End Times

When the disciples asked Jesus when the end times would come He responded, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:3-4) We see from Jesus’ response that deception is something that the Christian needs to be on guard against. It was the first thing He said on the topic of the end times. The first instruction He gave His followers.

From today’s reading we learn that being deceived can lead to departing from the faith. (1Timothy 4:1-3) We also learn that His word is a means of protection from being deceived. Praise God that He provides us with full protection.  Psalms 119 is often known for its length. I have come to know Psalms 119 for its awe of God’s Word. The psalmist is in love with God’s law, His statues, His testimonies, His commandments. God’s word protects the Christian from being deceived. It is our sword in the spiritual battle for our souls. (Ephesians 6:17)

Today’s reading: 2 Kings 7; 1 Timothy 4; Daniel 11; Psalm 119:25–48

Suggestions for prayer: Ask God to place on you a love for His Word. Thank God for His promise to give you perfect remembrance of it to discern the truth from lies (John 14:26).

For further study: Read Matthew 23: 1-14 and consider what verse 13 means in light of the previous verses.


Discerning God’s Will

A Christian is obsessed with God’s will. Our love of the LORD is synonymous with obedience to His Word (John 14:15). To know it. To do it. To serve Him is our greatest privilege. God’s Word speaks to so much but what about the things it does not speak to specifically? 

As I read today’s scripture I’m reminded of advice I received with regard to discerning God’s will: focus on His revealed will. When we are faced with decisions in life that we cry out for discernment on we need to look to scripture and focus on God’s revealed will. In the past, I have acted like a child, just wanting my answer for my particular situation. ‘Should I major in this or that… God’s word says to love people… right, right, but what about my major….’

I have heard it said that God does not care when it comes to these smaller things. You may have heard it phrased as a question; “Does God really care who wins the super bowl?” In my estimation, of course He does! I have come to believe God cares about everything (1John 4:8). I have also come to believe that God knows everything (Psalm 139:4). If God is love (opposite of not caring) and God knows everything, my faith strengthens me to believe that His revealed will contains all I need (Isaiah 46:9-10, Romans 8:28, 2Corinthians 12:9). And so by the grace of God, those who love God, can face a specific decision and know that God’s will for you is fully contained in God’s revealed will. Praise God that we need not over complicate things nor worry and that obeying God is simple and the burden light if we let it be! (1John 5:3, Ecclesiastes 7:9) #FaithForward 

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today’s reading: 1 Kings 22; 1 Thessalonians 5; Daniel 4; Psalms 108–109

Suggestions for prayer: Ask God to place on you a love for His Word and to light your path.

For further study: Make a study of all the places in scripture where God reveals His will. Copy them down and share them with your family at the dinner table (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Ask your family to join in and add to the family collection of God’s revealed will.  

Discerning Faith

Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 1; 1 Corinthians 12; Ezekiel 10; Psalm 49

September 7th, 2016

1st Corinthians Chapter 12 is so rich with practical wisdom for living. Individualism and teamwork. Pride and humility. Comparison, jealousy and envy; beauty, goodness, and joy. It is all there. The one that stands out the most to me is the idea of ownership as it applies to pride and humility. I wrote about this back in April (You are [not] awesome). Instead of considering that again, I would like to draw on yesterday’s post, Examine Thyself, which I believe can help us not only learn from today’s scripture, and any truth, but put the truth to use.

Yesterday we read of the gravity of our call to examine ourselves when we eat and drink the LORD’s Supper (1Corinthians 11:26-29). Consider with me today this thought and if you find it true, let us venture examine our hearts. Here is the thought: knowing the truth and believing the truth are different.

Too often, in my past, I have confused knowing the right answer in truth with having a heart that is right in truth. For example, when posed with the question “should you be prideful or humble?”, most Christians would spring to the right answer understanding the truth is “humility is profitable and pride is not.” However, if the truth is not truly believed is it then impotent? Put another way, How does knowing the right answer differ from living the right answer? If indeed there is a difference, If one were to know the right answer but not live it, what is missing? Could it be a true belief?

If belief is a matter of heart and we know that hearts are not so easily discerned (Jeremiah 17:9) and more that our hearts are deceptive to the point where they can even deceive us (Proverbs 21:2), how then can we discern our heart? How can we examine ourselves?

