?

 

‘Cause how many kings step down from their thrones

How many lords have abandoned their homes?

How many greats have become the least for me?

Any how many gods have poured out their hearts

To romance a world that is torn all apart

How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

 

Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior

All that we have, whether costly or meek

Because we believe

Gold for his honor, and frankincense for his pleasure

And myrrh for the cross he will suffer

Do you believe?

Is this who we’ve waited for?

 

How many kings step down from their thrones?

How many lords have abandoned their homes?

How many greats have become the least for me?

And how many gods have poured out their hearts

To romance a world that is torn all apart

How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Only one did that for me

 

Oh, all for me, oh

All for me, all for you

All for me, all for you

All for me, all for you

All for me, all for you

 

How many kings step down from their thrones?

How many lords have abandoned their homes?

How many greats have become the least?

How many gods have poured out their hearts

To romance a world that is torn all apart?

How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Only one did that for me, oh

 

All for me, all for you

Remind The People

A few days ago, our Bible Journal community began reading the book of Titus together. This is a short book, so we are actually finishing it up today! Paul begins the last part of his letter with the words, “Remind them” (Titus 3:1). In the NIV version, it reads, “Remind the people.” He then lists several things that he wants Titus to be sure to tell the people in the churches he is overseeing: “…to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people (Titus 3:1).

All of these admonishments are as relevant today as they were when Paul first penned these words. Each relates to living in community with others – and living in community is hard work! Paul understood that it was necessary to encourage people to pursue behaviors that lead to a healthy community and society.

There is one section of this verse that Paul returns to twice more before he ends this letter. In verse 1, Paul writes, “…be ready for every good work…” (Titus 3:1). Later, in verse 8, he writes, “…so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to good work.” (Titus 3:8). Finally, in verse 14, Paul states, “Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works.” (Titus 3:14) Clearly, doing what is good is important to Paul.

In our lives today, what does this look like, to “devote ourselves to good work”? It can be any number of things. Good work can be working at the job God has called us to to the best of our ability and with integrity. It can be something practical, like blessing a friend with a meal. It can be anything, really, that reveals Christ to someone else.

And what is the benefit to our doing good work? Is it for our own salvation? No. Paul states this clearly: “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us rightly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7, emphasis mine). That verse is a long one, but the part I want us to focus on today is this: devoting ourselves to good works does not save us. Only Christ in his mercy does this. However, doing good works might draw others to us, giving us the opportunity to share the “the reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Today, let’s consider how we can do something for the benefit of someone else, and let’s always be ready to share the reason for our hope: Jesus.

Fight the Good Fight

Today, we begin reading the first chapter of 1 Timothy together. Paul wrote this letter to his young friend, Timothy, who Paul calls his son in the faith. This letter was written just prior to Paul’s final imprisonment in Rome, which explains the urgency that permeates it. Paul had a message to impart to Timothy and to the world, and he was eager to do so, quickly.
I was curious about what Paul would choose to lead off with in this letter, knowing the urgency behind it. I learned that He begins with truth and love. We see in verse 3 that Paul is still concerned about people teaching false doctrines in places like Ephesus: “…remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…” (1 Timothy 1:3). Furthermore, Paul states that “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). We are to speak truth, and we are to love well.
Next, Paul shares his testimony. As we have seen throughout the New Testament, Paul never hesitates to do this! He knows full well how he was changed after his encounter with Christ and he wants to world to know Him for this reason. Paul says, “This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1: 15). Paul’s statement is bold, strong and simple. And in the next sentence, we again glimpse Paul’s deep humility. He explains that, “…I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16). Paul, a former persecutor of Christians, calls himself the foremost, the worst of sinners. I believe he does this to give us hope. Our family is currently praying for six people who we love to come to know Christ; some of these we have been praying for for years. Many years. And in this passage, Paul’s words encourage me to not despair, and to keep hoping and praying for the salvation of those I love.
At the end of this chapter, Paul reminds Timothy that the road he will travel will not be an easy one. Instead, it will be fraught with frustration and even danger. Paul exhorts Timothy to, “…fight the good fight, holding on to faith…” (1 Timothy 1:19, NIV). The imagery Paul uses would have been relatable to Timothy and his contemporaries; they were all too familiar with the concept of fighting, from the gladiator fights held in the arenas of Rome to war with neighboring countries. Likewise, we too can relate. So let us push forward, persevere, and fight for our faith. And then let us join Paul in praising our Lord: “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)

Intro to Philippians

Happy Fourth of July!

