By: Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc.
Psalm 119:130, “The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.” (NLT) Mark Twain wrote, “It’s not the things in the Bible I don’t understand that bother me, it’s the things I do.” The Word will often convict the reader by identifying sin. Anyone who claims the Bible contradicts itself should research the scriptures, for there is no evidence to support this claim. The Word of God does contradict a sinful lifestyle.
By: Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc.
A recent poll showed that worry is the number one negative emotion facing Americans. Second place is fear. I believe the two are connected. Western bandit Black Bart robbed Wells Fargo stagecoaches. From 1875-83, he committed 29 robberies, never once firing his gun. Bart used fear to keep his victims paralyzed. Satan wants to robe us of our joy by planting fearful thoughts in our mind.
1 John 4:18 (paraphrase) love removes fear. Remember, God is love. 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” Don’t be a victim, be a victor.
2 Corinthians 5:7, For we walk by faith, not by sight. On July 20, 1969 (50 years ago) Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first humans to land on the moon. Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon. Astronaut James Irwin wrote, “The entire space achievement is put in proper perspective when one realizes that God walking on earth is more important than man walking on the moon.”
Second Peter 1:21, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Historical records prove Bible prophecy is 100% accurate. Human attempts at predicting the future have failed. Case in point is inventor Thomas Edison who once declared that talking movies would never replace silent films. And in 1928, Henry Ford stated, “People are becoming too intelligent to have another war.” Let’s not listen to ungodly predictions, rather read the scriptures that set the stage for the second coming of Christ! Don’t be deceived, be relieved.
In World War II, a German submarine shot and sank a ship off the coast of N. Carolina. The ship’s crew lowered compass-equipped lifeboats into the water, and used the compasses to guide them toward shipping lanes closer to shore. After three days, the men were rescued. When I read this story, I was reminded of seeing a walking-stick for hikers; a small compass was mounted on top. We have a built-in spiritual compass, the Holy Spirit, that guides us in the right direction. Psalm 48:14,” For this is God, our God forever and ever, He will be our guide . . .”
Galatians 5:16, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. J. Venon McGee wrote, “The whole Christian life, from the moment we are are born again until we come into His presence, is a walk by faith – a faith that rests upon the indwelling Holy Spirit.” McGee is saying that we do not walk by self effort, rather in His Holy Spirit, implanted within us to insure we finish strong!
I had lunch with two Christian brothers at Doug’s Place in Emerson, Georgia. Country Cooking at its BEST. The cafe’s bathroom has a sign: Wash you hands, say your prayers, cause Jesus and germs are everywhere. Germs are on every surface, such as a door knob, and transfer at the touch. But how do we know Jesus is everywhere. After all, He ascended into heaven and is preparing a place for us. When Jesus went up, His Holy Spirit came down, allowing the Lord to be present in all the world. John 4:24, “God is Spirit . . .”
1 Coronicles 29:14 “For all things come from You.” There are some 150,000 Life Coaches (personalized helper who for a fee, will partner with you in designing your future). For Christians, our Life Coach is the indwelling Holy Spirit. Einstein wrote, “Any intelligent fool can make things more complicated.” Isaac Newton once wrote, “Truth is found in simplicity.” Jesus is simply all we need (John 14:6).
In 1995 the U.S. Stock Market experienced a modern record downturn. Investors lost 37.6% of their investments. In 2008 investors lost 37%. Market experts caution investors, warning of possible negative results due to uncertain economic relations with China.
I recall my study of economics in college, and how stocks and bonds chart up and down at a fast pace. There is one investment that will always pay positive returns: invest our time, talents, and treasure in growing the Kingdom of God. Mark 10:30 ” . . . and in the age to come eternal life.”
Continuing with John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way . . ” There is only one way to be physically born. Whether it’s in the womb or test tube, there has to be a natural union of a sperm and egg to produce birth. When Jesus said, “You must be born again…” (John 3:3), He was speaking of the super-natural union of a soul with the Savior. Being born of the Holy Spirit makes us a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way . . .” If we say Jesus is the only way to God, we risk being labeled intolerant. When Larry King interviewed Billy Graham and his son Franklin, he asked them if Jesus was in fact the only way. Both replied YES, and explained that Jesus stated He was the only way, and He is not a liar. You and I know who is the LIAR. Other religious leaders interviewed by Larry King stated there were many paths to God. A South American missionary hired a guide to lead him to a remote village. After several hours of slashing their way through the thick jungle, the missionary asked his guide if he really know the way. The guide dropped his large knife, opened his hands to display scars, and said, “Follow me for I know the way.”
The TV show TMZ consist of a platform where the host calls on entertainment reporters with celebrity news. On one episode, a picture was shown of a female movie star with a Bible in her hand. The host asked why she would take a Bible to lunch with her friend. The reporter responded, “the Bible makes for good reading in the Old Testament when David the warrior is really dramatic, but when Jesus shows up in the New Testament, its all downhill from there.” The Lord’s miracles were really dramatic, and His is the greatest love story ever told. Pray for the host, reporters, and producers of TMZ.
We celebrated EASTER SUNDAY, victory in Jesus over sin and death. In 2018 Jeremy Sutcliffe killed a rattlesnake in his backyard, cutting off its head. He got a plastic bag, and when he picked-up the head, the snake closed its fangs in his hand. A helicopter rushed him to a hospital where he received antivenom that saved his life. The ER doctor told Jeremy that decapitated snakes can bite for up to an hour. Jesus decapitated satan at Calvary, but the old serpent still strikes. In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that the thief comes to KILL. Stay clear of his deadly bite by staying in the Word.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:22 that Christ SEALED us and gave us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a deposit. Imagine a fruit bar inside a protective wrapper. Once opened and left exposed, the bar begins to decay. However, if the bar is sealed in a zip-lock bag, the sweet fruit is preserved. Jesus has sealed our soul, preserving us from the rot of sin. 2 Timothy 2:19, Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those that are His.”
As a boy I wanted more freedom of choice. My mom would say, “You’re acting too big for your britches” meaning act your age. When we’re too big for our britches, the answer is not bigger britches, its fitting into the size we have. It takes time to grow up. The best growth comes from the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching , for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness.”
Psalm 1:7 ” . . . fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Today is April Fools: Tricks played on others that are based on a lie. As a young husband and father, I played April Fool pranks on my family. My father-in-law once called my wife the night before to warn her, but I still pulled it off! Then it all changed when I was on the receiving end. We were at a beach rental during Spring Break, and told not to flush the hallway toilet or it would flood the condo. One morning my youngest daughter in a panic told me she forgot and flushed that toilet. I ran to the toilet and while bent over, my family yelled, “April’s Fool”. After my blood pressure returned to normal, I promised no more tricks. Don’t be fooled by fakers.