Book Review: 52-Week Bible Story Devotional


In our fast-paced, electronically stimulated world, we seldom see a Bible story book that will stimulate and capture the imagination of children as well as adults. We’ve seen one now from B&H Publishing Group. The Big Picture Interactive 52-Week Bible Story Devotional stands out as a gem in the publishing industry.

Not only is the book beautiful and filled with incredible illustrations and well-written and thought provoking stories but…with each new story a QR code is included and various icons too. B&H has included a free app for android and iPhones to facilitate scanning the codes and activating the icons. Even young children find such procedures simple today.

These codes lead the reader to a video of the story for that day. These videos are amazing! A narrator guides the viewer as the characters play it out. The costumes, artwork and camerawork are all excellent. They are compelling while accurately based on the Bible. Children will be enthralled and so will adults. I was.


Do I Understand?

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

When I arise each morning is Jesus among my first thoughts? Do I anticipate spending time in the Bible, praying, thinking of how I might be used of God this day? Do I actually believe that my prayers will make a difference or is it all a great guessing game, hopeful of the final outcome which is a place in heaven?

At work, do my fellow staff/employees/executives know I am a follower of Jesus Christ? When I am tempted to sin are my initial thoughts those of calling on the Holy Spirit to rescue me, to remind me of the verses in the Bible I can use for refuge, for consolation, for holiness? And when angered or frustrated, do I pray for help or follow my feelings?

If you see yourself on the negative side of these situations, as not instantly calling on God for help and rescue, then you are among the many, not the few. Thank God for 1 John 2:1-6 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (NLT)

In verse two, the King James version says, “And He is the propitiation for our sins”.The word propitiation has to do with the removal of divine wrath. Jesus’ death is the means that turns God’s wrath from the sinner. 2 Cor. 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (NLT)

Hebrews 4:14-16 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (NLT)

Today we are living under the New Covenant, established by Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, not under the law, attempting to refrain from certain things and offering sacrifices through the legalistic, priestly system.

Galatians 2:16 However, we know that a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We ourselves believed in Christ Jesus so that we could be made righteous by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the Law—because no one will be made righteous by the works of the Law. (CEB)

Isaiah 53:6 All of us were like sheep that were lost, each of us going his own way. But the Lord made the punishment fall on him, the punishment all of us deserved. (GNT)

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. (NLT)

1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that He will lift you up in His own good time. Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you. (GNT)

Where does this leave us then? How do we deal with our everyday lives in a way that is pleasing to God? There is really only one way as laid out in Hebrews 12:1 As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. (GNT)

As usual, God has provided everything we need to walk with Him in victory and life-transforming peace. His love is beyond human understanding and changes all who claim it for themselves. He is determined to guide us through all trials and temptations, washing and rewashing us in the cleansing power of His Word.

1 Peter 1:22-25 Now you can have real love for everyone because your souls have been cleansed from selfishness and hatred when you trusted Christ to save you; so see to it that you really do love each other warmly, with all your hearts. For you have a new life. It was not passed on to you from your parents, for the life they gave you will fade away. This new one will last forever, for it comes from Christ, God’s ever-living Message to men. Yes, our natural lives will fade as grass does when it becomes all brown and dry. All our greatness is like a flower that droops and falls; but the Word of the Lord will last forever. And his message is the Good News that was preached to you.

Extricating our lives from the world and its processes is not only our biggest challenge as followers of Christ, it is essential in demonstrating how we’ve been cleansed and changed by our faith. When we trusted Christ to save our souls, He absolutely did and then gave us eternal life. Our natural lives must fade and God has given us the Holy Spirit to assist us in that process.


God opposes the proud but favors the humble! 1 Peter 5:5 

To most of us, the thought of failure in anything…projects, business, romance, or athletics, equates to disaster. We are our worst critics in this regard even if our friends or family are more gracious. Men especially beat themselves mercilessly with the hammer of failure. We take one definition of failure very personally: an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: His effort ended in failure. the campaign was a failure.

Viewing our efforts which did not end in success through a filter of negativity, sending ourselves into a pool of pity is actually thumbing our noses at God. We decide that failure or success is entirely in our hands and if we don’t win or achieve our goal, we are poor miserable failures, off to the shoulda, woulda, coulda room filled with feelings of loathing and worthlessness. Sound like God to you? Sounds more like fiery darts from satan’s quiver to me.

Regarding failure, the Bible says:

1 Peter 4:12-19  Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you…But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?… So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for He will never fail you.

