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Category Archives: Bible

The Fear of Man

You know when you are at Bible study early (some of you don’t know anything about this) and everyone is just hanging around, fellowshipping? There’s usually food, lots of stories to tell, and loads of laughter. Finally someone will call the group to order to start the study. Plates of snacks and cups of drinks are gathered along with Bibles and notebooks. You all sit down and the room-echoing, inevitable question comes: “Does someone want to open us in prayer?” Silence. The atmosphere that just a minute ago was teeming with life is now dead.

Dear Church, why don’t we love to pray?

Some person, (probably one of the same 2 or 3 that usually do) will eventually volunteer to pray and study begins. Maybe you have a study guide you are following or maybe you all simply read through part of God’s Word and have gathered to discuss it. “What did you all think of this week’s reading?” Silence. Deafening Silence.

Beloved Church, why don’t we LOVE and LONG to talk about our Savior?

Why is Christ not our favorite topic? Why are our conversations around God’s Word not as passionate and robust as those we have about food, news, sports, music, taxes, politics, books, etc? Why does it feel like we have to drag people kicking and screaming to have a full conversation?

I think a lot of it has to do with fear. Specifically, fear of man. We are so concerned about how our prayers sound to those listening that we forget about the God we are praying to. We forget that we really should be mindful of what he thinks and remember that he not only hears us but sees our heart attitudes and motives. Our friends don’t even compare.

We don’t answer questions in Bible study because what if our answer is wrong? What will people think if they find out we don’t know it all? So we sit with our mouths shut and agree with the other people talking instead. I can say with honesty that some of the best discussions I’ve had in studies are when people didn’t know the answer to something. It means we all had to look at the text deeper and think harder. And some of the most genuine prayers have come from broken hearts that stumble through their words.

Fear of man has paralyzed people. Not just in Bible study but that’s the area I’m focusing on today. Proverbs 29:25 says:

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

Do you see how this kind of fear is a snare? It’s a trust issue. Have you made people bigger than God in your mind? Do their opinions matter more than his? Are you all caught up in pleasing people or are you trusting in the only One who can keep you safe?

The bigger our view of God is, the smaller man looks.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2020 in Bible

 

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The Good Samaritan

Would you like to talk about something other than the news? If so, pull up a chair; you are in the right place. Because today I’d like to put a very familiar story in a totally new light.

I’m sure you’ve read the story of the Good Samaritan before but I’d like to ask you to read it again. Trust me. Take the time and read it even if it’s the millionth time in your life:

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37 ESV

Today I’d like to look at this story through the eyes of Jesus’ listeners, the Jews. Most of the time, we read the Bible from OUR perspective, but today, I want to see it from THEIRS.*

First of all, it says that the man who was robbed was traveling out of Jerusalem and was headed towards Jericho. This road was rocky and was known to be full of robbers. So this wouldn’t have been a surprising start to a story. It’s like saying someone was robbed in the slums of a city. No one is shocked when you say that. The Jews probably also assumed that the man was a Jew and coming out of Jerusalem from a Feast Day. They see him as one of their own people.

Now when the priest and Levite come on the scene, you and I are tempted to boo at the “bad guys,” but the Jews would have seen them as heroes. The best, most holy people they knew. For them, this is like saying that your beloved religious mentor was walking down the road. Jesus says that they saw the man and passed by on the other side of the road. Now, if you know your OT well, you will know that neither priests or Levites can touch dead bodies. Their professions and lives would have been ruined as they could no longer serve in the temple. So while you and I see two heartless and cruel people, the Jews saw a valid reason to leave a man that looked dead.

Lastly, a Samaritan comes by. This is the part where we cheer for the “good guy,” but the Jews were probably boiling over with anger! How dare Jesus bring a Samaritan into this story as the hero?! The racism and hatred between the Jews and Samaritans was worse than most of us have experienced. At the end of the story, the lawyer couldn’t even bring himself to say that it was the Samaritan who was the neighbor, just “the one that showed mercy.” And yet this is the one who took the man, cared for him, and paid for his injuries. This is the one who proved to be a true neighbor.

Now if you’re like me, you’ve probably heard that story (complete with flannelgraphs) your whole life. The take-away has always been to be a good neighbor to whoever you meet, that everyone is your neighbor. Can I suggest to you a deeper meaning today?

Look again at the story. Look at the Samaritan specifically. Let me point out some significant details about him:

The Samaritan was hated and despised by the Jews.
He had compassion on the man.
He also appears to have wealth. He is the only character in the story riding on an animal- everyone else has been on foot.
He came prepared to help- he had oil and wine with him and bound up the man’s wounds.
He paid for the man’s injuries.
He left a deposit.
He promised to return.

Beloved friends, WHO is the Good Samaritan? WHO does this sound like? All our lives we read this story and think it’s about us, but it’s truly a story about CHRIST!

JESUS IS THE GOOD SAMARITAN!

