Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…
Bible Devotion

Devotion time in Isaiah 26

Did you notice this language in Isaiah 26:8-9?

8 In the path of your judgments,
O Lord,
we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
are
the desire of our soul.

9
My soul yearns for you in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

When saving faith is involved the language is affectional and not intellectual. We wait on the Lord, we desire Him with our soul, Christ becomes the very thing that our soul yearns for and we seek to have Him satisfy us!

I think the daily battle of sanctification is in essence a "fight for joy" in God. I once heard John Piper express it this way "The fight for joy in the Christian life is the battle you engage in daily to see Jesus as your treasure and to savor Him as that treasure above everything else in your life."

This kind of language is a reflection of the heart. There are so many other distractions and things that we can yearn for, enjoy and allow to satisfy us. Therefore we as a people of God must cry out, appeal, and pray to God for the faith, that only He can give, which will apprehend Christ each day as our greatest prize!

Devotion time in Psalm 63

Is your Bible reading intersecting your Bible doctrine? This morning I was blessed in my reading and devotion time by staying in Psalm 63 as it pertains to saving faith. One of my first steps was to take 5 Bible translations and compare the language each of them used in verse 1.

NASB - My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee
NLT - My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for You
ESV - My soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you,
KJV - my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee
NIV - I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,

Now fast forward to the New Testament and again read the words of the Lord Jesus to those who had just seen Him feed the 15-20,000.
John 6:35 - “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”

Sound familiar?

Saving faith is being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus Christ. I want to be sure that you see this language used in emotionally affectional and not just intellectual. A person can have all their Bible doctrine together and go straight to hell when they die. Because as we are learning in James "even the demons believe...and they shutter." I also want you to notice that the language is the evidence NOT ONLY in our coming to faith in Christ but in our being kept by faith in Christ. The same faith that causes a person to be BORN AGAIN is the same faith that keep us walking with Christ in our sanctification. Continue reading…

Bible Devotion in Leviticus

brand-image-stand-out
When you read in Leviticus about what the Israelites could eat and what they could not eat, the context is holiness and unholiness. God prescribes for His people what is acceptable and what is not acceptable based on what He says NOT what they think.

This book of the Bible helps to reaffirm for me the importance of Bible doctrine. God's truth is absolute and not relative like so many today would like to proclaim. Even though we may want to have shades of grey in our religion we serve a God who teaches us in black and white. I have said before and will continue to say that doctrine divides. It divides truth from error, right from wrong, wheat from tare, sheep from goat and believer from non believer.

A key application for us from Leviticus is our distinctiveness as Christians from the world around us. Is there a marked difference in our lives in regard to the truth of God's word? Or do we just blend in with everyone else in our tolerance of things that are unholy. Are we so casual and lukewarm in our faith that there is little contrast between us as Christians and our non-believing neighbors? God says to us today "be holy as I am holy." We no longer are under the food restrictions of the OT Jews however we should stand out as different unto the glory of God!

Dependence on Christ

IMG_0754
This morning we woke up to one of our dogs bringing us a baby squirrel. As I took the pictures and then looked over them I was reminded about the word FAITH.
The picture you see of this baby squirrel is a word picture of how we are to rest in Christ. We can’t feed ourselves, help ourselves or even spiritually look after ourselves. The only thing we can do is fall into the arms or in this case hands of the one who is able to rescue us. There is no way to tell this baby squirrel to go get some food, then climb a tree and protect yourself. In just the same way we can’t do anything to merit our own salvation by anything we do. So let’s take a lesson from the picture of this baby squirrel and learn to rest fully in Christ for our salvation now and forever!
Matthew 11:29–30 ““Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.””

Bible Devotion in Mark 6

Our Bible reading for today included Mark Chapter 6. In this chapter we have one of two miracles that are recorded for us in all four gospels; the feeding of the five thousand and the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

One of the first things I notice in Mark 6 is the compassion that Jesus has for the people manifests itself in His teaching them. We need NOT overlook the importance in the church of feeding the sheep because is represents the very compassion of Christ.

Second, Jesus is going to teach His disciples a very important lesson but unfortunately they aren't going to get it. How often through the word is Jesus trying to teach us today and we like the disciples just don't get it? Imagine the set up in Mark 6 by turning on the video player of your mind. Here we have between 15-20,000 people, night is coming on and the group is hungry with nothing to eat. We know there is no village in the surrounding area that can accommodate the food requirements for this many people. Jesus allows all this to sink in for His disciples so as to provide the following test. Go out into the crowd and take an inventory of food and get back to me. Do you think Jesus already knew? So what is the point for His disciples? Answer - to have them recognize that the situation before them CANNOT be solved using human strategy, planning or ingenuity. In other words what confronts the disciples in regard to feeding this crowd is the IMPOSSIBLE. But guess what they should know and what we should know "NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD."

STOP-LOOK-LISTEN, these are three words I learned years ago when having my devotion time. Don't go to fast and ask questions of the text when you read. For example, is it possible that God might put you in a situation that looks impossible, so that He can test your faith to rely entirely on Him. Notice what He tells the disciples "GO LOOK" in other words go check out just how impossible it is by seeing just how few resources are available. But then check out the precious lesson that follows. And I want to draw your attention to 4 verbs.
1. HE TOOK - yes He did but ask yourself this question, what did Jesus take? Answer - all that they had. Brothers and Sisters, Jesus doesn't want a slice of your life HE WANTS IT ALL! When we come to Christ we need to be prepared to give it all.
2. HE BLESSED - without going into much detail you can trace this all the way back to the promise God made to Abraham. The moment you receive Christ the only relationship you have now with God is one of blessing. This is true for you 100% of the time whether you recognize it or not.
3. HE BROKE - not this is where the health, wealth and prosperity gospel people miss the text. The Christian life on planet earth involves both blessing and breaking. It is different for each person but no Christian escapes the breaking.
4. HE KEPT GIVING - This verb is written in the PRESENT TENSE which means continuously, habitually, and in an ongoing manner. Now put it all together when we come to Christ we say Lord Jesus I give it all to you, everything I have it is yours. And He takes it, blesses it, breaks because it is after breaking that Christ can give you away to others. Continue reading…

Are you desperate for God?

Devotion time in God's word should start with the preparation of the heart and preparation of the heart should start with prayer. Are you desperate to hear from the living God through His living word?
Romans 10:17 says So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

I want to recommend that from this day forward you start every Bible reading, devotion and study with a sincere and desperate plea for God to open your eyes and ears. Learn to pray in order to prepare the heart. Two verses that I covered yesterday and there are many were:
Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.

Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Haven't we come to understand from the Bible that faith is a gift of God? And there is a connection between faith and hearing the word of God based on what we read in Romans 10:17. So doesn't it make sense to ask God if by His grace He might increase our faith as we are able to hear His word? And the word of God tells us in the book of James that the reason we don't have it is because we don't ask for it!

I have heard many comments about King Solomon over the years and the fact that he asked God for wisdom. You remember the story that God comes to Solomon in a dream and says that he may ask for whatever he wants. Here is what Solomon actually asked for; 1Kings 3:9 “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil." As a side note, the Hebrew word for understanding is "shama" which means to hear. So King Solomon, of all the things he could have asked of God, asked for a hearing heart! As you continue to read it says that this pleased the Lord.

Do we understand that God wants to grant that request for us as we come to His word? Continue reading…