What I am about to say could offend some people, but it is the truth. Continue reading
I feel that the posts I’ve posted recently have dealt with really heavy, heartbreaking topics. Though these things need to be discussed at times, let us not ever forget the good news amidst our bad: for those who believe, Jesus has SAVED us from hell and is preparing a place for us in heaven! What’s more, He will walk with us every step of the way.
May we always keep this precious truth close to our hearts. ❤
Have a blessed week!
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8, KJV)
Hey guys. Tonight’s post is going to be a little bit random in nature, but it’s been on my heart and mind lately. Continue reading
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:11, KJV)
“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23, KJV)
“A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:20-21, KJV)
~ Remember and speak aloud Jesus’ promises for you! His Word will never be returned void; He is trustworthy. ~
Learn more about Jesus, the God who does not change, here.
Please pray for…
- Those believers who need to know Jesus is for them. Perhaps this is you; may you be comforted by knowing that Christ is for you, not against you. (This is not saying that Jesus must do everything we want, or that He is a genie. But He Loves you– trust Him to do what His Word says He will do.)
- The families of the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu. Find the girls’ names, here.
Thank you for your prayers!!!
On February 13th, 2018, a man by the name of Haruna Yahaya, aged 35, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for taking part in the Chibok school girl kidnapping. Yahaya, having a paralyzed arm and a deformed leg, confessed to being a part of the kidnapping; his lawyer, though, asked the judge for leniency, because Yahaya was “forcibly conscripted into the group and he acted under duress.”1 The judge did not agree to leniency, stating that Yahaya still could have chosen not to participate in the kidnapping of these women.1
Reading this article, I can’t help but suspect that Yahaya did act under duress— that he gave in to the pressure and fear around him, and chose to help take his fellow human beings captive. Perhaps I am wrong; perhaps he committed this crime in complete agreement with Boko Haram’s leaders, malice filling his heart. Maybe it was a bit of both; or maybe I shouldn’t even try to look at his motives. After all, only God can see a person’s heart (1 Kings 8:39).
But there are three things that I glean from this, that I feel are worth mentioning:
- How vulnerable all of us are to fear and to outside social pressure,
- That Jesus is fulfilling His Promise, in that those who have caused the Chibok girls suffering will get Justice for their actions; and that
- Perhaps this man is repentant (possibly shown by how he confessed to kidnapping the Chibok girls, and for maybe being under duress); and, because he might be truly repentant, he might now need mercy.
It brings to mind John 8:1-11, when an adulterous woman is brought before Jesus, and the Pharisees try to put Him in a trap. Instead, Jesus tells the Pharisees something very pointed: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7, NIV).
It is incredibly important to point out what Dave Miller of Apologetics Press says concerning this passage of scripture:
“this motley crew [speaking about the Pharisees]—with their notorious and repeatedly documented hard-heartedness—would not have been deterred if Jesus simply had conveyed the idea that, “Hey, give the poor woman a break, none of us is perfect, and we’ve all done things we’re not proud of.” These heartless scribes and Pharisees had the audacity to divert her case from the proper judicial proceedings and to humiliate her by forcibly hauling her into the presence of Jesus, thereby making her a public spectacle. …Paul was especially specific on the very point with which Jesus dealt: ‘You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery?’ (vs. 22). In other words, [Jesus was saying that] no person is qualified to call attention to another’s sin when that individual is in the ongoing practice of the same sin.”
(Dave Miller, “The Adulterous Woman,” Apologetics Press, words in brackets mine)
At the core, Jesus was not waving away this woman’s sin to show her mercy. He actually dealt quite lawfully with her, and showed her that she wasn’t to be condemned to death because her case, as mentioned by Dave Miller in “The Adulterous Woman,” lacked the necessary requirements for that to happen. Why bring this up? Because Jesus is a God of Law, Order, and Justice—after all, He (being part of the Trinity) created the Law of Moses to begin with.
As this woman is saved from death, Jesus tells her, “’Then neither do I condemn you… Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:11). Lawfully, Jesus kept her from death—and then told her to completely leave behind the sin (adultery) that put her there in the first place. Jesus did not wave away this woman’s sin in order to show her mercy; He showed her mercy, lovingly telling her the Truth, while plainly seeing her sin.
It is Jesus’ heart for “genuine Justice,” as Christian Rapper Odd Thomas puts it in “The Size of Sin,” that introduced the need for Him to come to earth in the first place. But, in light of the need for true Justice, Jesus also came down to earth out of mercy.