Taking the 50,000 foot approach to starting our devotional and reflections on Philippians is as Paul would say, “pure joy!” This letter is one of Paul’s prison epistles . It was a positive letter by Paul written to thank the Christians living in Philippi for their gift they had sent him for his missionary work.  It was also to strengthen fellow believers by showing them (us) that true joy comes from Jesus Christ alone. Amen!

As we look back in Acts 16 we read how Paul had a divine dream that told him to go to Macedonia to spread the good news.  (Acts 16:8-10)  God always has amazing perfect plans for all of our lives. This dream was perfectly planned. In Psalm 37:23, the psalmist writes, “the Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him“. God not only orders our steps but also orders our stops, especially in this case.  This vision lead to Philippi where they would be the first European City to receive the Gospel of Christ from Paul.

As I reviewed the various reflections on Philippians and read the intro’s in my study bibles I continue to land on the theme about the contrast between happiness and joy.  Knowing people want to feel happy and look for this in different material things, experiences, people, statuses, or even places like Happy Gilmore.  Yet all of this is just worldly happiness, that can often be related to our temporary current circumstances. What is your current circumstance? What is mine? The weather has been great, the pool is the perfect temp, camps have gone well, the pictures or final details are being finalized for all summer trips?  But what happens when the temperature changes, that 4th of July party ends, the children need to get back on a schedule…?  Or on a more serious side, a job has been lost, you lose a loved one, a bill comes in that leaves you strapped, your child faces addiction? Our happiness that is based on happenings can wither as each new trial prevails.  Going through Philippians will help remind us that in contrast to this earthly happiness or sadness true joy depends on our relationship with God. According to the Tyndale Study Bible it says,  “In contrast to happiness stands joy. Running deeper and stronger, joy is the quiet, confidence assurance of God’s love and work in our lives, that He will be there for us no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, Joy depends on Christ!”

So rejoice and enjoy these four chapters and look for the themes that include; finding joy in suffering, serving, believing, and giving.  I know my wife Jennifer will enjoy me referencing once again “Consider it all joy… verse from James 1:2-3 that I use often in our household of two young boys that love to follow a fallen, broken, bigger boy in myself.  I pray for Jennifer and I, our boys, and all of you to not seek the happiness of the world, but know the true joy in our relationship with the Lord!

Dear God ,

We are blessed by these letters of encouragement by Paul. Please fill our hearts when we have the feeling of being overwhelmed or in despair. Help us to pray for others that need to know your promises. Help us to stay positive and trust in you no matter our circumstances. Lord, help us to follow Paul’s example and know you more so we will rejoice in you always. Amen

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Justified by Faith ~ Freedom in Christ

Welcome to Galatia. Where life by many is lived by the law. Where your merit and what you do, means more than anything. This idea of, what do you do?; in contrast to, Who do you follow? Or the question of, what law or rules are you following? instead of,  Who do you have a relationship with?

