Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/05/25/thankful-christians-psalm-100-5/
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (ESV) We take another little break from the ATBOB series to think about something I feel is important for us to discuss. The other evening, I caught an episode of…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2018/05/24/one-way/
If God is sovereign, then what is the purpose of prayer? Why do we pray at all?
Today I share an article I wrote a few years ago, trying to address this very subject.
A couple of years ago, I was challenged about my view of God’s Sovereignty. I once believe that He did not control all things, but rather had delegated some control (for want of a better term) to humankind. Yet, a careful look at the Bible made me question this view, and ultimately dismiss it. God…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/07/14/prayer-and-sovereignty/
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his;[a] we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/05/20/serving-christians-psalm-100-2/
Shout for joy to Yahweh, all you lands!2 Serve Yahweh with gladness. Come before his presence with singing.3 Know that Yahweh, he is God. It is he who has made us, and we are his. We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/05/19/shouting-christians-psalm-100-1/
Do you believe in God? It’s a straightforward question I suppose, but often with a complex answer. Some might respond with: Which God do you mean?I believe in a Higher Power, if that counts?There must be something, right? How might you reply to the same question? If you are reading this blog, then the chances…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/01/06/even-the-demons-believe/
Do you think about what you are thinking about? what I mean is, do you spend any time analysing your thought life?
Generally speaking, we humans spent a great deal of time thinking! Not all of that is productive however.
We can think about negative things, or we can think about positive things. We can imagine what can go wrong, or we can spend time developing our hopes and dreams.
Today’s scripture encourages us to think about pure, good and lovely things.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV
Don’t waste your mental energy thinking about things that will not benefit you. Think about good things, and if nothing else, you will feel much happier!
How will you spend your thinking time today? Enjoy your weekend!
I heard someone talking about John 3:16 the other day, and wanted to share a few brief points from it. These are not theological in nature, but just some interesting quirks specifically to the English NIV translation… it’s more interesting than I’ve just made it sound!
John 3:16 is arguably one of the most well known verses in the Bible, and the New International Version renders it as follows:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV #Bible #Jesus #Gospel #Christianity
Did you know this is the Gospel in one verse? It sets out the fact that God was not content to let the world be destroyed as a consequence of sin, but instead gave His Only Son to save it.
If you write the verse out acrostically, you can read it as:
God so loved the world, that He gave His
One and only
Son, that whoever believes in Him will not
Perish, but have
It’s a bit clunky perhaps, but a nice little nugget none the less!
You can also break this verse into three parts.
For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only
That whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life
Section 1 is all about God and section 3 is all about us. What bridges the gap between us and God is section 2 – namely, Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Sin has separated us from God. We were born as sinners, and our thoughts, words and actions confirmed this. Our sin cannot co-exist with God’s holiness. God is on one side of the divide and we are on the other. We cannot hope to cross the gap as will never be able to meet His perfect standards. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ however, who gave us the precious gift of His very own Son to live and die for us. He paid the penalty for our sin once and for all, and by accepting this gift, we can go free and have complete access to God. We are made holiness because of Christ’s holiness.
If you know the Lord Jesus, then praise God this weekend for that fact. If you do not, and you yearn for your sin to be washed away, then waste no time and ask God to forgive you and accept His Son into your life. For more information about how to do that, do get in touch with me and I’d be glad to help you.
After a series of posts on Proverbs 6, we conclude the chapter today.
This final section warns us about an important issue, and one which appears more than once in Proverbs – namely, adultery. Do not skip this section though, believing it to be irrelevant to you, as alongside the dangers of adultery, there are also other warnings and wisdom laced in you do not want to miss.
For the commandment is a lamp,
and the law is light.
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,
24 to keep you from the immoral woman,
from the flattery of the wayward wife’s tongue.
25 Don’t lust after her beauty in your heart,
neither let her captivate you with her eyelids.
26 For a prostitute reduces you to a piece of bread.
The adulteress hunts for your precious life.
Proverbs 6:23-26 WEB
I included verse 23 here as it is a joint thought with verse 24. We see, as discussed before, that the Law of the Lord is a lamp to us, showing us the way we ought to go. We discussed this last time in the general sense, but here verse 23b specifically links the reproofs which instruction brings to avoiding the immoral woman. Of course, God’s wisdom and teaching go far beyond this one issue, but it is a key theme given to us. For background here, Proverbs was probably written (at least in part) as a sort of study guide for a group of young men being taught by an elder. References to “immoral women” for example, are not representative of women as a whole but instead indicate the audience to which it is directed. What I mean is, a group of young men are likely to fall prey to such a woman if not careful. Immoral men are just as dangerous and wicked, but the warning here is against temptation of a sexual nature, and no comment on women in general.