Both Justice and Mercy are borne out of Love. However we have gotten ourselves into sin—whether it would be through thoughtlessness, a genuine mistake, caving in under pressure, or planning it out with exact evil intent, the Gospel shows us that it is God’s desire to both look at the sin committed and bring it to Justice, and to—when one is repentant of their sin—show forgiveness, grace, and mercy to even the worst of sinners.
Whatever this man—and tens, if not hundreds of other men coerced/recruited into Boko Haram—intended to do, they still inflicted pain and created anguish for countless people, causing irrevocable harm. May Jesus show them what their actions have really wrought; and, with hearts that are truly repentant, may they come to Jesus, receiving the forgiveness and mercy only He can offer.
Do you know Jesus?
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’”
(Jeremiah 17:9-10, NIV)
You may intend to be a “good” person, and you may even consider yourself to be very good, enlightened, and spiritual—but yet, you do not know Christ.
Listen: I am not here to call into question whether you are a good person or not. You may be a very wonderful, kind, loving, warm person, with noble motives and ideals!
But, unfortunately, one cannot know God simply by being a great person. God knows our hearts; and no matter how pure and spiritual we may seem, nothing we do will ever be enough to gain eternal life.
Jesus said that the true work of God is to believe in the one He has sent (John 6:29). It’s not about you! Learn more about who it is about—and what He did for you—here.
Prayer Requests (print out a copy of these “Prayer Points” here):
- Please pray for the Chibok girls; that each and every one would be able to come out of Boko Haram captivity, into a free and abundant life, with Jesus as their Lord and Savior (John 10:10)!
- Please pray, even for those who have caused so much evil and suffering. I know this can be one we wrestle with… especially in light of the school shooting that just occurred on February 14th. But I encourage you to be real with Jesus in that completely justified anger and pain.
- Pray that those who are facing worldly Justice would receive their punishment to the fullest extent of the law. Praise Jesus for the fact that He has set law enforcement over us (Romans 13:1)! More about how Christ has instituted law enforcement for our good in another post.
- Please pray for each person who has been so deeply affected by the recent school shootings. Pray that Christ shows Himself to people through it.
Thank you for your prayers!!!
In 2018, it’s sadly not surprising that young adults– especially in America, but also worldwide– believe that the Bible is literally a thing of the past. The Barna Group, a research company dedicated to research pertaining to faith and spirituality, created a study in which they compared different questions regarding the Bible, and Bible Literacy, over a six-year period. Many of the answers were, unfortunately, very telling.
For example, in Barna’s Research study on how often people read the Bible, 35% of Americans in 2016 said they read the Bible at least once a week, but this statistic also highlighted the fact that only a quarter of millennials could say they read the Bible once per week1. American adults were also asked if the Bible– among the options of the Koran, Book of Mormon, Torah, and “None” — was a book they considered to be Sacred Literature. While those in this survey were able to choose more than one option, the percentage who chose the Bible as their sole response, or part of their partial response, went down by 6% in 6 years. To the question, “the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches,” the percentage of those who “Agreed Strongly” decreased by 15% between 2011 and 2016; there was also a decrease of 8% in those who believe “the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.”
As with much of Scientific studies, this data only proves and supports many of the things people already see on a daily basis. Many millennials have traded the idea of Absolute Truth for an “Everything Is True” mentality; people have forsaken the idea that there is one answer and one way for a “Vanilla Spirituality,” one example of 1 Timothy 4 coming true: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.”2
Now, more than ever, Christians must guard themselves against the hundreds of different thoughts and beliefs thrown at them, even unbiblical beliefs within Christianity itself (1 John 4:1-6). At the same time, the human heart can tend to pride itself on “knowing the Truth,” even when it comes to having great knowledge of the Bible—turning Christians into arrogant, heartless, religious people, akin to the proud Pharisees Jesus was so angered by (Matthew 23). In our world, how can one stay away from both dangerous extremes?
The Bible is Precious
“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands” (Psalm 119:9-10, NLT). Whether the person who wrote Psalm 119 was King David, Ezra, or Daniel, the person writing these words no doubt was faced with a real philosophical question: “How can a young person stay pure?” That is, how is a person, in such a world as this, remain untainted by sin, even the sins of legalism and Heresy? Psalm 119:9 makes it very simple: “By obeying [God’s] Word.” God’s Word is precious, because it erases the black tar of humanity’s changing, fallible thinking, replacing lies with Truth.
Yet, there is a caveat to this: God’s Word can only do this transforming work in a person’s life when they view God’s Word as precious. If one does not view the Bible (and the Bible alone!) as precious and worthy to be obeyed with all of ourselves, they remain blinded. 2 Corinthians 4:4 states this truth better than I: “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” God’s Word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11)—but if a person refuses to receive what it says with Faith, they remain blind to it’s Truth, and therefore, it’s life-changing power.