Jesus is the one who compassionately takes dead people and pays for them. He has riches beyond measure but he gave them up for us. He left us the deposit of the Holy Spirit and promised to return. He was hated by the Jews to the point that if that man in the ditch had woken up and seen who was rescuing him, he would have fought back against him with all his might! (And so do we.) JESUS is the point of this story. Because of THE Good Samaritan, we are called to be neighbors to everyone. And it’s only through him that we can.

I truly believe that all of Scripture points to Christ and yet we are sometimes so blind to see it! We want to believe that the Bible is about us, but let’s face it, it’s not. It’s all about him.

*If you think I came to this sudden realization on my own, you are so far off. My daily devotions are currently in 1 John (how’d we get here, huh?) in a study by Jen Wilken called Abide. I would highly recommend it! Pretty much this whole post is from her. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2020 in Bible

 

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The Pit of Despair (Link)

I really enjoyed writing this guest post! Lamentations is soooo under-rated. Click below to head on over to Guys With Bibles and read it!

The Pit of Despair

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2018 in Bible

 

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A Passion for Theology

Today I was able to enjoy the teaching of several godly men as they expounded the Scriptures. My church had a Bible Conference with D.A. Carson as the key-note speaker. It was wonderful to learn from him and it reminded me of a statement that someone uttered to me this summer.

“Kimmy, you should be a pastor.”

This statement was a result of me sharing some books/commentaries I had read and what I had learned from them. At the time I just laughed, because we both knew that she and I have very different views on women pastors.

As I thought about it today though, I began to wonder why she said that. Isn’t it possible for girls to have a love of theology without any ambitions to become pastors? Isn’t it right for girls to want to be well-versed in the Word of God and have an interest in Hebrew and Greek roots without wanting to be a church leader?  Can’t I be excited to go to a Bible conference and sit under the teaching of learned men or listen to sermons in my FREE time? (Oh, the horror) As I thought about it, I realized I don’t know many (in fact, I’m not sure I know any!) girls my age who love to read books on theology at all. Why is that?

In the first chapter of (you’ll never guess what) When Sinners Say I do (oh, you guessed it? Drat), it talks about how everyone is a theologian. You can either be a good one or a bad one but like it or not, you do have theology. I think it’s important to study the Word and listen to those who preach sound doctrines in order for good theology to take root. If all you ever do is listen to the Christian radio announcers and you take your theology from them, you are going to be in trouble (not to mention overly bubbly).

But, as the book says a little farther on, good theology isn’t dark and mysterious, it is practical. We are “street theologians” as the author puts it. Theology needs to impact our thoughts and actions, our motives and emotions. What we think about God should influence and will influence every part of our lives.

I would encourage more young men and women to do more studying. Search the Bible deeper than what you learned in the Primer Sunday School class. There is always more to learn from the Word of God but we need to get off the milk and get to the meat of it.

 

“11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”  Hebrews 5:11-14

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Bible

 

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A Year to Learn

The past two years, I have read through the Bible in a year. It works very nicely.  It reminds me to do it every day and I like schedules.  I decided that this year, I don’t want to do it again.  Some days, I don’t think I get as much out of it as I could, since I rush to get through the required amount for that day.  I noticed this especially in the OT prophets.  The chapters were long and some days I would have to read 3-4 of them.

I decided instead that I was going to do an intensive study on one book.  Then I had the difficult task of decided which book. I finally narrowed it down to either John or Hebrews and eventually decided to go with Hebrews. After all, I could always do John next year 🙂

I sent out a message to every pastor I know asking for book recommendations and the response was great! The pastors at my new church eagerly opened their libraries to me and told me to take whatever I wanted.

I am sooo excited!  I want to devote all of 2014 to Hebrews and read everything I can get my hands on!  I want to listen to every sermon I can find on the book.  All in all, it’s an overwhelming task, but I’m taking it one step at a time.

So here’s my prayer for the new year.  I want to keep this excitement.  I don’t want to get bogged down and lose my focus and determination.  I want to learn more about salvation and propitiation.

I want this study to teach me more about my Savior.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Bible

 

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Who to Follow

There’s a lot of talk these days about believing in yourself.  You know, You can do anything if you just believe in yourself and follow your heart.  Everything is about self-esteem.  People are so badly off because they have low self-esteem and if we could just boost that up, the whole world could unite in peace and harmony.  Uh-huh.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think the problem is low self-esteem. As a matter of fact, I think the exact opposite. Do men destroy others because of LOW self-esteem?  Was the Holocaust a result of low or high self-esteem?  We seem to have no problem of low self-esteem. In fact, humans have a way of pridefully thinking of themselves HIGHER than they ought to.  Hence all the follow-your-heart jazz.

Do you know what your heart is?  The Bible tells us what our hearts are like in Jeremiah 17:9:

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?”

Do you really want to follow something that is deceitful and wicked?  Because of the Fall into sin, our hearts can deceive us and we can’t even understand our own hearts.

In contrast to that, there is something, or rather someone, we should follow.  As a matter of elimination, it can’t be someone who is human because all humans have hearts that are deceitful. So it must be Someone who is not human. May I offer a suggestion?

(1 John 1:5) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

(Psalms 5:4) For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.

(Psalm 18:30) This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

I think I will follow the Lord.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Bible

 

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