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Shrewd Christian: contradiction in terms?

Posted by: David Carroll

Matthew 10:16 (NKJV)

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

When most people think of a genuine Christian, they usually have the idea of a weak-minded person. And this comes from biblical commands that describe how we are to be with words such as humble, meekness, and humility. We are told to turn the other cheek. People think that having faith like a little child implies that we are to leave our minds at the door when we enter the church.

Acts 19:8 (NKJV)

And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

Christianity is not a mindless religion. It is supremely logical and intellectually satisfying but at the same time God's ways are mysterious because His ways are higher than our ways.

Being wise, shrewd, persuasive, bold and intellectual are not mutually exclusive with being meek and humble and having faith like a little child. No, if you find someone who has all those traits, you will find someone whom you will really love, respect and want to be around. In fact, it sounds a lot like Jesus to me! I pray that others will see Jesus in me.

Trust me? No, Trust HIM

Posted by: David Carroll

John 4:42 (NKJV)

Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."

The woman at the well had an encounter with Jesus Christ and became a believer. She was so excited that she went to tell others about Him and they believed too.

When I tell others about Jesus, my goal is not for them to be impressed with me or to trust me. Eventually I will disappoint them and let them down. My goal is for them to be impressed with Jesus Christ and to trust Him. He will never disappoint and He is always trustworthy.

Don't just tell people about Jesus, introduce them to Jesus.

Impressed with miracles?

Posted by: David Carroll

Matthew 9:5-8 (NKJV)

For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins" --then He said to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." And he arose and departed to his house.

Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.

At first you see the response of these people who witnessed a miracle Jesus had performed and you think that they had the right response. After all, they glorified God. But look closer: "God, who had given such power to men." They did not realize that Jesus himself was God.

People always say: "Just show me a miracle and I will believe." Miracles might make us believe in a God, but that's easy, it is what we think about Jesus that counts.

John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

What are you going to wear today?

Posted by: David Carroll

Ephesians 4:24 (NKJV)

... put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Every morning you have a choice to make when you get dressed, this shirt or that shirt. If you are born again, you have two natures within you. You have to make a conscious choice at every juncture in your life. What will I put on, the old nature or the new nature.

The most wonderful thing is that your new nature is truly righteous and holy! Sounds like an easy choice to me.

Comfortable with Christianity?

Posted by: David Carroll

Matthew 8:19-20 (NKJV)

Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Jesus never promised us that as His followers we would benefit materially. We love the comfort of our homes and our things. However, when I say I am a follower of Jesus wherever He leads, I must realize that Jesus never owned a home. His comfort was to do the will of the Father.

John 15:11 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

What about the people who have never heard?

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 9:10 (NKJV)

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord , have not forsaken those who seek You.

I was thinking about this verse this morning and I thought about the famous question asked above. Paul in Romans 1:20 says that God's creation clearly testifies of a Creator showing us his power and attributes. So we know there is a God but how would someone who had never heard the Gospel ever get saved? This verse in Psalm 9:10 tells that those who seek Him will never be forsaken. Our problem is not how can we know God but rather that we do not act upon what is already known about Him!

Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

How to Know God

Posted by: David Carroll

I was reading in Proverbs 2:1-7 and noticed another place where we are given a reason for memorizing scripture. Of course the verse we use most often is Psalms 66:17 which says "I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You." What a great reason! But in Proverbs 2, there is what I think is an evern more marvelous reason.

Proverbs two basically begins with a number of if's and then a statement of promise. I'll paraphrase: If you believe God's word, memorize it, beg God for insight to it, highly value it, then (and here is the wonderful part) you will understand how to approach God and you will come to know Him!

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

Away from Me Satan

Posted by: David Carroll

When I think about the temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4 after he had gone in to the wilderness for forty days of fasting and prayer I focus on the fact that Jesus was just as human as you or me. Jesus was not a super-human. This is the mystery of his incarnation that he was both fully God and fully man. In the wilderness he was being tested a fully man. These tempatations Satan had for Him like turning a stone into bread are telling. Certainly Jesus was justs as famished as you or I would be but as the God-Man don't you think Jesus could have pulled off the same miracle? The test was whether Jesus would pull rank in his unglorified state. Remember when Jesus told Peter while he was being taken by the roman soldiers to be tried.

