Monday, December 5, 2016

“‘Worshiped’ a Baby?”

Whoever did that? We all love babies and “ooh” and “ah” over them, but “worship” them? King Herod ordered the “magi” or wisemen to go to Jerusalem to see whether or not Jesus was actually there. They did as they were told and journeyed to Jerusalem and found the baby Jesus, and they did worship Him (Matt. 2:11).

Was that really what Herod wanted to do, “worship” the Christ-child? Absolutely not! Instead, he sent them so he could have the baby killed because he was fearful of his position as king. God told Joseph and Mary to flee with the baby to Egypt because He of course knew of the evil plot of Herod (Matt. 2:13). The two did what they were told to do.

When the “magi” or wisemen followed the star and found the baby, they “worshiped” Him (Matt. 2:11). What exactly does that mean? It means to give reverence, to submit, to God Who alone is to be “worshiped” by His people. It follows, therefore, that only those who know Him as personal Savior should submit to His lordship over us and over our lives.

 This “Thought for Today” reminds us to give first place to God as our Savior and Lord. Of course, only those who know Him can do this (John 3:16). Let’s not forget to make Christ the center of our activities this Christmas season and not what we received or what we gave.

Monday, November 7, 2016


Thanksgiving as a national holiday comes and goes. And for many people that’s all there is to it. However, believers are exhorted in the Bible to be thankful not just on the holiday but throughout the believer’s life.
Many have been taught that the first Thanksgiving was held by the Pilgrims soon after the Mayflower anchored at Plymouth. Texans, however, claim that the first Thanksgiving in America was proclaimed in Palo Duro Canyon by Juan De Cadilla for his troops in 1541, seventy years before the Pilgrims arrived. So, there is some question as to when the national holiday began.
Scripture does not tell us anything as to when the first day of Thanksgiving was given. However, it tells us often and plainly that believers are to be thankful at all times. In fact, Thanksgiving was on again and off again until a widow named Sarah Hale who had five children and a millinery shop. Sarah authored a number of magazines. In 1846 she launched a crusade to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
Here are a select three out of many Scripture passages that tell us to be thankful always. Psalm 92:1 says, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord. In Psalm 95:2 we read, “Let us come before His presences with thanksgiving.” And  in 2  Thessalonians 1:3 we read, “We ought always to give thanks to God.”

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Last Days

Are these the last days? Is Jesus coming back soon? Is there such a thing as the Rapture? Are we living in the beginning of the coming Great Tribulation which the Bible talks about in Revelation 2 and 3, written to seven local churches? These and many more, are the kinds of questions many are asking these days. It usually takes a catastrophe of some sort to get our attention. I believe we are, in fact, living in the “Last Days” which the Bible talks about. And we may be.

The last of pain, heartaches, poverty, and trouble of any kind will be experienced, for eternity, for all who are rightly related to the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes again. For those without this relationship, those who are not born again, there is no hope.  No one knows when Christ will come for His bride, the church. It could be today or maybe not for a long time. The Bible simply does not tell us when He will come for His bride, when the seven-year Tribulation will come or when the one-thousand-year kingdom of Christ on earth will occur. Since that is the case, we must not be dogmatic about when these things will take place. Rather, we as believers should so order our days because Jesus could return today. He will come to earth again. It could be today.

Monday, September 5, 2016

God Talks?

Through the Scriptures God has spoken! Does He still speak to individuals today with actual words in our language? For some in the Charismatic movement that has been true and is still true. However, recently Priscilla Evans Shiver insists she literally hears God talking to her. She insists God gives “fresh words” and ”insider” information to her (See the lead definitive article in The Quarterly Journal, September 2016 issue).

Does God really tell us the kind of bread, fruit, ice cream, etc. to eat or not to buy and eat? I think not and Mrs. Shiver does not say God tells her what she should do or not do in these matters.However, how far should we go in such areas? Does God speak to His people in audible words? I think not.

I believe God has given us His Word and that is far more than we deserve. He has also given us His Holy Spirit who will lead and guide as He has promised in His Word. Rather than listen for Him to speak words to us, we need to follow His recorded words of Scripture. I see no benefit for God’s people to strive to hear God’s words in my language. Dr. Charles Ryrie tells us the Holy Spirit of God guides His children by means of His Word: Acts 8:29; 10:19-20; 13:2, 4; 16:6-7; 20:22-23 (Charles C. Ryrie, The Holy Spirit, Moody Press, p. 171).