Deut. 31:8  Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Luke 22:32  “I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”

Because Jesus knew Peter would deny him three times, He was preparing Peter for the future and how to resolve his coming “failure.” Repent and turn to me again is our answer as well. Jesus must be our focus, not ourselves with all our flaws.

1 Corinthians 13:8  Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be done away.

James 4:10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up and make your lives significant. ~Amp

God’s love never fails and He has given us His never-failing love!

God’s Protection

2 Thessalonians 3:3 The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

It was June 5th, a night of enthusiastic celebration as the results of the California primary confirmed the senator victorious. He was on a roll, having chalked up an earlier victory in South Dakota. Small in stature, the senator was dwarfed by his burly personal bodyguard, a former professional football star.

After a short victory speech to his friends and supporters who exuberantly encouraged their man, the senator triumphantly announced, “Now on to Chicago, and let’s win there!” Walking quickly down a hallway, his massive bodyguard by his side, an unobtrusive man stepped out of the mass of supporters in the hallway and fired his .22 pistol six times, hitting the senator with three shots. In seconds it was over. The shooter was subdued. Five other unsuspecting people lie bleeding as well. In a matter of hours, Robert Kennedy, Jr. was pronounced dead on June 6th at 1:44 a.m. Just two months earlier, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was slain on the balcony of his motel, surrounded by well-intentioned bodyguards. Four and one half years earlier, Kennedy’s famous brother, the president, John F. Kennedy was also the victim of an assassin’s bullets while he was in a motorcade, carefully guarded by a professional team of secret service men.

The best intentioned and trained bodyguards and secret service officers cannot deter an evil person’s bullets. President Ronald Reagan is yet another classic example of bullets versus bodyguards with bullets finding their mark even though Reagan was surrounded by secret service officers.

These examples vividly portray the fragile nature of human life as compared to the promises of God that believers in Christ will never have their lives snatched away from them unless it is part of God’s plan. Even more important, God reveals to us in the Bible that life here on earth is temporary, “You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears.” James 4:14

John 17:11, 15 I will remain in the world no longer, but they (followers of Christ) are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

John 10:27-30 My sheep recognize my voice and I know who they are. They follow me and I give them eternal life. They will never die and no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. And no one can tear anything out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.

Jude 24, 25 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings of eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

God clearly promises protection and assurance to all who trust and believe in Him. There is only one thing that can stand in the way of His promises…our lack of faith. We have only to believe His promises and not faint. When all seems bleak, dark and hopeless, let us rise above what we see and believe in His words of hope, protection and eternal salvation.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Manipulating God

“You, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth” Psalm 97

Lawrence beamed at the capacity audience in San Francisco; the sixth stop of his Worldwide Evangelical Movement tour. “God is sitting on his throne, waiting for you to give him a hint. That’s right, God is leaning forward, anxious to hear your requests so he can give you what you desire in the deepest place in your heart. He made you to abide with him some day and until that day, he wants to make you happy and satisfied.

“Have you been passed over for that promotion? God knows and wants to release the blessings of that new job to you. Can’t find that special person to complete you? God is aware of that missing piece in your puzzle of life as well. What about the home you keep driving by, wishing it was yours? Yes, my friends, God is fully aware of your needs and he wants to fulfill them, make you happy and give you the greatest, most fulfilling experience that life has to offer.

“I know some of you are thinking something like, ‘How can I ever afford that home I truly want? I need a better job and less debt.’ Friends, God is the God of satisfaction and delight. He made you and knows how to make you satisfied and content on this earth as you prepare for eternal life with him.

Lawrence became silent, walking back and forth on the platform, scanning the audience as he moved. And then, “What is the key to unlocking God’s blessings, you ask? Sacrifice. Yes, it is sacrifice. Think of how he showed his love for us. Sacrifice! He sacrificed his own Son so we could have this wonderful life. And now he expects us to learn that same sacrifice. God GAVE so we could live and now it is our turn. We must sacrificially GIVE to release those blessings from heaven.”

By now Lawrence was commanding the audience with his fine-tuned and powerful voice, it was as though he hypnotized them…Give, give give. Sacrificially give. Give when you don’t think you can. God is waiting. Release those blessings from the throne of God.” They were on their feet as the army of ushers passed buckets across the rows of excited, believing people.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Do you have, perhaps secretly, desires that you hope God will bring to pass to make your life better? Desires of more money, better job, better marriage, better body, bigger house? If you do, admit it to God. As the famous southern pastor, J. Vernon Mcgee once said, “You might as well tell Him because He knows anyway.”

