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“O, Blessed Scalpel!” (A Look at Hebrews 4:12)

I am well acquainted with the surgeon’s primary instrument, the scalpel. I’ve gone through two hernia surgeries, the removal of a kidney tumor that was supposed to be cancerous but wasn’t, achilles surgery, and heart surgery. By God’s grace I’m still around and kicking. [I also get an injection into my right eye every three months to slow down my macular degeneration, but that’s another story.]

I’m incredibly grateful for those surgeons who have operated on me. But there is Another Surgeon, a divine One, whose cutting is critical in my life. And His instrument is God’s Word, the Bible.  We read in Hebrews 4 –

I’m aware that the imagery here is of a “double-edged sword.” And a sword’s normal purpose isn’t to be used for surgery, but for execution! However its purpose here isn’t to end one’s life, but to penetrate one’s life, one’s heart. This sword’s goal, of course, is to “judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” And that’s why I say, “O, Blessed Scalpel!”

Today’s Challenge: Where in your heart is required some serious spiritual surgery? Expose that area to God the Holy Spirit whose primary instrument in changing us is the Word of God!

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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A New Experience — Drag Racing in NC!

Friends: Linda and I are in the NC mountains for a few days’ vacation. We went to a drag race the other night, primarily so we could watch the fireworks show at the end. The fireworks were put on at 10 pm after about 10 different drag races. As we were leaving, we were asked, “Why are you leaving? Now it’s time for the ‘big boys’ to race?!” Here are two videos I took. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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An Invitation for . . . the Few, the Bold, the Courageous!

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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A Ministry Update!

Friends: I am so grateful for the opportunities the Lord is giving me to serve Him. I hope you don’t mind this ministry update. Just a few items.

First, I regret that I’m unable to travel to places like Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to serve my brothers in ministry there. My trips to Myanmar to teach at the South East Asia Bible College & Seminary are also on hold.

Second, I also regret that my every few months’ two week trip to New Jersey has stopped due to the pandemic. I’ve enjoyed several years of sharing God’s Word and working with the elders at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel and pray God’s richest blessings on them as they continue their good work there.

But I’m extremely grateful for the ways God is using me these days. I’ve been teaching New Testament Greek to a couple of friends via Zoom and would love to start a new class for those who are interested (see my post of a couple of days ago for information).  I’m also leading a discussion group on my little book Saved! Rescued from God, by God, and for God.

I am particularly thankful that my work with a group of Ethiopian pastors is going well. We are working our way through my booklet Ten Steps You Can Take to Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better! Although this course is being done virtually, we are having some good discussion about effective preaching in their culture.

Here in the States I’m being used to share messages virtually with several churches. Fifth Avenue Chapel in Belmar, New Jersey, is having me do two series in the New Year. The first is a study of the book of Titus and the theme is “A Spiritually Healthy Family.” The second is looking at “Having a Biblical Relationship with God the Holy Spirit.” I’ll be videoing each of those messages and will post them when they are completed.

Finally, I’m so thankful for the editing and writing work that I get to do. I’m involved in my friend Alex Strauch’s new book on Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20. I always have my own writing projects that I’m working on and will sometimes inflict, I mean share, some of that work on this blog.

Thanks for reading my update. This gives me a great opportunity to thank the Lord for His continuing to use me in my dotage. Now, I’ve got to think how Linda and I should celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this coming June 5th!

 

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Truth Decay! (A Study of 2 John 1-4)

Would you not agree that we are experiencing truth decay in our world? Many believe what they want to be true. Others doubt the existence of truth at all (except their statement that there is no truth). In times like these, we need the spiritual sanity of a writer like John who proclaimed in his gospel that Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me!”

Here is what John says about TRUTH in his second epistle:

1. We are to LOVE other believers “in the TRUTH” (v. 1).

2. All who know the TRUTH also love God’s people (v. 1).

3. The TRUTH lives in us and will be with us forever (v. 2)

4. Three amazing gifts will be with us in TRUTH and love: grace, mercy and peace (v. 3).

5. We should experience great joy when we find some of God’s children walking in the TRUTH (v. 4).

I love G.K. Chesterton’s statement when he said . . .

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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With Friends Like These . . . (A Study of the Book of Job) Week #5

“Miserable counselors are you all!”, says Job to his friends as he suffers from his trials — and their lectures! Those of you who have signed up for our online Bible study of this great Old Testament book are ready for your next set of study questions, right?

Study Questions for Class #5 (for Sept. 13th):

We will be going over these questions on Sunday night, September 13th. We will cover Rounds 2-3 of Bildad’s Badgering (Job 18 and 26; Job’s response: Job 19 and 26-31). If you wish to join us, please go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84055712719 at 8 pm (EST).

