Category Archives: Devotional

Does the Bible really say____ ?

“God will never allow you to take more than you can bear.”  

I’ve heard it at least once per week of my adult life. I’ve heard many well meaning person who tries to encourage someone going through hard times “The Bible says” and give the above statement.  However, the statement is not found in Scripture. It DOES say in 1 Cor 10:13 that He won’t let us be TEMPTED with sin more than we can bear. There is a HUGE difference, however between the pressures of life and being tempted of the sin that Christ died to free you from.

First, who are we to play “God’s favorite” above another believer?  Believers of Christ all over the world are being beheaded, burned alive, stoned, hanged, dismembered, and are going hungry. What makes us American Christians better than them to not be able to go through a home foreclosure, an illness, or some other hardship?

Can I suggest this thought? We probably CAN’T bear these things on our own, but HE can!  When Christ is Lord of your life, you are no longer in charge anyway.  I’m not saying to be irresponsible and not pay your bills, or not fight for your marriage. I AM saying when you let Christ be in the drivers seat, there is great relief!  You may go through hell on earth, but you don’t have to go through it alone.  You may have a death sentence of cancer, but you won’t die alone.  You may lose your home, but you won’t be alone! He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

Here’s what Christ DID say:

Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

I believe, when we are dealing with pressure that IS too heavy. Often the problem is that we are carrying a load that isn’t ours to carry anymore. It’s not the load He’s giving you.  His yoke is easy, His burden is light. He’s giving you rest!  Even in the worst times, when you relinquish the pressures of your home, your kids, your spouse, your job, and take on the pressure of simply following Him – you will find rest.

The grace debate

For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard Christians arguing about the subject of grace.  The Lord knows I’ve done my share of arguing.  As I have read well meaning people jabbing “BUT YOU HAVE TO REPENT” into the Facebook posts and discussions with those who have discovered God’s grace, I’ve come to realize there is a brick wall that we all need to not only tear down, but rise above to see the bigger picture of grace and repentance.

Romans 2:1-4, Paul writes

You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

1) It’s not my place to put limits on God’s grace for another.  If God will one day judge us, is that not enough? Are my seemingly “benign” issues more worthy of His mercy than someone’s struggle with the “big” sins?

2) It’s God’s goodness and kindness – HIS GRACE that is sent to cause us to repent of our sins. The more grace you see, the more sin you will be compelled to turn away from!  We are not better than God, our steps can never be greater than His.

3) Repentance is a result of God’s grace, not the other way around. We are saved by grace through faith, not by works lest any many should boast.  There are many who think they understand the amount of grace God has given them, yet they refuse to walk in repentance.

4) Many “old school” fundamentalist and pentecostal believers assume when someone is excited about God’s grace, that they are refusing repentance. Why? Maybe because of the misunderstandings of the teachings of grace through the doctrine of unconditional eternal security (where it’s assumed “once saved, always saved” means “sign a card, pray a prayer, and continue in sin”).  Maybe it’s the thought that the person excited about grace will see it as a license to sin?  The Bible makes it clear we aren’t to use His grace and our liberty as a license to sin (Gal 5:13).

I’ve been among preachers who other other preachers as compromisers that water down the gospel because they believe in the grace approach!  Call me what you want, but I know after many years of studying God’s Word and after many years of trying to do this on my own, that God’s grace is greater than my sin and that I can never be good enough to earn God’s grace.  If we believe that we can hold up to God’s perfect standard, have we not watered down His Holiness?

I’m just thankful enough for His grace that covers all of my sins through the blood of Jesus that I”m willing to give Him my life and I’m willing to deal with every sin that grace covers as the Holy Spirit convicts and reveals.

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Bruised

Update: I felt this word so deeply this week that I decided to preach it. I’ve had some ask if we would have the audio available, so here it is.

Isaiah 53:5/6
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

I heard a pastor say “You don’t just read the Bible, you have to READ the Bible.”  Meaning you can’t just read it and understand it. You have to study it!  Rick Warren said last weekend in his teaching “40 days in the Word”: “The difference between reading and studying is, you use a pencil when you study”. So true!

Here’s something you can dive with me on.  Please comment and discuss! I’d love to see your point of view (without being critical, please).

When Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah “he was bruised for our iniquity”, there is much to be learned and understood from it. Why was Jesus bruised for iniquity?

We need to know what iniquity is before we can know why he was bruised for it.

1: Iniquity in the Old Testament was understood to be something that is carried with a man into Shoel (hell).  There was Yom Kippur, where a goat “carried” away iniquity to Shoel.  I read here today a good bit of history about this (go to the link, it’s a good read anyway on iniquity):

According to Jewish tradition there were two miracles associated with this goat.  The first was that the goat would be guided by God within one day to wander through the wilderness to that specific cliff, fall off, and diae a slow, painful death.  The second is that a scarlet thread used to confirm the goat’s death (it was broken in half: one piece was tied to the goat’s horns and the other was kept with the priests) would turn white so that the people knew the goat was dead…

2: Iniquity is what is inside of man (meaning mankind here) that is what our tendencies to sin are rooted in.  One man may have an issue with being a drunkard.  Another man may have no problem with drinking, but has is easily led to extra-marital sex acts (pornography, adultery, prostitution, etc).   I would describe iniquity as the sin inside of us that drives us to the ACTS of sin.  Iniquity isn’t something we can QUIT doing.  We can WORK iniquity (Jesus said “Depart from me you workers of iniquity” in Matthew 7:23). But iniquity isn’t the actual sin itself. It’s what we are “bent towards.”

Iniquity is just under the skin. When we sin, it’s not the iniquity that is seen by others, and that’s why we feel “judged” when they call it out.  The sin we commit comes from the iniquity underneath. Just quitting the actions don’t cut it though.  This is why so many people come to church week after week, cry tears of repentance in the altar (not that this is wrong!) and get back up and fall back into the same traps and fail to resist the same temptations that they fell into last week!

If you have the flu, you can treat the symptoms all you want, and “feel” better!  You can quit vomiting, sneezing, coughing, and may even bring your fever down. But the flu is still there!

In Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, God warns the Israelites about how he visits the iniquity on the generations! I’m not using this as a discourse to prove or disprove generational curses, but it’s interesting how this iniquity is not actual acts of sin!

Back to Isaiah – it is prophesied that Jesus would be BRUISED for our iniquity. I find it interesting that a bruise is under the skin.  It doesn’t release blood.  When you bleed under the skin it creates a bruise. When the Roman soldiers kicked and beat our Savior, it served a purpose. Jesus had to shed blood for the sin you CAN see.  But it wouldn’t have been complete if His blood didn’t cover what is underneath!

You CAN be free from what drives you to do the outward sins that are not pleasing to Him.  Don’t stop there! Give Him the iniquity that is in your life! The Father laid your iniquity on our Saviour to be carried away and remembered no more. Don’t just stop sinning, let Christs suffering do a complete work and in you so that your desire for those sins are carried away!

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