Out Of Poverty

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Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”  (Mark 12:41–44, NIV 1984).

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:10–11, NIV 1984).

May the words of my [musings] and the meditation of my heart [that went into them] be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  (Psalm 19:14, NIV 1984).

My Musings – I started my musings on August 12, 2017.  Yesterday total “hits/views,” went over 20,000.  During this time, I have written nearly 1000 (995) musings, with hits/views from 83 different countries.  These statistics are modest when compared to those of many of the blog sites I read or follow.  Yet, I am thankful for those who take the time to “stop by.”

Since the beginning of my musings, I have attempted to “speak the truth in love” and “spread everywhere the fragrance 0f the knowledge of Him.” I have tried to avoid political issues, unless they affected Biblical values (not 100% successful, I suppose).

I suppose that my “offerings” through my musings are not much more than “two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny,”  (although the Scriptures I share are priceless).  My musings do not come from a mind of Spiritual “wealth,” but “I try to “put in everything—all [I have] to [feed] on,” with a hope they “will accomplish what [He] desires and achieve the purpose for which [He sends] it.”  Above all that they “be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

My Advice – Dig deeper and further into my blogs.  “Receive [my musings] with [some] eagerness [but] examine the Scriptures every day to see if what [I blog is] true.” (Acts 17:11, NIV 1984).  God’s blessings to you.  To the extent you find my musings a blessing, I am grateful and humbled.

 

 

For This Reason He Was Born

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Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked.  (John 18:35–38, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “What is truth?”  Can you find it on social media?  Can you find it on the internet?  Can you find it in your favored political party?  Can you find it on the network news (you choose the network)?  If you are like me, you treat all of these with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Much that masquerades as the truth is really personal opinion or what the teller wants the truth the be.  Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a place to go, where no matter what, you would find the truth?  For many people, apparently not.  But there really is such a place.  Jesus said He “came into the world to, to testify to the truth.”  But many want to change His Word to be something else than what it says.  For them, the truth that Jesus testified to is an “inconvenient truth.”

My Advice – Jesus asked His Father, “sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”  (John 7:17, NIV 1984).  Be sanctified (set apart to a sacred purpose) by the truth of the Scriptures.  Rather than trying to conform the truth to your lifestyle, conform your life to the truth. “Everyone on the side of truth listens to [Jesus].

Hunger Pangs

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Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  (Matthew 4:1–4, NIV 1984).

My Musings – What are we hungry for?  A better job?  A bigger house?  A fatter bank account?  A comfortable retirement?  Some would just like to have a job.  Some would like to no longer live in the streets.  Some have nothing in their wallet, much less a bank account. Some have no hope for retirement.  But whether you have exorbitant or modest wants, there is something the we all need to hunger.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  (Matthew 5:6, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Be filled, but stay hungry.

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Today’s musing was inspired by Teaching Pastor Kevin Rutledge’s sermon on March 8, 2020. Check it out at https://www.fbcsycamore.com/sermons. If you live in or are visiting the area, come and join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We’d love to be partners in the Gospel with you.

 

Gnats and Camels, Oh My!

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You have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness…You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”  (Matthew 23:23–24, NIV 1984).

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15, NIV 1984).

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  (2 Peter 1:20–21, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Does anyone refer to it as the Holy Bible or the Sacred Scriptures anymore?  These are words “spoke from God” and carried to the mind of the writers “by the Holy Spirit.”  It cannot get any more Holy or Sacred than that.  It should keep calling us back to its pages with a yearning to learn “the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness” so intimately that we are known as someone who “correctly handles the word of truth.

Unfortunately, all too often, if we do not neglect the Word altogether we have such a casual understanding that we cannot help but neglect those all important matters.  Or, perhaps even worse, we are unable to rightly divide the word.  Straining out interpretations that suit us, while swallowing the truth that would bring us closer to our Savior and know what His will is when confronted with the many choices we face in life.

Knowing His will is so very important because the imposter is very crafty. We see his craftiness in how he deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden. When confronting them doing (listening and following) what God had told them, he did not start with outright contradiction. First, he caused them to begin doubting the Word of God (“did God really say?”) by distorting the Word of God (“you must not eat from any tree?”). That made God’s Word seem unreasonable. Eventually, this allowed him to take things where he wanted them all along – disputing God’s Word altogether (“you will not surely die”). This ultimately led them into disobeying God’s Word and with God calling out – “Adam, where are you?

My Advice – Reader, where are you?  How well do you know God’s Word?  Can you distinguish between a gnat and a camel?  Would God approve or would you be ashamed?  Are you rightly interpreting His Word?  Maybe you’re neglecting it altogether?  How can you turn things around?  Attend Church regularly.  Join a small group Bible study.  Find a mentor that you respect because you know they “correctly handle the word of truth.”  Reserve a certain time of the day to spend in study of the word and prayer.  Treat the Holy Bible, those Sacred Scriptures, as you would a good friend you cannot wait to spend more time with and learn more about.  It will result in a “closer walk with thee.”

And It Was Night

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Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.  “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.  (John 13:26–30, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “And it was night.”  Deeds or darkness, prefer the cover of darkness.  Light reveals, darkness conceals.  Light illuminates, darkness obfuscates.  That is the true nature of light and darkness.  If only it were that simple.  Unfortunately, Satan masquerades as an angel of light.  He quotes (misquotes, takes out of context) scripture.  So while we are to be as “innocent as doves” we must also be as “sly as a fox.”  “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”  (2 Timothy 4:2–4, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Do not let anyone deceive you.  That time is here.  Darkness cannot extinguish light, but it can scatter it, diffuse it and dilute it.  “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”  (2 Timothy 4:5, NIV 1984).  Keep your “lamps” filled with oil and their “wicks” neatly trimmed.

Cross-Examination

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Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  (Acts 17:11, NIV 1984).

My Musings – I do my very best to make sure that the things I blog are sound in doctrine and consistent with the word.  But my writings are not inspired in the same sense that the Scriptures are inspired (“God-breathed“), nor do they carry the authority of the Word.

My Advice – So whether it is my blog or someone else’s, you owe it to yourself to examine the Scriptures yourself to make sure they contain the truth.

You Can’t Move A Lighthouse

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All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”  (Isaiah 40:6–8, NIV 1984).

Musings of Others – The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities. Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “light, bearing on the starboard bow.”  “Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.  Lookout replied, “steady captain,” which meant they were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.  The captain then called to the signalman, “signal that ship.  We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.”  Back came a signal. “advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”  The captain said, “send, I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.”  “I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply.  “You had better change course 20 degrees.”  By that time the captain was furious.  He spat out, “send, I’m a battleship.  Change course 20 degrees.”  Back came the flashing light. “I’m a lighthouse.”  (From “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey).

My Musings –  It seems, in many respects, we’ve lost our way morally.  But it is hard to stay on course if we keep thinking we can move true north.  Yet many would rather do that, and go their own way, than stay on the right path.

My Advice – God’s Word does not change. If we do not follow it, we will stray off course and not reach the right destination.