Monday, August 8, 2016

God’s World and His Work

Here is some church history. It is sad. Galileo Galilei was an astronomer as well as a physicist. He made a number of discoveries even while he was a student in Pisa. While there, he ran out of money and as a result had to drop out of university. Later he taught mathematics there. During that time he formulated some laws about gravity. Galilei also came up with the law of the pendulum.

Before long this man came up with laws and building of telescopes. Galileo was thought to be a Christian and believed the world and God’s work were both true and therefore valid for study. He even used one of his telescopes which he showed to Pope Paul V.

Galileo was criticized by the church because of his discoveries because it was thought it was in serious conflict with Acts 1:11 which reads, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here and looking up into the sky?”

When this man was75 years old and almost bed-fast, he was put on trial and persecuted terribly. He was called upon to denounce his views as errors and heresies. Truly, God’s world and His work are not in conflict. Neither is there a conflict between the Person and work of Christ. He was and is truly God and Man!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Why Death

    The June 27, 2016 issue of Time magazine has a list of 49 people with their pictures who died, ranging from 18 years old to 50 years old. These are the people who died without any warning in the Orlando, Florida massacre. Michael Schover, the author of the ten-page article said: “The man who attacked at the Orlando night club picked his spot carefully.” In other words, he planned his horrendous crime ahead of time. Such a horrendous crime may well mean we are living in the last days of this present age. Or, to put it another way, Jesus may come back soon to rapture those who are His children because they have been born again. The Bible teaches that Jesus will return to take His children home to heaven. After that rapture the Great Seven-Year Tribulation predicted in Scripture will begin.

    Back to the title of this Thought for the Day article, “Why Death?” Scripture clearly teaches we need to understand that “It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). No one of us knows when we will die. However, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever  believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). What if you should die today or whenever? Are you ready to meet God?

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Gender Issue Today

Recently, the Dallas Morning News (May 16, 2016) carried a front page article entitled “Decree Set on Toilets, Gender.” The subtitle reads “Feds will tell districts to allow students to choose bathroom based on their identity.” It is clear from this article that the Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping decree telling every public school district in the country to let transgender students use bathrooms that match their identity.” As might be expected, school officials differed on their responses to this brazen decree.

The President must have “forgotten” what the Bible says about God’s creative work. He created Adam and Eve in His own image, in the very image of God, male and female (Genesis 1:27, 28; see also Genesis 2:18-23 and Mark 10:7-9). There  is no hint anywhere in Scripture that God created transgender people. Male and female only came from His creative hand. Of course, if one believes in evolution rather than creationism, who knows the answer to the question, “How did we get here and where do we go when we die”?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Is Anything Ever Really Finished?

    We all have a multitude of things to do. It seems like we never really get finished. Maybe it would be good if we check in the dictionary to remind us what exactly the word “finish” means. Webster’s New World Dictionary Handbook has several examples of the word “finish.” Basically, the word means “to bring or come to an end, complete or become completed.” I remember the many times I heard one of my parents say something like this, “Finish what’s on your plate before you may eat anything else.”

    When Jesus was on the cross, the last thing He said was, “It is finished.” This means that the purpose for His coming to earth was accomplished. He provided salvation for all mankind. He died in the sinner’s place. Now, all we need to do to be sure of heaven is accept His payment for our sins. We can do nothing to earn our way to heaven. To be sure we are going to heaven all we need to do is accept Christ as our Sin-bearer. We call this truth “the blessed hope.” Why don’t you accept Jesus’ payment for your sin (Titus 3:13)?

    Christ’s work is finished. I trust you will stop trying to be good enough to get to heaven and instead start trusting His finished work for you.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Politicians and Preachers

    I don’t know about you, but I get many flyers from politicians begging me to vote for them. I’m sure you get some of the same things. It is our ELECTION YEAR! Thinking about politicians’ profession brings to mind another profession–preachers. Some in these two professions are good and some are not so good. At times these two groups have strong views about each other. But they both hold their views and try their best to get a good response from those who listen to them. Both hope and sometimes even pray that many people will think they “hung the moon.” They hope many friends and relatives will get on the “same band wagon.” There are, of course, many other similarities between these two professions.

