Thursday, October 18, 2018

"Don't Talk to Strangers"

Hebrews 5.13-14 NASU

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

Milk is introductory food for the newly born. Milk helps a baby grow strong. Solid food is for older children and adults who have developed the capacity to chew and digest food with substance. The plan is growth. No one stays on a strict diet of milk for long.

Believers are supposed to grow up. Brand new converts will not immediately partake in “the word of righteousness.” They are not expected to grasp Scripture beyond the basic truths of the person and work of Jesus, personal salvation, and the fellowship of believers in the body of Christ (see Hebrews 6.1-2). 

But there is more… There is the on-going battle with the enemy of our souls. Mature Christians will face temptations, trials, and times of testing. We are targeted for destruction by the devil. We will be tried to the breaking point and pressured to quit the church, lose our faith, and say “yes” to sin. Therefore, strong, growing, healthy believers must...
  • Press into the word of God.
  • Become “accustomed to the word of righteousness.”
  • Partake of “solid food.”
  • “Practice” their faith daily.
  • Train “their senses... to discern good and evil.”
  • Read the Bible.
  • Obey the Bible.
  • Prepare to suffer. 
  • Persevere.
  • Trust Jesus in all things.
Children are targets of predators who commit heinous crimes. These lost souls know children are naïve and readily fooled. A child’s senses are not yet “trained to discern good and evil.” A bad person with evil intentions can easily confuse or trick a child into believing a lie that could cost the child’s life.


As adults, we understand this awful potential so we train our children not to talk to strangers, and accept neither rides or candy from them. As our kids grow up, they naturally develop a sense of right and wrong. Through practice, trial and error, and the experience of age-appropriate, natural consequences, children learn to correctly distinguish good from evil. It is not necessary to remind an older teenager not to speak to strangers. An adolescent can sense ‘stranger danger’ and, if he or she has matured sufficiently, will choose to avoid suspicious people and questionable situations.

Young adults can sidestep the pitfalls of the ‘hard life’ if they listen to the wisdom of loving parents and their “word of righteousness.” Similarly, we must train our senses to hear and apply “the word of righteousness” found in the pages of Scripture. We are designed to grow up and partake of solid spiritual food. We learn by “practice” to “discern good and evil” so we can make good decisions and stay away from the alluring voice of demonic strangers.

“For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word
of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who
because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

______________

School food clip art in this post was created by illustrator Mark A. Hicks. Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery for use by teachers on the Discovery Education website (http://www.discoveryschool.com/).

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"Pending Faith"

Hebrews 4.2b NASU

“…but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.”

God’s word will not benefit me unless I receive it by faith. I must believe what He says.

Successful salespeople depend on customers who exhibit genuine interest and real motivation to own what they have to sell. Clients must believe in the product or service the vendor is promoting. It also helps if the customer trusts the salesperson. Confidence in the messenger carries weight in the buyer’s decision-making process.

Faith in the message and the messenger is essential in every effective transaction. Without faith, the sale will remain in “pending” status. It will not close. No sale is made, no profit is gained, and no one benefits. Faith moves the transaction forward from offer to negotiation, through pending to sold.

Bible reading is good, but not good enough. The truth recorded in the sixty-six books of Scripture was inspired by God Himself and promoted by super-vendors like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, David, Solomon, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Paul. Their words can forever impact one’s life. They are able to shape a personal destiny in ways that transcend imagination. But true believers must go beyond perpetual pending and close the sale. They must believe

The “word,” when “united by faith,” earns a return on investment of time spent in reading, listening to, and learning from the Bible. Pending followers of Jesus (who read the Bible) must get sold (that is, believe the Bible).

“…but the word they heard did... profit them, 
because it was... united by faith in those who heard.” [1]

____________________

[1] The text from Hebrews 4.2 contains a double negative and should remain true if both "not's" are removed from the verse. That is to say, if "the word" does not profit people when it is not "united by faith," then it follows that there is great value in "the word" when it is combined with "faith" by those who read and hear it.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"Be Faithful"

Hebrews 3.5-6 NIV

“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house.






















“And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.”

