Twisted Scripture

Today’s reading is Luke 4.

“But it’s in the Bible,” Satan says as he offers the third temptation. What a subtle and cunning enemy the devil is. He will use anything to get us to turn from God and turn on God. He will even use the Bible. He will pull verses out of context, strip them of their meaning, and then say, “But the Bible says.” There is only one way to combat this kind of temptation. Know God’s Word. If we pluck a sentence here or a verse there, we can make the Bible support just about anything. Jesus explained He would trust in the Father’s care and protection. He didn’t have to test it. He wouldn’t test it. He knew it would be there when it was truly needed; the Father’s Word said so. Yes, that very Word by which Jesus claimed He received life had promised God’s protection. How could He rely on it for life, if He wouldn’t trust it’s promises. The same is true for us. God is our Father. He will take care of us when that is needed, we don’t need to purposefully test it. We just need to purposefully rely on it no matter what Satan says to us.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 4.

Continue reading “Twisted Scripture”

Father, Son, & Holy Spirit

Today’s reading is Luke 3.

What an amazing scene at Jesus’s baptism. Jesus has been immersed while praying, and the heavens are opened. In that moment, we see all three persons of the Godhead–the Son being baptized as the Spirit descends in the form of a dove and the Father speaks from heaven. There are many ways folks have tried to illustrate the triune nature of God. All of those illustrations fall short somewhere. And the skeptics say, “See, this just doesn’t make any sense at all.” But isn’t this struggle actually to be expected? God is beyond space and time. He lives in a “dimension” beyond ours. We have no scope of reference to understand even the realm of His existence, let alone the nature of His existence within it. Doesn’t it stand to reason that trying to explain His infinite existence in finite terms to limited minds is going to be practically impossible? Would we honestly expect that explanation to be easily grasped? It would be like a 3-dimensional cube trying to explain its nature to a 2-dimensional square.

Cube: “I’m six squares placed at right angles to each other so that every edge connects to the edge of another square and forms a unified whole.”

Square: “O, so you’re six squares?”

Cube: “Well, actually, I’m one cube.”

Square: “Wait! What?”

Cube: “Try this. Imagine a million squares stacked on top of each other to form a kind of square that extends up.”

Square: “What is up?”

Cube: “You know, extending into space above the plane on which you exist.”

Square: “What is space? And what do you mean ‘above’?”

Cube: “Just try to imagine one square laying flat on top of you and another and another and another on up to a million.”

Square: “Okay, okay. I don’t know what ‘on top” means. But you’re saying you’re a million squares, not six squares?”

Cube: “No, I’m one cube.”

Square: “Which is it? Are you six squares or one cube?”

Cube: “Yes.”

My point is not that God is three persons added together to make one God. The point is simply to see that the struggle we have to understand the Triune God makes perfect sense. If He were easy to understand and comprehend, it would likely mean we made Him up. Keep studying. Keep working at it, but don’t let the skeptics get you down. This struggle to understand God is exactly how it should be.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 3

Continue reading “Father, Son, & Holy Spirit”

Our Household in God’s Household

Today’s reading is Titus 2.

Yesterday, we learned there were insubordinate, empty talking, deceivers who were upsetting whole families teaching for shameful gain what ought not be taught. At the beginning of today’s reading, Paul turns that around on Titus. “No matter what anyone else is doing, Titus, you teach what accords with sound, healthy, faithful teaching. Those other guys are upsetting households, you settle them.” And then he talks about how everyone in a household should behave, whether male or female, whether old or young. But keep this in the context. Paul didn’t write this here so when we are preaching a series through¬†Titus we could preach some lessons on the home. He is actually describing the battle in the vile culture of Crete. Please see, the battle isn’t won on Facebook. It isn’t won in a courthouse. It isn’t won on the floors of Congress. It is won in our households. Sure, it is great when laws get passed that support truth. But in the midst of Crete, Christians fight the good fight of faith not by conducting political battles but by living in their own households distinctly and differently, living soberly, steadfastly, lovingly, self-controlled, exemplary lives in a way that the ungodly are put to shame as they try to find some way to make an accusation against us. I think this may be a needed teaching for us today as well.

Tomorrow’s reading is Titus 3 .

Continue reading “Our Household in God’s Household”

Discipline is Hard

Today’s reading is Hebrews 12.

I want life to be easy. But where would an easy life lead? If every day were a walk in the park, would I understand how much I need God? Would I figure out how messed up I am in my heart and mind? Enter discipline. Doing whatever I want without facing consequences is fun and easy, but eventually it is destructive. Discipline is hard and painful. I don’t like it. But God puts me through it in the hope of saving my very soul. I often wish there was an easier softer way for me to grow, but I’ve come to realize I’m pretty dense and thick-headed. If God is going to get my attention, He has to get my attention where it hurts. I can cry, whine, moan, rebel, but God’s painful discipline is what trains me and gives me life. Who knew that discipline itself is really the grace of God? Let’s thank God for His discipline today.

Monday’s reading is Hebrews 13.

Continue reading “Discipline is Hard”

Established By God

Today’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 2.

Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians is that God the Father and God the Son will establish them in every good work and word. This is in contrast to what God is doing with those who ignore the truth but take pleasure in unrighteousness. With those, God sends a strong delusion. He pushes them further down their path of unrighteousness (see also¬†Romans 1:18-31). As they have pursued instability, He gives them what they seek. He destabilizes them. The good news is when we pursue God’s word and work, He will provide stability. He will establish us. We can’t make God do anything. But good news; He is doing His part. Today, let’s love truth (God’s word) and pursue righteousness (God’s work). Then let us pray and take comfort that God Himself will establish and stabilize us in, through, and for these pursuits. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 3.

Continue reading “Established By God”

Close, but Don’t Be Fooled

Today’s reading is Revelation 13.

Our enemy has no creativity whatsoever. The best he can do is provide a mediocre copy. Sadly, that is often enough to turn the heads of those he wants to capture. Consider the parallels between the unholy trinity of the dragon, the sea beast, and the land beast and the holy trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit. The dragon gives authority to the sea beast, as the Father has given all authority to the Son. The sea beast receives a mortal wound and is healed, just as the Son died on the cross and arose. The land beast with great signs and wonders points people to worship the sea beast, just as the Spirit does for the Son. And while the sea beast has the mouth of a lion, understand he is not the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In this battle over the Bride, the enemy will stop at nothing, even copying the Hero in order to get the Bride to capitulate instead of conquer. Don’t be fooled. Only Jesus is the Hero and only Jesus wins.

Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 14.

Continue reading “Close, but Don’t Be Fooled”

Who’s Your Father?

Today’s reading is 1 John 3.

As disciples of Jesus, we are children of God. How cool is that? Have you ever heard the phrases, “Like father, like son” or “Like father, like daughter”? That is exactly the idea we need to keep in mind. Being a child of God is not just a designation. It isn’t just a title. It is a process. That is, it is a process of growing up to be like our Father. We must understand, the question is not: Will we grow up to be like our father? We will. We are. The question is: Who is our father? If the devil is our father, we will become more and more like him. Not that we will become exceedingly wicked and evil by worldly standards. Rather, we will become exceedingly self-governed and pleasure seeking. If God is our Father, we will become more and more like Him: holy, righteous, pure. The question we have to ask today is, “Who do I want to become?” Choose wisely.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 4.

Continue reading “Who’s Your Father?”