“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
Whether you’re a follower of Christ or not, odds have it that you don’t personally believe that you have a heart of stone. Yes there may be exceptions out there, but most of us think we have decent hearts on the inside.
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
Try washing the dishes in your sink without water, or washing the clothes in your laundry machine without water, or taking a bath without water. Pretty difficult and ineffective right?
We can’t expect those things to be thoroughly cleaned without immersing them in water, and we likewise can’t expect to live a sanctified life (set apart for use by God, cleansed, made holy) without immersing ourselves in His Word. So why do so many Christians think they can? (more…)
“But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” (John 12:4-6)
Several years ago when my family and I still lived in the SF Bay Area, we attended a large church that puts on an annual Easter production for the community. One year I played the role of Judas Iscariot, who is known as the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. It was challenging for me to play that role, for as a born-again Christian, I had to put myself in the complete mindset of the one who betrayed the Lord.
While it was difficult to put myself in Judas Iscariot’s shoes, the life of Judas is a clear demonstration of those who claim to believe in and follow Jesus, but whose thoughts and actions reflect anything but. And I had been there before. (more…)
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” (John 8:31-32)
Belief in Jesus Christ is not enough. Belief that He existed, belief that He is God, and even belief that He died on the cross and rose again– simply believing that any of those things happened and are true does not set you free from sin, nor will it save you from being eternally separated from God. Hell is real, but so is His gift of salvation. (more…)
So an interesting thing happened recently. For my men’s group reading, we’re now back in the book of Matthew after completing the Old Testament. As I was chatting with a friend from my group via Email, I told him, “I’m excited to get into the New Testament again and study Jesus’ life even closer!” Okay, I know that doesn’t sound all that interesting. But it is and let me tell you why… I’ve honestly never been THIS excited to read the Bible before! (more…)