Just men reading, memorizing and studying the bible together!

October 10, 2015

Reading Plans
Bible Order: Matthew 24–25
Chronological Order: Mark 3, Luke 6, Matthew 12:1-21
Old Testament Only: Isaiah 10:5–13:22
New Testament Only: Ephesians 4:1–16

Daily Verse: 2 Thessalonians 1:12

2 Thessalonians 1. 12



Bible Study

What Is The Desire Of Your Heart

Passage: John 14:13-14

Verse twelve of John 14 contains an incredible promise that anyone who believes in Jesus will not only do the works He did but even greater works. As if that were not enough of a promise and blessing, Jesus went on to say in today’s passage that anything His followers asks of Him, for the purpose of bringing glory to God, He will do for them.

John 14:13-14 ESV
[13] Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. [14] If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

I hope you noticed the caveat I listed in my opening paragraph and in verses 13 and 14. We love to latch on to God’s promises that He will answer our prayers, but we always seem to miss this very important caveat. In verse 13 says that He will do what you ask when you ask it in His name. He repeats that “in my name” line in verse 14. This is clearly important. “In His name” means in His character. In other words, if you ask for things that He would ask for. What did Jesus desire? He desired to glorify God. He makes that clear in verse 13.

So here is the moral of the story. God doesn’t work for you. He doesn’t exist to fulfill your worldly desires. He does love you and He does want what is best for you but He knows better than you what is best. Do you know what is best for you? To glorify God. What is best for you is to take your mind off of your self-centered desires and to put it on God’s glory. I have got to tell you that it is incredibly freeing to stop thinking about yourself. We are most miserable when we are thinking about ourselves and we are most happy when thinking about others. We are particularly happy when our focus is on God.

Still, what amazing power is ours when we have God as the focus of our heart and mind! If you ask Him anything in His name He will do it! So ask in His name. Let the desire of your heart be to glorify God, for He will answer your prayer!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,


Dying to self, living to serve!

October 9, 2015

Reading Plans
Bible Order: Matthew 22–23
Chronological Order: John 5
Old Testament Only: Isaiah 7:1–10:4
New Testament Only: Ephesians 3

Daily Verse: 1 Chronicles 16:23

1 Chronicles 16. 23



Bible Study

You Are Destined To Do Great Things

Passage: John 14:12 ESV

We are going to look at just one verse today, but oh what a verse! Jesus, having told His disciples that He was leaving them but that He would eventually come back for them, tried to encourage them after they heard this devastating news. It certainly was encouraging that He would come back, but they were likely more focused on the fact that He said He was leaving. In His attempt to encourage His followers, to sustain them during His long absence, He told them that they would do even greater works than He did. Take a look.

John 14:12 ESV
[12] “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Can you imagine? Jesus’ followers will do even greater works than He did? Is that even possible? Well, I think it depends upon what works we are talking about. Are we talking about physical miracles or are we talking about revealing the Father to the Lost? This is a long post because I thought I would let Dr. James Montgomery Boice provide the commentary on this verse. Trust me when I say you are only getting a portion here, but I think the excerpt still makes a strong case.

“There are only two approaches to this verse other than saying that Jesus was simply mistaken. The first takes it as referring to miracles but then either limits the reference or seeks to explain why such miracles are not done today. The second refers it to a different work entirely.

Some who take the verse as referring to miracles find a supposed qualification in the word “faith.” The promise is only for those who have faith in Jesus, such interpreters say. Consequently, since no one does such works today (at least no one we know), we clearly do not believe enough. Our faith is lacking. It is enough to reply to this viewpoint that since we are to do greater works than Jesus’ works, it would be necessary for us, according to this interpretation, to have greater faith than his, which is clearly impossible. Besides, Jesus does not say, “Anyone who has faith in me with a sufficient degree of faith” or even “Anyone who has intense faith.” He merely says, “Anyone who has faith in me,” and that would include not just the strong in faith, but any Christian.

Others recognize these truths but seek to limit the verse by applying it to the apostles only. They did miracles. Consequently, this was a fulfillment. Arther W. Pink is one who apparently holds this view, at least as regards the first half of the verse. He writes, “Some have understood this to refer to all the genuine followers of Christ. But this is manifestly wrong, for there is no Christian on earth today who can do the miracles which Christ did—cleanse the leper, give sight to the blind, raise the dead. … We submit that ‘He that believeth on me,’ like the expression ‘them that believe’ in Mark 16:17, of whom it was said certain miraculous signs should follow them, refers to a particular class of persons, and that these expressions must be modified by their reference and setting.” Pink shows that the verse was fulfilled in the early miracles performed by the apostles, as Hebrews 2:4 seems to indicate—“God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

This may be part of the story. But one may wonder, even then, if the disciples for all their miracles may be said to have matched, let alone exceeded, Jesus’ miracles. If this is a valid objection, the answer should be sought in a different direction entirely.

