422 - Christ + One = Enough

November 2, 2017

When we look at the turmoil in the world and the lukewarmness of the church, sometimes it feels natural to get depressed and throw up our hands and see the problem as too big and the solution as too small.  We long for others to step up and stand in the gap against the rising tide of sin in our land.  And we'll gladly support those that do.  But they seem so few and the enemy seems so many. What are we to do?

One Man is All God Needs

But there are some encouraging words for us in the Proverbs.  Consider the following:

Proverbs 28:2 - Because of the transgression (rebellion) of a land, (result) many are its princes (ruler, official, chieftain); But (what) by (through) a man (one, singular, individual) of understanding (biyn - to discern, to pay careful attention to, to consider diligently) and knowledge (yāḏa) right will be prolonged.

Did you catch that?  It only takes one man, one single man of understanding and knowledge for God to prolonger what is right in a land.  Just one man.  That's why the Lord continually addresses the remnant in His letters to the church at Thyatira and Sardis.

Revelation 2:24 - "Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira (the remnant), as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden."

Revelation 3:4 - "You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments (the remnant); and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy."

Do you want to be part of the remnant?  Do you want to be the man, the single man the Lord can use to change the face of our culture?  Do you want to know Him more than you do today?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on the Lord’s letter to the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29.

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418 - What Happens When Our Prayers Go Unanswered

September 18, 2017

Some of the hardest questions in the Christian life have to do with God not answering our prayers— no matter how much we pray or how much faith we can collectively muster.  Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?  Why didn’t God do what I prayed He would do?  Why doesn’t God love me?  Because if He did, He would not have let happen what happened?  Where was God during my time of deepest need?  I prayed to God for ________ and it did not happen.

Which inevitably leads us to ask this:  Why God?  Is the problem with me?  Am I not doing enough to get my prayers answered?  Or is the problem with You?  Are You showing favorites and am I on the bottom of Your list?  What's the problem?  Help me understand this, God, because this is hurtful and doesn't make any sense.

You're Right, It Doesn't Make Much Sense

And the reason for that is our reliance on Cliff Note theology.  We grab a few Scriptures, usually out of context, and hold on to them like a life preserver vainly trying to get them to say something they don't.  Consider these:

1 John 5:14-15 - Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Did you notice something?  The key, according to this verse, is praying "according to His will."  When that happens, badda bing, badda boom, prayers get answered.  But when we ask for something not according to the will of God, all bets are off.  The answer will be, "Not today, not ever."

Matthew 18:19 - “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven."

First, this statement by our Lord has nothing to do with prayer, but with dealing with a sinning believer.  And even if it did give us a prescription for prayer, can two people agree for world peace and the end of all wars, and it be a guarantee from the Lord?  I think not.  Why?  Because God has already revealed to us that in the future we "will hear of wars and rumors of wars" (Matt. 24:6).  God has already spoken prophetic truth to us and won't violate His Word because of our prayers.

Do you want to know the reason God often doesn't answer our prayers?  Because the reason will change the way you look at God and prayer from this point forward.  If you want to know more, then keep listening.

The following is a study on prayer.

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381 - The Year of Sanctification

January 4, 2017

Many of us make resolutions this time of year.  It just seems natural.  Maybe we want to lose weight, get out of debt, or finish a long neglected project around the house.  But as a Christian, we want to somehow make our resolutions more spiritual.  That also seems natural.  So we often resolve something like this:

"I want to read my Bible more."
"I want to pray more."
"I want to share my faith more."
"I want to love more, forgive more, worship more."
"I want to live more like a Christian."
"I want to know more of God and have myself conformed to the image of His Son."

But the key to discovering the "abundant life" (John 10:10) Jesus spoke about is not in keeping resolutions, no matter how good they may be.  It's living a life of holiness.  It's practicing sanctification.  It's being set apart or consecrated unto God.  After all, we belong to Him.

But sanctification never takes place unless we first understand the way God's if / then promises work.  The promise comes after the condition.  The then follows the if.  Consider the following:

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

(condition one) Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
(condition two) and lean not on your own understanding;
(condition three) in all your ways acknowledge Him,
(promise) and He shall direct your paths.

Want to know more.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Proverbs 3:5-6.

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377 - The Seven Letter Solution

December 12, 2016

Often we are confused concerning the gifts of the Spirit, especially the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.  Questions still linger:  Are all the gifts for today?  Or, were some of them only for the time of the apostles?  And, if they are for today, what does the exercise of these gifts look like?  How are they manifested in the church today?

In order to understand the truth behind these questions, we must begin with a simple, seven letter word:  another.  There are two Greek words translated "another" in this passage.  The first is allos, which means "another of the same kind."  And then there is heteros, which means "another of a different kind."  Now, look at the passage in question:

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 - For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another (allos) the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another (heteros) faith by the same Spirit, to another (allos) gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another (allos) the working of miracles, to another (allos) prophecy, to another (allos) discerning of spirits, to another (heteros) different kinds of tongues, to another (allos) the interpretation of tongues.

Now we have three groups of gifts each divided by the word heteros - or "another of a different kind."

Group One

Word of wisdom
Word of Knowledge

Group Two

Faith
Gifts of Healings
Working of Miracles
Prophecy
Discerning of Spirits

Group Three

Different kinds of tongues
Interpretation of tongues

Do you see how logically the Lord has presented this confusing passage about the gifts of the Spirit?  Do you see what He is trying to teach us?  If you want to know more, then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

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376 - Stupid is as Stupid Does

December 5, 2016

When we look at the warnings from the Lord found in the first chapter of Proverbs, we are naturally drawn to the almost prophetic words of Forrest Gump.

"Stupid is as stupid does."

To put it in the words of Solomon:

“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?" - Proverbs 1:22.

Or, "How long, you simple (foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic) ones, will you love simplicity (what is foolish, simpleminded, stupid, naive, moronic)?"

Great question. But what is the object of this question? What exactly are the stupid ones loving stupidly? What can we learn about the wisdom of God from what is being said here? If you want to know more, then keep listening

The following is a study on Proverbs 1:20-33.

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347 - Living in the Midst of Fear

May 17, 2016
In Psalm 56, during a very dark time in David's life, he wrote the following:

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; (therefore) I will not fear.  What can flesh (or, man) do to me?

James Montgomery Boice said:  "Man can oppress, slander, hurt, hate, maim, and murder me, for starters.  But, of course, that is not the answer David is giving us in Psalm 56.  His answer is: Nothing!"

And he's right.  What can man do to me?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing?  Why?  Because "God is for me" (Psalm 56:9).  Do you want to know how to live in the midst of fear?  Do you want to know how to not let your view of God limit you because He is too small.  If so, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Psalm 56.

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332 - The Deeper Things of God

December 13, 2015
You know, there's more to our life in Christ than most of us realize.  And that's because most of us are satisfied and content with far less than what God has planned for us.  Consider one of the primary purposes of acquiring wisdom:

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, (why) to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles - Proverbs 1:5-6.

The climax, the zenith of wisdom is to be able to understand an "enigma" (or, a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand, also a riddle, a symbol or parable, a discourse requiring an interpretation) and the words of the wise and their "riddles" (or, difficult questions, perplexing sayings, statements with double meanings, or dark or obscure utterances).  It is the ability to comprehend the deep, dark sayings of the Lord.  The hidden truths, the obscure meanings of His Words.

Yes, that is our inheritance in Him via His wisdom.  So how are you doing in the wisdom arena?  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study of Proverbs 1:5-6.

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