Some days I am hugely uninspired. The Bible fails to rouse my spirit from its tired and apathetic state. No fresh insights emerge to shake me loose from the ho-hum-ness of predictable living. My daily practice of P B & J (prayer, Bible, and journaling) produces nothing profound.

God’s Word says:
  1. Moses was faithful and Jesus was faithful.
  2. Moses was a servant in God’s house. Jesus was a son over God’s house.
  3. Believers from all generations comprise the house of God.
  4. I am part of God's house if I hold on to courage and hope.
I need courage and hope to remain faithful when my energy is down and my outlook is bleak. Some days are less inspirational than others. I can accept that. Sometimes, in my Christian walk, I just push forward by faith.

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2nd Corinthians 5.7 NAS

Like Moses and Jesus and all other saints before me... I must remain faithful... faithful to my loved ones, faithful to my calling and vocation, and faithful to the promises I've made. No matter how I feel, faithfulness is always the right choice.

'Down' is a temporary condition. Positive inspiration, godly desires, good feelings, and holy ambition, like Jesus Christ Himself, will soon return. Until that moment, I must “...hold on to our courage and the hope.” I must have faith and remain faithful!

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11.1 NASU

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him,...”
Hebrews 11.6 NASU

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge
of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!’”
Matthew 25.21 NIV

Monday, October 15, 2018

"Are You Ready to Sky Dive?"

Hebrews 2.3a NKJV

“…how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”
 
My son Stanford and I went skydiving for his eighteenth birthday.[1] Even my seventy-one year old father-in-law, Ralph, joined us. Each one of us stepped off an airplane at 13,500 feet with a dive master strapped to our backs in our first (and my only) ‘tandem dive.’

Why did we do it? I suspect Stanfor wanted to experience the thrill (and thrill it was) of free-falling at a speed of over one hundred miles per hour for nearly sixty (very long) seconds. I did it because Stan wanted me to go with him. (I’m not sure why Ralph would do such a crazy thing.) I’m now glad I jumped but I would not have put skydiving on the top of my birthday list!

The event was anything but ‘ho-hum.’ I was not bored. My senses were tweaked to the max. Contained deep in my soul was a singular purpose to which I was 100% committed… to land safely on planet earth! This was the goal of my salvation and dive master Bobby was my savior.

At pre-jump ground school we were told things can go wrong. People die jumping out of airplanes. Chutes don’t open. Equipment fails. Airplanes crash. In the unlikely event of an unexpected incident of this kind there was one rule and one rule only… do exactly what your dive master says. Don’t argue. Don’t talk. Don't even think. Just shut up and obey dive master Bobby’s every command.

About forty-nine years ago I strapped Jesus Christ to my back and together we made a tandem leap of faith. I am still hurling toward heaven at an incredible speed. I have one goal… to land safely on heaven’s ground. Things sometimes go very wrong. I feel afraid. Will I make it to heaven? Will my chute open on time? I am comforted by my belief that Jesus is infinitely qualified to have full control of my free fall through life. On my own I will fall to certain death. Separation from my Heavenly Dive Master is unthinkable. How could I possibly “escape” death if I “neglect so great a salvation?” I’m not about to un-strap myself from my tandem partner. Jesus is my Savior.

It’s always best, especially in times of crisis, to remember the most important rule of faith... shut up and obey Dive Master Jesus’ every command!

“…diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to
do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD
your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.”
Deuteronomy 28.1 NASU

________________

[1] I had a good experience at Skydive Oregon somewhere around September 2006. To learn more, go to http://www.skydiveoregon.com/.

Friday, October 12, 2018

"The Word of His Power"

Hebrews 1.2b, 3b NASU

“His Son… upholds all things by the word of His power.”

The original purpose of the book of Hebrews was to demonstrate the supremacy of Christ in all things for 1st century Jewish converts to Christianity. The book is filled with quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures all of which point to the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who “upholds all things by the word of His power.”

I am intrigued by the phrase “the word of His power.” The ‘power of His word’ implies that God’s spoken or written word contains power in and of itself and that, while the source of the power is God, it achieves independence once it is so imbued.