Spiritual Works

Here we are helped by the knowledge that God does not look at things as we do and, therefore, certainly does not share our view of what constitutes greatness. Why, for instance, should the physical miracles be considered “great” at all? Why should this be the thing Jesus refers to? One clue that it is not comes from Luke 10, in a passage that gives Christ’s response to the disciples after they had returned from their first successful preaching mission. They had returned, we are told, “with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name’ ” (v. 17). In other words, they were thrilled that they had been able to cast out devils. But Jesus replied, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to oversome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (vv. 19–20).

Here Jesus explicitly weighed the value of physical miracles over against the value of having passed out of spiritual death into salvation and chose the spiritual miracle without hesitation. If that is so in Luke 10, why should it not be so also in our text from the last discourses?

Leon Morris is one who sees the verse in this light: “What Jesus means we may see in the narratives of the Acts. There are a few miracles of healing, but the emphasis is on the mighty works of conversion.” H. A. Ironside concurs: “He was not speaking of miracles. His chief work was not performing miracles but revealing the Father, bringing knowledge of the Father. It was that of which He was speaking. As a result of His three-and-a-half years of ministry, when He left this scene He said good-bye to a group of about five hundred disciples. There were, doubtless, a few more scattered about but not very many. Very few saw in Him the revelation of the Father. But go on a few days—fifty days later. Ah, then Peter and the rest of the eleven stand up on the day of Pentecost and the third Person of the Trinity comes upon them in power and they are prepared to witness for Him. They preached a crucified and risen Christ, and what happened? Three thousand believed! Probably more in that one day than in all the three-and-a-half years of our Lord’s ministry. … When you realize that when Jesus left this scene, committing His gospel to a little group of eleven men in order that they might carry it to the ends of the earth, at that time the whole world, with the exception of a few in Israel, was lost in the darkness of heathenism. But in three hundred years Christianity closed nearly all the temples of the heathen Roman Empire, and numbered its converts by millions. These were the greater works, and down through the centuries He still carries on this ministry.”3

Let us summarize what this verse means:

  1. The works Christ refers to are spiritual works, primarily the work of regeneration that takes place when the gospel is proclaimed through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. This is suggested by two characteristics: first, that the word “things” rather than “signs” or “miracles” is used, and second, that in the phrase “and greater things than these shall he do” the word “things” does not actually occur. There is no word at that point, so the literal translation would simply be “and greater.” The point is that Christians will do something greater even than the works of Jesus.

  2. The reference in the verse is to every Christian, for this is the only possible meaning of the phrase “Anyone who has faith in me.” This does not mean that every Christian will have the ability to be a great evangelist. There is a diversity of gifts. But it does mean that a testimony that leads to the conversion of any individual is greater, in the Lord’s sight, than any physical miracle and that the combined efforts of all God’s people, leading to the conversion of millions, is tremendous.

  3. Finally, there may also be a sense in which the verse applies to all works of compassion, healing, and progress, which, although not miraculous in a supernatural sense, nevertheless in a nearly miraculous way have followed almost inevitably upon the preaching of the gospel.

Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Brother, as a follower of Christ you are destined to do great things in the eyes of God. Sharing the Gospel, bringing saving knowledge of Jesus Christ to those who are dying is the great work. It is why we Christians still reside upon this earth. All that remains is for us to do the work. Will you do it?

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,


Dying to self, living to serve!

October 8, 2015

Reading Plans
Bible Order: Matthew 19–21
Chronological Order: Mark 2
Old Testament Only: Isaiah 3–6
New Testament Only: Ephesians 2

Daily Verse: Deuteronomy 4:39

Deuteronomy 4. 39



Bible Study

Eternity In The Smoking Section

Passage: John 14:7-11

I remember going door to door sharing the Gospel a few years ago and a particular conversation I had with a fellow on his front porch during that time. He told me he was a Catholic and that he believed that Jesus wasn’t God or even the Son of God but rather just a nice moral teacher. Now I’m not Catholic but I don’t think that is exactly what the Catholic church teaches.