God does understand our secret desires of wealth, health, homes, trips, etc. But what he wants for us is far better. Does anyone really believe that God sent his only Son, Jesus, to live and die for us so that we could have more money, bigger homes, better cars, and more fun? Jesus did give sacrificially, didn’t he? His sacrifice was given freely so you and I could experience redemption and forgiveness of sins. Surely we can see clearly that Christ did not experience such an excruciating torture and death so we could accumulate more stuff on earth.

Psalm 97:1-5  The Lord rules! Let the earth rejoice! Let all the islands celebrate! Clouds and thick darkness surround God. His throne is built on righteousness and justice. Fire proceeds before him, burning up his enemies on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees it and trembles! The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of the whole world!

Our lives are actually spiritual. As such our warfare is taking place in the spiritual realms, every day…every hour. God’s great sacrifice has made it possible for us to walk in the spirit, guided by the Holy Spirit. As we gear up each day with the Armor of God, we engage in the battle prepared and protected by God. Do you see material things as important in this daily battle for souls and lives?

Ephesians 6:10-17  In conclusion be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armour so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore you must wear the whole armour of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground.

Take your stand then with truth as your belt, righteousness your breastplate, the Gospel of peace firmly on your feet, salvation as your helmet and in your hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Above all be sure you take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at you. Pray at all times with every kind of spiritual prayer, keeping alert and persistent as you pray for all Christ’s men and women.

Men and women who claim to speak for God but seek to gratify their flesh are, in truth, serving the enemy of our soul and feeding their own flesh. The Bible tells us to die to the flesh:

Romans 8:12-16  So then, my brothers, you can see that we have no particular reason to feel grateful to our sensual nature, or to live life on the level of the instincts. Indeed that way of living leads to certain spiritual death. But if on the other hand you cut the nerve of your instinctive actions by obeying the Spirit, you are on the way to real living.

All who follow the leading of God’s Spirit are God’s own sons. Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear—you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, “Father, my Father”. The Spirit himself endorses our inward conviction that we really are the children of God. Think what that means. If we are his children we share his treasures, and all that Christ claims as his will belong to all of us as well! Yes, if we share in his suffering we shall certainly share in his glory.

A man left his house early one morning to attend a Bible study. It was then he saw an obstacle! A flat tire. Not low but dead flat. He had no time to change a tire. He pondered his situation and felt God nudge him to have faith that He would take care of the tire. So, he prayed and believed that God would do the impossible.

He drove three miles to a gas station, filled the tire with air and drove to the study. The tire never leaked or deflated again. Life is spiritual!

Problems Bring Answers


“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials” Rom. 5:3

“What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true,” said Michael to his class. “I’ve read those words of Job many times over the years and, for the most part, felt a slight sympathy or a bit of empathy for Job. But now, I can say with certainty, I am in that situation. And guess what? I am devastated! I am at my wits end. No longer do I have the luxury to cast a glance at Job’s literary problems and feel superior. This is my life. It’s personal. My life has fallen apart, just like those buildings we’ve seen on TV, imploding in place, falling in clouds of exploding sparks and smoke, down upon itself in a heap of rubble. That is my life. In ruins.”

No one spoke. Tears ran down Michael’s face as he stood dejected, feeling lost and alone. Defeated. And now, in silence, he felt worse, wondering why he had shared honestly about his failings. Answers seemed to elude the class just as they did Michael.

“What does God have to say about your problems, Michael?” Said Carl. “Have you given all this to the Lord? Surely God has an answer!”

“I don’t understand, Carl. These are my problems, I created the mess. Why should I look to God to bail me out? That seems hypocritical to me…running to God like a little kid, begging for His supernatural help. I didn’t ask Him when I made all the bad decisions.”

“As far as I know, Michael, the Bible has answers to all our problems whether we asked for them or not. We’ve all read and talked about these things in this class many times. Now it’s time to see how God works in our lives when it is really difficult. He wants you and all of us, to make Him a partner in our lives; every day.

“Let’s read about this in Romans 5:1-11…Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

“Carl, I enjoy reading the Bible just like you but I don’t get how I can see direct answers to my problems in these verses. Something written more than two thousand years ago, translated over and over is great, I agree. But where is my answer today, in America?”

“Michael, either you believe the Bible, and I mean all of it, or you don’t. This is not up for grabs.”

