A Love for His Word

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. – 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

 

Of all the church epistles that Paul wrote to, it is undeniable to me that the American church is most like the church at Corinth.  They were not unified, they were immoral, and they were immature . . . a perfect picture of us.    One of the most condemning things Paul says in chapter one is in the fact that the people were saying, “I am of Paul,” “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas.” They had a bit of preacher worship going on.  They were dividing themselves by relating to a particular preacher.  Paul absolutely hated this.  He simply asks the question, “Was I crucified for you? Were any of these guys?”

 

As I read the two verses above, I’m so convicted because I fell into the trap.  I don’t know how or when the trap got set, but many, many preachers have fallen into it.  We believe that we have to come up with some clever way to communicate the Word of God. In effect, we believe that the Word of God needs our help.  Paul, on purpose, when he went to Corinth “did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom,” but “determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

 

I just read a study that claimed that 80% of pastors only read their Bible when they are preparing for a sermon.  If these guys don’t read it, then I can guarantee you their congregations aren’t reading it.  Here is a paragraph from a different study done two years ago:

 

One in 5 Americans have read the entire Bible at least once — including 9 percent who’ve read it through multiple times. Just over half (53 percent) have read relatively little of it, and 1 in 10 haven’t read it at all.

 

Here is the bottom line of the study:  “The only time most Americans hear from the Bible is when someone else is reading it.”

 

I am an avid sermon listener.  I listen to lots of them.  After reading 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, the very next sermon I listened to, I made some intentional observations.  The preacher spent approximately 80% of his time on politics, football, and working out. Of course, this left the remaining 20% to talk about the Bible.

 

I am not condemning the guy at all.  I repeat, I’m not condemning this guy at all!  It was a very entertaining sermon.  I’ll even say this:  Had someone been doing to me what I was doing to this guy on one particular sermon, they would have found that I never highlighted a singe Bible verse . . . I was 100% just talking about stuff and didn’t focus on any Bible verse.

 

Now, what if in 2019, the Word came alive to us?  What if we fell in love with it?  What if we really believed it was powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword?  What if we believed that it alone was enough?  Would we not read it all the time?  Would we not sit in church and just anticipate the reading of God’s Word? Wouldn’t we just marvel at it?  We would just say in our heart . . . “I can’t believe we get to hear God’s Word . . . this is amazing!”

 

The truth is that we aren’t amazed because we are a sensual and carnal people.  We live in a society that feeds these desires 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Therefore, we find ways to make His Word more palatable.  We like singing to God as long as it is shrouded inside the work of professional musicians.  We like hearing a little bit of the Word as long as a dynamic speaker who keeps our attention delivers it.  I have nothing against these things.  I like them. But, I have to ask the question this morning: Why is God’s Word alone not enough for us?

 

Paul purposefully didn’t embellish the Word like he could have.  He kept it simple.  A heart that has been changed by Christ will marvel at Christ and Him Crucified. A heart that has not been converted will go to a simple church service where these things are proclaimed and call it “boring.” 

 

I don’t really have a grand finale ending to this.  I just want you to consider whether or not you have a real deal love for God and His Word.  Are you amazed that you even have a copy of it?  Do you open it and read it with reverential awe?

 

God, help us to get it.

 

Later

 

Adam

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ask! What shall I give you?

 

On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask! What shall I give you?”  — 2 Chronicles 1:7

 

Could you imagine God Himself appearing to you and saying, “Whatever you want, name it, it’s yours!” I’ve had this question on the forefront of my mind for a solid week now.  I almost feel like God is asking me this question and giving me this opportunity for real.  What would you ask Him for?  I think our answer reveals so much about our spiritual condition.

 

Solomon asks for wisdom. For the longest time, I’ve thought his answer was the standard for all answers.  I have asked God countless times for wisdom.  Yet, as I read on in 2 Chronicles, Solomon didn’t end well.  He might have had the wisdom to know what was right, but often times, he didn’t have the courage to actually do what was right. Because of his lust for foreign women (and women in general), he succumbed to their wishes when they wanted temples for their own gods.  He actually built temples to other gods in Israel breaking the first commandment. His legacy of wisdom did not get passed on to his sons.  You can read in 2 Chronicles 10 just how foolish Rehoboam, his son and successor, was. He certainly never learned from his dad that “a gentle answer turns away wrath.” (Proverbs 15:1)

 

I believe Solomon had two answers that would have been better than the one he gave.  He doubtless had access to Moses’s writings, the Pentateuch.  He also had the knowledge of his own father, David.  He had access to his writings, as well as the stories of the things he went through.  Because of this, I think Solomon should have asked thusly:

 

“God, Moses sought your face, he really knew you, and you knew him.   You talked with him.  You led him and guided him.  I want to know you like that.  I want you to help me lead these people where you want them to go.”

