Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What Is True? What Is Truth?

So often in discussion with your friends over a meal, and then even in forced conversations with religionists like Latter Day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses, what someone believes is said to be true by a person just because they believe it.

Of course this is silly, for plenty of people believe wrong things about all kinds of things.  The religionist Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions, so they put their life at risk for no reason.  The religionist Latter Day Saint may believe Joseph Smith was a prophet, when really we know from both archaeology and from North American history nothing he said existed exists in Missouri.

The same goes for other areas, your friend in discussion might believe that Apple stock is going up, only to watch it go down in a moving trend for long periods of time.  You may believe a relationship will work out when really it fails.  Dallas-Fort Worth meteorologists routinely predict what will happen in West Fort Worth is what will happen for the whole 7 million person Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.  It never does, but people plan their schedules by it.  You might also believe that it will rain, and it does, but your believing it has nothing to do with making it true, but people think it does.  The fact is finite creatures oftentimes get what is believed by themselves or their club (postmodernism) wrong either way.  You and I no less are in that boat.  However, the Bible says we can be certain about Jesus Christ.  Now how is that, given that in life things are not certain, except as the old adage says "death and taxes"?

So what/who is it that makes a belief into something that is actually true?  What is actually true is called by philosophers 'knowledge.'  Just like any word, knowledge can misunderstood.  To you knowledge might be you can cure anything with some lavender and a dropper, while another trusts a medical doctor who gives them statin drugs, only to find out it caused them to lose vision in one eye and they continue to have heart problems.  Was it certain to help them?  No.  Certainty or what is sure/true belief is in common use (street level) a best guess, and this makes it a so-called inductive argument, a probability.  If something is a probability, we can speak of certainty like I'm 30%, 45%, 70% certain.  Even then the "standard" of what is certainty (how do you know its 45%) is up for grabs.  In weather forecasts, it is coverage most of the time. Where I live that inductive guess is pretty much useless (false) since the news covers such a large area. When someone predicts a success rate of 80% for your organ operation, then you hope they're better at gauging things.

The Bible does NOT give a green light to Christians to call their relationship with God a probability (or induction).  See my new book, Know Why You Know, for where/why.  In the end, even though it does permit use of probability talking (500 brothers saw risen Jesus), Scripture records certainty of your relationship as without doubt, aka therefore without inductive/probability arguments being why you are certain.  This is especially true of basic salvation beliefs forming (real) knowledge.  You can have a discussion of you believe/we believe, that's fine.  Just don't tell people that God's Word reveals that is how much certainty we can have, a probability argument, which is a major weakness of current evangelical apologetics and philosophy.  I think we can do better since we have warrant in Scripture for a better position of certainty, not rooted in the changeableness of mankind or a nation or a people group or a community (postmodernism).  So...

What about your eternal destiny, and whether you ought to spend innumerable hours serving the Lord over your lifetime, and whether you should guide your marriage by wisdom/biblical principles?  Are you comfortable with 70% or 80% accuracy, or 51% (Richard Swinburne)?  The thing is Christ followers do not have to be content with a percent, they can know for certain that Jesus Christ has saved them and is their Lord and Savior.  This means not necessarily that we fall back into deductive argument, that uses a widely accepted premise per se, to conclude something is always true/knowledge.  The one person that is left out of discussion with a friend or a religionist at lunch break or your door, is God in contemporary discussions.  He gets an honorable mention and then people move on to their "ideas" of what is true and what they believe. This places Christian faith in a mere category alongside Islam, Buddhism, or any cult or agnosticism in a postmodern Western culture.  This is truly unfortunate since Christ, the living Christ, is not just your idea, or what you believe.  If your believing makes Christ Jesus true to you, then that's all He is, true to YOU.  But what about reality?  Is He really the Savior of the world?  Is Jesus more than an existential urge you had to live for Him?  Yes!  Jesus holds all things together in His power (Colossians 1:15-20).

One of the worst things you can do in a postmodern society to have your Savior written off is like the Mormon missionary says that Jesus is 'true for you,' so Jesus should be true for them.  That's fine as a way of just talking, there is nothing wrong with just talking, but let's not call that giving a reason for why you believe or a life-changing witness.  My monthly Latter Day front door visitors always tell me their testimony and then tell me to pray about it.  They never talk about God, just the feeling I should have if I should become a Mormon.  Haha, well, that isn't going anywhere in the new scene that is unfolding in the West.  What they are selling is existentialism, it is not even close to Christianity, just like Muhammad's angelic message is based on, surprise, surprise, Muhammad's own testimony.  Wow, that is NOT a game changer.  I want to be with the living God, and that is in Christ Jesus, not man-made, man-felt religion of us making something 'true' (at the end of the day anyhow).

