29 December 2012

Bible Reading 2013

Heard from many who made good use of the Bible Reading Companion posted here about a year ago.  Hope it was a blessing to all who completed (or are about to complete) the program.  If you happened to keep track of the mistakes and/or keep an answer key, please let me know.

HERE is a copy of the Bible Reading and Scripture Memory Program I designed for the teenagers at THE BIBLE Baptist Church for 2013.  The reading program will take you through the Bible in a year.  Each day includes a reading from the Old Testament and the New Testament.  For each month, there is a set of about 6 scripture passages on a certain topic to be used in witnessing (all have sinned; Jesus died for sin; believe for salvation; etc.).

Feel free to print and/or distribute this, or put it to use in any way.  Just send me an email if you need help figuring out how to print it off, and I'll do my best to walk you through.

04 December 2012

Giving Account to God -- Part 3

Romans 14:10 is one of only two verses in scripture to specifically mention the judgment seat of Christ.  The passage's description of that judgment in verse 12 has led us to consider the following points:


There are two additional points that we should make along these lines.  In addition to the acknowledgement that we will all give an account TO GOD, there are some scriptures that direct us to the helpful realization that:


25 October 2012

Why We Do Not Celebrate Halloween

Prepared for distribution at THE BIBLE Baptist Church.  Posted here for your reading enjoyment and thoughtful consideration.


1.     While there is some difference of opinion as to the specific origins of the many Halloween traditions (jack-o-lanterns; costumes; trick-or-treating; bobbing for apples; association with ghosts, spirits, witchcraft, and death), it is undeniable and universally agreed that:

16 October 2012

Giving Account to God -- Part 2

Romans 14:10-12 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Let’s break down this statement.


What does it mean to give account?  Consider this example from Luke 16:1-2 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.  And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

10 October 2012

Giving Account to God

The first passage we will study that specifically mentions the judgment seat of Christ is Romans 14:7-13.

Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 

I always thought that this verse was speaking to the influence my actions have on those around me.  That’s a valid application of the statement that doesn’t violate the text and is supported by other scriptures, but if you examine the context (2 Peter 1:20), that’s not the meaning here.  Verse 7 is defined by verse 8.

Romans 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. 

06 October 2012

Eternal Perspective

The objective of entering into a study of the judgment seat of Christ is to influence Christians to live a life now that will matter for eternity; to live a life now that will count for something at the judgment seat of Christ; to approach people and places and situations and decisions with an eternal perspective.  That is the theme of this second introductory lesson.


28 September 2012

The Judgment Seat of Christ: Groundwork

One of the most important, if not the most important event in the future of every believer is an event referred to in the Bible as “the judgment seat of Christ.”  The actual phrase is used only twice in scripture (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10).  A detailed description of the event is found in 1 Corinthians 3.  And as we will see as we study this topic in a series of posts throughout the coming weeks, there are many passages that deal with the various aspects of this final judgment for believers. 

Before we jump into the scripture in search of truth regarding the day when our works as Christians will be judged by the Lord, it is necessary to lay some groundwork. 

18 September 2012

Spiritually Fat

A little personal testimony by way of introduction.  Since I married Lauren almost 6 years ago (Proverbs 18:22), I’ve put on about 20 pounds...roughly 10 pounds during each of Lauren’s pregnancies.  She gained a lot more than I did during those 9 month periods, but the difference was that she would lose the weight she had gained after the babies were born.

What has happened to me – and I know many can identify with this – is that there came a time after I got married when I stopped eating like a single Bible college student (out of necessity), and I started eating like a married man whose wife can cook (for pleasure and enjoyment).

Now, I realize (and am being kindly reminded by my wife) that I need to do something about my physical condition before it gets out of hand and becomes a lot harder to reverse, because being physically fat is – let’s say this nicely – really not desirable or beneficial in any way.

Spiritually speaking, though, it’s a different situation.  None of us really want our bodies to be fat.  But there are some Bible verses that indicate it’d actually be a good thing for our souls to be fat. 

04 September 2012

The Great Digression

A little bit of history to set the backdrop.  When God gave His law to the nation of Israel – which the nation agreed to keep (Exodus 19:8; 24:3-7; Deuteronomy 5:27) – the consequences for obedience and disobedience to that law were clearly laid out.  Obedience would result in the blessings of safety, peace, and prosperity.  Disobedience would result in famine, sickness, oppression, war, and eventual removal from the land of promise (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). 