 

Or

 

“You said that my dad was a man after your own heart.  Give me a heart that desires you like his did.  When I get off track and sin, convict me like you did him.  Create in me a clean heart, O God.”

 

It isn’t like Solomon asked for anything bad.  There is a sense of God being impressed with His answer because He mentions the fact that he didn’t ask for riches or power.  It is apparent that most people would ask for these types of things.

 

So, knowing what little I know about the Bible and taking into consideration everything that I’ve learned up to this point in my life, what am I asking for?

 

Lord, I want to be as full of Your Holy Spirit as possible.  I want to have a heart that truly loves you and truly keeps the greatest commandment to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all of my mind, and all my strength.  When people see me, may they be reminded of you.

 

Amen

 

Adam

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christmas 2018

 

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. – John 1:14

 

I used to think the symptoms of sin was the greatest proof that I was a sinner.  When I cussed, was immoral, or did countless other things I shouldn’t do, I was so convicted.  I really thought I was a hopeless cause.  Thank God I never stopped running to Him.  I didn’t know what to do with these feelings other than run to an altar and ask God to save me from my awful behavior.

 

Then, He did.  God changed my wants and desires.  There was this sweet spot of walking with Him and experiencing the joy that only He offers.  Slowly, over time, because I wasn’t nearly as foul mouthed and immoral as I used to be, I kind of became a Pharisee.  It was like I took credit for changing myself.  I had zero mercy on people who were almost exactly like I was before God grabbed a hold of me.  It’s almost like I was better off with those sin symptoms . . . at least they made me constantly run to Him and depend on Him.  I knew He was the only one that could completely change my heart.  When I didn’t have the symptoms anymore, I stopped running to Him as frequently.

 

Today, I realize afresh that sin is still lying in wait to devour me.  I frequently have this vision where I see salvation as a flowerbed. After the overhaul to make it neat and clean, I only need to check on it every day and give it what it needs.  It may need watering.  It may need something new planted.  It may need a weed here or there pulled up by the roots.  It is so easy to pull these weeds if you catch them early.  Unfortunately, if you neglect it for a long period of time, you could easily be back where you started.

 

I say all that to say this: I needed to do some weed pulling this morning.  I had a new sin symptom arise.  I read the words, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” and it wasn’t amazing to me. How many times have I heard the name of Jesus and not been enthralled?  How many times have I treated His Name as if it were any other name? If I can hear it and not be moved in some way inside my heart, that is every bit as bad as those other symptoms I had when I was just starting out.  The worst thing sin does is shrink God and make Him like any other religious figure . . . even like us.

 

John 1:14 sums up Christmas in eight words:  “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  The same Word that was in the beginning with God and actually said, “Let there be light,” and light burst forth all throughout the Universe at 186,000 miles per second.  That very same Word became flesh and literally and figuratively hung out with us to save us.

 

Amazing.

 

Lord, continue to sanctify and purify me.  Change my heart and mind so that You are always amazing to me. Thank You for coming and doing what You did for me.

 

Merry Christmas

 

Adam

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Babushka

 

For unto us a child is born. – Isaiah 9:6

 

So I just read this story about a Russian lady named Babushka who lived 2,000 years ago.  The story is not a true one, but it was quite powerful as I read it.  Babushka was always cleaning and cooking.  Household matters consumed her.  They consumed her so much that she couldn’t even go outside to see the amazingly bright star everyone was talking about that had appeared out of nowhere in the night sky.

 

Soon after, three men knocked on her door.  They were kings!  They told her that they were following the star hoping to see the one whom it foretold. They asked if she’d like to give a gift. She said she had some toys, but they wouldn’t be good enough for the new, young king.  The wise men tried to persuade her to go with them, but she just had too much to do and they left without her.

