The persistent widow

I was reading and reflecting on the parable of the Persistent Widow from Luke 18:1-8 yesterday. I found it interesting.

In verse one it says that Jesus told the parable “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” It then goes on to describe the poor widow who had been harshly treated and repeatedly went back to the judge to receive justice.

We see that even though the judge was not a God-fearing man and was described as not caring, he granted her request. It sounds like she was driving him crazy with her constant requests (v5)!

In verse 7 Jesus moves this story to God and asks the questions “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”

Because God is a good God, and not like the evil judge, we know He will. Jesus promises He will bring justice quickly.

The thing I find interesting in this parable is found right at the end. In the second part of verse 8 Jesus says, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

While this parable is a parable to encourage us to continue in prayer and not give up, I believe Jesus’ question at the end is the more important one.

I believe Jesus is asking how many people will be found faithful when He returns? How many people will persist to the end and hold firm in their faith and trust in God?

So today I would encourage you to be persistent in prayer, keep trusting God and purpose in your heart to be found faithful when Jesus returns.

God Bless,

Dave

Bible college and reference books

I am back at Bible college this year doing some more units to keep learning and growing. Something I think is important as a Christian.

As I was thinking about an assignment I have due, I was remembering my first go at Bible college back in the early 1990’s. I was thinking how much things have changed.

On my first time around the college set an assignment and they expected you to use the Bible, your own reflections and maybe a Bible dictionary or a commentary.

These days you need to use at least five substantial references plus the Bible. You need to use direct quotes and/or refer to these sources to show that you have read widely.

While I can see this referencing is important, I still find it hard sometimes that a man’s thoughts in a book can carry more weight than the Bible read reflectively with the help of the Holy Spirit.

As I type I wonder how men like Smith Wigglesworth would go at Bible college these days. He was famously known for being a man of just one book – the Bible!

God Bless,

Dave

Help for pronouncing hard Bible names

Sometimes it can be a bit embarrassing when you have to do a Bible reading at church and you are not sure how to pronounce the names or places.

Well fear no more. Here is a cool tool that has an A-Z list of Bible names and places. It shows you how to pronounce it phonetically and then it has a sound file too.

I have found it pretty useful. You can find it here at NetMinistries.org.

God Bless,

Dave

Two weeks with Paul and his teachings

The Apostle Paul was one of the key people in the early church. After his conversion from Judaism on the road to Damascus his life changed dramatically. He became one of the churches greatest missionaries.

A while ago I found a two week Bible reading on Paul and his teachings. Today I thought I would share it…

Two weeks on the life and teachings of the Apostle Paul

Day 1 – Acts 9:1-43 – The conversion of Saul
Day 2 – Acts 16:1-40 – Paul’s Macedonian call and a jailbreak
Day 3 – Acts 17:1-34 – Scenes from Paul’s missionary journey
Day 4 – Acts 26:1-32 – Paul tells his life story to a king
Day 5 – Acts 27:1-44 – Shipwreck on the way to Rome
Day 6 – Acts 28:1-31 – Paul’s arrival in Rome
Day 7 – Romans 3:1-31 – Paul’s theology in a nutshell
Day 8 – Romans 7:1-25 – The struggle with sin
Day 9 – Romans 8:1-39 – Life in the Spirit
Day 10 – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – Paul’s description of love
Day 11 – 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 – Thoughts of the afterlife
Day 12 – Galatians 5:1-26 – Freedom in Christ
Day 13 – Ephesians 3:1-21 – Paul’s summary of his mission
Day 14 – Philippians 2:1-30 – Imitating Christ

Blessings for obedience

One chapter of the Bible that has really been rolling around in my Spirit over the last few months is that of Deuteronomy 28. It has the titles “Blessings for obedience” and “Curses for disobedience”.

This chapter is spoken to the people not long before they move into the promised land. God is giving them some instructions about how He expects them to live in response to His loving actions towards them.

The first section starts in verses 1-14 with “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God”.

God then lists many blessings that will follow obedience. These include blessings on their families, land, crops, food supplies, herds and victory against enemies that rise up against them. He even says He will establish them as a holy people above the other nations on earth.

Then the passage turns to the curses for disobedience. Verse 15 starts a section that is the mirror of the previous verses. It says, “However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you”.

God gives the people, His people, a choice. Obedience with blessings or disobedience with the associated curses.

Ultimately, God wanted the people to live under the umbrella of His love and care. He set some rules in place that He expected them to live by in response to His great love and blessings. He placed the ball in the court of the people to follow. The choice was theirs.

I find this passage interesting. It really speaks to me about following God commands and decrees and living under the umbrella of His love and blessing.

Although this was written to the people thousands of years ago in a different circumstance, and as Christians we are found in Christ, I still believe we can draw much from it.

God wants us to put off the world and all of its alluring attractions that would draw us away from Him. He wants us to love Him wholeheartedly and follow Him completely. He wants us to live our lives by His eternal principals that are for our good.

When we do this we respond in the right way to all He has done for us in Christ Jesus and we remain firmly under the umbrella of His amazing love and blessings.

How are you going with your walk with God today? If you are off track I would encourage you to take a few moments and come back to Him today.

God Bless,
Dave

Finding 30 and growing in your faith

One of the things I love to do is keep fit. Currently I ride three days per week for 30 minutes and I do a full body weight routine on the other three days. On Sunday I rest.

I have found this routine works really well for me. It gives me variety in my fitness training and keeps me fit and toned. It also  keeps my heart strong and my joints healthy and strong too.

As I was thinking about this routine today, I thought that it would be good to alternate what we do as Christians in our devotion times.

On three days per week we could pray for 30 minutes (Monday, Wednesday & Friday) and on three days per week (Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday) we could read the Bible for 30 minutes. On Sunday we could go to church.

Like I find with my fitness training it would give us variety in our devotion times. It would also help us to keep spiritually fit and strong too!

God Bless,

Dave

Obedience when it doesn’t make sense 2

Earlier in the year I did a post titled, “Obedience when it doesn’t make sense“. It touched on doing what God says when you don’t really understand why. It used Peter’s example from Luke 5:4-7.

As I have reflected more on this idea I thought of some other occasions in the Bible where people followed when not knowing the full story or the outcome of their obedience. Here are a few more examples…

1. Abraham and Isaac – Imagine how Abraham felt when God asked him to sacrifice his son who was a child of promise. Time showed the Lord provided a ram instead (Genesis 22:1-14)

2. The walls of Jericho – God asked the people to march around the city once a day for six days and then all shout. That is not the usual way to storm a city, but the walls fell down! (Joshua 6:1-20)

3. Noah and the Ark – God asked Noah to build an ark to save him, his family and the animals from the flooding rains. Up until that time rain had never fallen from the sky. Noah build the ark and it saved them all from the flooding rains (Genesis 6:1-22)

4. Moses before Pharaoh – Imagine how Moses felt when God asked him to go to the most powerful ruler on earth and demand he lets God’s people go. History shows it worked out ok! (Exodus 5:1-5)

5. Gideon’s army of 300 – Imagine how Gideon felt when God told him to reduce his army to 300 men to fight and defeat a huge Midianite army. Again we see God knew what He was doing and 300 men was enough (Judges 7:2-8)

As we can see from all of these occasions – obedience to God’s requests makes sense. God’s knows the end from the beginning and even though He doesn’t let us know all the details, it makes sense to follow Him, even when it doesn’t make sense to us.

Trust God, be obedient and follow His promptings today.

God Bless,

Dave