“The word of His power” suggests God’s power is the central thing and the word’s sole purpose is to express the character of a God who is all powerful.

As incredible as it sounds, highly focused concentration on the written word (the Bible) and the spoken word (preaching) may actually lead one away from the author of the word (Jesus). I can imagine Christians who simply ‘put in their time’ reading the Bible but miss out on the power of God and the inspiration He yearns to impart from the Scriptures. At the other extreme, I have known believers who presume the word of God has power apart from God Himself thus reducing the Bible and its application to magic and something unholy.

It is quite possible for a believer to confuse the Bible with God. The sin of ‘bibolatry’ is deceptively sanctimonious and perhaps even more dangerous than other forms of idol worship insofar as the sinner deludes himself into believing the pursuit of mastery of the Scriptures equates to holiness. Self-righteousness is the obvious result. But, true Bible study should be an act of humility. The purpose for reading the Bible is to achieve transformation of the soul, not simply to gain information about God. We must not make a god of Bible knowledge. God Himself is the sole object of our praise and adoration. The first and second commandments make that truth abundantly clear:

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything
in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
Deuteronomy 5.7-8 NIV

The Greek text of Hebrews 1.3 should be translated “the word of His power” and is so recorded in a variety of Bible versions which lean more toward literal than readable renditions (NASB, NASU, NKJV, KVJ, ESV, ASV). In these translations, God retains the power and the word is nothing more or less than a window into that reality. The word then is a portal through which I may come into contact with the raw nature and unleashed power of God Almighty!

I long to encounter God when I read the Bible. Having heard “the word of His power,” I must push through the text to the heart of Jesus. May God move me beyond the threshold of His word and into the living space of His existence, beyond the safe shoreline of His written truth and into the limitless depths of His immeasurable power.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

"Say Good-Bye"

Philemon 12-13a NAS

“I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me…”

Paul wrote to his close brother in Christ, Philemon, to appeal for leniency on behalf of a runaway slave. Onesimus became a follower of Jesus under the ministry of Paul and the two became such close friends that Paul could not distinguish between Onesimus and his own heart. With great personal anguish, Paul determined to send Onesimus back to Philemon. In so doing, Paul voluntarily broke his own heart to facilitate a reconciliation between two brothers of opposing social strata. 

Love is risky because it demands that we open our hearts to others around us. Relationships develop and enduring bonds of friendship are established. At some future point, God may call us to break our own hearts and send away the precious object of our love and devotion. He did that with His own Son (John 3.16).

Love hurts. It’s not cheap. Saying good-bye is only easy when a deep union of love was never created. If you choose to love, prepare to suffer. Here are some good-bye’s that hurt me…
  • The deaths of my dogs Suzie, Shalom, Sandy, and Sally.
  • Sending my delinquent adolescent daughter to a foster care facility.
  • Watching my seven children growing up.
  • Six children obtaining driver’s licenses.
  • Four children leaving for college.
  • Two daughters and two sons getting married.
  • Witnessing my dad’s last breath at the hospice center.
  • Leaving the pastoral ministry to work on a failing marriage.
  • The dissolution of my (first) marriage.
  • Leaving Sunset Presbyterian Church.
  • Saying good-bye to my mother and watching her die.  
In every case, love demanded I let go and say good-bye. Each time I wept. It hurt. It still does, if I let it. The precious people (and pets) of my past were meant to become united with my heart. As in the case of Jonathan whose soul “was knit with the soul of David” (1st Samuel 18.1 KJV), the fabric of my heart has become woven and unalterably intertwined with the people I have loved. Also, like David and Jonathan, or Paul and Onesimus, I cannot keep any of them.

There is no one I love on earth more than my (second) wife Adonica. I was smitten when I first met her and am still ‘head over heels’ in love 18 1/2 years after we both said “I do”. I have discovered in this closest of all possible earthly relationships the great joy of both being loved and of having my love received. I am in heaven. Someday I will be required to let go of this woman. I hope our good-bye will be many years in the future. Adonica came into my life as an angel, a gift from heaven, proof of God’s great love for me. I was Ebenezer Scrooge. I woke up from a bad dream and was given a second chance at life on the day I met this woman.