 

After the wise men departed, she looked and saw the toys.  She had the overwhelming urge to give them, but they were dusty.  She spent lots of time cleaning them up really nicely.  After she was finished, she thought of catching up to the wise men, but she was tired. She thought she’d sleep a bit, but ended up sleeping a really long time.  The wise men now had quite a head start.

 

She headed after them anyway.  She was consistently able to find someone who saw them and say, “They went this way,” or “They went that way.”  Her journey took her all the way to the innkeeper who told her about the young couple who stayed in his stable.  He tells her that they found the one they were looking for . . . the Savior, who is Christ the Lord and he believes the family headed toward Egypt.

 

Babushka walked away sad and continued her search for Him, but never found Him.

 

We have a trillion things to do this time of year and just about that many places to be.  We can get so consumed with getting it all done that we could easily do exactly like Babushka.  Let’s purpose in our hearts that we will be like those wise men who looked up, stayed focused on the star, and got to see with their own eyes the greatest gift this world has ever been given.

 

Don’t let Christmas come and go only to find out that you missed Him.

 

Later

 

Adam

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Giving and Receiving

It is more blessed to give than to receive.  — Acts 20:35

One aspect of this verse that I’ve never thought of is this: it is a whole lot easier to give than receive.  We don’t mind giving, that is easy.  It even makes us feel good to give to others, especially when they are in need.  Yet, when it comes to receiving, many Americans find that difficult.  We like to be independent.   We like to not need the help of others.  If we recover, we want it to be through our own efforts, not because we received help from someone else.

The salvation God offers only works through receiving.  Yet, countless Americans are counting on being “good enough” to earn a better afterlife.  They believe they are earning their way through morals, church attendance, good deeds, and countless other efforts.  Let’s make this clear:  Salvation from Jesus Christ can only be received, not earned.

If we could only get a taste of just how much He loves us.  We would so freely and so quickly accept the gift of His salvation.  God so loved us that He gave.  Love always gives.  Love always costs something.  For us to receive Him, we have to give up our pride, call ourselves sinful, and recieve His mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  Eventually, we will begin to drop sinful habits.  But, the cool thing is this:  By the time you drop these habits, it will be because you want to, not because you have to.  You will realize more and more that He gave His Son, therefore the least you can do is give Him your life.

This Christmas season, evaluate your heart and receive the free gift of salvation.  It is the best thing offered in this life.  Nothing else even comes close.

Later.

Adam.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Counter Cultural

Whoever abides in Him does not sin.  Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.  – 1 John 3:6

So I just watched part of a documentary about how our current young adults feel about and treat sexual activity in America.  The language was really bad and after about 20 minutes or so, my heart just kind of broke for whatever this is we have going on in our country.  Basically, hundreds of thousands of “Spring Breakers” at the beach just straight up admit that sex with any willing partner is just fine. No dating, no getting to know each other, and supposedly no regrets when it is all over.

After I got saved as a teenager, I became so aware of sexual sin.  I will never forget how flat out guilty I would feel.  I’ll never forget all those times going to an altar asking for forgiveness and promising I wouldn’t do it again . . . all to do it again and repeat the process.  Watching pornographic videos would just make me feel so dirty.  I found out there is a reason why they are called “dirty” movies. I tried to act around my friends like I was “cool” with all of it, but inside my soul was going crazy.  The Holy Spirit just would not let me be comfortable in outward, obvious, blatant sin.

I wondered if any of those kids being interviewed had the same thing going on in their hearts that I did. Maybe they had asked Jesus to forgive them at some previous time in their lives, and even though they were talking all big and bad around their friends and in front of the camera, did some little voice in their minds scream, “This is wrong!” like it did me?

The Bible is a scalpel that will surgically cut the sin right out of you.  I can’t tell you the last time I heard preaching on a verse like this.  I want to think it was probably from my Church of God days as a teenager.  They seemed to always hit my favorite sins head on. No dancing around it, no making me feel better about it or myself, just a big, monstrous freight train ready to annihilate me along with my sinfulness.  Here is the bottom line:  If you have supposedly been with God for a while, abiding in Him if you will, and you are comfortable with your foul mouth, your fornication, your adultery, your pornography, your lying, your anger, or just whatever you know is wrong and goes against His Word . . . you are not His, and you do not know Him.

