This past weekend was an amazing weekend. Pat and I went on a bit of a road trip and I got to take some nice photos. But all through the weekend even into this morning, I was reminded of the need to stand on the Word of God. It is not enough to simply read it, but we must believe it to be the only absolute truth. We must internalize it and trust in its truth enough that we obey the precepts found in it.
I read this blog by Bob Russel “Is Your Faith Strong Enough” this morning that said in the early 1970’s a Gallup poll said 40% of people believed the Bible was the literal Word of God. A recent Gallup poll showed that number had dropped to 28% and among 18-29 year old people the percentage was down to 12%. These numbers are heartbreaking.
Now they do not say in that poll, but I would almost bet that 18-29 year old people were in the 20-25% range. I am not certain, but I am pretty sure I was in that boat in my youth. I believed in God, but I did not really know Him or His Word. He was more there for when I got old. I was so foolish. It took a pretty significant jolt to change my mind, and I am thankful because those changes put me in a place to be ready to receive what God had for me this weekend.
July 3, 2016, my daughter Caroline and my now son-in-law Phil, were baptized and married on the same day. It was amazing and almost more than I could handle. It has led to a lot of discussions. Friday she sent me a link to some YouTube videos on end times. She asked me to watch them and let her know what I thought. So I watched them Saturday morning.
Early Saturday I watched them all and I sent a text to her with a couple scriptures and my opinion. The thing is that the videos and the discussion we had all rested in the scriptures. I shared with Caroline and Phil Mark 13 and Matthew 24.
Without God’s Word, I would not have had an answer. Sure I could have called someone else and asked them, but then I become a parrot and if I am asked any other questions I am stuck. If my hope really rests in Christ Jesus so do my answers. I am not an expert in the scriptures. I do still ask for help, but the help I ask for is finding the answer in God’s Word or finding understanding in His Word.
Saturday morning reminded me of this hunger I have for the Word. It is a bit strange to some I guess. I want to share my testimony, so I do. That raises questions so I search the Word for answers which I am compelled to share which drives me to search His Word for more answers that I might grow to know God better and share the Gospel.
It is kind of like the like the back of a shampoo bottle. Wash, rinse and repeat, except with God’s Word it is Share, Study and Repeat.
Sunday was an amazing day as always. Terry’s sermon at Ninevah Christian Church was amazing. If you get a chance you should give it a listen. It will be on YouTube mid-week the week of June 12. I will add a link to this blog post when it is available. It was amazing. It really got me thinking and reinforced the importance of being in prayerful study of God’s Word.
Pat and I talked about how powerful God’s Word is in our life and the importance of prayerful study and obedience. We were both just thankful for all God was doing in our lives and all He showed us every day.
This morning the flood gates opened and all the thoughts came together. I read the blog by Bob Russel “Is Your Faith Strong Enough” and reflected on Terry’s sermon. Both Terry and Bob Russel spoke of the strength of our faith using the 29 Coptic Christians killed recently for their faith recently. That alone gave me a cold chill and reminded me of the power of the Holy Spirit.
I also reflected on a sermon by Charles Spurgeon and the devotional for today by Oswald Chambers in Utmost for His Highest as well as my discussion with Caroline and Phil.
I reflected on the scriptures that I was led to this morning.
The sermon I listened to was based on John 10:27-30 I went to the beginning of the passage where Jesus answered the doubting Jews that asked Him to tell them plainly if He was the Christ.
John 10:25-30 (ESV) 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
I look at that passage and my heart melts with a joy and peace when I read, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” How would I know His voice if not for His Holy Word? How could I be sure of what I heard if I did not search the scriptures for myself and test everything against them? That thought led me back to something I shared with Caroline and Phil.
In Mark 13 Jesus speaks of the last days and in 21-23 I am reminded of the importance of drawing near to Him through His Word so I will not be deceived.
Mark 13:21-23 (ESV) 21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.
I cannot help but be reminded of John 1:1-5, 14
John 1:1-5 (ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
How can we possibly know God well enough to trust and obey Him without grasping John 1 and thirsting for the knowledge of Jesus contained throughout the Scriptures? To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to desire to know Him more and to strive to serve and obey Him.
The last thing I read this morning was “My Utmost for His Highest“, by Oswald Chambers. Today’s devotional was “Getting There“. The part that struck me was near the end and I think it kind of put a bow on my thoughts for today.
“You say it would be all right if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is exactly what He will do! And not only do we make our home with Him, but Jesus said of His Father and Himself, “…We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.”
What an amazing promise. But how would I know if I were not in His Word for myself? I could go a lifetime and I may never hear my preacher preach this verse, not because he doesn’t, but because I do not hear it.
John 14:23 (ESV) 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
What a tragedy that would be to not grasp this passage fully for myself. The thought of that makes my heart ache.
Heavenly Father, help me Lord that I might always thirst and hunger for your Word. Let me never grow weary of its lessons. Lord help me share your Gospel boldly in all I do and never shrink back. Please strengthen me with your Holy Spirit and the power of Your Word.
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!