Again a silence filled the classroom. Michael got red as Carl stared at him. “This is a moment of truth, Michael. Is the Bible God’s Word to you?” And then, looking to others in the class, Carl said, “And what of us? Do we firmly believe the Bible is God’s Word, His holy Word? If we do then answers and behaviors can be found within as we are guided by the Holy Spirit each time we read these pages.

“Look at verse three, Michael. God says…we can rejoice when we fall into problems and trials because they help us develop endurance. This is God’s word for us right now, today, in America. If I read no further I know that my problems and trials help me develop endurance. And, I should rejoice! Not just put up with them but rejoice. Do I? Do we? Not usually. If I’m not hearing God then I am not listening and probably not following the directions He has laid out in His Word. How many times do I rejoice during trials and problems, hoping to develop endurance and see God’s leading in my life?”

“If we read no further and purposed in our hearts to rejoice at problems and trials our lives would radically change forever. God has given us all we need. We just need to act on what He’s given us.”

Unbelieving Believers!


If believers, those who take Jesus as their savior, would actually live the words of Jesus, words of hope, grace, mercy, change that are given to us in the bible, we would be different people. People who can actually leave their past behind. Leave their guilt behind. Leave their failures behind. The Bible says, “Behold you are a new creation, creature, life…all the old things are passed away.” And yet, we live as though those words were never spoken to us.

It is like receiving a beautifully wrapped gift in a splendid box. We carefully unwrap the lavish paper, open the box and exclaim with joy our surprise and happiness with the gift (whether to be worn or used). A few days later, it is still in the box, sitting in a place of honor in the house. Every time we pass by, we stop to admire our gift. We smile and reflect on the giver and how wonderful and thoughtful it was.

A few years later, when we move to another state, the gift remains in the box to be admired. Years pass and we continue to look upon the box and remember the giver and the act of love. But we never take the gift out of the box and use it. We never experience how it might change our lives.

When we die, our relatives pack everything up, including the gift, intact in its box, and take them to the Homeless Shelter, knowing how we loved to give to others.

New Each Day

Mexican sunrise


May 13, 2015

“His mercies never end. They are new every morning” Lamentations 3:22

There’s always hope! No matter what happens. Each day with the Lord welcomes us with new hope, and a fresh start. All is forgiven, washed clean by the everlasting blood of the Lamb. The past is just that…past. When you feel low, worthless or totally sinful that is the perfect time to call out to the Lord and repent anew of your sins. He has already forgiven you and wants you to walk in that forgiveness. The blood of Jesus, flowing down Calvary’s cross was shed literally for each person in the world. His sacrifice gives us new life. If we refuse to accept his sacrifice then what hope is there? If I am feeling low then I am not asking God to change my attitude. He promises peace. Accept that offer.

· 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

· Romans 6:4 “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”

· Galatians 6:15 “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.”

· Romans 3:21-25 “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”

Most of us have a constant struggle with sin but God has provided the antidote that never fails. An antidote that we can claim by faith in Jesus Christ, fortified with God’s promises.

· “Romans 7:24-25 “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

· Romans 8:1-2; 9-17 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”

· Philippians 3:7-14 “The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (The Message)

Jesus willingly subjected Himself to the pain of death to free us from the penalty and control of sin. If you have accepted that love and forgiveness then each day is a new day… guided by the Holy Spirit, directed by the Lord Jesus.

Bible Translation


Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Job 38:4

Even though we are Believers and followers of Christ, we seem to have the gift of selective application as we read the Bible (forgetting it is the Word of God). Our selective approach of application and understanding has been termed “Buffet Christianity.” This is a version of Christianity that allows us to pick and choose what we apply to our lives rather than attempting to immerse ourselves fully into His Word by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Buffet Christianity allows the reader to decide which verses are applicable to their life and which are allegorical or historical or, perhaps, applicable to specific people of a different time and place. The buffet approach gives the reader the power to challenge God’s word, picking and choosing which verses are “for today.”

The most obvious danger in this approach to reading the Bible is the reader becomes a version of God, deciding that they have the authority to eliminate or water down the precious word of God, passed down to us through the centuries with the guidance of God Himself. Buffet Christianity leads to little gods who freely retranslate the Bible into ideas that are more convenient or less challenging. Imagine thinking that we can decide which Bible verses are pertinent to our lives rather than asking God to give us wisdom and understanding as we read His Holy Word.

