A guest speaker came to our church with an interesting insight on the Lord’s Prayer. Taking line by line, he showed us how to turn it from something we know by heart and can recite without thinking into an impassioned personal discussion with the Lord that can last as long as we want. You do it like this.
Tucked away among over 9,000 posts currently available on the website is a series of articles in a category called The Prophets Speak Again. This category contains commentaries on the so-called minor prophets. (The major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. The minor prophets are Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. They’re not called minor because they’re less important, but because their books are shorter.)
The Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning Him He straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:3-8)
Psalm 19 is one of the best daily prayers I’ve ever found. Commit it to memory and use it in your prayers each morning. Just like your daily bath or shower makes you physically clean, praying Psalm 19 makes you spiritually clean. It’s a great way to fulfill 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mark 8:31-33)
The Lord’s use of parables always gets my interest. A parable is a fictional story meant to illustrate a principle or truth. The word parable comes from the Greek parabollo, which literally means “to throw alongside.” Aesop’s fables demonstrate a secular application of this teaching method.
The Bible isn’t such a complex document that it requires years of formal education before you can begin to comprehend it. I’ve always believed the Bible was meant to be understood by any believer who can read and has a serious interest in knowing what it says. I say this because I believe the Bible is best approached by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit rather than one’s own intellect. James 1:5 says that any of us who lacks wisdom need only ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault.
Q. According to the Gospel of John, the Pharisees, in an attempt to discredit Jesus, brought a woman charged with adultery before him. Then they reminded Jesus that adultery was punishable by stoning under Mosaic law and challenged him to judge the woman. They were hoping to accuse him of disobeying the law by showing her mercy. Jesus thought for a moment and then replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.”
The people around him were so convicted by their own consciences that they quickly departed. When Jesus found himself alone with the woman, he asked her who were her accusers. She replied, “No man, lord.” Jesus then said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”
Q. My girlfriend is an unbeliever who has quite a bit of trust in science and its theories, and now and again we have discussions that boil down to reasons she doesn’t believe in God. I asked her to tell me what she doesn’t understand, and that I would put them in an email and send them to you, as my answers ‘are the ones Christians always give.’ These are honest questions from her and are the actual reasons that stop her from looking for God. In her own words, she just doesn’t understand it all.
Q. I am currently reading through the book of Acts, and something struck me as I read the first 10 chapters. In the early church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the new converts, there is nothing mentioned about brokenness or repentance for sin. Can you explain this as these feelings were a significant component of my experience and I’ve come to understand repentance to be a precondition for being born-again.
Q. I’ve been following a debate among two friends regarding married women who hyphenate their last name. One thinks it isn’t appropriate, according to the word of God. I know when we are married through God’s will no man shall separate us. I also know that we women shall summit to our husband. But what does hyphenating our last name have to do with marriage bonding? Is it a dishonor to God? Is it a sin?
Q. I have some confusion about Romans 7:9 where Paul talks about the age of accountability. It would seem to imply that no one died spiritually before the law was given. That would give a free pass to everyone before Moses and maybe those in countries who have never heard what the scriptures say about the Law. Can that be right?
Q. A former attendee of our church painted a nice mural on the wall. Later it was known that she is involved in the occult and during the time of the painting was in an adulterous relationship. There is a faction in our church that has asked the elders to have the mural painted over and have offered to do it but the elders have refused. They say it is just a picture and that when we demonstrate forgiveness Satan never wins. Can there be any satanic power attached to it and is there any biblical teaching to support its removal?
Q. My question concerns the word “heart” that is used several times in the New Testament. We can take Romans 10: 9 where the Bible says “…and believe in your heart..”. I’m always tempted to think that the Bible doesn’t refer to the heart that pumps blood in our body but our spiritual heart. Can you please explain further what the Bible is referring to? Your opinion will help me make sense when I’m responding to questions my Sunday school kids ask.
Q. I can look back over my christian life and can see how much I’ve grown in my knowledge of scripture. But recently, I’ve noticed that there is something missing now. I prayed about it and God revealed that it is my intimacy with Him that’s missing. I can remember when I was younger in the faith and didn’t know as much as I have learned over the years, but I was so passionate and Christ felt as close as ever! Now I’m not even sure how to get that passion and intimacy back. It feels as if I’m at a standstill. I confess my sins daily. What do you think? How do I get that closeness back with my Savior?