Barnes & Noble
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Monday, November 4, 2013

When to Cut Out that Habit!

Yesterday in our Life Group (a small home group that studies the Bible, prays together, and serves together in a local area) we heard of the "Change of Kingdoms" from the world/self/Satan over to Jesus Christ we have through faith by grace (God's unearned mercy).  We also heard of "The Battle for Holiness" on knowing the tactics the enemy uses to trick Christians to not grow in purity for God and then the methods of growing in purity.  Both were chapters out of the great, but short book, The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges.  An unjustly short summary of these would be:  God makes you right with Him (righteous) by your dying with Christ (Romans 6:1-12) and being raised spiritually to a new kind of life, so that by remembering that after you are saved, you can pursue kingdom goals (like various forms of purity, Romans 6:1-12). 

In my own Bible reading, there is a powerful change passage in the Gospel of Mark 9, verses 42 to 50 that really zooms in on this habit theme.  Jesus is teaching.  The disciples are around.  People have questions in the crowd.  Jesus has just driven a demon out of a boy which none of the disciples could do since it required prayer and they had not even prayed about it.  Jesus is going then into this battle for personal holiness that belongs to Christ followers.  He says what appears to be a stumbling block to log headed seperatist groups that over literalize things, "And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell."  Of course, none of them ever do that.  I firmly believe the Bible is to be taken literally, but in its context.  Language allows expressions to make a literal point, and this is one of those, as I do not see anyone cutting off their foot today who ignores that.  This expression means...

A Christ follower will take radical steps to cut sin out of their life.  If your foot is carrying you past the prostitutes house, the computer with pornography access, the time to access an online pop magazine that encourages greed in you, the neighbor's house that loves what you struggle against in sin, you will cut it off.  You will no longer allow that 'route' of your feet to that place to stay in place.  Just as the gospel refers to feet that carry the good news of peace, so this is the flip side, cutting out routes that disable your serving the Lord.  You will disable it, by avoiding it, for the glory of God in your life.

Application:  How radical are you about changing where you go?  Most of us probably as creatures of habit and in spiritual sloth do not change.  But God calls you to take a different road, to avoid that computer, to not go to that one neighbors house, so that you can show for a walk with Jesus Christ instead.  It's better, believe that.  Today is the day to walk differently.

Also, Jesus continues this language to make a literal point, 9:47 "And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out.  It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell," and with this the same idea.  No one is taking out their eyes.  The way of talking in the Greek or Aramaic was understood by the hearers to underline the necessity of cutting out access, not the eye.  One's feet or eyes do not make one unholy.  One's own heart inclination when it is entertained and it works against a plan of God and it is allowed to come to fruition makes one unholy in an action (understand, NOT salvation, just your walk with Jesus). 

Application:  How radical are you about what you see?  What can steer you to wrong plans, will you cut it out?  The sooner you make the change the better.

God bless you!

From Valley to the Vista: How Your Being Perplexed or Your Mess IS God's Opportunity to Shine

When it comes to God growing our faith he does so in steps.  When we need something and God puts our situation so that through faith we grow and mature, that is a process called growing in holiness.  It is also a concern for God's glory, or weighty namesake, in our life.  Paul says that we have the power of God to save us and change us from the God who said "let light shine out of darkness," 2 Corinthians 4:6.  So there is no lack on God's end of things.  That's the irony, in our life and world which are so often a broken mess, as Paul explains "afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies," he is getting at a purpose in that mess.

IN your mess, God's glory shines brighter.  Whether it is the struggle to see how to honor God in this cirucmstance or that, in home, in friendships, in work, God would have the life of Jesus be manifested not your glory.  This applies both individually and corporately as a church family.