2 Timothy 3:14-16  Yet you must go on steadily in all those things that you have learned and which you know are true. Remember from what sort of people your knowledge has come, and how from early childhood your mind has been familiar with the holy scriptures, which can open the mind to the salvation which comes through believing in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work. (Phillips)

The Bible is not a collection of stories, fables, myths, or merely human ideas about God. It is not just a human book. Through the Holy Spirit God revealed his person and plan to godly men who wrote down God’s message for his people. This process is known as inspiration. The writers wrote from their own personal, historical, and cultural contexts. But even though they used their own minds, talents, language, and style, they wrote what God wanted them to write. Scripture is completely trustworthy because God was in control of its writing, and its words are entirely authoritative for our faith and lives. (Life Application Bible Notes © Tyndale House)

2 Peter 1:19-21  So we have seen and proved that what the prophets said came true. You will do well to pay close attention to everything they have written, for, like lights shining into dark corners, their words help us to understand many things that otherwise would be dark and difficult. But when you consider the wonderful truth of the prophets’ words, then the light will dawn in your souls and Christ the Morning Star will shine in your hearts.For no prophecy recorded in Scripture was ever thought up by the prophet himself. It was the Holy Spirit within these godly men who gave them true messages from God. (TLB)

Romans 15:2-4  Even if we believe that it makes no difference to the Lord whether we do these things, still we cannot just go ahead and do them to please ourselves; for we must bear the “burden” of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others—of those who feel these things are wrong. Let’s please the other fellow, not ourselves, and do what is for his good and thus build him up in the Lord. Christ didn’t please himself. As the Psalmist said, “He came for the very purpose of suffering under the insults of those who were against the Lord.” These things that were written in the Scriptures so long ago are to teach us patience and to encourage us so that we will look forward expectantly to the time when God will conquer sin and death. (TLB)

Job 38:4-11  “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Do you know how its dimensions were determined, and who did the surveying? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who decreed the boundaries of the seas when they gushed from the depths? Who clothed them with clouds and thick darkness and barred them by limiting their shores, and said, ‘Thus far and no farther shall you come, and here shall your proud waves stop’?”  (TLB)

If enough people agree on an idea it eventually becomes established as truth. Many of these so-called truths are actually myths, superstitions and outright lies. But, as we have all experienced in life, sayings learned from childhood establish themselves as fact in our minds.

Consider the Bible. Do you think of it as fact or fable? Is it absolute truth or partial truth with scatterings of myth for variety. Either you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God or you do not. There is no middle ground; no neutral territory. By faith in God, the Bible becomes absolute truth leading us to forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God.  

Authentic Change

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through…1 Peter 4:12

Joining an organization carries with it certain expectations and obligations, like learning the secret handshake, wearing the proper clothing or reciting the code on demand. Some groups go further in that members must change their behavior and manner of living, publicly refusing current trends, alcoholic beverages and movies. Some of these groups are churches who attempt to overhaul their members into “better people” by remodeling their outward behavior with rules and regulations.

Unfortunately for all who head down this path, changing outward behavior and appearance does not change the heart, just what we can outwardly detect. Jesus did not give His life for us so we would all shop at the same clothing store, wear our hair a certain way or follow a set of rules for living. Jesus wants our hearts. Jesus wants people to understand that we are New Creations as we believe in Him (have faith). In reading the Bible, you will not find comments regarding how fine or stylish our Lord’s garments were. Rather, you will read how focused on following God’s will He was.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Timothy 4:8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.

“Joining” the Church of Jesus Christ is the total opposite of learning a handshake or attempting to live by a set of rules, it is accomplished by our faith in what Jesus has done for us. Faith, not works we are cautioned in Ephesians

Eph2:8-9 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Phil. 3:8-9 . . .I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ and be completely united with him. I no longer have a righteousness of my own, the kind that is gained by obeying the Law. I now have the righteousness that is given through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is based on faith.

Jesus does not call us to cut our hair but to cast aside the bondage of those rules or outward behaviors. More than those things, Jesus calls us to follow Him which may mean suffering, denial, humiliation, rejection and being ostracized by many. In return, He gives us forgiveness and eternal life with Him.

Luke 6:27-49 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

Do Not Judge Others

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

The Tree and Its Fruit

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Building on a Solid Foundation

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”


1 Peter 4:1-2 So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer too. For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning. And you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.

1 Peter 4:12-14 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead be very glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.

1 Peter 4:19 So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.

Following Jesus is an agreement established by the letting of blood…His, not yours.