As evidence for his point of view he told me that even Jesus referred to Himself as a “Son of Man”. Now it is true that Jesus did refer to Himself that way, but this gentleman got one word wrong. Jesus didn’t claim to be “A” Son of Man but rather “THE” Son of Man. When Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man He was referring to a prophecy given by Daniel. Daniel said that he had a vision and in that vision he saw someone “like a son of man” coming on the clouds (Daniel 7:13). He was describing the Messiah, not walking on Earth, but proceeding out of Heaven. This was not a son of man but “one like a son of man”, meaning a being who looked like a human being but was much more.

I wasn’t as familiar with my Bible then as I am now. I didn’t really know how to explain the meaning of that title, but a lot of people believe something similar to what this man believes. Some even claim that Jesus never claimed to be God; something else this man said. Our passage today should help any thinking person realize that just isn’t so.

John 14:7-11 ESV
[7] If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” [8] Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” [9] Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? [10] Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. [11] Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

In verse 7 Jesus tells Thomas that if he sees Jesus, he sees God. If you know Jesus, you know God. Philip, probably like the other disciples, didn’t understand what He meant; he said “show us the Father”. Jesus said “have I been with you so long and you still do not know me?” God and Jesus are one and the same. The subsequent verses underscore the triune nature of God by suggesting some kind of separation between Him and God, but don’t confuse the three different manifestations of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) with a division between them. Water, ice, and steam are all different expressions of H2O; one and the same yet expressed in different forms.

Actually, if you read the Gospels carefully, and make an honest attempt to understand what Jesus is truly saying, you will discover that Jesus does indeed make the claim to be God Himself. It isn’t just this one passage but many. So many people want to dismiss Jesus as just a nice moral teacher because they can then dismiss His authority to hold them accountable for their self-centered life-styles. If He is just a man, there are no negative consequences for ignoring Him.

Jesus is God. He Has come once as a figurative lamb, a human sacrifice for the sins of those who would accept His incredible gift. He will come again one last time as a figurative lion. If you haven’t come to terms with who He is by then I’m afraid you will be spending eternity in the smoking section!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,


Dying to self, living to serve!

He Is The Way

by | October 7, 2015 | In Daily Reading No Comments

October 7, 2015

Reading Plans
Bible Order: Matthew 16–18
Chronological Order: John 2-4
Old Testament Only: Isaiah 1–2
New Testament Only: Ephesians 1

Daily Verse: 1 John 3:16

1 John 3. 16



Bible Study

He Is The Way

Passage: John 14:4-6

So Jesus told us He was going to prepare a place for us and that He would come and take us to that place at some future date. He then told us that we know the way to where He is going. When I say we, I’m referring to those who have submitted their lives to Christ. Jesus was speaking directly to the Disciples but we know that His words are intended for all who follow Him. Let’s take a look at the verses in question.

John 14:4-6 ESV
[4] And you know the way to where I am going.” [5] Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” [6] Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

So we know the way to this place He is going and will eventually take us. I love Thomas. He asks the question I would ask. “How can we know the way? We don’t even know where you are going!” Verse six is one of the most crucial verses in the entire Bible. Jesus is the way to Heaven. He is the truth. He is the life. The only way to get to eternity with God is through the bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If you are unwilling to submit your life to His authority, to accept His sacrifice upon the cross for your sin, to truly and honestly make Him your Lord and Savior, then you will not spend eternity in Heaven.

I don’t care what philosophy, religion, or cultural perspective you wish to follow or promote, it cannot save you. All religions are not equally valid. If they were then they would all be invalid. There are not many ways to God or to Heaven. This is a common misconception in our day and age, and to say there aren’t many ways to God is to invite the Lost to hate you for being, in their mind, a hater. Well, again, the opinions of man worry me not in the least. There is truth and it is Jesus. You want to get to Heaven I can tell you the way.

But I digress. There is more here in these few short verses than you might suspect. What does it mean that He is the way? I have already written about the fact that at its most basic level the way is through His atoning sacrifice upon the cross but in that we are referring to a first step, our being born again. Birth, however, is just the beginning. We have the rest of our life to grow in the way.

You know there is a day when we will see Jesus face to face. I look eagerly forward to that day but I must admit I don’t feel particularly ready. I know I still have a lot more spiritual growing to do. Of course, if I’ll take a moment to look back upon my life since I surrendered it all to Christ, I will see that He has steadily drawn me along the way. I have matured in Christ because He has never given up on me. He has called me, cajoled me, and disciplined me to bring me to a place I couldn’t have imagined when I first started out. That said, I simply know I still have a way to go.

The thing is Jesus is sufficient for the journey. He will get me there and He will get you there too, if you’ve surrendered all to Him. Jesus intends us to be incredible; that is to say He intends us to be like Him. He is in the process of getting us there. My textual support for that claim is taken from 1 John.