Verse 24 warns of the flattery of her tongue, that is a warning against being taken in by her enticing words. Verse 25 warns against the beauty of such women, and the fluttering of eyelids. Young men, typically but not always, are particularly prone to temptation connected to the physical beauty of women so this is an apparent risk. Whether young or old, male or female, we must guard against such physical temptation. It can lead us down paths we do not wish to go, and have severe consequences for our lives and families.
Verse 26 takes the perspective of such an “immoral woman.” She sees her prey – these young men – as nothing but a means to gaining bread. She is hungry, has little means of earning and so relies on her beauty and charm to entice men into bed for financial gain.
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap,
and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals,
and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife.
Whoever touches her will not be unpunished.
30 Men don’t despise a thief
if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry;
31 but if he is found, he shall restore seven times.
He shall give all the wealth of his house.
32 He who commits adultery with a woman is void of understanding.
He who does it destroys his own soul.
33 He will get wounds and dishonor.
His reproach will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy arouses the fury of the husband.
He won’t spare in the day of vengeance.
35 He won’t regard any ransom,
neither will he rest content, though you give many gifts.
Proverbs 6:27-35 WEB
These final verses in the chapter form a cohesive argument.
Verses 28 and 29 essentially warn us of a no doubt familiar turn of phrase – those who play with fire will get burned. The writer of Proverbs asks basically the same question. Can you scoop fire into your lap without it burning you? Can you walk on scorching coals and not burn your feet? No! Of course not! And so, we cannot indulge in adultery without reaping the dire consequences of it.
The point is driven home in verse 29. If you have an affair with your neighbour’s wife, you will find yourself in extremely hot water!
I think verses 30-31 are then set in contrast to the remainder of the chapter. Dropping the subject of adultery for a moment, we turn to theft. It points out that we might have a modicum of understanding for a hungry thief stealing a loaf of bread to stave off starvation, but how little compassion we have on adulterers. The text shows us that even in a situation where we understand the thief’s reasons for stealing, they are still required to pay it back in accordance with the law. There may be “good” reasons to break God’s laws of so we think at times, justifying our actions with excuses or deflection. Yet, to break the law is to break the law and the consequences are the same.
Theft in a situation of hunger is one thing, but having an affair with another man’s wife is quite another. Verse 32 essentially says you are stupid if you do it! You cannot be clearer than that! It will result in wounds and dishonour; reproaches that will never be taken away.
The jealousy of a husband is a terrible thing, verse 34 warns. Such a wronged man is full of fury, seeking vengeance and it may very well cost you your life! Verse 35 tells us that you won’t be able to buy this vengeful man off. He will not accept any ransom, nor can you turn him away with many gifts. If you dare to seduce his wife, you will reap the consequences. I wonder how many men, young or old, have perished at the hands of a jealous husband? We say beware a woman scorned, but no less so a man either.
If you find yourself battling temptation right now, then I urge you to run! Keep well away from its source, and get on your knees and pray that God will help you do what is right. Do not play with fire, and do not indulge your fleshy desires. Be it someone at work, a neighbour or even a digital someone in the form of pornography – stay well away and fix your thoughts on your own spouse, family or better still, on God and His ways.
On a recent blog post, a dear reader commented and use the phrase “sinfulness of sin “.￼
That reminded me of this post I wrote a few years ago. So I thought I would share it with you today! it considers a verse from Psalm 32, and there is a link to an audio message I gave on that same psalm which you can listen to.￼￼
Hope you enjoy, and I welcome your comments as ever! Thank you for reading.￼
I acknowledged my sin to thee, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.Psalm 32:5 (WEB) The sinfulness of my sin… captivating title right? And I know what you are thinking – two blog posts in two…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/03/18/the-sinfulness-of-my-sin/
At long last, we move on to Acts 5. This chapter opens with a rather disturbing set of events, and I want to try to shed some light on what is happening here. This particular passage is a difficult one, and I admit to having struggled with it for many years. I will explain why,…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/06/16/a-protective-father/
Bringing glory to God is, in essence, why we are here on this Earth. I suppose there are many ways in which we can glorify the Lord. In fact, I would be keen to hear your thoughts on that, so do comments below. What does it mean to you to “glorify the Lord?” How do you do it day by day?
We are on the earth to glorify God. How do you do that? #Bible #Jesus #Christianity
Looking to the Scripture, I turn to a specific example from Joshua to help us see one way to do this. It may not, as I have found, be immediately intuitive as to how this account fits in with “glorifying the Lord,” but let’s see what we can learn.
The actual words I want to look at appear in Joshua 7, but before I share them, we need to remind ourselves of what happened in Joshua 6. This is the account of how the Israelites, under Joshua’s lead, took the city of Jericho. God instructs the people not to just attack, but instead offers them a rather unorthodox battle plan. For seven days, they are to march around the city walls. Imagine trying to sell that to your generals! On the seventh day, they are to march around not once, but seven times and once complete they are to shout. As they do this, the wall of the city will fall and they can rush in upon the enemy.