Some of this is persecution, sure.  But a lot of it is just living in a fallen world (4:8 a,b)!  You cannot see the solution, but by faith you trust God for what is needed and to handle it in a godly way, so there is some being perplexed.  You are a victor, yet you are also in this world.  Afflicted in EVERY way has to include more than persecution!  Weaknesses you face actually make you a more glorious example of God's work, and in turn make you stronger in faith, and also mentally-emotionally, for His glory.  You can look back and see how God made something beautiful out of the perplexing or difficult situation.  It leaves you saying:  who could do this but God the Father who saved us by His Son Jesus!  Surely no one can plan to turn our ancestor's choice to sin and its consequence we are born with into an opportunity for amazing salvation, we are utterly unable to create/make at all, and then to grow us in pursuit of holiness as a next step not in salvation but in pointing to God's glory with all of your days.  What is God calling you to trust Him through today, and to find solutions that He can answer in prayer and that He can be glorified in?  Think on that.

Some examples individually:  Any believer in work or life, ministers at their job, their church, their home out of strong points for sure.  If you're gifted in an area, that is from God, and you make a living at it, or you can do so, or you study to do so, and practice.  Get peer advice.  But you are reminded too by the challenges of real work (aka real efforts) that you are a jar of clay.  You are humble, even if you are an expert in your area.  I'm reminded that though trained by the best church planters out there through several different networks, my ministry as any is also from a jar of clay. 

I'm a jar of clay.  Others are jars of clay.  We work and live and love out of this humility that God gives the power to show Himself glorious (2 Corinthians 4:7).  If you're a wise worker at home or business you are constantly learning.  A leader is always a learner.  I am humbled by going to certain trainings myself or peer trainings by the level of wisdom God gives some, but then I get to know those people and they are truly once you know them jars of clay too.  Imperfect and all, just like you and me.  We are perplexed at times.  Then God uses the power He has displayed through these other jars, not to replicate their exact situation, but to remind you to keep faith, and God grows you and does amazing things in you and me too.  This can be applied to any area of your life (parenting, finances, family devotions, etc.).  Some people do not get it.  They imagine in their job, their family, their church they are some kind of glorious vase, not a jar of clay.  Lol, I've learned to see through it, maybe you too.  True leaders see they are jars of clay and never bow a knee to someone who knows it all.  But you can learn from those who are wise.

Some examples corporately:  we have had wizards and witches ask us to not invite them to worship services in our area.  That would give someone without Christ, our powerful Savior, a lot of trepadation.  We of course do not mail someone who does not want to be mailed invites to worship God.  However, the threats that someone like that lays at you might cause concern.  However, the God who is in us (God in Christ, the Holy Spirit) is stronger than the god who is in the world.  So we keep up ministry.  That would be one form of persecution like is found in the Book of Acts, but a modern contemporary update. / We have also had First Baptist Wylie send staff members to one up us at Wylie Chamber events.  A Chamber of Commerce if you ever go, often has gatherings where you can explain what you do for 30 seconds or a minute, and you share what you can.  Well they would send someone to one up us later in the 30 second commercials with "well, Woodbridge can do that, but we can do this..." for weeks on end.  Eventually after more than once the pattern became obvious and this perplexes you as a church planter in an area with 194,000 persons, with only a handful of good solid Bible following churches.  But you press on because in spite of that, God is faithful.  Perplexed. / Struck down:  when we first launched we had about 100 people in attendance.  That is great, but of course, any church start keeps about 50% of those who come to a grand opening.  So we kept 50, of whom at least 10-15 were there to just help launch a new church (missions commitment, rather than membership).  But we grew about 50% that first year with people who love Jesus coming to be in a truly local church ministering to real life.  Then the next year we grew another approximate 50%, with more who had that passion to have a life that matters for Jesus, using their gifting where there is an opportunity rather than surplus.  God gets the glory for this continued growth (2 Cor 4:15 and thanks).  But in 2011 it felt like struck down the week after launch.  But keeping faith God blessed immensely to grow the church a tremendous amount!  So what you might see by comparison as an sos God sees as a way to show Himself glorious.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Know Why You Know - a new book out Fall 2013 - by David Keuss

Over the past five years I have had the privilege to dig into the study of how we know what we know as Christ followers.  A lot of times your friends say to you when you share about Jesus' love for them, "well, that's your opinion and I respect that, but it's not my opinion" even after you have shared evidence for why Jesus is Savior.  Perhaps you used a Josh McDowell book on evidence for Christianity.  Perhaps you have handed out Lee Strobel's The Case for a Creator

Still, a perceptive unbeliever in Jesus will want to know:  'I see Jesus is probable, and you believe in him, but how do I know that Jesus is really Savior?'  Or perhaps a postmodern neighbor would say 'how do I know Jesus will save me?'  These are questions what is called 'epistemology' the topic of how we know what we know. 