1 John 3:2-3 ESV
[2] Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. [3] And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

When Christ appears we will be like Him! Is that not amazing? That is why I say I have such a long way to go. I sure am glad that getting there depends on Jesus and not on me. Notice verse three where it says that everyone who hopes in Him purifies himself as Jesus is pure. I’m reminded of my brother Bryan when we were growing up. He would go out and play for hours on end. He would finally come home for dinner as the street lights were coming on. He would come home with absolutely filthy hands. We would all be sitting at the table as mom took him into the bathroom and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed his hands. It was clearly an uncomfortable time for both of them as their vocal remonstrations could be heard all over the house.

After an extended period of time they would come down to dinner. My mom would look exhausted and my brother’s hands were beet red. Mom just couldn’t understand how he could get dirt so deeply ground into his hands, but, of course, leaving them dirty wasn’t an option. I’m further reminded that Jesus does that with me. He takes me into the wash room and He scrubs my hands. Sometimes I find it rather uncomfortable but getting clean is important and Jesus just won’t let it slide. My purity rests completely on the working of Jesus in my heart and life. And this is the way.

The way is not a single moment in time when we are saved but rather a journey that starts with new birth and ends in Heaven in the place Jesus has prepared for us. We are saved, we are being saved, we will be saved. We will be very different people on that day. We will be like Him. Don’t lose your way along the way. Simply commit yourself to following the Way!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,


Dying to self, living to serve!

October 6, 2015

Reading Plans
Bible Order: Matthew 14–15
Chronological Order: John 1:15-51, Matthew 4, Luke 4-5
Old Testament Only: Song of Solomon 5–8
New Testament Only: Galatians 6

Daily Verse: 2 Chronicles 20:12

2 Chronicles 20. 12



Bible Study

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Passage: John 14:1-3

I was tempted to address just verse one of John 14 today, and I could indeed write quite a bit about it alone, but verse one tells us not to fear and verses two and three tell us why. If you are ever feeling down and overwhelmed, I’d like to suggest that you have this Scripture ready at hand.

John 14:1-3 ESV
[1] “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. [2] In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Your Lord and Savior has just told you to not let your heart be troubled. Is your heart troubled? Why? What is it that has you down? I’ll bet it is some kind of worldly concern. Trouble in your relationships at home, at work, in the community, or at Church? Financial troubles? Career troubles? Sick loved ones? Sick self? Is the state of politics, culture, or entertainment of grave concern to you? Are you afraid for the future of your loved ones? Are you afraid for your very life? All of those are very human worries and I will confess that I am not immune to them; and yet Jesus tells us to not let our hearts be troubled.

You see, when we get focused on the troubles of this world we tend to lose track of the promises we have in our Lord and Savior. Jesus did not say that we wouldn’t have any trouble in this world once we submitted our lives to Him. In fact, He told us the exact opposite; He warned us that we would have a lot of trouble for His name’s sake. He did promise us several things though. One promise was that He would send His Holy Spirit to be a Helper, a Companion, a Teacher, a Comforter, a Counselor, to guide us along the way (John 14:26 – these various titles are taken from various translations of the same word). In other words, we would never be alone; He would go with us through our troubles.

Another promise is that we would one day join Him in Heaven. To my mind this is the greatest promise of all. Frankly, I don’t see how any of His other promises to us could come close to this one amazing promise. Through Him we have been adopted into the royal family of the King of the Universe! We have an incredible eternity ahead of us. The journey home will be long and bumpy but at the end of the ride is eternal peace, love, contentment and joy! In the light of this one promise everything else becomes trivial.

Ah, but there’s the rub. Everything else becomes trivial in the light of this promise. We have to remember this promise to have an untroubled heart. This is why Jesus tells us to believe in God and Him. Remember and believe in His power to deliver what He promises. In verses 2 and 3 He reiterates His promise to prepare a place for us and to come and bring us home with Him. This is why you should not let your heart be troubled. If you will remember whose you are, and where you are going, you can let the trials and tribulations of this life roll off your back. We will experience hurt and sadness in this life. This is the world that man has remade in his own image. It can’t help but be painful. Our future is life as God intended it to be from the beginning, and if we’ll remember this when times get hard, the rough patches won’t seem so bad.

This world is a dark place. When the darkness threatens to overwhelm you, turn toward the light; turn toward Jesus. Though the horde may threaten to overtake you, keep your eyes focused on Him, remember His promises, and let not your heart be troubled.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,


Dying to self, living to serve!