Our future good-bye is an event I do not like to imagine. She is my heart. If Adonica goes before me, then I will be forced to pray to my Father in heaven in the words of Paul to Philemon: 

“I have sent her back to You in person, that is,
sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me.”
Philemon 12-13a NAS

[What I could not know when I last re-worked on this article on October 9th, 2014, was that twenty-two days later, Adonica would be diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She lasted ten months, before I was forced to send my wounded heart back to Jesus. Adonica came to me from Jesus and she went back to Him just over three years ago. "She came. We loved. She left."[1] I shall forever treasure and deeply miss this amazing woman, but my confidence in a God who can mend my broken heart is greater than the depth of the pain I now feel.]  
_____________________

The incredible acrylic painting at the top right is called "I Give You My Heart" and used by permission of artist S.M. Lein. Check out his graphics at http://www.artgonekra-z.com/index.html.

[1] How to Survive the Loss of a Love, Colgrove, Bloomfield, McWilliams, (c) 1976, 1991, adapted from poem on page 131 "You came. We loved. You left."

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"As for Me and My Foot"

Titus 3.8b NASU

“…and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds.”

How do the various Bible versions compare?
“speak confidently”
New American Standard Bible
“stress these things”
New International Version
“affirm constantly”
King James Version
New King James Version
Douay-Rheims Bible
Noah Webster’s Bible (1833)
“give special emphasis”
Today’s English Version
Good News Translation
“insist on them”
New Living Translation
The Living Bible

“insist on these things”
Revised Standard Version
English Standard Version
God’s Word Translation
Holman Christian Standard Bible

“insist steadfastly”
The Amplified Bible

“insistas con firmeza”
Reina Valera-Revisada 1960

“insist strenously”
The Darby Bible
New Testament in Modern Speech (Weymouth)

“affirm confidently”
American Standard Version
World English Bible

“give certain witness”
Bible in Basic English

“speak with confidence”
Complete Jewish Bible

“insist that people follow”
Contemporary English Version

“be sure that the people understand”
Easy-to-Read Version

“be sure the people understand”
New Century Version

“insist on such truths”
New English Translation Bible

“be constantly strongly assertive”
Wuest Expanded New Testament

“affirm fully”
Young’s Literal Translation

Of all the translations and paraphrases I read this morning, one distills the essence of truth contained in each version of this great verse…

“I want you to put your foot down. Take a firm stand
on these matters so that those who have put their trust in God will
concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone.”
Titus 3.8 “The Message”

So “concerning these things”…
  • the things of which Paul wrote
  • the great truths of the Bible
  • the Lordship of Jesus Christ
  • the decision to obey God
  • the love of God for you and me
  • following Jesus
  • being led by the Holy Spirit
… of these things I am commanded to put my foot down and stand firm, to stress and affirm their importance, to insist strenuously, and communicate with absolute confidence. Before I can stand I must place each foot on the ground. Before I can take a stand, I must put my foot down. As for me and my foot,[1] we will take our stand on Christ.[2]

“On Christ the solid rock I stand
 All other ground is sinking sand
 All other ground is sinking sand”

___________________

The beautiful and creative image of the foot made from drops of water was created by Canadian photographer Ronald Tsang (http://www.ronaldtsang.com/). 

[1] From Joshua's final command to the Israelites: "But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24.15c).   

[2] “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less,” also known as “On Christ the Solid Rock” was written in 1832 by Edward Mote, and the tune in 1863 by William B. Bradbury.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

"Have Conviction"

Titus 2. 15

“You must teach these things and encourage your people to do them, correcting them when necessary. You have the authority to do this, so... 

...dont let anyone ignore you or disregard what you say.” [1]

























Twelve years ago I attended a leadership seminar in Portland [2] and heard outstanding speakers address the condition of our country and how to make it better. I was super-charged by inspirational giants like Zig Ziglar, Steve Forbes, Tommy Hopkins, and General Colin Powell.