I'll be doing some posts on this topic of how we know what we claim we know for a new book I've just published with a division of Thomas Nelson known as Westbow Press. 

But to just get the ball rolling, here is a link to the new book below.  The book provides what is a way forward rather than gridlock on better responses to your friends and neighbors about why they too should trust Jesus as Savior (I'm simplifying the topic a lot, but this book both accessible and also can take you beyond where you are on this at present, it deals with the question in depth as well).  You can do more than just point to Bible study methods and some evidence, and on the other hand, what your community believes in Christ.  There is a way for theology to relate to your philosophy, so that you can better engage friends with the good news of Jesus.

Right now there is a softcover and hardcover edition.  Amazon and Barnes and Noble will start to have a digital / kindle edition soon too.  Also, if you want an autographed copy, feel free to contact me, and I'll get you a copy for 10 dollars if I hand it to you, or 11 dollars if I ship it anywhere in the US to you at book rate via United States Postal Service. 

It's my hope that this book fills a niche for Christ followers wondering how to best relate to neighbors while sharing what we understand to be actual knowledge of the truth.  There are insights I think God will bless you with in this project gone to press!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1490807454/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_awd_34Htsb0R0J2JR

God bless,

David Keuss
Know Why You Know, 2013.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Parenting: Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp

If you are a parent or hopeful parent to be then a great resource to have on your shelf at home is the book by Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child's Heart.  Dr. David Powlison, a well known Christian counselor, says "Tedd Tripp knows what he is talking about" and "he knows children, he knows parents...and he knows the ways of God."  John MacArthur, a Christian pastor and author, says it is suprising "to see how few books are genuinely biblical" on Christian parenting, but you will not "find a more excellent guide" than this. 

The book provides great resources and tips.  One instance is how on "communication" Tripp recommends "children need communication designed to inspire and fill with hope and courage."  "Your children know the pain of failure.  They, like you, find things looking hopeless at times....  You can help them assess the reasons for disappointment.  You need to help them understand the promises of God.  You can encourage them to find courage, hope and inspiration from God, who draws near to the brokenhearted and contrite." (page 82)

Like this same idea, but taken to other levels, Tedd mentions correction because despite culture today refraining from this, God calls for it.  "Sometimes a child needs to be brought into conformity with a standard.  ...  Correction gives your children insight into what is wrong and what may be done to correct the problem."  The next might be censuring behavior, approximating a situation where the child leaves you in dismay or alarm at what they have done.  "We should never tell people we hate them, or wish death or injury upon them," for instance, so we can censure our kids from doing that.  (Parents should not do that either, monkey see monkey do!)  You follow up verbal censure with other forms of "communication, such as instructino, encouragement, and prayer."  This creates a good pattern for a parent to see their role in.

Other great advice is on entreating, instructing and warning.

The book is filled with advice like this that would guide an otherwise discouraged or overly prideful parenting style of a Christian who needs a reminder or guidance.

Early chapters deal with the real conditions of this world, it is fallen, and perfection is not had, because sin reigns around us and there is a battle in our hearts with personal sin, as parents and kids. 

Later chapters deal with things like spanking.  Tedd says rightly, for example, "what is a spanking issue?"  Toddlers do not need to know house rules obviously.  You might be limited to telling them not to throw food or water.  As the child gets older, a spank may be necessary, but not for "clumsy" accidents, one should not spank on "occassion" where they do something like knock over an object by accident.  It would not be right.

His advice on timeouts is insightful.

There's great advice on how to appeal to the heart, the conscience, developed character based on who God is/calls us to be, and vision.

Bottom line:  there is a lot of wisdom from Scripture weaved into what you face.  I know I have found the book helpful in seeing things from God's perspective rather than just pragmatics.  It has kept me encouraged and on track as a parent in certain things.  May it do the same for you in some areas you are curious about.

The book also includes application questions with chapters, which can help you, or else be used for a group study, which our church Woodbridge Bible Fellowship in Wylie, Texas may do for our Life Groups with parents/guardians in them.

Blessings!
--Pastor David K.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How Should We Live in Christ Jesus?