I was shown an exercise I’ll share it with you here. It is a simple question, that, if seriously considered, may help us discern our faith and test our hearts. It can be adjusted to suit most any situation where discernment of faith in the truth is needed. Here is the question:

What would I be doing right now if ___________?

The blank can equal a prayer answered, worry eradicated, or truth applied. The idea is to imagine a reality where the blank was already filled in, in truth, and measure your actions, choices, demeanor, and/or attitude prior to asking this question against what those things would be like if ______ were so.  

Stick with me here just a bit longer. Let us take in an example. One of the most fundamental in nature and possibly one of the most challenging to follow because it is so unusual to imagine not maintaining your own faculties. Let us attempt to discern our pride, a matter of ownership (1 corinthians 6:19-20). For this, the question then could be: What would I be doing right now if I did not own myself? If you were, say, on loan to yourself from Christ but for a season. Try applying this to a decision you might make in an upcoming meeting or what your first thought might be when you wake up in the morning.

One more example. Let us say there was a leper in a time when being a leper meant they were an outcast to society. In a place where, if for whatever reason they were healed, to rejoin society they would need to follow a protocol to let the proper authorities examine them and give them a clean bill of health that they could then carry back for admittance into the community.  Let us say this leper begged mercy from someone they believed to be able to heal them. The question then becomes: What would the leper be doing right now if they were healed? (Reference: Luke 17:11-19)

This exercise is all to help each of us arrive at the answer to one simple and basic question that at the same time is most critical to everything we think, say and do: do we really believe? (James 1:6-8, Hebrews 3:12) May we examine ourselves and keep our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). May we think on our ways and turn our feet to His testimonies (Psalms 119:59).


Extra Credit.

Examine yourself and test your heart with this question in two ways:

  1. construct the question with a supplication you are making to our LORD as if it were already answered.
  2. construct the question with a one of these basic truths you may be taking your heart’s position for granted on; God is perfect and holy, God demands holiness, Hell and Heaven are real, on our own we are hell-bound sinners incapable of holiness incapable of earning a right relationship with God, Jesus bought us and paid our way into Heaven and that right relationship with God, there is nothing we can do to repay Him, even our best performances are but filthy rags to Him, our greatest privilege is to serve Him.

Examine thyself

September 6, 2016

The last few weeks at church we have been reading in John and discussing the many many events that happened hours before the death of Jesus.  Using figures of speech and talking plainly Jesus spoke so we can read today and have hope, faith, love for Him, ourselves, and others John 16:25. In these hours before a betrayal Jesus sat down with his disciples first showing how we should serve others John 13:16 , take heart in tribulations, be not of the world, and that God loves us with the same depth as His only son John 17:26.

Today’s Readings: 1 Samuel 31; 1 Corinthians 11; Ezekiel 9; Psalm 48

In the second half of 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 we read about the Lord’s Supper. This is a part that Christians have read and listened to every time we take communion. Starting at 1 Corinthians 11:24, Paul writes how the bread and the cup represents the body and blood is taken in the remembrance of Jesus. Verse 1 Corinthians 11:26 is that reminder to us that we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

In 1 Corinthians 11:28 Paul talks about us examining ourselves. Yesterday, as Brandon Grant read and preached from John 17:20-26 he talked about  The Oneness that Wins the World .This Oneness challenged me to be reflective in my desires and the oneness I have with others.  I felt this examination run through my mind and in my heart. As I reflected on my prayers, engagement in others, and the sacrifices that I should make for God and His kingdom. These thoughts continued through the night as I read through this part of 1 Corinthians 11:28 into now.  I asked myself how many times I have had the Lord’s Supper and not examined myself.  Remembering that it is the Lord who truly knows our hearts and will judge us. In our time of communion, eating the bread and drinking the cup shows that we are remembering Christ’s death for us and renewing our commitment to serve Him.  In this time of communion,  instead of thinking of what plans I have that will follow that service I need to be thinking about what Jesus did and Why He did it! Taking the Lord’s Supper should be a time when I can examine myself for any unconfessed sin or resentful attitudes. What barriers am I hiding that affect my relationship with Him and with other believers. 



Dear Lord, by Your grace do we get to be part of this special time where we can take this sacrament given by Christ to help strengthen our faith.  Jesus, thank you for this time where we are at oneness with each other and completely focused on You. Thank you for the reminder that the Lord’s Supper is not to be taken lightly and this new covenant came at the cost of Your life. Amen