Daily Bible Reading

Preservation

Even though it may not feel like it, we do not live in the first generation that has been overcome with lies disguised as truth. David was struck with an agony many faithful Christians feel today. And never in my life has his words seemed so apt.

Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing!
The faithful have vanished from the earth.

Psalm 12:1 (NLT)

David’s cry is not so different from that which we are hearing from those churches that have remained faithful—even when it would seem that popular culture wants them to alter the foundation of their doctrine. Even when the words of Jesus himself are considered hateful.

When the world is full of lies, even though it may be easier, it is our responsibility as those who bear the name of Christ both to preserve and to proclaim the truth. Our trust must be in our God, not our government. Our government can’t (or maybe even won’t) save us, but God already has. It is that fact that should keep us on our path in pursuit of truth—God has already saved us!

Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed,
preserving them forever from this lying generation,
even though the wicked strut about
and evil is praised throughout the land.

Psalm 12:7-8 (NLT)

The pull of the world may be strong, but God is stronger. The lies may hide the truth, but the Truth lives longer.

Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 124:8 (NLT)

When the wicked strut about, remember who your help is and where it comes from. God can and will preserve His Church. Trust in that.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 10-12, Acts 17:16-34

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Prayer for the Church

I don’t know about you, but I have a very difficult time reading the news these days. When it comes to politics and law, a lot of changes are being made. A lot of changes that – whether you realise it or not – affect the Church. And by church, I don’t necessarily mean individual churches or organisations, I mean The Church. The global Church. A group of individual believers striving together for the Great Commission. There are individual churches that I do no include in this group.

But the church is the church, isn’t it?

Is it?

Reading through the book of Nehemiah, I am struck by how relevant the prophets words are even today. Nehemiah has taken on the great task of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem and at every turn, he’s met by resistance.

And they plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.

Nehemiah 4:8 (ESV)

Does this sound like anything that’s happening right now? Government officials along with public opinion are pushing against the church trying to cause confusion. Telling half-truths (which are really lies) or outright lies insisting this is the way things are and that to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ is considered hateful.

In the fifty-two days it took to rebuild the wall, the Jews banded together. Not only did they work together, they fought together. There were workers and their were soldiers. And even the workers had swords strapped to their sides while they worked.

Do no be mistaken, Christianity is not for the faint of heart. We are not called to a happy little hippy community to sit around draping each other with daisy chains. There is a war and it is real and it’s not just being fought in the Middle East. It’s a war that is already in our schools, our churches, and our homes.

My prayer for the Church is this:

God, let us stand strong.
Set a guard of protection around our hearts and minds.
Lead us in the Truth.
Your Truth.
And only Your Truth.
Help us to stand when the world would see us fall.
Give us strength when the world sees us as weak.
Make our mind and path clear.
Go before us.
Victorious.

If you’re Canadian, remember this: engraved on the tower of Parliament is Psalm 72:8 – He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.

If you’re American, look at the change in your pocket. In God we trust.

The founders of our countries knew what they were doing even if many of our current leaders don’t. These ideals were firmly set in the foundation of our nations and, if we don’t stand up and fight for them, they will be removed and anything and everything that was built on them will crumble.

I leave you with Nehemiah’s words:

Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.

Nehemiah 4:14 (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 4-6; Acts 2:14-47

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Free

I like the word free. I like free stuff. I like free time. I like living free.

If you pay any attention to the news at all, you’ll see that (in North America at least), the governments are making an attempt to change the definition of truth and freedom. Unless we, as the Church, stand up and claim our freedom, it will soon disappear altogether.

Aside from our fundamental freedoms of speech, religion and association (as per the First Amendment and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), there is another type of freedom that we have that the government can never take away from us.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

John 8:31-32 (ESV)

Let’s confirm the truth we’re talking about because this verse gets taken out of context all the time. Folks tend to use it for their own designs and purposes by quoting only the last portion. They speak of their own personal truths which may or may not be what Jesus was talking about.

Jesus wasn’t talking about perceived truth, but Truth. Jesus is Truth. (John 14:6) This is not a case of what’s-true-for-me-may-not-be-true-for-you. There is absolute truth and Jesus is it. Nothing, nothing can change that. Not your opinion, not your friends or family, not the government.

So now that we’ve established what the Truth is, what does it mean to be free? What does the truth set us free from? We know that it may not be freedom from the consequences of the law. There are Christians all over the world who are imprisoned for believing and standing up for Truth. There are Christians in North America being persecuted for standing up for Truth. Don’t make the mistake of believing that’s a Third World problem.

If the Truth doesn’t keep us out of jail, what good is it? It sets us free from the power of sin and death. That is something our government cannot take away from us. They can’t even pretend to have control over it (though they surely try).

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

John 8:34-36 (ESV)

While I firmly believe that the Church needs to stand up for Truth (not the truth of our own making, but Jesus and him alone), we also need to remember that, no matter what the government may say, there is a freedom in the one Truth that can never be taken away from us. If we abide in the Word and allow him to live in us, we will know the Truth and we will always, always be free.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 6-7; John 8:21-36

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Rule

We like democracy. At least we say we like democracy. Let the people decide who should rule over them. That makes everyone happy… Or not.

Israel over and over again not only wanted but required someone to rule over them. Near the end of Gideon’s life, Israel asked that Gideon rule the people and then his sons following.

Now, if you were offered the leadership of an entire land, what would your response be? Would you want the fame that goes with the position? Or would you shy away from the weight of responsibility?

Gideon said to them “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you, the Lord will rule over you.”

Judges 8:23 (ESV)

Gideon had it right. While we must submit to the governments over us, when it comes to our own lives, there is only One who should rule over us.

Can we learn from the multitude of mistakes Israel made? When a great leader rose up, they followed God. When that leader passed, immediately, they returned to the gods of the land. In an endless circle, Israel turned from God.

If your pastor left, would you still follow God? If your favourite TV preacher went off the air, would you still follow God? If your spouse left the church, would you still follow God? Do you need a constant reminder of who rules in your life or is your relationship with God strong enough to withstand the rise and fall of those around you?

Daily Bible reading: Judges 8-9, Luke 8:22-56