Broken Spirit

www.bible.com/72/pro.17.22.hcsb

Have you got one of those? Has warranty on your spirit run out and now it just doesn’t work like it used to? Maybe it’s been under too much stress. You know too much stress can break a crush a spirit. Maybe you’ve worn it out trying to build up other people. Maybe you’ve used it up being too strong for too long. Whatever happened, you know when your sport is crushed.

That’s why today is a good day. Today is a day to renew your spirit. Dust yourself off. Get to a good church, and experience the joy of the Lord. The joy of the Lord will renew your spirit, and a cheerful heart will do you good, like an injection of adrenaline and cortisol. Well, maybe even better than that.

What’s a good church? A good church is where God is worshipped and the Bible is preached. You find yourself one of those. Not a place where man is worshipped and social issues preached. That does not renew the spirit, but only makes it worse, because you can get no good power from those things. You need power from someone higher than yourself to help a broken spirit. If it was a broken mind or a broken arm, man’s solutions might help. But this is a broken spirit. It needs help from God.

May God bless you today.

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Immutability

www.bible.com/72/heb.13.8.hcsb

Immutability is a technical term I picked up in my doctoral studies that basically means “unchanging” or “unchangeable” which what this verse is about. Jesus Christ does not change. Yet, it is also true that Jesus learned.

In Hebrews 5:8 it is said that Jesus “learned obedience” from what he suffered. In Hebrews 2:10, it is said that Jesus was “made perfect through suffering.” From both we might infer that Jesus changed, from knowledge and experience before suffering to knowing what these things are. Immutable means that something cannot be changed, and yet here is One who seems to be changing before ours eyes.

Ok, before you start getting carried away with fears of Bible contradictions, first let’s consider He context of Hebrews 13:8. There, the author gives the warning about remembering the leaders and teachers of the faith. He says “consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Their Faith was on the finished work of Jesus Christ, whose work and effort is unchanging. The effect of His work is the same for everyone who believes in Him, and so everyone can live a life of of faith because He is the same Lord for all. Ok, that makes sense. But does this mean that the Lord Jesus is immutable, like God?

The fact that Jesus “learned” obedience through suffering doesn’t necessarily mean He changed. From our perspective as human beings, we see Him undergo this change from life to death to life again. We see Him suffering on the cross, following through with the plan designed from the beginning, which He has set out to do since the creation of the world. Nothing actually changed from God’s perspective. Jesus planned to suffer and die at the hands of men since before Adam sinned. That never changed.

What did change was the moment of decision in the garden. While Jesus’s divine nature never wavered, His human nature (which has been undergoing change all his life, from childhood to adulthood) was faced with choices which had the choice to obey or disobey the divine nature. Obedience was learned not in Jesus’ divine nature, which is immutable, but in His human nature. His human nature was tamed by His will to obey His divine nature.

Strangely, it is the same struggle we undergo daily. God equips is with His divine nature through His Holy Spirit, so like Jesus, we can tame our sinful human nature and teach it to obey Divine Will. We too learn obedience just as He did.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thank the Lord He’s the same Lord today as He was for He Apostles.

God bless!

Listed as Safe from the Evil One

www.bible.com/72/2th.3.3.hcsb

Wow. If there was ever s verse needed, it’s this one. Do you need a verse that guarantees your divine protection from the diabolos? The Evil One? The Devil? I know I don’t talk much about him here, so maybe a few words would be helpful.

I was talking a few days ago to an individual who remarked that God and Satan are the same person. Why? Because they are both blamed for the same things. Cancer. Catastrophes. Calamity. Either or both are often blamed. I get that. I’ve heard it. If a child dies, did God take it or did Satan poison it? Did God make that choice, Or the devil.

Christians have wrestled with these issues for hundreds of years. We still struggle with them. I believe that is on purpose. God demands that despite all we think about why bad things happen to good people, we have to practice faith in His Word. Science and philosophy are not going to help us. This is a region where faith in what God says and faith in the nature of a kind and loving God comes in. He calls us to this faith despite our emotions and our natural anger. Will we believe in Him even when it doesn’t make sense?

It seems Satan’s work is on the rise. The first three verses of 2 Timothy 3 are becoming more relevant with each passing day. How can we hope that God is still protecting us? Try to imagine a world where God didn’t protect us. Which world is worse?

I know by faith that God and the Evil One are not the same. God is good. And I believe good is stronger than evil. Because I believe God is stronger than Satan. To say otherwise is to imagine that Satan is co-equal with God. Satan did not and will never die for me. Satan has no love in his heart for anything but himself. Satan corrupts good people. If I as a human being can know right from wrong, to know the difference, then there is a difference. If I know that there is a good so good that I can never achieve it, how can I possibly know it? Surely there is a good God who gave that insight to me. In my heart, I want good to overcome evil. Why do I want that? Where did it come from? I believe it comes from a good God who placed that in me, because I am made in His image.

