Category Archives: Passages of the Bible
Reflection – Exodus 34
(Suggested reading – Exodus 34)
As Moses was called to be ready in the morning, to go up the mountain to meet with God, I’ve always seen this as God’s invitation to wake up and “come up” to spend time with Him. Back then God wrote on the tablets of stone, today He writes on the tablets of our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3).
Moses was allowed to see the afterglow of God Who revealed Himself with a description of mercy, grace, and long-suffering with toward us and our sins and at the same time, God is revealed as holy and just, by no means clearing the guilty. This Biblical balance of the revelation of God in His own words is critical to remember. God is willing to forgive our sins, but can only do so in Christ.
The LORD renewed His covenant with Israel and was about to do marvels unparalleled. The Canaanites would be defeated and expelled from the land. Israel was not to make any covenants with them, just as we are not to do so with the world.
This section reminds me that commandments need to be repeated; some are more personal to me, for some reason God’s commandment not to appear before Him empty-handed has always struck a chord within (give to God what belongs to God). And how important it is for the men to gather (Exodus 34:23).
Moses fasted supernaturally for 40 days and 40 nights…can you imagine the fellowship he experienced with God?
In reference to the shining face of Moses there’s a deeper lesson in all this. Moses’ face glowed as he spent time with God intimately, and personally. We stand in awe of such an experience don’t we? And yet we who are under the New Covenant have even more than Moses had! Moses was compelled to wear a veil so that the people would not see the fading glory, but we in Christ can not only meet with God face to face, but we can have a glory that never fades as we are transformed into the image of Jesus.
Reflection – Matthew 28
(Suggested reading – Matthew 28)
I’ve always admired the ladies for loving our Lord the way they did, willing to anoint His body early that Sunday morning. God blessed them for the heart they had, and it came to pass, they were the first witnesses to the resurrection of Christ! Initially it was surreal, it was a mixture of fear and great joy. Can you imagine what was going through their minds?
The instruction from the angel was to “go and tell”; the instruction from Jesus, was to “go and tell”…I have a hunch the instruction for us is the same.
When the ladies saw the Lord, they worshipped Him (Mathew 28:9)…it’s something they had been doing all along.
With the most wonderful truth in the history of the world about to stare them square in the face, the religious leaders chose to deny it, and in that foolishness denied life. They bribed the soldiers and appeased the governor. It’s tragic what pride, power, and money can buy.
When the eleven disciples saw Jesus, they also worshipped Him (yes He is God), but some doubted…just keeping it real. Jesus dealt with the doubts of Thomas in John 20:24-29.
How beautiful the Great Commission is! Jesus, the One with ALL authority is with us wherever we go, and that we must do – He commands us to GO, preach the Gospel and make disciples of ALL nations. Help us Lord, to do just that.
Reflection – Exodus 33
(Suggested reading – Exodus 33)
Initially the LORD would not have gone with the people in His special presence, this is what they deserved, but Moses pleaded with the LORD on their behalf.
Moses would meet with the LORD in the Tabernacle of Meeting outside the camp, and those who sought the LORD joined him (in one sense). It’s here we read those amazing words that Moses spoke to God, “Face to face.” What a privilege! And then to think that in the New Covenant all Christians can meet with God in an even more intimate way (2 Corinthians 3:12-18).
As Moses pleaded with God for His special presence, God graciously answered in the affirmative and Moses would be blessed to see the “afterglow” of God. Wow!
Reflection – Exodus 30
(Suggested reading Exodus 30)
The Altar of Incense symbolized prayer (see Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3-4). Can you visualize the prayers rising as incense before the Lord? Here we read of special prayers every morning and twilight, as well as perpetual prayers going on constantly. I couldn’t help but think of 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
O Lord, please grant me victory in my prayer life.
As the people are preparing to construct and maintain the tabernacle a tax of “Ransom Money” is established. Here it is half a shekel of silver for every man 20 years and above. In Jesus’ day it would be one-third of a shekel.
O Lord, please help me to give my part towards Your “house” and “work.”
The Bronze Laver provided the place and water for the priests to wash their hands and feet before entering in to serve the Lord. This brings to mind (John 13:5-10 and Ephesians 5:26).
O Lord, please create in me a clean heart. Please forgive me, wash me, allow me to serve You with clean hands and clean feet.
The Holy Anointing Oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. This anointing must be pure as prescribed in God’s Word and not manufactured by men.
O Lord, please anoint me, anoint us with the personal presence and power of Your Holy Spirit.
The Incense (prayer) must be pure as well, may it be Spirit led and from the heart. Twice in this chapter we read those words in the NKJV, “Where I will meet with you.” How beautiful is that? But it makes sense doesn’t it, for 141 times we read of the “Tabernacle of Meeting.”
