Monday, February 18, 2019

According to the Scriptures

Have you ever wondered who the “they” or “authorities” are when someone claims that “they” or “authorities” say according to some source that something is true? Frequently these anonymous authorities prove to be speculative and even baseless, having gained ground because they play on the emotions, sympathies and desires of others.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is one that the apostle Paul called the most important truth. It is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 where we read, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4, NASB95) In this passage we read twice that the things given to Paul to proclaim had happened just as they had been prophesied “according” to the Scriptures. Not only do have the record of the events, but we have the record of it having been foretold in advance as well as others verifying it afterward.

This is true of Jesus Christ’s death which was proclaimed by the prophets and himself in advance and proven by the record of his having been crucified and then been buried which stands strong in the historical record. The proof of his death is the record of his being buried. Next concerning his resurrection which also was foretold in advance and foretold by him. In the next several verses not cited here Paul went on to describe the witnesses to the risen Christ which included 500 witness at one time of whom many were still alive at the time of the writing of this Corinthian letter who could have contested it if it weren’t so. From beginning to end God took the time to say it, do it, and then affirm what He did. Some say there is no real truth. God’s Word claims and supports otherwise.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on February 15, 2019

Grow in Wisdom

Not like the east coast last week, Sherman County is experiencing its own cold weather this week. With that, there is an admonition for outdoor activities, “Stay Warm Stay Safe.” Little will cause great harm more consistently than going out without the proper clothing and placing yourself in unsafe circumstances.

“Stay Safe Stay Warm” are simple but profound words of wisdom for being outside. Grasping this piece of wisdom makes sense. We know in or hearts and our minds that this is a wise thing to do, and to disregard it is foolishness. The book of Proverbs is classified as one of the wisdom books of the Bible, and from its beginning Proverbs contains one brief statement after another of wise things for us to observe. It begins like this: “(1) The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: (2) To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, (3) to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; (4) to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— (5) Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, (6) to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. (7) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:1–7, ESV)

It’s true that fools despise wisdom and instruction. I don’t think many of us would question that, but what about how we regard the ultimate source of all wisdom. God is that source, and He has revealed Himself to us through His Word. When you next step prepare to step out into the cold, and you pause to dress properly thank Him for the simple wisdom. And when you next sit down for some quiet rest take the time to open His Word, listen to His leading and learn from Him.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on February 8, 2019

The Church is More than a Building

On Wednesday morning I drove by the old Methodist church in Grass Valley and was struck by its winter splendor. The noises of this church and its regular services have been silent for seventy years, and though it is an extremely popular photo stop the reality is that one day this building will pass away.

I wish this could only be said of the structures, but it’s true of the people to. Some pass into eternity and the fullness of joy in the presence of our Lord. Others go away through moving, church migration, and even sadly because they simply walk away.

But the church is more than a building. The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:19-22, “…you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (NASB)

The church is the body of Christ, and Jesus is its corner stone. He is the One on whom it is built and who frames up its very structure. God sovereignly worked through the prophets and apostles to lay its foundation, and He continues to work through those He calls to Himself through salvation by trusting in His Son to be its very building blocks in which His Spirit dwells and actively works. Then one day we are promised that the fullness of His church will be presented to His Son (Jesus) as His perfect bride.

These old buildings will pass away. Our bodies age and so do we. But one thing we are assured of is that Christ’s church won’t. Don’t forsake the building, but more than that seek Him and enjoy His people.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on January 18, 2019

Truth in a Treacherous World

Driving back to Sherman County yesterday I saw a sign warning of “possible” black ice conditions. When it comes to the weather, hiking a perilous, or swimming in a swelling river we commonly refer to the conditions as treacherous. This means that they are dangerous, unsafe, precarious, and laden with hidden or deceptive risk. It also means that because of their dangerous nature they are unreliable and frequently unstable.

But treacherous also is used to refer to people. The Bible speaks frequently of the dangers of hanging out with treacherous people who act treacherously. In this sense the word is used to describe betrayal or deception because the person is unfaithful, deceitful, false, double-crossing, two-faced, untrustworthy, unreliable, and undependable.

After two chapters in the Bible of “good” and “very good” (Genesis 1-2) we read in the first verse of chapter 3, Satan (or the serpent) is described as “more crafty than any beast...” The serpent then proceeded to tempt Eve to eat what God had forbidden, which she and Adam did do. In Genesis 3:13 God asked her, “What is this you have done?” Eve’s response was “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

From this point on the story of God in the Bible includes His unveiling to us His plan to bring us back from the hands of that deceiver through His Son who is described as the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). This story unfolds until the point that we are brought to the cross on which Jesus is crucified where He declares “It is finished” (John 19:30). Sin and death had been defeated and in the last verses of the third to last chapter of the Bible we see it all wrapped up, leaving us once again with two chapters of God’s eternal very good for all who believed in His Son (Revelation 21-22).

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on January 9, 2019

Sent to be Wrapped

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. (And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:1–14, ESV)

The next time we have a record of Jesus’ being wrapped in cloths is at His burial after His crucifixion which was followed on the third day by His resurrection for the purpose of our salvation.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on December 21, 2018