Archive for the ‘ Bible ’ Category

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015!

Taken by Kirk Schiebel

Taken by Kirk Schiebel

2014 was an interesting year. There are many things that happened that were good, many things that happened that were bad, and many things that fell in between.

The important thing to remember is that God is in control:

Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’
Isaiah 46:9-10, ESV

As I have said in the past, I say for the coming year,

The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ Numbers 6:24-26, NASB

Do not forget this year to get your daily wisdom from Proverbial Thought. Perhaps it will help get you into the Bible!

Love and grace,

Daniel & Caitlin

Prepare Your Heart – Advent Week 4 – Holy Christmas

Continue preparing your heart for wisdom by reading the thoughts over at Proverbial Thought!

It is now the fourth week of Advent and Christmas Day! (See the last three weeks’ devotional thoughts herehere, and here.)

Again, Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

There is a slight twist today in presentation as well as seeing as it is Christmas Day!

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

At first we are reminded that sometimes life is going well.
Then we are reminded that sometimes life is hard.

Life seems perfect and flawless.
Or we are dealing with an illness, a tragedy, or the loss of a loved one.

The answer, in any circumstance good or bad, is to fall on our knees and acknowledge that we need a Savior, to seek the God who came to save us from our sin and suffering by coming to us as an infant, the weakest of all things.

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

The Light of the world calls us to Himself, and only the wise heed His call. Only the wise understand that He truly understands all of our hurts and needs and can help us because He has been through it all.
And He deserves our adoration and worship.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

It is not only our trials and pains which he helps, but He has called us to love all other people.
We not only see our need for salvation from sin and God’s wrath, we see our need for His love to fill our hearts, to treat our friends, enemies, and strangers alike as brothers and sisters, with love and compassion.

And for ever we shall worship Him and declare His awesomeness!

For He has come to save and will come again a final time to fully redeem His own, and that is the full promise of the gospel!

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Revelation 22:20-21, ESV

Prepare Your Heart – Advent Week 3

Continue preparing your heart for wisdom by reading the thoughts over at Proverbial Thought!

It is now the second week of Advent! (See the last two weeks’ devotional thought here and here.)

Again, Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old

. . .

“for my eyes have seen your salvation
    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 1:68-70, 2:30-32, ESV

The first part of the quote is from Zechariah, John the Baptist’s dad, at John’s birth. The second part of the quote was said by Simeon, an old and devout man, when he saw the baby Jesus at the Temple.

These two men knew that the Lord’s salvation was at hand. If you read all of chapters one and two of Luke, you can see that even they did not understand His plan of salvation. They were on the right track, but they were not aware of how things would unfold.

The Lord had come, Emmanuel, God with us, and he brought salvation. It was first brought to Israel, the Jews in Jerusalem in particular, and then it spread to “all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) over the past 2,000 years.

What most everyone then did not know was that first the Lord would bring spiritual salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the repairing of the relationship with God and humanity; the physical redemption from all enemies is still to come.

Let us remember that salvation has come, but we await our salvation from the pain and evil of this world (see Romans 8). We do not understand fully how it will all happen, but we know Jesus will return!

May we not get caught up in the knowledge we have and miss the signs of His coming. May we remember that we are not home yet, and we await our coming Savior. May we bring as many as we can to all of this knowledge of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 11/30/2014

A little birdie told me to tell you to find some wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

I remember seven years ago, I was sitting on Arizona State University’s main campus waiting for some friends to get out of class. We were going to meet up for a quick dinner (I was not a student, but they were … in fact, I was practically homeless at the time!), and then go to the weekly Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) meeting. I was sitting in the middle of the watery area near the Union reading my Bible, specifically Matthew 26 (verses 25-27, in the NIV):

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Immediately after reading this, I looked up to see a bird flying overhead, performing all sorts of aerial acrobatics.

Then this poem came into my head.

It is rather fitting considering we just celebrated Thanksgiving in the good ol’ USA, as it is a reminder to focus on how God provides for us.

O birdie

O birdie in the air,
flying to and fro and everywhere,
what is it that you think about?
Do you worry about the clouds?
Is God a concern of yours?
That He is your real food source?
Do you contemplate people?
Do you wonder if they are real?
If God made you, then He made them,
so do you think about heaven?
Of all the cares that you have,
is it where you get your next bath,
or just maybe … perhaps …
that this world will not last?
But why should you care about that?
Do you know God controls your path?
O birdie flying oh so free,
Will you please share your thoughts with me?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 11/02/2014

Find the beauty in God’s Word at Proverbial Thought.

Almost exactly seven years ago today (two days ago, actually) I met a young woman who inspired this poem.

You may have already figured out I am talking about my wife. The mushy part of the story is that I knew the moment I looked into her eyes that she would be my wife. I could also detect what I came to see over the coming days. Her truest beauty came from the One living inside of her.

