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Stand Strong

by | October 13, 2015 | In Daily Reading No Comments

October 13, 2015

Reading Plans
Bible Order: Mark 1–2
Chronological Order: Matthew 11
Old Testament Only: Isaiah 21–23
New Testament Only: Ephesians 6

Daily Verse: 2 Samuel 22:33-35

2 Samuel 22. 33-35



Bible Study

Stand Strong

Passage: John 14:15-17

Yesterday I wrote about John 14:15. In that verse Jesus told us that if we love Him we will obey Him. I mentioned then that I would pick up that verse again today as we looked at subsequent verses since they appear to depend upon it.

John 14:15-17 ESV
[15] “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. [16] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, [17] even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Evidence of your love for Christ is your obedience to Him. Your love for Him is, of course, vitally important, for if you do love Him, He will ask the Father to send another Helper to be with you forever. Let’s talk about this “another Helper”. Some translations use the word “Counselor” here rather than “Helper”. We’ll discuss this word in a moment but let us not forget the word “another”. Another implies a prior. Who was the prior Helper or Counselor? That would be Jesus Himself. But the Greek language has two words for “another”: 1) heteros which means “totally different” and 2) allos which means “another like the first”. Allos is the word used here in verse 16.

So Jesus has promised that those who love Him will be sent someone like Himself to be with them forever. But what is the role of this Helper or Counselor? Actually, I could fill several posts with commentary about the full role of this Helper who is also known as the Holy Spirit, but I will keep myself focused simply on the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a true Christian. First, however, let us finish up with commentary on these verses.

The Spirit of Truth is another name for the Holy Spirit but let me remind you that Jesus said that He is the way the truth and the life. Jesus is truth and here He says that the Holy Spirit is the spirit of Truth. When we combine all of this with the fact that Jesus says that He and the Father are one, we are reminded that God is three in one; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, distinct but unified.

Further, the world cannot know or receive the Holy Spirit. This is because spiritual things are spiritually discerned and because a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ comes about by the work of the Holy Spirit. God determined before the foundation of the earth who would be saved and who would not. He sent His Son to die upon the cross so that they could be saved, and He sent the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and mind of those He has determined to save so they can perceive that truth. We who belong to Christ, however, have this Holy Spirit, this Spirit of Truth, residing within us just as verse 17 claims.

Here is truth brother. Receive it. Claim it. This is part of your inheritance in Christ. But what does the Holy Spirit do within us? The work of the Holy Spirit is what it has been from the very beginning, to glorify God in general and Jesus in particular. His work in us is to guide us in God’s purpose for our life, and in so doing make us more like Christ Himself. I like how Dr. James Montgomery Boice addresses this.

“Third, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ by reproducing him in believers. He does this in three ways: (1) by leading the Christian to greater victory over sin, (2) by praying for him and by teaching him to pray, and (3) by showing him God’s will for his life and enabling him to walk in it.

Here the meaning of the word “counselor” or “comforter” is of great importance. It is unfortunate from the point of view of our trying to understand this term that in the English language “comfort” has been watered down so that it now means little more than a half-hearted attempt to console someone, or that which consoles. It can, for example, be a Linus blanket. In fact, that is not far off linguistically, for one use of the word “comforter” is to describe a certain kind of quilt. That is often what we have in mind when we think of comfort. Comfortable! We think of rolling up in our blanket and consoling ourselves from the hard knocks of this world.

That is not what the word means in the Bible, though a certain measure of consolation is involved in it. To understand the biblical word, we need to go back to the Latin words that lie behind our word “comfort.” There are two of them. The first is cum (which has had its vowel changed in the process of taking it over into English). It is a preposition meaning “with.” The second is fortis, from which we get our words fortification, fortify, fortissimo (Italian), fortitude, and fortress. It means “strong” or “strengthen.” Put them together, and you have the true meaning of “comforter.” A comforter is one who is with you to strengthen you. He is, as one commentator writes, “a ramrod down your backbone to make you stand for the truth; to make you take the right side, even though it’s the minority side. The Comforter gives you strength to stand up in face of something that is vile and evil.”

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

So, the Holy Spirit is a person who walks with you to strengthen you so you can stand against evil. That’s what I want you to claim. I want you to claim the strength that is yours to stand against evil and to bring glory to the name of Christ. Stand strong brother, because you can.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,


Dying to self, living to serve!

Do You Love Jesus

by | October 12, 2015 | In Daily Reading No Comments

October 12, 2105

Reading Plans
Bible Order: Matthew 27–28
Chronological Order: Luke 7, Matthew 8:1-13
Old Testament Only: Isaiah 17–20
New Testament Only: Ephesians 5

Daily Verse: 1 Samuel 15:22

 1 Samuel 15. 22



Bible Study

Do You Love Jesus

Passage: John 14:15

I’m going to comment on just one verse today because this verse has caused me no end of heart ache over the years. We’ll have to touch on it again tomorrow because this verse is followed by a verse that depends upon it, but I have to share with you this verse by itself first.

Here it is:

John 14:15 ESV
If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Ouch! I like to think I love Jesus, but do I keep His commandments? This is a very simple sentence and its meaning is very clear; if you love Jesus you will keep His commandments. Please take a moment and contemplate that. Every time you stumble in sin you are denying your love for Christ! If you love Him, you will obey Him!

Do you love Jesus? Do you really? If you do, what changes do you need to make in your life? Is there an area of disobedience in your life? Brother, please repent of it, confess it, ask for forgiveness of it, and dedicate yourself once again to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Show your love for Christ every day – obey Him!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,


Dying to self, living to serve!

Day Of Rest

by | October 11, 2015 | In Daily Reading No Comments

October 11, 2015

Reading Plans
Bible Order: Matthew 26
Chronological Order: Matthew 5-7
Old Testament Only: Isaiah 14–16
New Testament Only: Ephesians 4:17–32

Daily Verse: Exodus 3:14

Exodus 3. 14



Day of Rest

Saturdays are a day of rest for me in my blog writing. I write the blog a day ahead so this means it is a day of rest from my commentary for you on Sundays. Enjoy your day of worship!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,


Dying to self, living to serve!

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!