Round Two (Ch. 18)

1. What direct question does Bildad ask Job in 18:21?

Round Three (Chs. 25-31)

2. What’s meant by the expression Bildad’s “worm” theology in Ch. 25?

3. With Job’s response in Chapters 26-31 —
a. How does Job use sarcasm in 26:1-3?
b. What has God denied Job, according to 27:2?
c. How does Job define wisdom in 28:28?
d. List several things Job misses in Chapter 29.
e. What about Job’s sex life (Ch. 31)?
f. What is it that Job really wants (31:35)?

4. What do you find helpful in the following quote?
“Frankly, I do not know who started the idea that if men serve God and live their lives to please him then he will protect them by special intervention from pain, suffering, misfortune, and the persecution of evil men. We need look no further than the recorded life of Jesus Christ himself to see that even the most perfect human life does not secure such divine protection. It seems to me that a great deal of misunderstanding and mental suffering could be avoided if this erroneous idea were exposed and abandoned. . . . The idea that if a man pleases God then God will especially shield him, belongs to the dim twilight of religion and not to Christianity at all.” (J.B. Phillips, God Our Contemporary)

 

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2020 in book of job, Uncategorized

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Educational Apathy)

Calvin is apathetic toward any formal study subject, like math! Do we Christians sometimes over-analyze God’s Word, instead of simply enjoying it? I’m all for in-depth, strategic, systematic study of the Scriptures, but we must not lose our JOY in the process!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes, Uncategorized

 

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God’s Co-Workers! (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

Let us continue our study of several verses in chapter six:

God’s Co-Workers! (2 Cor. 6:1-2)

1. The Incredible Privilege (v. 1)
We are God’s co-workers! He doesn’t need us! But He has invited us in. And we get to work with Him!

2. The Critical Message (v. 1)
“We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.” What does that mean to “receive God’s grace in vain“? God’s grace not only saves us, it teaches us how to live (see Titus 2:11-15 for a full explanation of God’s teaching grace). Our lives are not to be content with just being saved from His wrath. We are to press on to godliness and conformity to Christ!

3. The Crucial Present (v. 2)
“Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” This sure sounds like a gospel appeal, doesn’t it? Were there unsaved in Paul’s Corinthian audience? Of course. But perhaps he is referring to more than soul-salvation. He is challenging these believers to a life of response to the God who “heard” them and “helped” them.

Today’s Challenge: If you are in full-time professional ministry, take time to thank the Lord for your partnership — with HIM! If you are not in vocational Christian ministry, thank Him for the work you are enabled to do for the kingdom — by His grace and strength!

 
 

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A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 1

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. Here’s my outline for several verses at the end of chapter two:

A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17)

For regular readers of my blog, this will be the third time I’ve touched on these verses! Way back on Dec. 23, 2018 we looked at I Samuel 27 and how David had become “obnoxious to his people” (v. 12). We looked briefly at 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, noticing that sometimes we Christians are a stench to others. On February 29, 2020 we talked about a couple of online friends who hate Christianity and how we are either a fragrance to those who believe or an odor to those who don’t.

Now, because we are working our way through 2 Corinthians, we get to look at this passage again! And I will be taking my time doing so. There is so much here!

Notice, first of all, the image of a triumphal procession (v. 14). We have been conquered by Christ! Oh, glorious defeat! He has won our hearts and we are now captive to Him. And therein is true freedom! No wonder Paul says, “But thanks be to God”!

Notice also that God “always leads us as captives” in this procession. It is as if His parade is going on all the time. And we are lined up in it, letting the spectators gawk at us — vanquished and defeated enemies of God who are being shown to the world. We are captives on display — and should rejoice in our publicly-displayed defeat!

Today’s Challenge: Have you been defeated by Christ? Do you see yourself as a vanquished foe, eternally grateful for the victory of His grace over your sin? Then don’t be embarrassed to be on display! Don’t duck the spotlight, but live this day as a joyful captive of Christ!

 

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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A Theological Check-Up: Do You Really Believe? Part 11: Man (Final Series Post)

Friends: I goofed. Somehow I forgot about the area of Christian theology that deals with human beings. Anthropology, the study of man, asks a variety of questions about man’s make-up: does man have an immortal soul? What does it mean to be made “in the image of God”? Should we believe in capital punishment [WHAT?! Where did that question come from?!], etc.

These posts were inspired by my thinking about the books from the late Paul Little who wrote Know WHAT You Believe and Know WHY You Believe. We’ve been asking not WHAT or WHY, but IF. Do we really believe what we say we believe?

When it comes to the issue of man, the Bible has much to say about this aspect of “the glory of God” (I Cor. 11:7). God made man “in His image,” a description found several times in the Scriptures. Here’s a brief chart I’ve put together:

Today’s Challenge: IF I believe that men and women are made in the image of God, I will treat them with respect. I will also pray for opportunities to share the gospel with others, recognizing that every person will spend eternity either in fellowship with God or separated from Him.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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