The Importance of Good Soil
A quick word from my devotional reading this morning in Matthew 13:1-9, 18-22. This is the Parable of the Sower, the Seed, and the Soils.
A Parable is in one sense, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. The people were not able to understand the straightforward teaching of Jesus because they were not saved and they were not open, so Jesus tried even harder to reach them with everyday things they might more easily understand.
In the Parable, the Sower is the same (Jesus). The Seed is the same (God’s Word). The only variable in the story is the Soil. The four places the seed landed is:
- The wayside
- The shallow stony ground
- Among weeds and thorns
- On good ground
To summarize briefly, these represent the different hearts God’s Word lands on. Some people have hearts that are not hungry or open at all, so the Seed doesn’t penetrate, they don’t understand, and the enemy comes and takes the Seed away. What a tragedy! Other are more open but shallow, and they get excited about the Lord and His Word when all is well, but the moment trials hit, they fade away because their faith has no depth. The third example is intriguing – it might even describe some Christians, who are saved, but have seasons of virtually no fruit – and why is that? Because their hearts are crowded and not exclusively devoted to Christ. We read in:
Matthew 13:22, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”
But the fourth heart is the heart that I pray for (Psalm 51:10; Proverbs 4:23). It’s the heart that’s open. It’s good ground and soft soil. I pray this would be us friend. Open up that Bible with an open heart. Sit in that study eager to hear…always be sensitive – for the Spirit of God will take the Word of God and conform us into the image of God. God will do miracles in your life if you take this Seed seriously!
Love you, praying you have a blessed day and abundant life!
A Contemplation of Crowns
Revelation 19:16 (NKJV) “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Some refer to them as England, others as Great Britain, but the name most appropriate for today is the United Kingdom – all the above referring to a single nation, who is mourning the passing away of their dearly beloved, Queen Elizabeth. She was queen regnant of 32 different sovereign states during her life, and served as monarch of 15 of them at the time of her death. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days is the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history.
I haven’t done extensive research, but I’m hearing through the gracevine that she had faith in Christ. Queen Elizabeth is quoted as saying, “For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.”
Franklin Graham posted the following on his IG account, “I’m especially grateful for the Queen’s friendship with my father Billy Graham. He cherished their friendship that was built on a shared love for Jesus Christ and belief in God’s Word. My father had the privilege of meeting with the Queen more than a dozen times, and she was a gracious host, inviting my parents to visit Buckingham Palace on several occasions. My father said he found Queen Elizabeth “to be a woman of rare modesty and character,” and made a pledge to pray for her and her family every day. He also appreciated how she often talked about Jesus Christ during her public addresses—there was never any question about where she placed her faith. Queen Elizabeth once said, “I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.”
We mourn the Queen’s passing, but find solace in the comforting truth that because of her faith in Jesus Christ, she is home in heaven forever.
All this leads to our passage for today.
Revelation 19:16 (NKJV) “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
England, a.k.a Great Britain, a.k.a. the United Kingdom has a new monarch, King Charles III. When I heard about it, it seemed almost surreal to me. Wow! A new king! It made me think how one day, and it could be very, very soon, at the passing of this era, the world will crown a new King, the King of kings, Jesus Christ. This will be the true and final “United Kingdom.” Just as the transition of power was inevitable, it was expected (Queen Elizabeth was 96 years old when she passed), so too this is inevitable, and the expectation mounts each and every day.
Are you ready for the coming of Christ? You can only be ready if you’ve placed your faith in Him and are abiding in Him.
Maybe this is a sign for us to see, a not so subtle reminder…the King is coming.
Looking forward to His return,
Tragedy or Triumph?
Philippians 1:21–23 (NKJV)
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.”
You may have heard the news:
The close-knit Colorado family of Calvary Chapel fellowships is mourning the deaths of Scott Cox and his wife Nancy. Scott served as Senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Windsor, Colorado. The couple died following a tragic auto accident on Monday, July 4, 2022. Scott and his wife Nancy started the church back in 2006. They are survived by their children Alex and Charlie. Please pray for their sons, their extended family, and the church, as they mourn this tragic loss.
Our hearts our broken, shattered…and yet I wonder, can we accurately refer to this as a tragedy?
In our passage for today, Paul informs us of that fact for the Christian – to die is “gain.” He even said he had that deep desire to depart and be with Christ, which is FAR BETTER. Death for us is a departure to glory, to heaven, where we as believers will live forever and ever in the very presence of God (John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:1-7).
But…if you’re like me, or even Paul the Apostle, we’re torn between the two, aren’t we? We long to live long lives on earth, to love our family, to serve the people. If you’re faithful, like Paul the Apostle, or Scott and Nancy Cox it would mean fruit from your labor. It’s a tough choice Paul said.