The Bible is God-Breathed
2 Corinthians 4:4 sheds light on the key to receiving God’s Word: The Help and Guidance of the Holy Spirit. Since “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV), it only makes sense that a person needs the Spirit of God to understand what He has breathed! Think of it, friends: The God of the Universe wants to speak to you! The fact that God has already made Himself known through the Bible is a precious gift in and of itself; and one receives it when they receive the One who created it! It is impossible to read and understand the Bible, God’s Wisdom, at a soul-level, without personally knowing the God who reveals it to us (1 Corinthians 10:9-11).
This is where many Christians can remove priority on the Bible, though. Attempting to “experience Jesus,” many can seek an exciting/profound personal revelation—or, at times, merely an ethereal experience—instead of conforming to what God has already revealed in the Bible. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit cannot speak to us individually, but that whatever He says MUST be in line with what the Bible says! There is no greater revelation than the one that is Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22. Only those who see the Bible as a precious, precious gift, and search it for confirmation on what the Holy Spirit might be saying, can steer clear of false spirits masquerading as “greater revelation.”
Jesus is the Word
All of this might seem complicated. But, when it comes down to it, a person will 1) Only regard the Bible as Precious and 2) Have the Holy Spirit when they receive The One who is the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John 1:1 says. “He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3, NIV). There are many today who do read the Bible, yet do not have their hearts, souls, and lives changed by it’s Words. This is because they refuse the One who says it! If John 1 is correct, and if this scripture, as well, is God-breathed (God-inspired), Jesus Christ is God—and He is the Word made manifest as a Human. This is where the Bible becomes more than just Sacred Literature; through the Holy Spirit, it is able to speak to the Reader like nothing and no one else. When one reads the Bible and listens to it, they are listening to God speaking directly to them. So many people—myself included! —will wait and wait until they get a profound, extra-biblical revelation from Christ on whether or not they should do something. While anticipating Jesus’ answer through the Holy Spirit is not wrong, the Bible is clear. Even if the Bible doesn’t explicitly give you an answer on something, its Words will still not return void. In times of uncertainty, ask Jesus to illuminate His Word to you, and give you the Wisdom and Guidance you need. He is willing to provide you that guidance—and what it comes to His Word, He already has!
It is true that a nation is blessed when the triune God, YHWH, is their God (Psalm 33:12). Aching, lonely, sin-ridden hearts all over the world are looking for something to save them out of the darkness, chaos, and emptiness they feel. Now, more than ever, we must pray that people read and believe the Bible—but even more so, put their faith the great, amazing God who inspired hundreds of men, over thousands of years, to write it. Let’s pray that those who are Bible illiterate would read its Words, and believe fully on its Loving Author. After all, it is a book of History, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, and every other noble academic pursuit; but it is SO much more, to the One who believes on Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It becomes a love letter, the very Words of Life itself. In the words of some beautiful person, “The Bible is the only book where the Author is in Love with the reader.”
Do you know Jesus?
The Whole of the Bible is this: That God Loves you, gave Himself for you, and wants you to know Him and be saved by Him. To the lonely, it speaks of Jesus never leaving you (Hebrews 13:5); to the proud, it whispers that only those who know their poverty and need for God will inherit His Kingdom (Matthew 5:3; Psalm 34:18). To all, it says that Jesus Christ is the Only Way, Truth, and Life; no one gets to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
Whoever you are, Jesus is calling for you to come to Him.
Come to Him, and learn more about His Love for you and His Good News to you, here.
Please pray for…
- The Worldwide Church, especially the Church within the United States and other “poster-modern” societies. In a day and time where “everything goes,” pray that the Church would stand for the values of the Bible, even when under pressure.
- College campuses. So many lost, aching, dying souls fill these campuses, looking for purpose and meaning. Pray that Jesus would use fellow college students, professors, and college ministries to show these people the Good News of Jesus Christ!
- That people would not only read the Bible, but love and cherish it. Pray that these beautiful people would come to realize and value the Sacredness of the Bible and would be Bereans (Acts 17:10-15)—comparing everything they hear of and experience with what the Bible has to say.
- That people all over the world would come to know Jesus! Please pray—even in your own life—that Jesus would cause Believers to know the Gospel, and that those same Believers (you and me!) would share the Gospel with all those around us!
If you’re like me, you like writing down prayers. You can now print out a printable version of these prayer requests, with room to journal-pray, here!
Time is short—Jesus is coming back soon, and people NEED to know the Truth! Please pray that those who know nothing of Christ would come to meet Him in amazing ways!!!
Thank you for your prayers!!!
2 I Timothy 4:3-4, New Living Translation