Sometimes we forget to factor in how Jesus has called us to different living as Christ followers.  He was unlike the world, and that requires stepping out to follow Him, not passivity even though that would be easier.  There is that inevitable pull to do just what feels right, or what our emotions tell us.  But that kind of pull all comes down to forgetting God's plan, which we must not do.  When He set up our Savior Jesus (high priest, called by God, perfect sacrifice) He also called us to a new kind of living, differing from the Old Testament servants of God, but rooted in the fact that serving Christ is higher than serving in the Old Israelite Temple system.  Check out this message from Hebrews 5:1-12 at www.fellowshipofwoodbridge.org .

God Lifts Us Up

I had one of those days where God in His providence sends along the right situation to encourage you, and I'm sharing this to encourage you!  I was out and about and some believers were discussing how God works in a situation, but from their own lives.  But it is exactly what God wanted me to hear too, and it served as an encouragement.  I hope you'll remember that God cares enough about you to bring about the timely word or the insight you need through His plan.  Know that He loves you in this and wants you to see He is active in guiding you to good things (Romans 8:28).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How Do We Know Something Is True - aka Knowledge?

When someone asks you at work or out and about, "I know that's what you believe, but how do you know it is true?," they are asking a question easier to answer if you can see the whole range of options.  Most of us Christ followers would say, "well, God has changed my life," or "I had a life changing experience."  That is fine and well, it is true.  But if a person has not had that yet, what would you say to them next if they still ask, and they have not had your experience? 

There are several ways to go.  When you care about your friend, and love them, you want them to know God personally through faith in Jesus and to trust His Word to them in the gospel message.

One option is to bring in testimony of others, to show that you are not the only one with that experience.  But this is again still the area of experience.

You can talk about self-evident truths, such as that there are other minds out there, even though you have not seen them in action in person, such as you believe rightly that your neighbor has a brain.  That is a given.  You can say the One True God is also self-evident, and be reasonable in saying that.  You can talk of conscience and sin as pointers in this way too.

You can also call this self-evident truth collection (God, sin, etc) first level knowledge.  It is had without having to process or ergo/argue to a conclusion.  It is just acknowledged.  Those who deny it are covering up something.  While this sounds like a bad route initially perhaps, it is actually a very strong position (one of ways we know in Scripture, it is, Romans 1).  Other self-evident truths have to be appealed to by any argument/view/position.  So you can too.  We can get into arbitrating them another time, another post.

The main thing in this post is to not fear self-evident truth appeals.  You can share your faith and defend the faith with them.  Blessings.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Jesus Higher Than What?

As we have been studying through Hebrews in our church messages, a common theme emerges for our time (chapters 1-2):  look into what it might be that is replacing faithfulness to Jesus, and look instead to Christ Jesus for fulfillment.  For the Jewish Christians Hebrews was intended to go to, they were in a time when (Colossians 2) Jews and many Romans too were tempted to worship angels.  How they did this is not expressly stated.  But we do know that attention and devotion and probably more than likely, refuge and deliverance in, angels was a real problem in the outlook in many's hearts and minds, Hebrews 1.  The author of Hebrews (whether it was Paul or Barnabas, etc) has a goal, it is to help people put Jesus back into the center of their attention and focus.  Probably today you and I are not tempted to directly worship angels as they were.  Even in the years before the 1st century AD, many Jews in the intertestamental period were involved with this wrongly directed worship, placing angels into heirarchies for deliverance of them from problems.  I wonder what long-term God replacements we have in our cultures here in the United States, or North America at large?  Is it possible that lust, greed, or pride in being right or the best have been an issue?  Is it certain family members we give deference to, find refuge in, and more to the detriment of our relationship with Jesus?  Is it a good idea even, like freedom, made into a wrong thing by our devotion and reverence of it?  These are all questions that could help us figure out today what is going on in the heart, and how to get back on track with Christ Jesus.

If you are at drift in your spiritual life, as the Hebrews were (chapter 2), then perhaps you have seen other things go by the wayside, like paying attention to the Bible (Hebrews 2:1) or attending corporate worship, aka church services, at a good Bible teaching church (Hebrews 10:25)?  These are good places to start, get connected with other believers and set up a Bible reading plan.  Pay attention to what God revealed for your life in what His Son spoke, and start afresh today.  Grace to you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mothers Day 2013

This is a good summary of the situations of many biblical women, some who were biological mothers and some who were not.  It addresses temporary and long-term infertility as well.  If nothing else, it provides a Bible study idea on some of these topics.
http://www.infertilitysurvivalguide.com/issues/chapter13.htm

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Depression Rate and Church Attendance in Solidly Adult Population