Perhaps the greatest impact came from the man who wrote the book on leadership [3]. He is the former Mayor of New York City who caught the world’s attention in his brilliant response to the attack by terrorists on 9/11/01. As Rudolf Giuliani took center stage and the music blared Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” streamers of patriotic colors and confetti, like snow in a blinding blizzard, descended on 15,000 people at the Rose Quarter in Portland. The mayor was making the first point in his well rehearsed speech when a late-arriving piece of white confetti gently glided to the notebook on my lap. Here was Mr. Giuliani’s point:

“Know what you believe. Have conviction.”
Mayor Rudolf Giuliani, October 9th, 2006

I wrote his words on the one in a million pieces of confetti that would not be swept up from the arena floor that night and thrown in the garbage along with all the remaining event debris. Later that night I Scotch taped this solitary piece of confetti in my Bible next to this verse:

“These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
Titus 2.15 NASU

I know what I believe and am convicted by its truth. About this truth, I am commanded to speak with authority and become impossible to ignore.
_____________________

[1] Scripture Titus 2.15 from the New Living Translation (NLT), 1996, 2004, Tyndale Charitable Trust, probably from the original 1996 version. The second edition NLT reads as follows: "You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don't let anyone disregard what you say."

[2] The event "Get Fired Up!" was a Get Motivated Seminar sponsored by Portland Business Alliance Members held at the Rose Garden Arena on October 9, 2006. 

[3] Leadership, Rudolf Giuliani, Hyperion, New York, 2002.

Monday, October 08, 2018

"Pure Light"

Titus 1.15-16 a NASU 

To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him,…”

What is purity? Purity happens when profession and performance match up. A person consistent in word and action is pure, without inner conflict. He says what he believes and acts accordingly. A pure man is transparent, authentic, real. With the pure, what you see is what you get.

Jesus taught with great power because He was pure.

“…the crowds were amazed at His teaching;
for He was teaching as one having authority
and not as their scribes.”
Matthew 7.28-29 NAS

The scribes and the Pharisees were not pure. No one really believed what they said because they did not practice what they preached. They were hypocrites and Jesus nailed them:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but
on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In
the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous
but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Matthew 23:27-28 NIV

The Pharisees of Jesus’ time were phonies and posers. What they displayed on the outside was not what you’d find on the inside. These guys were not congruent within themselves. For them, life was a show to impress and control the multitudes.

“They say they know God, but their
actions speak louder than their words.”
Titus 1.16a "The Message"

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world... Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5.14a, 16). We are tempted to paint our bulbs yellow to simulate the light. Ultimately, that hypocrisy won’t fool anyone. We may decorate our globes with glitter and fluorescent colors, but the light will not shine without an in tact filament on the inside. The pure light from heaven shines with the brightness of day through the clear glass of a transparent and authentic soul.

Lord, make me a pure man. Help me make...
  • my profession and performance match up.
  • my actions speak just as loudly as my words.
  • what I profess to be true and show to be true exactly the same.

Friday, October 05, 2018

"Do Your Best"

2nd Timothy 4.9 NIV

“Do your best to come to me quickly”.

By the time Timothy received read his mentor’s request, “do your best to come to me quickly,” it might have been too late. Paul may have died as he predicted:

“For I am already being poured
out like a drink offering, and the time
has come for my departure.”
2nd Timothy 4.6 NIV

Why did Paul call for Timothy? If their meeting was to take place, it must occur quickly in Rome where Paul was incarcerated for a second and final time. Timothy would have to journey by ship, presumably at his own expense, from his home in Ephesus over eight hundred miles away. Was there further truth Paul must convey to Timothy in person? A top secret and classified message that could be conveyed only in private? Probably not. Did Paul send for Timothy just to deliver his coat?

“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas.”
2nd Timothy 4.13 NIV

Clearly, Paul wanted more than from Timothy than his service as an errand boy. Why then? Why was Paul adamant about the need to “come”? Twice in the closing chapter of his short letter (vv. 9, 21), Paul virtually insisted on Timothy’s visit:

“Do your best to come to me quickly...”
“Do your best to get here before winter...”