I didn’t say it, the Bible did.  In fact, more specifically, John did.  John, who had such anger issues that Jesus called him a “son of thunder.”  He didn’t stay angry throughout the rest of his life. He was changed over time.  That’s why later in his life when he is writing 1 John he basically says, “If you go with God and stick with God, you will change! Sin will slowly but surely die in your life.  If this is not true in your life, you don’t know Him.”

I hope to God this doesn’t come across as if I’m some perfect, changed example of a true Christian. He has changed me over the years. Nevertheless, the more I get changed, the more I realize I need to change.   I still get convicted to the point of tears and crying out to God. For example, I just heard a young girl preach this past Sunday who treasured God’s Word to a much greater degree than I do.  I was so convicted.  I prayed right then and there that I would fall in love with His Word.  Yet, here I am two days later and I left my favorite Bible at work.  I have to ask myself, “How much do I really treasure His Word?”  It didn’t even cross my mind as I was leaving.  How many times have I picked up my Bible and sleepily trudged through it?  Countless. So often, I don’t see His Word as a light for my path and a lamp for my feet.  I want to love it.  I want to revere it.  I want to obey it.  I want to hear Jesus say the words to me, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I want to be so changed as I abide in Him.

Here is the truth of the matter:  If I stay exactly the same after claiming to have known God for any extended period of time, then I am a liar because I don’t really know Him.  The scariest words God will say to the overwhelming majority of human beings are these:

“Depart from me, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)

Lord, change me.  Make me who you would have me be.  Help me not sin against you.

Amen

 

Adam

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Whole New World

A Whole New World

 

For He raised us up from the dead with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united in Christ Jesus,  – Ephesians 2:7

 

I took my little boy to see Wreck-it-Ralph 2 last night.  I saw so many spiritual applications in that movie.  But this morning, I’d like to talk about one of them.  Ralph, in the first movie and the first part of the second movie, was confined to the arcade.  He could bounce back and forth only between the limited number of games at Litwak’s Family Fun Center.  When Litwak’s brought in the latest game in part 2, it was connected to Wi-Fi; hence there was access to the Internet.  The world that opened up to Ralph and Vanellope was like nothing they’d ever seen before.  They realized there was so much more than their simple existence.

 

It is so easy to stay confined here in Earth’s “arcade.”  We play the same games over and over.  We have games called Work, Family, Pleasure, Leisure, Entertainment . . . so many people are constantly playing the same games over and over, day after day.  Yet, there is this one game called “God.”  When you play it, it is connected to the Internet.  It takes you places you never thought possible to go.  It takes you to heavenly realms.

 

There are tons and tons of books in this world that we can read.  Yet, there is only one that is connected to the Internet . . . the Bible. It opens up a world that you didn’t even know existed.  This book reveals the game that you play too much in this life and just how futile it is. You think you are reading it, but it turns out that it is reading you.  It is constantly showing you the smallness of the arcade that you live in and brings you up to where God is.

 

This past week, I have visited the heavenly realms like no other week.  It has totally restored the joy that I have in Him.  It has made me so aware of everyone who is stuck in their own little arcade with their own little selection of games that they have played for years and years now.  Oh, if they could only be introduced to Him!  If only their eyes could be opened to this whole new world!

 

Lord, it is amazing how stuck I can get for weeks at a time. I go through the motions.   I go for such a long time and I haven’t really connected with You.  I have so little joy apart from you.  I look around me and the people around me have so little joy.  People get so bored playing the same life games over and over yet they play them over and over and never unplug.  People get critical of others who don’t play these vain, pointless games as well as they do.  One day very soon all the games are going to be unplugged.  When that happens, it will be too late.  So many will realize that they wasted their existence.  So many will realize that they were dead all along and You were offering to raise them up the entire time and take them to heavenly realms.  Wake us who know you up.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit that the world might see that we are plugged in somewhere not-of-this world and want what we have.  I was dead.  You have made me alive!  Do it for others, Lord!  Let me never take You for granted.  Send revival to our land, Lord. 

 

Hallelujah, Thine the glory! 

Hallelujah, Amen. 

Hallelujah, Thine the glory! 

Revive us again!

 

Amen

 

Adam

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment