Category Archives: Bible Bite

Bible Bite ~ Exodus 17:14

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A Bible Bite is a short thought or question that runs through my mind after reading a verse of Scripture. I seem to always want to discuss them with you.

Bible BitesI was just finishing up a bible study on Joshua with my small group and came across a troubling situation.

But let me back up a minute.

Remember that Moses wasn’t allowed to enter into the Promised Land? Israel was in the desert and God told him to hit the rock with his staff to bring forth water, Moses couldn’t seem to do exactly what God had told him to do. The Israelites still got their water but God was angry that Moses hadn’t trusted Him to do exactly what He said.

Then we live through the heartbreak of Moses discovering that he can’t enter the Promised Land and we know that he learned his lesson. Do what God tells you.

But here we are. Joshua is charged with leading the charge against the Amalekites. Aaron, Moses, and Hur head to a hilltop to watch the battle and Moses holds his arms up with the staff in hand. The staff he hit the Red Sea with to part the waters. The staff He hit the rock with at Meribah to obtain water.

As long as his arms are up, Joshua is winning the battle. But as Moses tires and his arms slip down, the battle heads in the Amalakites direction. Aaron and Hur sit Moses down on a rock and each takes one of Moses’ arms and lifts it, keeping the Israelites winning and eventually obtaining victory over the Amalekites.

So, you say, where’s your problem?

After the Israelites rout the Amalekites, God tells Moses to write down what occurred and to read it to Joshua so that he’ll always remember.

God said, “I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek under heaven.” (Ex 17:14b)

Moses makes an altar, named it The Lord is My Banner, and said, “The Lord will be at war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Ex 17:15 & 17b)

I said, “Wha???” Back up the truck. Don’t even tell me – Moses has done it again. God said one thing and Moses said another.

I’ve done a study on Moses with BSF (reading Genesis through Deuteronomy) a couple of years ago and this exchange didn’t stand out to me the way it has now. Why didn’t Moses repeat exactly what God said to him? Isn’t there a difference between being ‘completely blotted out’ and ‘at war for generations’?

But you know what really bothers me the most?

Could I be as susceptible as Moses? To hear one thing from God and repeat it completely differently? To not understand what God is telling me? To not have faith that God will do what He says He will do?

Decidedly, yes.

Have I done this in my life?

Has there been Promised Land that I’ve not been able to enter?

 

Bible Bite: John 6:12

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Bible Bite: John 6:12

I know!  You’re surprised to have another Bible Bite so quickly, aren’t you?  Me too.  But when a person is performing homiletics on the book of John in preparation for BSF’s start next month – whelp – I’m deep in the Word and getting hit by the Holy Spirit with all sorts of pearls of wisdom.  Ahem … I’ll let you be the judge!

John 6: 1-21 chronicles the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on water to meet the disciples in the middle of rough seas.  Now you know a million and one sermons can be preached on any of that – but there was one part of the story that hit me squarely in the eyeball (okay, so maybe not quite like that) while I was reading and it was verse 12:

When they were full, He told His disciples, “Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” ~ John 6:12

Even after I got through with the homiletics exercise the words of verse 12 haunted me … “so that nothing is wasted.”  What did the disciples do with the baskets?  Take them with them in the boat for a midnight snack?  Send them into town with the women for the local soup kitchen?  We don’t know.  All we know is that Jesus didn’t want to waste what His Father had blessed.

It’s like that with our lives too.  Every believer knows (and if you don’t, please take this truth deep into your heart) that God has blessed us with salvation through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

God has blessed us.

Nothing we have done (or will do) will ever go to waste.

Kinda cool and startling isn’t it?

I’ll bet you were like me when you first came to Christ and you moaned and groaned about your past and how awful you were.  Yep, you were guilty.  We all are.  But if you’ve walked with Christ for any length of time you already know that He is using your past for His glory.

Don’t you know that He knew exactly when you’d fall on your knees and open the door for Him to come in?

He knew exactly when He’d bless you with the astounding grace of the cross.

He knew exactly when He would gift you with His Holy Spirit.

He knew everything you did (and will do) and is using it for good.  Look at how you’ve grown!  Haven’t you marveled that what happened to you 10-20-30 years ago is now incomprehensibly, undeniably a blessing to someone else in your life?

He is so amazing!

To quote a verse in Esther:

“Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” ~ Esther 4:14b

You do know, Christian, that you are part of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)?  How can we not take Mordecai’s words to Queen Esther as our own?  God knew exactly when we would be born.  He knew exactly where we would live.  We are all where we are for such a time as this.

God wastes nothing.

How is He using your past for His glory?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Bible Bite: Mark 4:41

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Bible Bite: Mark 4:41

A Bible Bite is a little tidbit that I run across that irks me and controls my thoughts until the Holy Spirit helps me to break through the miasmas to teach me some lesson. 

During Paula and my bible study, we were talking about standing stronger by walking in faith (Day 27 of the 28-day study).  I grew increasingly distressed during the scriptures of Mark 4: 35-41.  Jesus had been teaching using several parables (vv. 1-34) at the side of the Sea of Galilee.  As night fell, He told the disciples they were going to go over to the other side of the sea and they all hopped in a boat.

As they sailed, Jesus slept in the aft of the boat and a wind brewed up that whipped up the waves so forcefully that they were crashing over the sides of the boat and threatening to capsize.  Yet, Jesus slept.

The disciples woke Him up concerned that He was going to let them drown and He got up and rebuked the wind and the sea with, “Silence, be still!”  He turned then to the disciples and asked, “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?”

What amazed me most was the next verse, Mark 4:41:

“And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Terrified?  Why were they terrified?  I didn’t get it.  The disciples had been with Jesus for a while at this point and had seen miracle after miracle.  What terrified them now?

And they asked each other, “Who is this then?”  How could it be that they forgot who Jesus was?

Part of the keys are in Jesus questions.  First He asks, “Why are you afraid?”  I love being on this side of the situation.  We’re reading about an incident in the Bible and have the benefit of being able to take a global view. Do you (like me) often find yourself shaking your head at what some Biblical one is doing or saying at any given time?  I do that until I realize that in some way I’m just like them … ahem … and then keep reading to learn from these Saints who have gone before.

“Why are you fearful” (my HCSB states)?  Why are they fearful?  Jesus said when they got into the boat that they were going to the other side.  Surely He knew the boat would be caught in a storm, but He wasn’t worried because He fell asleep.  (Another aside: I like to see Jesus’ humanness here – He slept because He’d been teaching all day and was tired.  The Son of God gets tired. I love that little bit of insight.)

But back to the question at hand.  In Warren W. Weirsbe’s Exposition Commentary, he notes, “… for the greatest danger was not the wind or the waves; it was the unbelief in the hearts of the disciples.” Further, “It was their unbelief that caused their fear, and their fear made them question whether Jesus really cared.  “We must aware of an evil heart of unbelief.” (Heb 3:12).1

“Do you still have no faith,” Jesus asks?   Jesus asks these questions as a way to test the disciples.  Just how far have they come?  How much do they or don’t they believe?

How often do we continue to wonder if God is really all that He says He is?  How often are we shown His grace, His mercy, His faithfulness, His very deity, and still we forget the works He has done?  Can we be that stiff-necked?  That hard-hearted?  Nincompoops to the core?  Yep.  And still He loves us!  Still He’s patient with us and He who started a good work in us will carry it on to completion. (Phil 1:6)

It was true that the disciples had seen Jesus’ many miracles. They’d seen him cast out demons, heal people, and forgive sins but now – Weirsbe ends the section this way, “Now they discovered that He even had authority over the wind and the sea.  This meant that they had no reason ever again to be afraid, for their Lord was in constant control of every situation.”2

Is Jesus your Lord?  Then we must understand completely – we have no reason to ever be afraid.  Ever.

