Friday, April 20, 2012

Verse for Today - Romans 10:9-10 (click to read mini-blog)

"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

Read all of Romans 10

These verses from Romans 10 are HUGE.  They proclaim several of the key elements to true or saving faith.  We don't find here a magic formula, which if we say or do it just right can change our relationship to God.  No, we read here about what saving faith looks and sounds like.

It really just confirms the words that Jesus himself had taught.  "From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."  In Mark 7 where this verse is found, he is telling his listeners how uncleanness (or evil-ness) does not come from the outside and defile us... it actually arises from within us.   

Well, Today's Verse shows that this works both ways.  If the heart is renewed--born again, and now believes that God raised up the Lord Jesus, "the mouth" will proclaim its allegiance by saying "Jesus is Lord."   It is in this way that you believe and are justified and profess with your mouth and are saved.  PTL.  :)

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Verse for Today - I Corinthians 1:18 (Click to read mini-Blog)

1 Corinthians 1:18

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

Read all of 1 Corinthians 1

This is one of those verses that uses "code" words to teach us the truth.  For instance the phrase, "the message of the cross," is a reference to the unfolded plan and purpose of God to save his people through the self-sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, as payment for their sin.  "The message of the cross," then, is short hand for the full explanation of the person, work and ministry of the Lord Jesus.  

The message of the Gospel is not appreciated by all who hear it.  In the verse before us, it is regarded as "foolishness to those who are perishing."  A few verses later (vs. 23), he distinguishes this a bit more... he says it is "a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles."  In both cases it is deemed unacceptable to those who hear.

But this is not the last word; nor is it the most important.  The same Gospel message, which was offensive and/or foolish to some, becomes the "power of God" unto salvation for those who believe.

What is the message of the cross to you?  Maybe you need to hear it again for real.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Verse for Today - Luke 9:23-24 (click to read mini-Blog)

"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.""

Read all of Luke 9

I once read a sermon by Charles Wesley on this verse.  Something he said struck me.  He posed the question why so few sermons are preached on this verse or those like it?   I guess my first thought is because this is is not a very popular concept.  It involves work and self-discipline.

In a culture where you can believe what you like and do whatever you feel like, these verses are pretty contrary.  And yet, they may be exactly what has to be heard.

Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me are such clear and uncompromising commands.  Maybe we don't really have to keep these exhortations. 

[collective sigh of relief]  

 After all, did you notice how the first part of the verse begins?  It says "Whoever wants to be my disciple...."   So here's the deal, you don't have to deny yourself... you don't have to take up your cross daily... and you don't have to follow Christ... UNLESS... (and here's the tricky part) unless you want to be His disciple. 

Something to think about.  How are you going to follow Christ?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Verse for Today - Romans 5:6-8 (click to read Mini-blog)

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Read all of Romans 5

Parts of the first 11 chapters of Romans are pretty intense.  Romans 5 would certainly be included in this.  Understanding the severe affect of the Fall and its consequences in the hearts and minds of men is essential.  

Today's verses are pretty clear on the affect of sin on our spiritual selves.  We are called "powerless."  In Ephesians 2:1-3 we are called "dead in sins" and "children of wrath."  All of which indicate the desperate and dark condition of the human heart.  None of this is new.  Before and after the Flood, the assessment of mankind was "only evil all the time" and the Prophet Jeremiah proclaims that the heart is "deceitful above all things" and "desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).  

All this provides the amazing back drop for God's grace in the Gospel:  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." 

If you can see your sin, look to the Savior. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Verse for Today - 1 John 3:16 (click to read mini-blog)

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."

Read all of 1 John 3

This verse fits pretty well for Good Friday. This passage is thematically connected to yesterday's (2 Cor. 5:15).   The Apostle Paul said the love of God compels us that we should not live for ourselves but for Christ who gave himself for us.  

Well, today's verse... another John 3:16 verse, speaks of this very thing.   We know what love is by the willing self-sacrifice of the Savior.  Because He lived and died for us, we, if need be, should be willing to live and even die for others.  

This thinking is revolutionary.  It takes our eyes off of ourselves, our happiness, our lives; and places them on others.  Instead, we will seek to serve and build up others.  We as servants are not greater than our Master.  The Lord Jesus explained it this way: (Mark 10:45Matthew 20:28):

  "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Verse for Today - Isaiah 53:5-6

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Read all of Isaiah 53

As we read these verses from Isaiah 53, it's amazing to think they were written 7-800 years before Jesus of Nazareth was born, lived and died.  This remarkable truth has to be responded to... somehow?  Either it adds conviction and thus comfort, by testifying to the historic prophecies fulfilled by Christ; OR it has to be rejected all together... relegated as either a forgery or maybe a pure coincidence.  

Interestingly, this passage from Isaiah is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.... which pre-date the life of Christ.  That sort of rules out the possibility of it being forgery.  That leaves the possibility of all this being "a pure coincidence." 

It is clear that Jesus viewed himself as the Messiah sent to suffer and die for the sins of His people, "the Son of Man came to seek and so save that which was lost."    He was viewed by many of his contemporaries and especially His followers as the Christ, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

You dear reader should think about this (John 20:30,31):  

"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."