Why was the Apostle so determined to see Timothy before the end of his life? The probable answer is found in the beginning of his very personal letter:

“Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.”
2nd Timothy 1.4 NIV

Perhaps there was nothing unusual, secretive, or utilitarian about Paul’s urgent request to see Timothy. His command to “come” was simply an expression of the enormous love Paul felt for his son in the faith. He missed Timothy. That was all.

 
God created you to miss the people you love during times of separation. Enjoy them while you still have them because you won’t have them for long. Time is short. “Do your best to come... quickly” to the side of those who are near and dear. Your “departure” (or theirs) may be nearer than you think. You will not always get to touch, hold, kiss, or embrace the people Jesus gave you. Don’t wait too long or... prepare to live with regret. 

“Do your best” to place a high priority on important relationships while you still can.
_____________________

"Rows of Tombstones - Black and White" was shot by Washington, D.C. photographer Craig Steinberg whose very interesting work you can view at http://www.craigsteinbergphotography.com/.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

"There's Nothing Like It"

2nd Timothy 3.15

“…from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” NASU

“…you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The Message

“There’s nothing like the written word of God.” How true! The Bible can “give you the wisdom that leads to salvation” and secure an eternity for you in heaven with Jesus. It’s a treasure. It’s gold. It’s the most precious thing in the universe. Nothing compares to Scripture. Absolutely nothing! It’s spiritual food for a starving man. It’s living water for a parched soul. I could not survive without the Bible.

“There’s nothing like the written word of God.”
The Message

Timothy was qualified to lead the church in Ephesus because he was weaned on the Jewish Bible. He “took in the sacred Scriptures with [his] mother’s milk!” The imagery is striking. Eunice nursed baby Tim on mama’s milk and a fresh helping of God’s Word served up daily. The Hebrew Scriptures, comprised of the Law and the Prophets and the Writings, were Timothy’s steady diet from the time of his birth.

I was seventeen years old when I was introduced to Jesus Christ. Within a few days of my divine encounter, I purchased my first Bible and hungered for its message ever since. I read the Bible cover to cover every year searching for morsels of living bread from its pages nearly every day. The “written word of God” changed my life, confirmed my relationship with Jesus, assured my salvation, and established my destiny. I owe EVERYTHING to the message contained in the pages of this wonderful book. For me, “there’s nothing like the written word of God.”

“Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word,
so that you may grow in respect to salvation.”
1st Peter 2.2 NASU

____________________

"Thirsty?" is the title of the blog entry featuring this wonderfully detailed bottle with droplets of condensed water by photographer André Bergonzzi from Lisbon, Portugal. You can find his beautiful photographs at htpp://www.bergspot.com/index.php?showimage=20.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

"Know Your Bible"

2nd Timothy 2.15 NASU

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”


I can’t bluff God and His approval isn’t cheap. My salvation was a free gift paid for by Jesus. But my development, growth, maturity, sanctification must be earned by diligent application of Bible truths.

Judgment day’s too late to “present [myself] approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed.” I can become approve-able right now by “accurately handling the word of truth.” 

In my chosen profession I must demonstrate proficiency if I expect to gain the approval of my clients and peers. That’s what professionals do. Negligence won’t cut it. My reputation in the industry is earned, not freely bestowed. Approval is not conferred as an honorary token of vocational competency. It is hard-fought and won in the trenches of classroom study, on-the-job training, continuing education, application for scholarships, hard knocks, a history of some failures and a few more successes, an advanced degree or two, special designations, new certifications, licensing, positive leadership and communication skills, research and development, published articles, proven competencies, best practices, and a thorough up-to-date grasp of subject matter pertaining to my career.

Likewise, a man or woman of God reads, studies, memorizes, teaches, lives, breathes, knows, continues to learn, investigates the claims of, listens carefully to, studies the origin of, skillfully presents, shares insights around, reads about, writes about, talks about, embraces, devours, and loves… the B-I-B-L-E.

Fully devoted followers of Jesus are determined to “present [themselves] approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed accurately handling the word of truth.”  They know their Bible.

__________________

The excellent image above is entitled "Shhhhh...Quiet Everyone Study...." by wlmp whose photostream you can view at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wlmp/5049414589/in/photostream.