As you know, the history of Israel is one of disobedience, rebellion, and idolatry.  And what God said would happen, did.  In 2 Kings 17 (about 722 BC), the ten northern tribes of Israel were carried into captivity by the Assyrians. 

The chapter not only records the final deportation, it summarizes the reasons why it came to this.  And it is a very marked digression.  Sadly, it’s also one that looks mighty familiar.  Let’s take a look…

28 August 2012

The Law of Approbation

Joshua 1:3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

The Scofield Study Bible offers this brief, insightful note: “The law of appropriation. God gives, but we must take.”  Is that not the truth?  The land was theirs.  God had given it to them.  The victory was theirs.  God had already promised it to them.  The battle was the Lord’s.  He had said that He would fight for them (Deuteronomy 1:3; 3:22; 20:4).  But they still had to go out to the battlefield and fight.  They still had to engage the enemy and claim the victory God had given.

Consider these applications of this simple truth:

22 August 2012

Broad Plates

In Numbers 16, Korah (a Levite) and Dathan and Abiram (from the tribe of Reuben) led a company of 250 Levites in an uprising against Moses’ leadership and Aaron’s priesthood.  “Wherefore lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord (v. 3)?”  These Levites had a position in the Lord’s service but were not content with the position they were given.

(Explanation: God selected Aaron and his descendants to fill the office of the priesthood.  Aaron was a Levite.  Thus, all the priests were Levites.  The Levitical priesthood of Hebrews 7:11 is that of Aaron’s descendants.  But not all the Levites were priests.  There were many families besides Aaron’s in the tribe of Levi. These Levites were selected by God and separated by God for the service of the tabernacle and the service of the priests.  But they did not offer sacrifices or perform the other priestly duties.  This is what angered the group in Numbers 16.)

The test that was to determine whether Moses and Aaron had lifted themselves up above the congregation of the Lord (the charge of vv. 3, 13) or if it was the Lord who had done so involved Korah, the 250 Levites, and Aaron all taking censers, with fire and incense, and standing before the door of the tabernacle.  It is unclear to me what the purpose of the censers was or how the determination was expected to be made, but when the Lord appears, He makes His selection very clear, saying to Moses and Aaron in verse 21, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment,” and in verse 24, “Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”

You’re probably familiar with what happens next.

08 August 2012

God Does Not Hate You

Deuteronomy 1:27 And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. 

What an amazing statement.  What a twisted mentality.  Basically, they were saying…

“God delivered us from Egypt because He hated us…”
“God delivered us from Egypt so He could destroy our lives…”

Nothing could have been further from the truth.  The Lord redeemed His people from Egypt because He loved them (Deuteronomy 7:8).  The Lord brought His people out of Egypt so He could bring them into a land of blessing (Numbers 24:1). 

But their unbelief and their lusts had so clouded their minds that they soon forgot all of that and came to the absurd conclusion that God hated them. 

06 August 2012

Why the Hebrews Wandered

You know the story of the wilderness wanderings.  God delivered His people from Egypt’s bondage on Passover night; He destroyed Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea, where the Hebrews had crossed on dry ground; then He gave Moses His law atop Mount Sinai.  From Mount Sinai (aka Horeb), it was an 11-day journey to Kadesh-barnea (Deuteronomy 1:2), from whence the people would enter the promised land.

If you grew up in Sunday school, you probably learned the tale of what happened there in song form (though you may not realize it).  It was at this point that…

23 July 2012

Something Borrowed

Had a great time at camp this past week!  Perhaps a post on that later.  For now, here are some notes from my Bible reading this morning.

In recording the events of Passover night, Exodus 12:35-36 says, “And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.”

Twice the Israelites were instructed to borrow silver and gold and raiment from their Egyptian neighbors when the Lord freed them from Egypt’s bondage (Exodus 3:22; 11:2).  According to the passage above, that’s exactly what they did on the night of the Exodus.

I’m certain I’m not the only one who finds the wording a bit odd. 

