Category Archives: Bible Insights

a Reminder

After reading Deuteronomy 30:11-14, i was convicted that my experience with our Lord’s call to righteousness (His Commandments) has been very difficult. Moses states, “These commandments are not too difficult and are not far from you (you have the ability to keep them).” I was confused. i fail regularly. Moses statement indicates to me that i am missing something.

When Moses states, “These commandments are not too difficult and are not far from you”, do you think he means just keep the commandments or is he saying, just please God. Is it less difficult to try to please God versus trying to be perfect?

It could be, that i am too hard on myself; that it’s me trying to be righteous when it should be by faith in Jesus. I remember what Jesus said about the Pharisee who claimed he kept all the commandments while putting down the tax collector who was on his knees pounding his chest asking for forgiveness, he said the tax collector had it right. So should i be humbled, or troubled by my imperfection?

Jesus says He will take my burdens and He says his load is light and His yoke is easy.
Could it be that my difficulty in keeping the Lord’s commandments are because i am trying to do them as works?

I saw a movie about a priest who was on trial for negligent homicide because of a young girl’s death because she was possessed. The exorcism failed and she died for lack of medical attention. The priest said the young girl was filled with faith and gave him the courage to stand up to the six demons in her. Even though the priest’s effort failed, the young girl claimed she would be saved by the Lord. She was right, because He took her home. The last scene was her tombstone which read, “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling…”.! So, is it necessary to tremble and be scared out of your wits in order to keep his commandments?

These four questions should lead to a conclusion:

To ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling’ is to have respect for who God is and what He has done for you. Salvation is an eternal gift, it requires gratitude. Fear is the respect of recognizing that your God loves you and died for you and that he saved you from His wrath. Tremble in His presence. Taking Him for granted will make keeping His commandments very difficult, He dwells in you!

If i decide to ‘work out my salvation with fear and trembling’ by concentrating on God’s qualities (like the Fruit of the Spirit), obedience is the result. No wonder i was finding Moses statement difficult, i had fallen into a pattern of striving for perfection outside the New Covenant. The verse after ‘work out my salvation with fear and trembling’ is for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phil 2:13

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Baptism of the Holy Spirit

“Now the apostles and the brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” But Peter began and explained to them in order: “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, something descending, like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came down to me. Looking at it closely I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’
But I said, ‘No, Lord: for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. At that very moment three men arrived at the house in which they were, sent to me from Caesarea. And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brethren also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon called Peter; he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’                                                        As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ who was I that I could withstand God? When they heard this they were silenced. And they glorified God saying “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life.”                         (Acts 11:1-18 RSV)

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You can’t judge a prayer by circumstances

I was recently thinking on the time Abraham sent his son Ishmael away with Hagar who was the boy’s mother and Sarah’s maid. I believe Abraham loved Ishmael greatly and only capitulated to Sarah’s demand that the two be sent away because God said, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named.” (Genesis 21:12. Interesting to note this solution brings to mind the source of the problem with Hagar where “Abram listened to the voice of Sarai” (Genesis 16:2) even as Adam listened to the voice of his wife (Genesis 3:17).)

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A surprising example for ministry

For years I have liked 2Kings 5, the story of Naaman the Leper. Recently I saw something I hadn’t noticed before, the role of the slave girl in this story. There are only a few verses in the chapter which mention her. We don’t even get to know her name. In spite of this, as I have reflected on her role in this story, I have come to think that this slave girl may be an important model for powerful Christian ministry. Continue reading

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Time to stay and a time to go

Recently I was reading in Genesis. I saw an example of a useful principle concerning staying in or leaving a situation we find difficult. One lesson I saw was that we cannot create a fixed rule which says to stay no matter what. There is a time to stay and a time to go. True and useful counsel must combine the principles of God’s word with the insight from God’s Spirit for those particular circumstances. Continue reading

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