This study shows an incidence of major depression is less likely over time in those who consistently attend church, in their advanced adult years. 
http://www.reasons.org/articles/religion-and-mental-health-going-to-church-is-good-for-you

I'm assuming from the study that the benefit from attending appears after several years, rather than in just a "pop," I'm going now effect, in adults.  Interesting stuff.  This also could be related to the social benefits of not isolating oneself, such as in the NACS study, plus the worship benefits from peace with God and others.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Church Is a Team

One of the most best things for Christ-followers is realizing a passage like I Corinthians chapter twelve records Paul teaching the ability of God's people to use their spiritual gifts to encourage others.  In our mutual faith in Jesus, practically, when we go to church we together are actually getting stronger.  If you bring that gift and I bring this other one, even the meeting up is a very gift of God to encourage, teach, show mercy, pray for, etc another!  This helps us to put aside the belief (a morally wrong one we all have at times in the Western tradition) that church attendance is optional.

As a group of people, every local church congregation is gifted of God in different ways.  God in His goodness plans for these individual gifts coming together to make a stronger community.  Why is that?  It is for His glory, so it's not even about us at the end of the day, but we benefit as a part of the good plan :). 

Here's what it looks like in real life:  If one person is out on a Sunday who is an encourager, because they get busy on that day, rather than on Saturday by choice, then the whole church is weaker in their area of spiritual gifting.  If ten Christian friends are out on a Sunday, say half of those people who love to show mercy, and half encouragers, then you can see an impact in a church's ability to help others.  Given the nature of spiritual warfare (ongoing), Satan will not lose the chance to bring that one person who he wants to frustrate that needs mercy or encouragement to worship that one week!

All of this is to say, we can be thankful God's Word reminds us in 1st Corinthians twelve that  whatever your gift is the impact is felt beyond the walls of the church.  1st Corinthians 12:7 says that a manifestation, a showing of the Holy Spirit, is given to each one in a church for the common good.  Are you making a difference where you go by attending and being involved, for the sake of God's kingdom and its spreading to touch lives?  Have you ever thought of your presence or absence directly helping or hurting your friends from church in their lives?  It does. 

It is God's plan for a people to build one another up in faith and love and good deeds, not for us to be isolated units cloistered at home watching hdtv, or replacing God-time with other good things that leave God's kingdom missing members.  This whole picture makes other Bible passages like Hebrews 10:25 (link to that verse) make a lot of sense, in a fuller way.  May the Lord bless you!

Spiritual Gifts survey provided, for free:  Click here.
Book seller with spiritual gifts books, provided for any interested:  Click here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bible Reading Plans 2013

Now is a great time to choose a Bible Reading plan for the year ahead.  There are some great choices that allow several options.  A source website like this one from the English Standard Version Bible translator company offers you ways to do this at your preference.  You can read chronologically through the Bible, or one Old Testament, one New Testament, and one Psalm reading set of verses per day.  It's really a good idea to think over how your schedule works too and include that factor into the decision.  As an encouragement, some plans offer one day off a week and if you are a doctor or nurse who has those one or two really long days, this could be very useful stuff one of them.  I pray that God blesses you as you choose a strategy to hear and read God's Word in 2013, you will definitely be investing wisely in your spiritual walk with Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not Tricking Ourselves on Knowing God Personally...

In 1st Samuel 23, around verses 19 to 22, King Saul of Israel, who earlier chapters tell us was rejected by God, and which 23:7 shows us was self-deceived about his relationship with God, thinks that he can use religious sounding language about the LORD God of Israel to bless someone.

It is not entirely clear that Saul knows he has been rejected.  He may have assumed it in the future, but not at the present; 23:17.  Saul tries to go after and destroy an innocent man, and cloaks his evil heart desire in religious language, 23:21.  Maybe the Ziphites who were supposedly thinking they were "blessed" actually believed that Saul could offer that.  But Saul no longer served or listened to the LORD (doubtful he ever did), just used the right language of a religious person with a relationship.

It is important to know if we have a saving and walking with the LORD relationship today.  Do you have this relationship?  1st John 1:9 says this about it:  "If we confess our sins, he [the LORD] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  Then on the flip side those who do not know God or cannot approach Him due to hard hearts, say like 1st John 1:10 says "we have not sinned."  True turning from sin to the LORD is one clear evidence and necessary one for us to claim to rightfully use language that we know the LORD God as Savior and King.  May we walk with Him in 2013!