    Are there any differences between them? Yes, there most certainly are and I believe there are often, but not always, deep and strong differences, especially when it comes to their religious views. No doubt, each of these two people can and do often have opposite beliefs about God, the Bible, and Christ. There are other areas of differences of opinion between these two professions as well.

    Believe it or not, there are preachers who have never been born again. They have never, for whatever reason, accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. This is truly a sad state of affairs, but it is true, On the other hand, some preachers who are born again, cannot preach very well and don’t know how to communicate their message. Some don’t like to visit or don’t like the administration part of the pastorate–they only want to preach–but the message is not from the heart. We are not judges of such things but we do need to be aware of the true and the false. We need to speak the truth in love.

    A word of warning to Christians is in order here. Scripture tells us how God expects us to live. Let’s be sure not to think we are always right. Politicians and preachers should be aware that neither one is always right and the other always wrong. By the way, if you are not a believer, do not put off trusting Jesus Christ as your sin bearer and Savior. Selah!

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Freedom In Christ”

When we think about freedom, we are thinking about being delivered from something. Webster defines “free” as “not being under the control of another; not as slave or not in prison.”

Let’s think a moment about an opposite example or illustration of being free. As I write this, I can not help but think about the Holocaust that Hitler carried out against Jews and others during World War II. “The flame of evil lit by one man became a Holocaust.” I highly recommend Sean Hannity’s book in which he describes some of the evils of the Holocaust (Deliver Us From Evil (New York: Regan Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2004).

The total opposite of the Holocaust experience is the many freedoms we enjoy today. We complain plenty that we are saddled with restrictions in life by our own choices, our employers, and the government.

The good and great teaching of the Bible is that everyone of us is free to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. In fact, the truth of the matter is that unless those who have not accepted Him as their Savior do believe and accept Him as the only way of salvation, they have absolutely no hope of going to heaven when they die. Here are a few references from Scripture that teach this truth: John 3:16; Romans 8:1; 1 John 3:1-2; and Ephesians 2:1.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hope or No Hope

The word “hope” appears often in Scripture. Sometimes it is used as a verb and sometimes as a noun. When used as a noun, it refers to things believers already have: “a hope of righteousness” (Gal. 5:5); “the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:23); “the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27); “the hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:8). Examples of hope used as a verb include, “I hope to come to you” (2 John 12); “first to hope in Christ” (Eph. 1:12); “hopes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7); God is called “the God of hope” (Rom. 15:13).

It seems obvious that the basis of hope for the redeemed is found in God’s Word. Because of God’s great mercy he has “caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Christ: (1 Peter 1:3). His resurrection from the dead illustrates that we too will one day be raised from the dead. This does not mean we should not sorrow because of physical death. But it does mean there is hope beyond the grave. Physical death for the believers means they have “fallen asleep in Jesus” (1 Thess. 4:14). All the unsaved “have no hope” whatsoever(1 Thess. 4:13).

Let’s think together about how God’s grace was totally sufficient for the apostle Paul as he suffered many hardships for the cause of Christ. He prayed and asked God three times to deliver him from his trials. We do not know all the specifics about his sufferings, but we do know how he responded to his trials and troubles. He found God’s grace totally sufficient for his needs (1 Cor. 12:9-10). That same God has promised to meet all our needs, especially when we seem to have lost all HOPE.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Watcha Doing?

    As I am writing this, it is that time of the year again–coming to the end of Year 2015. New Year’s resolutions will be made and broken by many. Resolutions are easy to make but harder to keep. We often promise, then forget the resolution we made because we get so busy doing many other things, which are not necessarily bad things. We do not seem to have time to keep our resolutions. But it is still true–it takes time to be holy.

    In the very beginning of the new year it is a good time to reflect on how much we have grown spiritually. How faithful have we been over the pst year?

    In the Our Daily Bread booklet (July, 2011) David Branon reflected on how his granddaughter got him thinking about his own walk with God. Wouldn’t it be helpful to think of God coming alongside us and asking, “What are you doing?” Too many times our answer would really be empty and meaningless.

    The Bible tells us plainly that whatever we do, we are to do it to bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:23; and Ephesians 5:15).