Matthew 26:53 (NKJV)

Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?

Notice that to wield the power he had, it had to come from praying to the Father. Jesus had immense power at his instant disposal but because he had condesended himself to become a full human being. He was in the same boat we are, dependent upon God for our power through prayer.

The last temptation is particulary interesting in how it ends. They all end with Jesus quoting some scripture from Deut 6-8.

Matthew 4:8-11 (NKJV)

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

First of all, the utter gall of Satan to ask Jesus to bow down and worship him just leaves me dumbfounded. But Jesus answers so appropriately, first he dismisses Satan and then quotes the Scripture about worshiping and serving the Lord God only. At first I can't help but think Satan is absurdly stupid to ask Jesus to worship him. But think I think of the offer Satan is making in exchange. Basically Satan is offfering Jesus the Kingdom without the Cross. Jesus was willing to go to the cross but even He asked God if there be any other way to let this cup pass from him.

Remember Satan is the ruler of "this world" because Adam gave it over to him after God had originally given it to Adam. God is doing everything legally and properly in this war against sin and Satan. And Jesus is demonstratking perfect righteousness as kinsman of ours, fully human, unclothed of all his splendor and majesty. It is only in this way, he can offer is own earned righteousness as a human to us because he did not have to pay the penalty of his own sin because there was no sin found in him.

The Protoevangelium (First Gospel)

Posted by: David Carroll

You know the story of how the serpent tempted Eve to eat the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. Adam was there and ate too and this is what is known as the fall of man. A lesser known fact of the story is the prophesy of a hatred (enmity) between two parties.

Genesis 3:15 (NKJV)

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.

Of course this is God pronouncing judgment and prophesying the results of this great hatred and hostility which would affect all of history. Who is the woman? Is it Eve? Can’t be she has no off spring (seed) yet. Furthermore, to get technical, no woman has seed, rather she has eggs. However prophetically speaking could this not be talking about a virgin birth, and since there is no human father, the woman must in essence have her own seed? So conclude that this is the virgin mother of Christ being prophesied here. Who is her seed? Christ.

So now the hostility expands to the ultimate battle between Christ and Satan. for all of Satan’s efforts, he only succeeds in wounding Christ by playing a God appointed role in Jesus own death and resurrection. Whatever was bruised about Jesus’ heel, it was a temporary infliction caused by dealing a death blow to Satan’s head.

This chapter three contains another indirect reference to the gospel. After pronouncing the penalties Adam and Eve and all of their descendents would have to pay (thorns and thistles from ground, and pain in childbirth). God made clothing of animal skins to cover them.

Genesis 3:21 (NKJV)

Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

Where did God get these skins? They had to come from a sacrificed animal which would no doubt have produced much blood. Can you see the picture of God’s mercy in providing a covering purchased with the shedding of blood?

A very good place to start

Posted by: David Carroll

Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

One of the philosophical arguments for the existence of God is call The Cosmological Argument which basically states that every thing that begins to exist must have a had a cause outside of itself. I love this verse because it so matter of factly ignores any requirement to defend the existance of God. while so powerfully and in such understated fashion reminds us of the absolute requirement that their had to be a first cause or a first mover for anything at all to exist.

Note the elements of time (beginning), space (heavens), and matter (earth), and energy (created). Simple thought starts out with simple ideas that matter itself was created, and that's no small feat. But notice that time and space are also created things. What was it like before time? What does it mean to not have space? That's God's environment, eternity. And that is why the Bible describes God as a spiritual being. The spirit is the other realm that has no dependence on our physical realm. That is also why Jesus says:

John 5:37 (NKJV)

And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.

Colossians 1:15-16 (NKJV)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

So here is the most amazing thing of all Jesus is the agent of creation and not did he only create time, space, energy and matter. But he created all the other dominions visible and invisible. This graceful and merciful savior we server is also the Almighty God to whom nothing is impossible.