Category Archives: Knowledge

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 4

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. -Luke 2:19, KJV

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The song “Mary, Did You Know” asks several questions about what Mary knew about her newborn Son before He grew up.

For most of those questions, the answer is basically “yes.” She may not have understood the full depth of things nor known of the specifics of how it would happen, but she thought about it.

She and Joseph wondered at shepherds and wealthy foreigners coming to visit this baby of hers. She heard prophecies about this boy growing up to bring peace and healing to faithful people of God, taking over the government, and suffering for the sins of the world.

And what does she do hearing all of this?

. . . but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. -Luke 2:51b

May we be a people who treasure God’s Word in our hearts and minds, pondering them and sharing the good news that Jesus has come to take away our sins, as prophesied, and is prophesied to come again for the full redemption of His faithful servants.

Lord Jesus, give us a love for Your Word, teaching us to memorize Scripture and share Your love and forgiveness, as well as Your immanent return.

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Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 4

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. -Matthew 3:7-9, KJV

It is not enough to come from a Christian (or Jewish) home.

With Jesus’ first Advent, it was mostly the religious leaders who refused to change, because they “knew it all” about faith.

As we await Jesus’ second Advent, it is not enough to have grown up in church or attend church regularly. It takes repentance and a willingness to actually listen to the teachings and commands of Jesus, to show love and compassion to others and commitment to God’s truth.

Do not trust in your ancestry or upbringing. Do not rely on the faith of your parents, siblings, or friends. Turn to Jesus for yourself, and believe.

Saving God, do not let me rely on my own knowledge, skills, or history. Give me a passion for You, Your Word, and Your Church.


Those Walking in Darkness and Death

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. –Ecclesiastes 9:5, ESV

Today is Reformation Day, the anniversary of Martin Luther igniting the Reformation movement away from the Roman Catholic Church.

This means it is also Halloween.

And you know what? Halloween can be fun.

Yes. There is a lot of paganism in the history of this day.

Yes. This is a high holiday for many Wiccans and other pagans, attempting to connect with spirits and even demons.

Most people today do NOT participate in that.

While over the next few days many cultures either worry about or celebrate deceased loved ones visiting this world, Ecclesiastes 9:5 reminds us that the dead have no real concern for this world.

Either they are headed for destruction and railing at God, or they are with Christ and worshiping Him.

We try to show we are not afraid of death by dressing up as (un)dead things and people, and we sometimes claim we are remembering the dead. At best we are remembering a shadow, only the best or the worst of someone. In truth, the memory is just that: a shadow.

And most people – if they are honest – are afraid of death. Some want to be reunited with lost loved ones, but they rarely know what they are wishing for.

This is starting to get long, so let us remember:

  • the fear of death is misplaced,
  • the memories of the dead are never perfect,
  • and the afterlife will be nothing like any of fully expect (if it all correct).

Instead, it is:

  • the fear of the Lord that gives us hope for the afterlife;
  • and the dead may not remember much of this life, but the Lord forgets our sins if we are found in Christ and brought into everlasting life.

And instead of getting caught up in the where and why of the history of Halloween, may we focus on sharing the truth of Life with those in this world who are still walking in darkness and death.


A True Prophetic Vision

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. -Proverbs 29:18, ESV

A prophet declares the word of the Lord. In that sense, pastors and evangelists are prophets!

But we tend to hear the word “prophetic” and think “telling the future.” There certainly is an element of this, but we must remember the the other part of prophecy: revealing what is hidden … not just the future, but in our lives.

Most importantly, prophecy reveals God’s expectations.

Therefore, a good pastor and evangelist remind people that God has set His expectation for how we are to live (summed up in the Ten Commandments, which are summed up as “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself”), and that we will one day be judged by how we have done. More specifically, we will be judged by whether or not we followed God’s Son, Jesus.

The prophetic vision we have is that God has a standard, as modeled in Jssus, and He will be coming back to the earth in judgment.

If we neglect to teach and remind this world of this, people will throw off restraint and wantonly sin, either because they see no need for a Savior (“We’re basically good!”), or because they see grace giving them license (“We can do whatever we want, because God forgives!”)

We are either going to be judged guilty by how we rejected Christ or how we defiled Christ.

Only by believing in and emulating Christ’s sacrificial work – allowing His cleansing blood to cover us with forgiveness and grace to live a life of forgiveness, grace, and love – will we be ready for His imminent return.


Trusting Our Hearts …

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. -Proverbs 28:26, KJV

We live in a world today that frequently tells us to “just follow your heart, it will lead you true.” And many people rely on their reason even knowing they know very little of our reality.

That second point is striking. The most optimistic scientists say we may know 6% of everything there is to know about the Universe. Yet, atheists will argue there is no evidence for God. But there is at least 94% that we don’t even know about!

However, we can trust our heart, right?

God tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

In our fallen, sinful state, we cannot trust our heart. We are selfish and want to believe what feels good, not necessarily what is true and good.

It affects our emotions, thoughts, and reason.

The wise person realizes that there is a God, who has a standard and has revealed it and Himself to His Creation – through the written Scriptures and the incarnation of Jesus.

Trusting our own heart and reason may lead us deep into sin.

Trusting the God revealed in the Bible and through the Son will deliver us from sin.


My Presumption of Tomorrow

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. -Proverbs 27:1, KJV

As I write this, it is the day before this posts online.

That seems rather presumptuous of me to assume that you are reading this the next day (or farther in the future).

The thing is, I am not sure anyone is reading this. For all I know, before anyone gets the chance, the Lord has returned and brought the world as we know it to an end.

However, this is scheduled for a Sunday. Therefore I continue this by encouraging you to get to your local church and worship God through song, hearing the preached and taught Word, and enjoying fellowship with other Christians. (If you went on Saturday, cool.)

In terms of being confident you are reading these words, though, I explain my presumption.

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
James 4:13‭-‬15, KJV

Do you not see that James and Solomon were in agreement? But James explains Proverbs 27:1 in more detail.

To explain, I presume people are reading these words because I trust that God is in control. At the very least, I have obeyed His command to expound on scripture. At best, I have done so to your benefit in Christ.

Maybe no one is reading these words, but, if the Lord will, you are.

I do not boast in any skill I have or that I know you are reading this.

No, I boast that the Lord has spoken, has sacrificed Himself for me and for you, and He has risen to glory. And He is in control.

And I shall continue as long as it is called Today. For Tomorrow (capital “T”) shall be with the Lord, and all boasting shall cease, for He is fully present with us and all sin and rebellion and fear is gone.

Lord willing, you are there, too.


The Balancing Act

animals-35972_1280I’m not an Aristotelian philosopher…thankfully. 

However, it doesn’t follow that the old guy didn’t have some decent ideas.  Here’s one of most famous (i.e., it must be since even I’m aware of it):

“Virtue is in finding the mean.”

In other words—balance.  Since I need things in fairly simple terms, I’m thinking of one of the mainstays of children’s playground equipment, the teeter-totter, (a.k.a., the see-saw).  I believe one of the basic properties of physics (which I never took in high school) has to do with the placement of the fulcrum, or centerpiece for the plank on top—it must be in the center, or someone will have an unfair advantage at play. 

A bully, for example, who wants to keep his poor playmate suspended helplessly in mid-air. Continue reading