The Kingdom of Heaven: Keep Your Word & Keep It Pure

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Matt. 5:33-37, NKJV

The phrase Jesus is examining more closely is actually likely a combination of two Old Testament verses: Continue reading

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The Word of God (II)

Got this great post in my inbox today from Jonathan Camac – timely reminder of the importance of God’s Word and His sovereign power at work in our lives!

Jonathan Camac

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“The word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)

Part 2 in my life-long series.

This post works off one simple premise: God’s word is powerful. And if you don’t believe me, let me just discredit your objections in advance. I’ll just throw some truth your way:

“The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born” (Psalm 33:6). We know a God who “calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17). It was “at the blast of his breath, that the bottom of the earth could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare” (2 Samuel 22:16).

God is “sustaining all things by the power of his word” (Hebrews 1:3). The hum of the generator powering the whole universe is every word that the comes from the mouth of God. And we have at our disposal this…

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You Have Not Filled in the Gaps

Thus says the Lord God: “Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! O Israel, your prophets are like foxes in the deserts. You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord. They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ But the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed.

(Ezekiel 13:3-6)

A short time ago, my family received a ministry letter in the mail. The writer told stories of how he had observed an unintentional breakdown of Scriptural authority in various people and contexts in recent months. I could relate 100% to much of what he was describing: people chipping away at God’s Word (but without any malicious intent), and teaching that it really didn’t matter how you interpret certain parts. The Church, he pointed out, is much lacking in clarity.

I’ve seen it myself. About a year ago I had some discussions with both a pastor and a former pastor, whom I found to be lacking clarity in theological areas that I personally find centrally important. Their willingness to entertain different perspectives without any commitment, their hesitancy to thoroughly explore those different perspectives, and their near-condemnation of my own strongly-held position (mainly because it is strongly held), was surprising to me. I felt as though they were trying to persuade me that I didn’t need to put as much faith in God’s Word as I do! Continue reading

1 Samuel 27: From Robin Hood to Double Agent

 

We left off in 1 Samuel 26 with Saul meeting up with David one last time. David had a second opportunity to take Saul’s life, and instead chose to show mercy. The two parted ways once more without harm occurring to either one.

In spite of how the two had left off, David did not feel at ease. He did not trust that Saul would keep his pledge to harm him no more.

So what should he do? Continue reading

1 Samuel 15: To Obey is Better than Sacrifice

saul_tears_samuels_cloak1 Samuel 15 starts off with Samuel giving some specific instructions to Saul. When exactly this occurs in relation to the previous chapters, I don’t know. Assuming chronological order, at this point in time Samuel has rebuked Saul for disobedience and declared that his kingdom will not last forever.

But while the kingdom may not last forever, it is still in Saul’s possession for now. So Samuel gives Saul some specific instructions from the LORD: Continue reading