09 July 2012

Good is Not Enough

While on the boys’ trip, Brother James gave a devotion from this passage in Luke 21:24-26 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.  And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.  Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

He said it’s almost unfair for young people in our churches where the Bible is actually taught and there is some kind of expectation that as Christians we would at least attempt to live by what it says.  It is unfair in the sense that in almost any other church, the average young person in our church would be held up as a stellar example of a godly youth on the basis of all the things that he or she doesn’t do.  Our young people, as far as we know, don’t go to bars.  They don’t drink beer.  They don’t do drugs.  They aren’t involved in criminal activity.  They aren’t involved in immoral activity. 

We probably don’t do enough to express our appreciation to our young people for the fact that they don’t do those things.  But reading and studying the Bible and trying to do what pleases God, we are left with no other choice than to keep pointing out that if your Christianity is defined by all the things you don’t do, then it’s not enough to keep the devil from finding a place in your heart (Ephesians 4:27).

02 July 2012

Why God's Word Is So Important

Our pastor preached a classic sermon yesterday evening from Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth… (click here to listen).

There were two aspects of the message that stood out to me, especially.  First of all, the Ephesians 6 passage cross-references to 1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober… as well as Luke 12:34-35 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning.

So the two areas in which we must gird our loins with truth (God’s word; John 17:17) are (1) our thoughts and (2) our desires.  We often talk about allowing God’s word to govern our thoughts; allowing to rule over our lives; to light our path; to dictate our decisions; and so forth.  But what does that mean?  How does that work?

01 July 2012

Wycliffe Discovery Center

Took a group of kids to the Wycliffe Discovery Center in Orlando this past Tuesday.  Found out about it when perusing the Wycliffe website for missions class ideas.  Very glad we decided to make the trip.  The staff (several of whom volunteer) were all engaging and enthusiastic about presenting their burden for missions, and in particular Bible translation.  The kids all had a great time, and we all came away having learned something (which, they told us, was one of the rules).  

The first thing we did was get a couple of brief biographical lessons on John Wycliffe (the first man to translate the Bible into English) and Cameron Townsend (the founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators).  The rest of the morning was what they called an “A to Z Adventure.”  They split our group into smaller groups and moved them through various learning centers: language, culture, crafts, music, geography, and prayer.  All of this was focused on the country and people groups of Ethiopia, many of whom do not have ANY Bible portions in their language. 

After a break for lunch, each group moved systematically through the interactive museum, looking for answers in a scavenger hunt format. 

If you’re in the Orlando area, I would definitely recommend a visit.  I’ll be looking into taking a group of teens in the near future. 

DISCLAIMER: Wycliffe Bible Translators is NOT an Independent Baptist or KJV-only organization.  The music is a bit more bouncy than most of us believe is appropriate.  I decided on the trip anyway because (1) the focus in on missions, not modern English versions; (2) the music was a very small part of the program; (3) I don’t think our kids are at risk of being confused by the difference in our position on these two issues, if they even noticed. 

If you are interested in a similar type of ministry with a Bible-believing, Independent Baptist perspective, please see the website of Baptist Bible Translators Institute (BBTI) in Bowie, TX: http://www.baptisttranslators.com/.

28 June 2012

A Simple Comparison


Ecclesiastes 2:17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit

According to Ecclesiastes 2:17, Solomon was a man who hated life.   Which is an amazing thing when you consider the fact that Solomon had everything that people think will make their lives wonderful.  He had wealth; he had wisdom; he had women.  He had power; he had fortune; he had fame.  He had peace; he had comfort; he had success.  Solomon had more than we could ever dream of having.  He built more than we could ever dream of building.  He accomplished more than we could ever hope to accomplish. 

But it left him empty.  He said it was vanity.  He hated life. 

If any of us had the chance to trade places with Solomon – to have all that he had; to experience all that he’d experienced; to know all that he knew – we’d jump at the chance.  But if you’re saved and love the Lord and obey the scripture, then Solomon would jump at the chance to trade places with you!

Why?  As good and as perfect and as attractive as his life might seem to the modern American, he hated it.  He was angry, miserable, depressed. 

But if you’re saved, love God, and obey the scripture, here’s what the Bible says about you…


1 Peter 3:10-11 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 

Is God always right?  Is the Bible completely true?  Is there anything in God’s word that’s a lie?  Does God know what He’s talking about?  If we really believe those things, then it could not get any more clear:

If you want to end up hating life, then go after everything you come across that you think might make you happy.  And if you want to love life, then make your life about loving God and serving God and pleasing God and ministering to others. 