Thank God the choice is not ours, it’s His…and the truth is, Father knows best. God knows what’s best for everyone involved. May that comfort our hearts.
As I ponder the passing of Scott and Nancy, I’m also reminded of the fact that any of us can die suddenly. We all have an appointment with death (Hebrews 9:27), a race to run and finish one day (2 Timothy 4:7). Are we ready? As Christians we are, and we should not be afraid. Christians live in the invincible principal meaning we can’t die unless God allows it, and when He does, we’re home in heaven.
The challenge is for those we leave behind. Please pray for the family and the church.
It’s good to weep…and it’s good to worship. Praise God for the saved lives of two people who understood what Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21a, “For to me, to live is Christ.”
May we all have that simple, saving summary of life.
Your brother in Christ,
Learning from an Ant
Proverbs 6:6–8 (NKJV) “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”
What a shame that we have been degraded to the point of having to be taught Bible truths by bugs! Imagine that…instructed by insects – but it is helpful – and I think at times, necessary for some.
1. Notice the ant’s inner Motivation (v. 7)
Having no captain, overseer, or ruler, meaning there’s no one pushing them, no one watching them, and yet they continue to work productively. No one has to tell them, “Ok, chop, chop, break’s over, get back to work.” No, the ant has a heart to work, honestly, and productively, they need no external motivation.
Christians should be the hardest and most faithful workers of all because we’re aware of the fact that ultimately, we work for Jesus.
Ephesians 6:5–6 (NLT) “Workers, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.”
2. Notice the ant’s thoughtful Preparation (v. 8)
They’re “go-getters,” and they’re “gatherers” As go-getters they don’t sit back with a sense of entitlement saying mom, dad, family, friends, society, and government owes it to me. No, they go out and get it, they labor…they work for it.
We’re to do the same – and on the flip side, we should not support the lazy. Don’t misunderstand me, I know the Bible encourages that we give generously to the poor, but not to freeloaders interested only in handouts. We read in:
2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
Warren Wiersbe said, “The biggest thieves of all are the lazy people who could work but won’t, the people who consume what others produce but produce nothing for others to use. The “sluggard” and the “slothful man” are mentioned at least seventeen times in Proverbs, and nothing good is said about them. We need to recognize the fact that work is not a curse. God gave Adam work to do in the Garden, even before sin entered the scene.”
I like what one person said, “Work is the meat of life, and pleasure is the desert.”
Another said, “It’s better to wear out than rust out, so beware of handouts.”
When there’s a genuine need – praise God that so many are sensitive to the Spirit and they give to the helpless, but if a man needs to learn to walk and work, we musn’t get in the way…we might cripple him for life.
Ants are “go-getters” and they’re “gatherers” (savers). Notice again what we read in:
Proverbs 6:8, “Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”
I realize this isn’t always possible for all of us, but I know of one young man who prior to the pandemic had close to 6 months of wages in his savings account. When the virus hit, and his industry was hit, he was furloughed and lost his income, but he was okay financially until he found another job, because he was a go-getter and a gatherer, a saver…like the ant.
God help us to be hard workers, go-getters, and do all that we can to save up for a rainy day. May we learn from the revelation of creation…even an ant.
Love you! Your brother in Christ,
The Prideful Truth
Proverbs 29:23 (NKJV) “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
You’ve may have heard that story about a minister, a Boy Scout, and a computer expert who were the only passengers on a small plane. The pilot came back to the cabin and said that the plane was going down but there were only three parachutes and four people. The pilot then said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So, he took one and jumped.
The computer whiz said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I am the smartest man in the world and everyone needs me.” So, he took one and jumped.
The minister turned to the Boy Scout and with a sad but sure smile said, “You’re young and I’ve had a blessed life, by God’s grace I know I’m saved, so you take the remaining parachute, and I’ll go down with the plane.”
The Boy Scout said, “That won’t be necessary, sir, the smartest man in the world just picked up my backpack and jumped out!”
A satirical story to illustrate the truth of today’s Proverb, “A man’s pride will bring him low (very low), but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
We all have it, and it challenges us every day…pride resides within us and fights to take over. The dictionary defines it as, “A high view of oneself; a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
The world is proud of their pride, but Christians shouldn’t be. Pride is the root of all sin.
When I think of humility I think of honesty. I know who I am apart from Christ, a weak, wretched, wicked man. I don’t deserve anything good, and I’m not entitled. The truth is, I am NOTHING and can do NOTHING without HIM (John 15:5), but God has been gracious to me.
May we swallow the pride and walk in humility. We’ll be blessed by the results.
Your brother in Christ,