Strange as it may sound, this is precisely what happens. They march, they blow trumpets, and then they shout. The walls fall and the enemy is destroyed.
God gave specific instructions through Joshua about the spoils of the attack. They were not to take anything that was devoted to destruction.
On the seventh day, they rose early at the dawning of the day, and marched around the city in the same way seven times. On this day only they marched around the city seven times. 16 At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for Yahweh has given you the city! 17 The city shall be devoted, even it and all that is in it, to Yahweh. Only Rahab the prostitute shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. 18 But as for you, only keep yourselves from what is devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted it, you take of the devoted thing; so you would make the camp of Israel accursed and trouble it. 19 But all the silver, gold, and vessels of bronze and iron are holy to Yahweh. They shall come into Yahweh’s treasury.”
Joshua 6:15-19 WEB
This is not unclear. There is no room for misunderstanding or negotiation. Take nothing for yourselves. If you do, you will bring a curse and trouble upon the camp of Israel.
Did they all obey this instruction? You can probably guess, but if not, Joshua 7 begins:
But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted things; for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. Therefore Yahweh’s anger burned against the children of Israel.
Joshua 7:1 WEB
So we see that a man named Achan took some of the spoil for himself, and thus broke God’s command. I recently heard John MacArthur say that you can remember this because Achan was “aching” to take something!
What happens next is that the Israelites go up to spy on the people of Ai, and the spies say (in my own words) “Don’t worry about it, just send up a few thousand men as we won’t need the full army to take the few people of Ai!”
They lose. Around 36 Israelites are slain, and the people of Ai chase the army. The result is tremendous fear among the men of Israel, so much so that the Bible describes their hearts melting and turning like water (see Joshua 7:5). So shocked are they at this loss, that they cry out to God in confusion, unable to fathom how God’s people were defeated. God reveals that there is sin among them and that they must root out the cause.
Joshua assembles the people, and then begins to whittle down the group by tribe, family and household. Achan and his family are brought forwards.
Joshua said to Achan, “My son, please give glory to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and make confession to him. Tell me now what you have done! Don’t hide it from me!”
Joshua 7:19 WEB
Achan is caught. Notice Joshua’s words here “Glorify the Lord.” What does he mean, and why would Achan confessing his sin bring glory to God?
I think that there are two main reasons why this confession would bring God glory.
Firstly, God is holy, and we are not. This is a critical lesson we need to review frequently I believe. Confessing sin admits that God is greater than we are, and so brings Him glory. We are sinful, and He is not, and that makes Him superior. More than this though, He is also the One with the power to forgive and cleanse us. Confessing sin not only recognises our inferiority to God, but also glorifies Him by seeking His favour in forgiveness.
#God is #holy and we are not. Confessing our sin brings Him #glory #Bible #Jesus #Christianity
Forgiveness is only available through the cleansing blood of God’s Son – Jesus Christ. To seek forgiveness from God is to acknowledge the sacrifice of His Son. While Achan perhaps had little idea of Jesus’ work at the cross that would one day come, we certainly do. Achan, though, did know that he had fallen far short of obedience before God.
Secondly, God’s reputation is at stake here before all the people. He has brought out the clans, tribes and families and selected Achan. Were Achan to deny it, it would essentially be calling God a liar in front of everyone. “You are quite wrong God! It wasn’t me! I did no such things!” Imagine that! Imagine bearing false witness against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Even disobedient Achan did not go that far, and neither should we.
Do you put God’s reputation above your own? It is better to admit when we are wrong than God’s Name be maligned #Bible #Christianity
So, Achan brings God glory by confessing his sin. He admits to taking the items dedicated to destruction, and Joshua sends men to go and find them. There, beneath his tent, the stolen goods are found and brought to Joshua. What happens next may seen harsh to our ears. Achan and his entire family are taken and stoned, and all the people and goods are burned I the valley. This indicates to us how seriously God hates sin, and that we ought not to trifle with it. It is also clear that Achan could not have done this without his family knowing, as it is rather hard to bury the goods in the middle of the tent without those living I the tent noticing. None of them came forward to tell Joshua what had been done, and neither did they give back the goods. They had hoped, like Achan, to get away with it.
So returning to the question we began with, how do we bring glory to God? Was confessing your sin on your list? It probably would not have been on my top ten! There may be many ways to glorify the Lord, and admitting our faults and rejoicing in His forgiveness is certainly one way to do it.
Will you bring Him glory today? Will you stand before Him and be open about your failures? Thank God that He has made a way for us to be forgiven and set free! Thank God that we need not face the same penalty as Achan, but instead can tell the world how great our God is!