Have you ever been frustrated by something that should work and doesn’t? For the last several months I’ve had a rotten time trying to charge my phone. I purchased several charging cords but the connection always seemed to be an issue to the point where many times I would have to hold the phone and firmly push the cord to get a steady charge. I was just about to take the phone into the store and replace it when I had an idea. Taking a pin I probed the cavity where the cord connected and immediately all kinds of dirt and matted hair began to come loose. Honestly, I felt pretty foolish—no wonder the phone was not properly charging—it was plugged up with debris.
Acts 5:34,35,38,39—A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while He said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful about what you’re going to do to these men . . . And now, I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God.” So they were persuaded by him.
Joe works hard at work and by the time he gets home he is exhausted. Too often he is impatient with his children and snaps at his wife. When he loses his temper and yells at her it is not because he wants to be a jerk or to act in such an unloving manner. The fact is his willpower is nearly sapped. Unfortunately, because of this, he is also insensitive to the fact that his wife, Alice, is also exhausted from watching high-energy children and operating at the tail end of being sick. Her willpower and ability to understand his feelings is also at a low end.
Forty-four men wrote over a period of sixteen centuries sixty-six books that display coherent unity and progressive revelation from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible reveals God’s redemption plan for humanity. It offers the best leadership, marriage, child-raising, family-relations, financial, conduct, attitude, character, teamwork, physical, spiritual, emotional and wisdom-producing advice and instruction on the planet. Yet, I believe we would be shocked, if we knew how many Jesus-followers have never read through this supreme gift from God.
2 Chronicles 32:1—After these faithful deeds, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities and intended to break into them.
Deuteronomy 4:39,40—Today, recognize and keep in mind that the LORD is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other. Keep His statutes and commands, which I am giving you today, so that you and your children after you may prosper and so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you for all time.
Psalm 111:2,3—The LORD’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them. All that He does is splendid and majestic; His righteousness endures forever.
The Gadites and Reubenites were two tribes of Israel that decided that rather than cross the Jordan River with the rest of the nation they preferred to settle in the lands of Jazer and Gilead they had just conquered. Moses saw their decision as one which would discourage the other tribes from crossing the Jordan. Already the nation had suffered forty years of hardship wandering in the desert for refusing to go into the Promised Land the first time. So God’s leader had some pretty strong words for them.
Jiroemon Kimura is 116 years-old and may well be the oldest person on the planet. Japanese are well known for their longevity and many people would agree with Kimura who attests that the secret to his old age is eating small portions of food. Mr. Kimura practices “hara hachi bu,” which means that he eats until he is 80% full. Japanese commonly eat low fat food and lots of fish and rice which helps keep them disease-free.
Mark 15:15—Then, willing to gratify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. And after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
1 Kings 2:2,3—“As for me, I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and be courageous like a man, and keep your obligation to the LORD your God to walk in His ways and to keep His statues, commands, ordinances, and decrees. This is written in the law of Moses, so that you will have success in everything you do and wherever you turn, and so that the LORD will carry out His promise that He made to me: ‘If your sons are careful to walk faithfully before Me with their whole mind and heart, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’”
As the minivan I was riding in stopped at a red light, I noticed a teenager twirling a sign. He was one of those persons paid by a business to hold up a sign advertising their products along busy roads. But no matter how hard I tried to read the large letters on the board I could not. He was so busy spinning it behind his back and over his head that it was impossible to read the message.
Romans 13:14—But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.
Romans 1:1—Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God’s good news.
Doesn’t seem very flattering to be called a slave does it? I don’t want to be a slave to anyone. I want to be free—to do whatever I feel like doing, whenever, however. I want the right to control my life. I want the ability to choose my circumstances, pick my fun, decide when to work, and nobody should be able to make me violate my own will. Do you see the trend? “I want . . .” And just how well does my plan work?
Isaiah 66:1,2—This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
Have you ever served shifty leaders—men or women who despite the problems faced somehow evaded responsibility? I am reminded of politicians. While there are certainly good and competent politicians, too often it seems that the majority of our elected leaders spend more time blaming the other party for the country’s misfortunes than in working to fix the crisis. Blaming others is merely attention shifting—a flawed technique applied by weak leaders. Unfortunately, we feed weakness by allowing those we vote in office to create and perpetuate a system that rewards them with lifetime perks and privileges. No matter what their convictions, once elected their need to stand answerable before us in fixing what is broken is compromised.
Joshua 2:10,11—For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. (ESV)
Wando* and I drove to Tigard to pick up the parts we needed to fix the broken pipe in my garage. The first two hardware stores we checked did not have the couplings necessary to fix the half-inch pipe so we had plenty of time to chat. Wando shared about his failed marriage. It bothered him that his life bore the stain of an unsuccessful relationship. I took the opportunity to share with him about Jesus and how essential I believe the Son of God is to holding marriages together. He agreed in the importance of “a higher power.” I hope I get to talk to him again—I want to share that his fulfillment is not tied to a woman.
I make it a habit to read the Bible daily because I want to grow in my relationship with God and I need the wisdom His word gives to help me live in a God-pleasing manner. Sometimes Scripture jumps from the pages and slaps me. Such was the case recently when reflecting on 1 John 1:3,4.
This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” without keeping His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Often when I am driving on the road for long periods of time, I will tune in to listen to different radio talk shows. I have observed a pattern across the spectrum of those who claim to represent conservative America. Often they speak disrespectfully of politicians with statements like “he is an idiot” or “she is a moron.” They mockingly belittle the mental competency of their intended targets or accuse them of evil motives. Several of these hosts skillfully move between humor and anger and it is easy to be sucked into the emotion-charged airwaves.