It’s as simple as that…if you believe the Bible.  We all just have to come to the point where we really believe that it’s true.  Enough to go ahead and try it out.  Hope that you will.

Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

25 June 2012

The Wise Man's Eyes

The past two weeks were spent taking our annual boys’ and girls’ trips (which I’m now using as my excuse for the lack of posts).  We had a great time spending 3 days with each group over on the west coast of Florida.  Our days were full of activity, enjoying God’s creation and enjoying one another’s company.  At the end of the day we would gather as a group to talk about the day, lay out our plans for the next day, and spend some time in the Bible. 

These devotions were profitable times, so I wanted to pass along some notes on the things we discussed.

This first word of instruction was actually given to the guys before we even got started with our first activity of the trip – collecting shark’s teeth at Venice Beach, the shark tooth capital of the world.  (Which was great, except for the fact that we decided to store our finds in an empty, plastic water bottle.  It is not hard to imagine what happened to that bottle before the end of the trip.)

Though the spot where we were on Venice Beach was nice and fairly secluded, we do live in modern-day America.  In Florida, no less.  So regardless of whether we go to Venice Beach or any beach (or the “coast” for all us Independent Baptists), just going out in any public place requires an ability to deal with seeing things that we’d be better off not seeing.  

The scripture says in Lamentations 3:51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.  And in Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

We have to be careful about what we allow to enter into our eyes, because it is impossible to keep what enters into our eyes from affecting our hearts, and it is impossible to keep what enters our hearts from affecting the very issues of our lives.  (Think hard on that before you take your next dose of Hollywood.  Learn to practice some remote CONTROL.)

This battle is one that is faced by the entire fallen human race, but it seems to be a difficult and important battle for the male gender in particular.  So here are two ways from the Bible that I gave to our young men on how to deal with living in a society that would fill our eyes and seek to fill our hearts with things that shouldn’t be there. 


Sometimes you can't help what you see.  But you can always help what you look at.  A young man who wants to guard his heart and keep his thoughts pure must learn to choose not look at some things that he sees. 

The Bible says we live in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (Philippians 2:15).  There are certain things we can avoid (insert long list here), but there are certain things we can’t.  A person can’t drive down the highway without seeing things you shouldn’t see.  A person can’t go through a check-out line at the grocery store without seeing plenty he’d be better off not seeing. 

But a person can choose to divert his gaze.  A young man can choose to focus his attention elsewhere.  A young man must learn not to look at the things that he sees.

The Bible puts it this way in Ecclesiastes 2:14 The wise man's eyes are in his head...

Remember David?  And the sin he committed with Bathsheeba?  Adultery? That led to murder?  There is a very definite progression in the events of 2 Samuel 11.  

David’s first problem was that he wasn't where he was supposed to be or doing what he was supposed to be doing (v. 1).  Instead, he was at home at his palace, walking on the roof of his house, and there he saw a woman washing herself (v. 2).  Maybe Bathsheeba shouldn't have been washing herself where she was washing herself.  Maybe David shouldn't have been walking where he was walking.  The Bible’s not totally clear on that.  But whoever's fault it was, David saw this beautiful woman.  

But the story did not have to go on.  David could have stopped this whole thing right then and there.  He could have turned away.  He could have simply walked back inside. 

But that's not what he did.  The Bible says that he found Bathsheeba very beautiful to "look upon" (v. 2).  Seeing and looking are two different things.  David saw.  Then he decided to look at what he saw.  And before he took her (v. 4), the Bible says that he enquired after her (v. 3).  Which leads us to our next point…


A young man’s attempts to stay his mind on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, or good report, worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8) will be fought and opposed by the world, the flesh, and the devil every step of the way. 

We live in a dirty world.  We’re encumbered by this sinful flesh (Romans 7:18) and these hearts that are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).  

Even if it were possible to keep ourselves from every influence that would defile (impossible and outside the will of God – John 17:15; 1 Corinthians 5:10), we would still have to learn to do as scripture says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

David didn’t have to look at what he saw.  And he didn’t have to dwell on the wicked plan immediately devised by his wicked heart. 