October 5, 2015

Reading Plans
Bible Order: Matthew 12–13
Chronological Order: Mark 1, Luke 3, Matthew 3
Old Testament Only: Song of Solomon 1–4
New Testament Only: Galatians 5

Daily Verse: 1 Peter 3:15

 1 Peter 3. 15



Bible Study

Salvation Is Forever

Passage: John 13:36-38

We finish John 13 today. What a sad little story we have to study. Well, it is sad on its face, but I think it actually offers a great deal of encouragement if we look at it properly. First, let’s look at the passage to which I am referring.

John 13:36-38 ESV
[36] Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” [37] Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” [38] Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Peter loved the Lord Jesus Christ; I don’t doubt it for a moment. He was also a passionate man who often acted before he thought. Jesus was constantly having to pull Peter back a moment to get him headed the right direction. The Apostle Paul has always been an encouragement to me because he maintained a sense of joy and purpose even in the midst of great persecution and tribulation. He has taught me that I can float through life content in every situation because of where I will eventually come to shore. While the storm rages all around me I am confident that it will never overcome me; not in eternal terms anyway.

The Apostle Peter, on the other hand, shows me that even when my desire to do good is overwhelmed by fear or a bad decision, the grace of Jesus, will always bring me back to right relationship with Him. If you doubt me let us look at this story about Peter. Peter wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus told him that he could not follow Him now, but would follow Him later. Peter said he was willing to lay down his life for Jesus. In fact, he would eventually do just that, but at the time He said it, he wasn’t really ready to make good on his declaration.

You see none of us could have joined Jesus on that cross. None of us was good enough to be a sinless sacrifice for the sake of all mankind. Only Jesus could do what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t come so we could lay down our lives for Him; He came to lay down His life for us. Not joining Jesus in death, however, was a far cry from actually denying Him, and Jesus said that Peter would do exactly that, not once but three times.

Here is a man who claims he will lay down his life for Jesus but when push comes to shove he actually denies knowing Jesus. We just a few verses earlier saw Judas leave to betray Jesus. Now we learn that the rock Peter would actually deny he even knew Jesus? Is this not also a betrayal? Well, this is a sad tale in deed. At the end of His life Jesus was abandoned by everyone. Even His most ardent follower left Him when death was on the line.

Of course, I feel that is just one way to look at this. Jesus had to come and die for us because we could not be good enough in and of ourselves to be restored to right relationship with God. The difference between Judas and Peter was the condition of their hearts. Judas had a greedy, self-centered nature that rejected the Lordship of Jesus. Peter was also self-centered, as all humans are, but he accepted the Lordship of Jesus and that made all the difference in the world. Peter, in his spiritual immaturity, stumbled; he made a terrible mistake. In fact, he repeated a terrible mistake. When Judas turned Jesus in to the authorities he was being true to his heart. When Peter denied Christ, he was not being true to his heart.

When Peter realized what he did, he was broken hearted. Seeing as how Judas hung himself after betraying Jesus you might make the same observation about him. The difference is that Peter had hope in His right relationship with Christ, a relationship that offered forgiveness. Judas never had a right relationship with Jesus and therefore he had no hope.

Perhaps I’m being a little oblique in what I’m saying. I’m trying to get across the point that stumbling in sin doesn’t disqualify someone from eternal life in Christ. If that were true wouldn’t Peter be disqualified? Even after Pentecost Peter and Paul each had occasions where they were less than the godly men God had called them to be. We are speaking in terms of degree, but that is also part of the point. When Peter first started following Jesus he made many mistakes. Even after Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to reside within his heart, Peter made errors for which Paul had to correct him. Basically the Bible shows us that spiritual maturity is a process that includes many stumbles along the way.

Peter, who Jesus claimed earlier in this chapter as “clean” (meaning saved), denied Jesus three times. How can you be saved and deny Christ? Well if you are saved you won’t be able to deny Him for long; His Holy Spirit will certainly cause you to change. And that is the point. If you are saved and you sin, God’s Holy Spirit will make you absolutely miserable about the fact. He will continue to turn up the heat in your heart until you finally repent and change your ways. All of this depends upon that first moment when you truly turned over control of your life to Jesus. If you did that, then the remainder of your life will be a journey through which you grow in spiritual maturity, often as a direct result of your stumbles.

When you stumble brother do not lose hope. Your hope is in Jesus and you are not strong enough to overcome Him. Of course you need to repent and seek forgiveness as soon as possible otherwise you will be in for some discipline. Our actions still have consequences but salvation is forever!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,


Dying to self, living to serve!