The book of Galatians has been called the charter of Christian Freedom according to a couple study bibles.  Who better to write this letter than apostle Paul (formerly Saul). The story of Paul’s miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus is necessary story to the people in Galatia, it is necessary to us, it is necessary to me. Here’s a reminder. (Acts 26:5-23) As I reflect on this story, I think that when the Lord gives you an opportunity today write down or share your “Damascus Road” experience with someone who needs Christ will I? Will you

Paul wrote this letter to defend his apostleship and to defend the authority of the Gospel. To help the Galatians turn from legalism to faith in Jesus. This issue can still be present today where we try to earn God’s favor through doing so many things, following rituals, or obeying a set of rules.  I found a great reminder for myself in Our Daily Bread: Rhythms of Grace. It reminded me to take a second to pause and take inventory of your life: “If you find that Christianity exhausts you, draining you of your energy, then you are practicing religion rather than enjoying your relationship with Jesus. Your walk with the Lord will not make you weary; it will invigorate you, restore your strength, and energize your life” ( Matthew 11:28-29)

Paul gives a realistic picture of the challenges of transitioning from a religion based on rules to one based on a relationship with Jesus Christ. From a life based on entitlement, to one given through grace; to a life not lived out through our flesh, but through the power of the Holy Spirit.

So are we working for Him, or walking with Him? While you read through Galatians be reminded that we are justified by faith not just the law. ( Galatians 2:20 Galatians 3:10-11) That our list of do’s and don’ts doesn’t confine us, it is our relationship with the Lord. We have freedom in our faith in Christ alone.  He is all we need now and for eternity. (1 John 2:1-2)

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for your grace. I accept that I am just like everyone else and can’t do any of this life on my own.  We are imperfect in so many ways and prone to sin. There is nothing we can do that makes me better than anyone else.  You love us so much you gave yourself up on the cross for me. That’s a grace so amazing that I can’t wrap my head around it, I can only accept this free gift and know that I’m saved.  I pray for guidance and willingness to submit the rest of my life to you.  That as we walk together I grow my faith and serve you with continued joy.  As we read through Galatians keep your words through Paul in our hearts.

Amen

 

Humble Servanthood

     Today, we are reading Acts 28 together.  In this chapter, the final one in the book of Acts, we continue to travel with Paul and his close friend Luke.  Luke, Paul and the rest of their group have recently been shipwrecked after a terrible storm; in fact, they have not eaten in 14 days and were forced to swim to the nearest island  (see Acts 27:14; Acts 27:33; Acts 27:43).  They learned that the island was called Malta, and they remained there for three months.  Fortunately, the native Maltans welcomed Paul and his group wholeheartedly.  From Malta, the group traveled to Rome and here Paul’s circumstances changed dramatically.  In verse 16, Luke writes, “When we actually entered Rome, they let Paul live in his own private quarters with a soldier who had been assigned to guard him.”  (Acts 28:16)   In fact, Paul was now under house arrest, and he knew that his years of ministry would soon come to a close.

Despite his imprisonment and impending death, Paul somehow managed to remain humble.  It is this character trait, humility, that I would like us to focus on today.  We see evidence of Paul’s humility right after he arrives in Malta.  Despite having just survived a terrifying shipwreck – he is most likely exhausted and starving – Paul doesn’t hesitate to help his hosts when it begins to rain:

     “It had begun to rain and was cold…Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire…:” (Acts 28:3). 

Paul’s humility is evident here in his service to others despite his own physical weakness.

When Paul arrives in Rome and begins his season of house arrest, he remains humble here as well.  We read that Paul constantly places others before himself:

“From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus…” (Acts 28:23)

Paul could easily have chosen an attitude of bitterness regarding the loss of his personal freedom, but he did not.  Instead, he chose to spend his days – from morning to evening – telling others about Christ, so that they too might be saved.

It takes humility to serve others who are treating you as an honored guest, and it takes humility to serve others when you are imprisoned with a guard watching over your every move. From guest of honor to prisoner, Paul remained humble and served those around him.  In doing this, he taught people about Jesus.  Although few of us will experience either shipwreck or imprisonment in our lives, we can all try to set aside our current circumstances, whatever they are, and serve others in humility.  In doing this, our actions reveal Christ and his love for the world.  How can you, today,  humbly serve those around you?

Thy Word

Today’s reading is Acts 18.