At times, you might not be able to control what thoughts somehow enter your mind.  But you can always choose what you do with those thoughts.  Temptation cannot always be avoided.  But thoughts can always be controlled.  The flesh can always be refused.

The battle of temptation is fought and won in the mind.  That’s why it’s so important to fill your heart with the word of God and fill your home with the songs of God and fill your mouth with the praise of God (Psalm 119:11; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19).  So when the moment of temptation comes, you’re better able to immediately divert your thoughts to what is good and what is right.  

05 June 2012

Beholding Vanity

Have I ever mentioned that Psalm 119 is one of my favorite chapters (yes and yes)?  For any who might not be aware, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible.  Its theme?  The importance of the word of God.  Of its 176 verses, all but 2 make specific reference to God’s word, law, commandments, statutes, judgments, etc. 

Last time through, I noticed one of those verses that I just didn’t remember being there the last 25+ times I read it (only the Bible).  The Holy Spirit used the verse to point out an important truth to me and has been “bringing it to my remembrance” ever since (John 14:26).

The verse is Psalm 119:37.  Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

When I read that, my mind goes immediately to another important verse -- Psalm 101:3.  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

But Psalm 119:37 takes Psalm 101:3 a step further.  It moves past removing from our vision that which is WICKED and challenges us to go ahead and get rid of that which is VAIN. 

My family does not own a TV.  There are a number of reasons for that.  In no particular order, (1) We can think of some much better ways to spend $100 a month than sending it to the cable company.  (2) Most -- as in as close to all as you can get without being all -- of the “programming” (think about that word) is WICKED and unfit to watch.  (3) It’s bad for kids’ brains.  (My wife can supply the details on that one.)  (4) Even if there were a few shows a week that we didn’t think fell under the condemnation of Psalm 101:3, we really couldn’t afford to waste the time it would take to watch them (Psalm 119:37).

I’m not saying that makes us more spiritual.  That’s just what we have chosen to do (or not do).  But in this modern age of technology, who needs a TV.  We have computers.  We have internet access.  Here’s where the Holy Spirit took a scalpel labeled Psalm 119:37 and did a little Hebrews 4:12 “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and…discern[ing] of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

I may not waste my time and money on TV, but it’s not an infrequent occurrence for me to be studying my Bible or preparing a lesson or just trying to get something productive done when, for no apparent reason, I’m all of a sudden tempted to check the headlines…or check the scores…or check the weather…or read that email that just came in…or see who that text message was from…or (fill in the blank). 

It’s not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with those things.  It’s just that oftentimes, there’s not a lot of substance to them (VANITY).  In Psalm 119:37, David prayed what I have come to recognize as a very good, very needful prayer.  Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity…

Think about it.  How much time do you spend on Facebook?  Compare that to how much time you spend in God’s book.  Could you not be doing more of what’s needful if you weren’t so occupied with what often amounts to vanity?

How many tweets have you sent into the tweetosphere this week?  And how many prayers have you sent up to God’s throne this week?  Would the time spent doing one not have been more wisely invested doing the other? 

How many games do you need on your phone?  How many times do you have to win a game of solitaire in order to feel successful?  How many verses did you memorize last month?  What sins in your life have you waged war against in the recent future?

Do you really need to check the weather…7 times a day?  (Walking to the mailbox and taking a look at the clouds might be a better alternative.)  

Will the outcome of the game be any different because you watched the play-by-play tracker?  

What difference will it really make whether or not you’re up with what’s going on in the news?  (You might find yourself a bit less depressed on the blissfully unaware side of things.) 

Back to the TV thing.  Those hours you spent watching TV last month (try counting them) -- what did you get out of them?  Anything that brought you closer to the Lord?  Anything that strengthened your family?  Anything that made your life better in any way?  

So you got a bit of rest and relaxation.  Nobody can blame you for that.  But there are some other options on the far less wicked (Psalm 101:3) and vain (Psalm 119:37) side of things. 

I’m just saying that with a Bible to learn and a God to serve and family to raise and a church to build up and a world that’s lost and dying and going to hell, we’d do well to spend less of our time beholding vanity.  That is, if you want to press toward the mark (Philippians 3:14) and follow hard after God (Psalm 63:8). 

The verse was a help to me.  Hope it will be a blessing and help to you both now and in the days to come.