 

   more than skin deep

 

beauty that is more than skin deep

because of a deep love of God

if she only knew just how deep

the Father wants her to feel His love

her heart cries out for justice

in a world full of pain and grief

her soul cries out for the Lord Jesus

to put her troubled soul at ease

it has not been enough just to say

God had one Son Whom He sent

through His life lived and then paid

she knows she has a Perfect Friend

this love that so emanates

from her Savior working in Heaven

flows out as she emulates

the Lord Who is the Perfect One

this beauty that goes beyond skin deep

comes from the love of her Savior

it makes the inside soul and mind and body

a holy temple dedicated to the Lord

though on the outside her beauty is great

you need to see what she has inside

the love of her God so permeates

that you can see in her Jesus Christ

so walk with her and see this life

see the love that is so complete

and that this love from Jesus Christ

makes her beauty more than skin deep

Not So Faust …

Make a deal with Wisdom and read more at Proverbial Thought!

I read a story in high school, that I think actually played a role in my responding to Christ’s call.

The story has many variants over the centuries, but I will relate the version from my high school textbook.

Faust was a man who felt he had learned all he could. He became bored with life and lamented not being able to learn more. So he made a deal with the Devil: in exchange for his soul he could receive earthly knowledge and pleasures. After a certain amount of years, the Devil would come to collect.

Faust lived for many years growing in knowledge and enjoying many pleasures. After those years, and knowing that his time was growing short, he purchased a Bible to use to defend himself when the Devil would come. He carried the Bible everywhere with him.

One night, while Faust was eating dinner, there was a knock at the door. He went and opened the door, and there stood the Devil. In that moment, Faust realized he had left his Bible on the table. There was no time to get to it. The Devil took the man’s soul down to Hell.

When I became a Christian, I read the story of Simon the Magician in Acts chapter 8 (ESV):

But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. . . .

18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” 24 And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Here are some lessons to be learned:

  • There are many today who offer the message that we can get happiness, health, and wealth in this world. This kind of teaching says that a) we can tell God what to do for our every whim, b) we can buy our way into the Kingdom of Heaven, and/or c) we can earn a better standing with God.

Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
John 15:20

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:5-9

  • Many believe that it is enough to be a good person, go to church, and/or own a Bible to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Psalm 14:3

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
Mark 10:18

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
Romans 3:20-25

There is nothing we can do to escape Satan’s grasp nor the wrath of God. Jesus paid the price that moves us from being children of Satan (John 8:44) to saving us into children of God (1 John 3:1). Through Christ’s faithfulness we can have faith that Satan has no lasting power over us, that sin has no lasting hold on us, and we are God’s loved and redeemed children!

Destroying [Atheist] Arguments

Build up your knowledge and wisdom with some of the thoughts from Proverbial Thought!

I recently saw a talk given by Eric Hovind. He is a biblical Creation apologist with Creation Today and the face of Creation Minute.

His talk was simply titled “Proof of God”. In it, he laid out four questions to destroy an atheist’s argument while building a bridge to the Christian worldview. I will briefly discuss those questions here!

Question #1: Is it impossible for the God of the bible to exist?

Here is why an atheist must answer “No, it is not impossible that the God of the Bible exists”: To follow science and reason, it must be concluded that in a Universe (or even multiverse) of possibly infinite possibilities, that would mean it is possible that the God of the Bible could exist.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Romans 1:18-19, ESV

Question #2: Is it impossible for the Bible to be what it claims to be?

This is also a “No” because if it is possible that the God of the Bible exists, then it must be possible that the Bible could be His written revelation to us.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

Question #3: Could the God of the Bible reveal Himself to us so that we can be absolutely certain of His existence?

Again, the answer to this question is a “Yes” because if it is possible that God exists and if it is possible that the Bible is His written revelation to us, then it is possible that He could reveal Himself to us so that we could be certain He exists.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:21

Question #4: Could you be wrong about everything you think you know?

Scientists the world over admit that we know, probably, less than 1% of what can be known about the Universe. If you look at what was believed about our own Solar System just a decade ago (let alone the entire Universe), things have changed (on a small scale, just look at the status of Pluto going from “Planet” to “Dwarf Planet” … keeping in mind we did not even know Pluto existed 100 years ago!).

An atheist, therefore, must admit that with the constant changing of our understanding of the Universe it is possible that everything he or she knows about everything could be wrong.

Therefore, atheists have no rational foundation for their worldview.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Romans 1:22-23

The reason I feel it is so important to share this, other than that I do subscribe to the idea of a literal 6-day Creation of the heavens and the Earth, is this little tidbit from Paul:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ …
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

But we must always remember to do it with love, respect, and compassion, for all humans were created in the image of the God of the Bible, regardless of their beliefs:

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
1 Peter 3:15-16

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
Genesis 9:6

I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.
Colossians 2:4