That, my friends, is freedom.

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1 Warren W. Weirsbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary: New Testament Volume 1, 2nd ed, (Colorado, David C. Cook), 125.

2 Weirsbe, 125.

 

He is the Light

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I used to post what I call ScripturePictures every Wednesday.  This is where I take my photography and lay God’s glorious Scripture over it.  If you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to that practice every once in a while.  It’s a nice respite during the week and will help us to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely …

Today’s ScripturePicture is John 12:46.  The subject is the Jupiter (FL) lighthouse.  Enjoy!

John 12-46 (617x800)

 

Jesus is the light that came into this world to remove the darkness.

As we begin to see evidence all around us of attitudes intolerable of the Christian, remember that the world likes the darkness and shuns the light because it illuminates their wrong doings.  We are in a war, my friends, but our enemies are not our neighbors. Our enemy is not flesh and blood at all.

Earlier in Chapter 12 John records Jesus saying, “While you have the light, believe in the light so that you may become sons of light.” ~ John 12:36

Stand strong, my fellow sons and daughters of light, because we will live with our Lord forever, in pure and glorious light. (See Rev. 21:23 and 22:5)

 

Bible Bite ~ Exodus 32:25

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Bible Bites

Many of you know I’m reading the Bible in one year having been challenged by David Barton who spoke at our church’s Independence Day service this year.  I did the math and found that it can be done if one reads 3.26 chapters a day.  So I’m reading 5 chapters a day knowing that Psalm 119 is coming.  Who knows, I might even want to spend two days on that Psalm alone.

That being said, today I ran across a verse that God called out to me and I knew had to be passed on to you in a Bible Bite because I shuddered in my bones when I read it.

As a Christ Follower, I try to remember to put on my armor on every day.  I know we are open to attack from our enemies and I’m regularly on guard for the evil one to strike.

In this verse, Moses has just come down from Mount Sinai with the original stone tablets to find the Israelites partying around a golden calf that they’d made to worship as their God.  We’ve already become familiar with the Israelites who, since they’re just like us, tend to forget – at the drop of a hat sometimes – just what God has done for them.

Moses saw that the people were out of control, for Aaron had let them get out of control, so that they would be vulnerable to their enemies.

~ Exodus 32:25 (hcsb)

Vulnerable to their enemies.  The phrase makes me tremble.  How easily we can become vulnerable to our enemies – the ones not of flesh and blood (Eph 6:12) – and at our own hand.  Like us, I don’t think they needed anyone else (Aaron) to sanction their hedonistic desires.

God is watching out for us and we tend to forget that he is there, has been there, and will always be there.  We might not make a graven image out of gold to worship, but we find other gods to worship.  Work, fun, family … any of these and many others can claim top priority in our lives so quickly we don’t even know what’s happening until we realize that there is just no time to worship The Lord.  No time to fill our hearts with His word.  No time to pray – to seek His counsel and hear His voice.  It’s an insidious little scheme the enemy has playing out before us and at times just one misstep can sweep us into a river we have a hard time extracting ourselves from.

So, what can we do?

  1. Don’t let yourself get out of control.

Be intentional about carving out time for God – for Bible reading and prayer.  Let yourself be changed by what God is telling you.  While it is a fun goal, we don’t have to race through the God’s Word and get it done in a year.  I’m doing it now because for some time I’ve heard a call from God to do it.  I even did it in 40 days last year as part of a separate challenge, but all that accomplished was to realize how much I ached to actually get in there deep.  To get God’s word woven into my soul.  Maybe that was the point.

  1. Remember what the Lord has done.

Remind yourself, every day if you have to, just how faithful God has been.  If you can’t remember for yourself, ask a close friend to help.  I know that He hasn’t ever and will never abandon me … and that knowledge strengthens me over and over.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to never lose sight of You. In the times when I seem to be losing control Lord, please guide me swiftly back to your safe harbor. Amen.