Archive for February, 2016
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. (Matthew 23:15)
We have a great responsibility to new converts. Continue to disciple them. Be intentional about teaching them to follow only Jesus.
“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” (Proverbs 17:1)
Do you know how many lottery winners have ended up in ruin? Do you know how many professional athletes squander the millions they earn, only to end up in dire financial straits? Do you know how many of the rich and famous end up sad and alone?
Better to be satisfied with little and find joy in simplicity.
Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the alter on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. (Ezra 3:3)
We live in a hard world where the forces of evil oppose God. It can be frightening, yet we will choose to worship our Lord in spite of our fear.
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)
When we think about talking to others about Jesus, we worry that we won’t know what to say. Just follow Paul’s example and keep it simple: Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. All of the other blanks can be filled in later.
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)
There will be a day of judgment. God raised Jesus from the dead and he will judge us based on our belief in his Son.
“He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns blackness into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land— the LORD is his name” (Amos 5:8)
As powerful telescopes and space probes reveal the vastness of our universe, our faith in God should grow proportionately. Those distant galaxies didn’t pop out of cosmic dust uncalled; God made each star and each planet. Day turns to night and night to day because he made it so. All of the natural laws that surround us; they are merely descriptions of the things that God has made.
Praise our Creator and obey his commands.
Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mark 12:24)
Study the Bible for yourself. Know what it says. It will keep you out of error.
Jonah didn’t like Assyria. Assyria was a cruel bully that dominated the surrounding nations. One of those nations was Israel, Jonah’s homeland. Jonah didn’t like Assyria.
Jonah didn’t like Assyrians. He probably didn’t know any of them personally, but they had a reputation for being violent and profane. They were his enemies. Jonah didn’t like Assyrians.
One day, God told Jonah to go preach in Nineveh the Assyrian capital (located where Mosul, Iraq, is today). Jonah didn’t want to go. Not because he was scared, but because he didn’t want God to warn the Assyrians before punishing them. Jonah was afraid the people would repent, and God would spare the Assyrians.
Jonah didn’t like Assyrians. So he tried to run away from God, making a run to the coast, and heading out to sea. God sent a storm that almost capsized the boat Jonah was in, and Jonah convinced the sailors to throw him overboard to save the ship. They reluctantly did so, and the storm stopped.
God didn’t let Jonah drown. He sent a big fish to swallow Jonah and bring him back to dry land. Then God again told Jonah to go preach in Nineveh.
This time Jonah went. He announced God’s judgment against the city, and the people believed him. They responded by turning to God, seeking his mercy. God listened to the people and spared the city.
Jonah was mad. He didn’t like Assyria. He didn’t like Assyrians. And frankly, he didn’t care too much for God’s mercy. He told God:
“O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Amazing. Jonah was so mad he wanted to die. Why? Because God spared the people he didn’t like.
When Paul wrote Timothy about the need to pray for all people, he said,
“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
(1 Timothy 2:3–4)
So are you like Jonah? Are there people you dislike so much that you don’t want God to have mercy on them? Or are you willing to pray that all people come to know the truth?
Take some time today to pray for everyone… especially the people you don’t like.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Who is your oldest and dearest friend? Who has known you longer than anyone else?
That’s one easy. God.
God knew you before you even existed inside your mother. And he loved you then. And he loves you now.
One of the things that made Moses a great leader was his commitment to do what God told him. He was not perfect, but he did commit to do as the Lord commanded. If you would lead your family, your friends, or your church — start by following God.