Those Words are Missing in My Bible

Those Words are Missing in My Bible

I once heard of a Christian having a Bible study with a friend about what one must do to be saved. He opened his Bible and urged the friend to read several passages which clearly revealed God’s plan of salvation. The friend’s reply was, “There are none of these verses in my Bible.” She went and got her Bible, and she was exactly right. She had literally cut out every one of the verses from her own Bible and thrown away those which she did not like.

Are their Word's from God missing in your life?

Are their Word’s from God missing in your life?

As strange as it might seem, this was not the first time this ever happened.  Less than 20 years before Jerusalem was destroyed and taken into Babylon, Jeremiah was pleading for all men, even the king, to change and return to God. A copy of the book of Jeremiah was brought to King Jehoiakim and read in his presence. “And it happened when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire” (Jer. 36:23).  His view was that if you do not like what God says just cut it out of the Bible.

Human nature does not change that much. While no one is actually cutting verses out of the Bible, their actions show that their hearts are so much like Jehoiakim. There are several ways to “cut verses out of the Bible.”

There are some who, knowing that God would not approve of what they are doing, simply just never read the Bible. When encouraged by others to come to worship, they are adamant in the way they respond. They just cut God out of their lives.

There are also those who read the Bible trying to find verses which justify what they have decided is right. The Bible talks of those who read the Bible and then twist it to suit their own ideas (2 Pet. 3:16). While they do not literally have the scribe’s knife in their hands, they have one in their hearts.

Do you want to know His will for your life? Come to His word and “…hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matt. 5:6).  Remember His promise, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). Jesus said it this way, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine” (John 7:17).

Our hearts must be so different than the heart of Jehoiakim. Paul speaks of that person who, with an open heart, comes to the Bible and reads about Jesus. As he looks at the image of Jesus, he is changed into that very same image by the Holy Spirit of God (2 Cor. 3:18). Do you want God to change you? Then open your Bible and honestly seek Him, but make sure you do not have a scribe’s pen in your hand!

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Deceptive Advertising

Deceptive Advertising

A number of years ago a particular satellite television provider was running a very attractive special on monthly rates for new subscribers. We had lived long enough to know that anything that seemed too good to be true probably was. And so, because we were still somewhat skeptical regarding hidden extra costs and fees, we continually sought – and gained – the salesperson’s repeated assurances that the price as quoted, would be the price we paid. And so, we bought in. And it was then that the nightmare began!

Do you live your life as advertised?

Do you live your life as advertised?

  It seemed like every couple of months our bill would increase slightly as some new charge was subtly inserted into our total amount due. I recall one case where they added a couple of new, “free,” complimentary channels… and ironically, our monthly premium still went up for some “mysterious” reason. I remember having to call and correct them on a regular basis because of some new phantom cost-increase or “special offer” we had neither wanted nor requested. Suffice it to say that when that contract ended, so did our experience with that satellite provider – forever.

Fast forward to a week or two ago. My wife and I were out shopping when approached by a salesman from a different satellite provider. He was polite, polished, and well-prepared. Although very leery, weary, and as skeptical as ever, we actually gave him a few minutes to present his pitch. We explained our previous bad experience with his company’s competitor – to which he of course reassured us that his company was not like that at all. We considered it. His company’s package was very good; the price was competitive; and it was locked in for two full years, after which we could cancel it at any time. More than once we sought – and received – assurances that these were the facts. Then came the actual phone call with the company to set it all up. All of the sudden we learned there would be an additional – and heretofore unmentioned – $20 shipping charge for equipment. Okay, understandable. And then came the kicker. The quoted price was locked in for 24 months – but only if we purchased additional services from their home company within the first 12 months of the contract. Otherwise, the final 12 months of that agreed to 24 month contract would see a 50% price increase per month. And while he later insisted that we had previously covered and understood that, neither Karen nor I remember his having said anything whatsoever about that.

This is sort of like the car insurance company’s commercials that promise that they won’t raise your rates after your first accident – that is, if you’ve already purchased their additional coverage in advance (if I understand it correctly); or, to put it another way, if you’ve already been paying ahead of time for any potential first accident you may or may not ever even have to begin with!

It also seems somewhat similar to all of those medication commercials which show smiling, active, high spirited people who supposedly represent those who’ve taken those medications – medications the side effects of which are far more often than not, far more devastating, far-reaching, and in some cases even fatal, than even the worst of what they’ve been taken to correct.

In such an environment and society, and with all of the well-disguised, other-wise hidden, and often outright misrepresented prices, products, and presentations, is it any wonder whatsoever that people are so skeptical when we try to present to them even something as pure and unadulterated as the absolute truth of the two-thousand year old biblical gospel? Not really. It’s where we are at as a society. Everyone knows and expects that the french fries at the fast-food drive-through window are not going to look anything whatsoever like they do in their golden brown, “all points north in their packaging” commercials.

So, what is the answer to conducting effective evangelism in such a skeptical and “deceptive packaging” conditioned society? Simple. We must so transparently live the truth we will one day seek to convey to them, each and every day before them, each and every day prior to that – living the gospel in such a way daily – that others will actually ask us questions regarding why we are so different from everyone else around them. They must see and know from the lives we have been living before, around, and amongst them, that this Christianity as we profess it, is the real thing, “as it is written.” Truth, sincerity, integrity, and transparency; Christ-like love, obedience, trust, concern, and compassion, constantly and continually. It’s what the apostle Peter’s first epistle is all about! Re-read it and see! And then, let’s continually seek to live it and see what happens as well! And when we do occasionally make those inevitable mistakes, which we all eventually will, let us repent, rely on the Lord to help us get back up, and then continue to try once again to be the best and most biblical Christian we can possibly be! God bless!

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Thankfulness and Trust

Thankfulness and Trust

Beginning in Numbers chapter 11 and reading through chapter 15 we notice how the Israelites complained, cried, wept, were ungrateful, murmured, were disbelieving and disobedient. The same could probably be said of the people of our society, especially in the past couple of weeks. There are many great lessons we can learn about the one true and living God and from the history of the children of Israel. Indeed, Paul’s inspired pen was correct when he wrote, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and com-fort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Does being thankful describe your behavior?

Does being thankful describe your behavior?

Here are just a few things for us to consider as we approach this new week:

1) Be content. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Contentment doesn’t necessarily mean satisfied. But carries with it the idea of thankfulness and a focus on how God has blessed us. So…

2) Count your blessings, look for the good in every situation, and be thankful. The Psalmist said, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Psalm 100:4). Colossians 3:15 instructs us to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” And lastly…

3) Trust in the Lord. While in the history of God’s people God recognizes both sins of ignorance and sins of presumption He still calls both of them sin. And there are consequences for both. Ignorance of the law was/is no excuse. And the only hope we have is to trust in Him and obey His commands (Psalm 37:3). Have a blessed week and be faithful!

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