Here we learn about three new champions of the Gospel in Priscilla, her husband Aquila, and Apollos. Although we don’t know for certain that Paul was responsible for Priscilla and Aquilas’ conversion to Christianity, the text does say in Acts 18:2 they were Jewish, so I have to believe Paul may have had an impact on their conversion, or if nothing else, helped them grow in their knowledge, understanding, and love of Christ. How did he do this? We see in Acts 18:3 that “he stayed with them and worked.” He didn’t just give them the Gospel and move on..he invested not only time with them, but was in the trenches with them working which may have been why they were receptive to the message of Christ. It also says in Acts 18:5 that “Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to Jews that the Christ was Jesus.”

What I then find so cool is this investment by Paul leads to Priscilla and Aquila going with Paul in Acts 18:18 to Syria. Now, they are determined to spread the Word. In Ephesus, they come across a man named Apollos who it says in Acts 18:24 was “competent in the Scriptures.” However, it seems he was missing some key things about Jesus and “knew only the baptism of John” from Acts 18:25. Instead of Priscilla and Aquila just saying he was a good man and well intentioned, they go a step further and in Acts 18:26 it says, “they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” It then says they invested in him like Paul did in them and “encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him” in Acts 18:27. As a result of his speaking and teaching the Word that Christ was Jesus, he greatly helped others believe in the grace of Jesus we are told in Acts 18:27-28.

Wow..it is amazing how investing in one person and showing and teaching them the Word can not only change the course of their life and where they will spend eternity, but likely where their  family and future generations will spend eternity, as well as some of those whose lives they cross paths with during their lifetime. When the Holy Spirit starts to move in one, the trickle-down effect and impact is mind-boggling. This is how Christianity went from a few of Jesus’ brave disciples to where it is today in the world, and even right down to you and me knowing Jesus Christ. We owe a great debt to those that had the courage to speak the Word before us.

John 1:1-2 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” John 1:14 then says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father full of grace and truth.” The far-reaching effects of Paul’s witness and investment in Priscilla and Aquila and then their witness and investment in Apollos happened because they focused on teaching the Word. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we learn that “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” We must ask ourselves constantly if we personally, and even the church we attend, are truly following the Word or are instead following traditions passed down that are not in the Word or things present day society tells us is normal and okay because things have changed. If we choose to discredit or ignore even one thing in the Word, then all the rest of the Word is discredited and we are in effect saying not all scripture is breathed out by God. If we pick and choose which parts we want to believe and follow, then none of it is true.

We may be hesitant to correct others when they stray from the Word because we ourselves are not perfect, but Priscilla and Aquila show us the far-reaching effect of helping a man who was well intentioned but just a little off like Apollos. Jesus knows we are not perfect, but tells us we must do so (and also how) in Matthew 18:15-18. Galatians 6:1 says the same and reminds us to take watch ourselves. When we correct others and bring them back to the Word, we must also do so with “grace and truth” just as Jesus (the Word) did in John 1:14 from above. As a side note, isn’t it interesting, and I don’t believe a coincidence, that grace comes before truth here and many other places in the Word.

I will leave you with the words of a song you may know that my 4-year-old son and his classmates recently sang at the Cornerstone Christian Academy Spring concert. The song brought back memories, as I can remember singing it as child. The lyrics to “Thy Word” are just as true now as they were then and as true as the Word has been forever and ever. I pray that today and every day we will let “Thy Word” be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path and that we share it so it can be the same for others we know and then others they know…

 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

When I feel afraid, And think I’ve lost my way.

Still, you’re there right beside me.

Nothing will I fear As long as you are near;

Please be near me to the end.

 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

 

I will not forget Your love for me and yet,

My heart forever is wandering.

Jesus by my guide, And hold me to your side,

And I will love you to the end.

Nothing will I fear As long as you are near;

Please be near me to the end.

 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet

And a light unto my path.

And a light unto my path.

You’re the light unto my path.