Eye-witness Testimony

Today’s reading is 1 John 1.

Sometimes, I forget what I’m reading when I read the Bible. I don’t want to act like the Bible is just a book like any other book. On the other hand, I do need to realize that in many ways that is exactly what it is. These are not some kind of special writings. These are the eye-witness testimonies just as if we were in the jury of a trial and had to figure out if we were hearing the truth. John didn’t sit back and try to make up a story with a couple of his friends. Rather, he saw and experienced things. Then he, and a few others, recorded what they experienced. This, of course, produces a struggle for us. Just as Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time, the Scriptures are fully written by man and fully written by God at the same time. No doubt, just as with the incarnation, this produces some difficulties for us. But what a powerful gift God has given us. His Word in man’s words. Read the testimony. See what you think of it. Then follow it. It is a true record.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 John 2.

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Consequences

Today’s reading is Acts 25.

“If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death.” WOW! What a statement. This is one of the characteristics of penitence. Often, we aren’t actually penitent, we just want to escape the consequences of our actions. The great thing is God has promised if we repent and surrender to Jesus, we will not face the ultimate consequence of separation from Him through eternity, which we call Hell. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t face earthly, temporal, and natural consequences to our actions. Paul wasn’t trying to escape the consequences. He was willing to accept them. When we repent and respond to the gospel, that is exactly the mindset we need to have. That is, when we repent and submit to the gospel, we escape Hell and the judgment of God’s wrath because He removes our sins from us by the blood of Jesus, but our sins have consequences in this life. People have been hurt. Sometimes laws have been broken. Being penitent means accepting that and being willing to face the consequences. Of course, it is so much easier to do that when you know God has wiped the slate clean by the blood of Jesus and that no matter what you face now, you will be with Him forever. Whatever you’ve done, whatever the consequences, turn to Jesus and hang on to Him. It will be worth it.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 26.

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Not of This World

Today’s reading is John 18.

Why do disciples behave so differently from the world? Because our kingdom is not of this world? If we were of the world, we would fight like the world. Of course, the sad part is sometimes we do fight like the world, don’t we? We can get on Facebook and raise a ruckus like the best of them. We can get in a picket line and point fingers and yell and holler like the rest. We can even take to the politics of the world to get our doctrines passed into law. But that isn’t what we’re supposed to be about. We’re about Christ’s kingdom. And His kingdom is not of this world. We shouldn’t be either.

Tomorrow’s reading is John 19.

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Truth Makes Disciples

Today’s reading is 2 Timothy 4.

I’m just like you. I hate being turned down. I hate getting rejected. Because of that, I face a constant temptation. Sometimes I want to alter the gospel message. I want to leave out bits and pieces that may not be as appealing. I want to modify some of the training the grace of the gospel provides. I have noble motives. I just want people to become disciples. The problem is only truth makes disciples. If I change it, they are just turning aside to myths. They may start “coming to church” with me, but they haven’t become disciples, and they aren’t saved. What good did I do them then? Let’s make disciples the only way we can, using God’s truth.

Tomorrow’s reading is Titus 1.

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Prophesy! Who Sinned Against You?

Today’s reading is Matthew 26.

At first, I look at those soldiers who blindfolded Jesus, then struck Him, then mocked saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?” and I am flabbergasted and appalled at their belligerence. After all Jesus had done to prove Himself, they still treated Him with such disdain. But then I think some more and I am completely undone. After all, how many times have I behaved in just the same way? Oh sure, if Jesus were physically right in front of me, I would never actually hit Him or speak so despairingly. Yet, how many times have I sneaked around with my secret sins, hiding them from people and even pretending that for the moment I can get away with it as if Jesus is blindfolded and won’t know I’m the one stabbing Him in the back? “Prophesy to me, you Christ! Who is it that sinned against You?” That is why these chapters break my heart while simultaneously filling it with joy. I struck Jesus. But He accepted it at my hands and went to the cross for my sins. Thank You, Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Matthew 27.

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