This worldview requires faith. It cannot be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt. Science nor philosophy is equipped to do this. It must be understood by faith. Fortunately, it is built into us to receive this by faith, because we are made in God’s image. A fact I also know by faith. Convincing others cannot and never will be accomplished through proofs and theorems. But it comes through lives changed, families healed and hope offered.

I apprehend by faith that God will protect me from the evil one. May God protect you today.

Too Many Friends

www.bible.com/72/pro.18.24.hcsb

Is it possible to have too many friends? You can be friendly with many people, but cannot have too many good friends, and even fewer best friends. Consider your close friends. Do you have more than five? Ten? These are people that know you inside and out, not just the image you project to others. How many people know your heart? I’d say it’s not very many.

Of these close friends, who do you consider to be the best friend? Maybe one or two? Who is the first you call when you’ve got that new job or that tragic diagnosis? Are there many?

Jesus said “I no longer call you servants. I call you friends.” There is a friend who is closer than a brother. I hope you have one. Thankfully, we all have a friend who is closer than that.

God bless you today.

Great Commission

www.bible.com/72/mat.28.19.hcsb

Do you have life-goals? One of mine to to meet my grandfather. He died several years before I was born, in 1961. Never got the chance to meet him. But my grandfather became a Christian later in life, and someday when I die, I will get a chance to meet him.

To do that, I’ve got to make sure that I’ve followed God’s will to the best of my ability, and pray for His grace to be applied to the rest. There’s a lot.

So what is God’s will? Did you read the verse above? That’s the first part of the Great Commission. That’s what God wants from us. That’s what He wants us to do. He wants us to make disciples out of all the nations, all the peoples of the earth, all the languages, cultures, ethnicities, everywhere. Once one is reached in each, more can be won. Then we follow discipleship with baptism. We are are baptism into the One Name, because this is the source of our unity among such diversity of peoples. We are all saved by the same God, through the same blood and filled by the same Spirit. We are saved in Jesus. And this One Name is all Three in One, the Triunity of God.

What follows is the teaching, everything that Jesus commanded the Apostles to pass on to the Body of Christ. This is the will of God, that the whole world would be saved through His Name. It’s a big job, but we have an even greater God to work it out. We have but to plant the seeds, and God gives the increase.

What seeds of discipleship can you plant today?

When King Uzziah Died

www.bible.com/1713/isa.6.8.csb

Isaiah’s call was memorable. He notes that when the wicked King Uzziah died, he went to the Temple, and there had a vision of the Lord, where the train of the Lord filled the Temple. And the Lord said to His attendants, “who will go for us?” Isaiah, being awed by the spectacle, volunteered for service. He had no idea that this one act would result in his death at the hands of wicked King Mannaseh by being dawn in two, according to tradition. But that would not be for many years, and the longest book of prophecy and hope would be written by his hand.

Isaiah is the greatest writing prophet of the Old Testament, but we might learn something, not from his prophecies, but his willingness to serve. We too live in a world of wicked rulers. God is still looking for someone who will stand up for righteousness and be willing to follow Jesus. Would you be that person today?

May I encourage you on this Monday to listen for God’s voice in your daily work. Be attentive to those moments that righteousness is needed, not conformity. Keep your lips ready to speak a word of kindness or encouragement to others. For this day is a precious gift from God.

God bless you today.

Y’all

www.bible.com/1713/1co.6.19.csb

There are times in Scripture where English simply falls short of the original. This verse is one of them. Unless you know some of the Greek behind it, you don’t get the intended meaning of this passage.

For example, I have often heard this verse used as justification against smoking, drinking, or even overeating. How? Because all of those things desecrate the Temple that is the body. The body is understood here as one’s own body, and anything that harms the body, even lack of exercise, is preached as misusing the Temple of God, from which the wrath of God may be involved.

However, a simple check back into the Greek of the text reveals something else. The word for “your” in English can be both singular and plural, unfortunately. While the verse can be understood of speaking of your personal body, the word is translating a plural original, meaning “y’all’s” body. In this context, y’all does a better job communicating the intent of the original. This also changes the meaning. Instead of one’s personal body in question, it is the body of believers as a whole that is the Temple. The Spirit dwells among us, it just in us. When we are together, we are the Temple, not just by ourselves.

Now does that mean smoking and drinking and whatnot are good for us? By no means, but it does mean that we cannot press this verse into service to be against it.

This means that our body of believers is a gift from God. That ought to change our attitude as we meet together this morning.

God bless!