This week has been one of interesting character. I have had some circumstances that years ago would have knocked me off my game. But thankfully God’s word has sustained me through it all and He has reminded me that the Cross is enough.
Yesterday was the most challenging for me. I had a blog post draft written, but it was not finished, and I was caused to pause and seek counsel and pray. I went to talk to my preacher Terry about a struggle I was having. We had a discussion centered around the word and prayed together setting my mind at ease; not to write, but to meditate on what we had discussed and take it to the Lord; sometimes formally and sometimes just churning it over in my head. But keeping it before God.
What I came away with this morning is the simplicity of the Gospel and the accessibility of God and His Word. It is not a revelation, but another confirmation of the glorious gift of the Holy Spirit in me and the desire for Him to guide me through the answers of life found in God’s Word.
Every time I pray the Holy Spirit will, in His time, remind me of a passage that I need to ease my concern. It may be a few minutes it may be a week, but He is faithful. He may also use the same passage on the same problem to reveal to me more detail as my understanding grows. But there is one thing that He reminds me daily, and that is to be able to find these answers I need to be in God’s Word.
There is a passage in Deuteronomy that I love that talks about the King that God will place over Israel. It is a command He gives to the people through Moses.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 (ESV)
18 “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
God’s desire for His Kings was that they write the law so that they know it word for word; and why? So that they may rule with a humble heart and obey the Law.
God has given us His Holy Word. A living document that holds all the wisdom we need to grow closer to our God and to gain wisdom and understanding. Why are we so reluctant to study it?
Wisdom of the Cross
I have no decent memory. I can paraphrase passages, but I cannot yet quote chapter and verse. My memory was weakening before the strokes. But computers and phones are great for taking my poor paraphrase and helping me find the right passage. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit helps me recall those. This morning I found a passage in 1Corinthians, and I take great joy in this passage when I read it and think myself and the difficulties I have with focus when it comes to reading and my friends that tell me they struggle with reading the Bible. I read this passage, and I am comforted.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (ESV)
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
You see I thought I was all of these… debater, scribe, even wise when it came to my career, but I was so driven and so ambitious that I would not slow down and my passion brought on a stroke or two. When it came all the skills, I had used in my career left town. But God was not done with me by any stretch. He showed me that He could use me when no one else could and he gave me wisdom and understanding, and though I cannot work a job He gives me just enough to pray, study, understand and write a little and all of it from His word.
He showed me that with a willingness to pray and study, relying on His guidance, I could get through one passage at a time of His Word and in His time that would build as He felt that I was ready. And as my understanding grew so did my faith, trust and understanding in God grew, and my relationship became stronger. It is beyond my words to describe the joy that brings. But there is another that desires steal and destroy that joy.
Peter said the adversary, “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”(1 Peter 5:8 ESV). The thing is it takes so little to be deceived. If we do not know God’s Word, we can be so easily deceived. Some of the largest churches in the World do not teach the whole truth. They teach just enough for those that know no better to be deceived, and it is not unique to today. Paul struggled with it in Galatia. He opened the book with this passage.
Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV)
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul was adamant about this issue. He goes on to explain where the gospel he teaches came from and what is different. If we read Galatians, we learn what upset Paul. But the thing is we may not have Judaizers to deal with, but we have enough that add just a little or take away just enough that they are no longer preaching the Gospel and if we do not study we can be deceived.
Test the Spirits
John is equally adamant in 1 John 4 he warns us that not all spirits are from God.
1 John 4:1-6 (ESV)
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
It seems that many of my prayers and concerns of late seem to focus on knowing God and testing everything against His Word. I just seem compelled to talk about this subject.
You know there are so many distractions in this world. So many people are trying to get your attention. Even Christian radio and TV is trying to get your attention but is it all accurate? Do all those that have a program preach the whole Gospel? In today’s environment, we cannot even be sure that each church is teaching by Gods Word.
Now more than ever we need the full Armor of God. That includes the Word of God. To test everything against the scriptures, we need to know them. We also need to know people that we trust to know them as well, so we have someone to discuss them with that will not mislead us. That is how we grow. It is also easier to deceive one man alone than a group that prayerfully studies God’s Word together.
Father God, thank you for your Holy Word and the wisdom that is contained within. Thank you, Father,
for sharing it with us when we prayerfully seek to know you. Lord, you are our mighty King and Loving Father and I thank you for Your strength and patience You share with me. Heavenly Father I thank you, and I pray all this in the name of your precious Son, Jesus Christ, Amen!