Face Off

Daniel 28:8b – I, Daniel was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale (NIV).

“What do you all think of this outfit?”

We all hemmed and hawed over our answers because Auntie’s  purple/green print suit was simply awful. The colour was garish, the hem too short and the sleeves too long. (And that was the good stuff!)

Still, we didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Comments ranged from ……. “Oh….it’s quite an interesting colour.”  …to “Did you get it on sale?” and even…”What pretty buttons.”

The four-year-old among us had no such qualms. After all what four-year-old doesn’t tell the truth even though an adult might not appreciate it?

“I don’t like it.” she declared.

My aunt’s vinegary puss set me to laughing.

Most of us do not hide our emotions well. We let lots of expressions cross our face. Some are more pleasant than others. Are we hurt, happy, crying, foolish or surprised? Broke, having a bad hair day or questioning some idea or other?

What if we are sad, mixed up, angry talking from both sides of our mouth or think we know it all?

Surely we are not pouting, proud or sticking our tongue out?

It would be so wonderful if we kept some of those expressions to our self!

I don’t think I have to point out which ones.

I, Daniel was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself. Daniel 28:8b (NIV)

Let’s take Daniel’s advice. Keep the troubling ones to ourselves.

Prayer- Dear Lord, we might be the only Christian someone will meet today. Help our faces, attitudes and hearts display your peace in the midst of our troubles. Amen

Brenda J Wood




Jesus Was Condemned for Me

The death was humiliating and cruel… a public ridicule reserved for the most despicable criminals.  More than simply a punishment for a deed of injustice, crucifixion was designed to make the condemned completely vulnerable, humiliated and cause them to suffer the most horrible pain imaginable (hence the word “excruciating”).  It was a death of disgrace kept for the worst that society had to offer.

This is what Christ’s death was: a humiliating disgrace as a payment for sin.  But Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life, was not suffering because of His own guilt and shame.  On that cross He was judged by God for my sins.  As God the Father viewed Jesus on the cross, He saw my blasphemy, my ungratefulness, my heart full of envy and rage.  The weight of my sins of unforgiveness, greed, self-sufficiency, and self-righteousness were placed on His shoulders.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  Isaiah 53:4-5

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God.  1 Peter 3:18

As Jesus became sin for you and me, He bore the cup of God’s wrath against our sins.  “This is the Father’s cup:  the omnipotent hatred and anger for the sins of every generation, past present and future.  Omnipotent wrath directed at one naked man hanging on a cross.” Rick Gamache

By His wounds – by His death – we are reconciled to God.  The death He died brought us life and peace.  Every sin was placed upon Jesus Christ on the cross, where we find justice and grace.  At the foot of the cross there is acceptance and mercy offered for all who believe.  At the foot of the cross we find the power to live our lives, not for ourselves, but for the glory of the God who gave His Son to forgive us for our sins.  Let us rejoice today in the wonder and glory of what Christ has done for us.

“For, whether we like it or not, we are involved.  Our sins put him there.  So, far from offering us flattery, the cross undermines our self-righteousness.  We can stand before it only with a bowed head and a broken spirit.  And there we remain until the Lord Jesus speaks to our hearts his word of pardon and acceptance, and we, gripped by his love and full of thanksgiving, go out into the world to live our lives in his service.” John Stott

[copyright, 2010, Emily Schankweiler; A Sacrifice of Praise]

God Is Not Hiding Truth: Jesus Is the Light

Ever had a person tell you something and then say, “Don’t tell anyone”?  Then a few days later someone else tells you the same secret and says, “don’t tell anyone.”  You begin to wonder how many people know this secret.

Jesus told parables to crowds which left many wondering about their meanings.  Later Jesus explained them to his close disciples.  In old testament times, God directed His people to share the sayings they learned.  To relate the history of the Red Sea crossing.  To explain what happened in Egypt with Pharoah.  He wanted His precepts and commandments passed on to their descendants.

“I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.  Which we have heard and known and our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children, but we will tell to the generation to come the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonderful works that He has performed.” Psalm 78:2-4

No longer does the Lord keep the truth to Himself.  He has given us His written word and the Living Word–Jesus Christ–to share with all the world.  The Gospel is good news.  It’s simple to understand.  All that Christ did and is doing in our lives is important to share with others.  We each know praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.  Each day He provides for us.  He guides us.  He sustains us.  What keeps us from sharing that good news with others?  Christ is still at work in our lives; why do we guard it as if it is a secret?  selahV

Understanding God’s Word

They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (Nehemiah 8:8)

Scripture has been given to guide our lives, to illuminate our steps, so we must know what it teaches. God has not thrown his Word into our laps and left it for us to figure out or decide for ourselves its meaning. The Word of God means something definite, absolute, and timeless, and God will help us to know the sense of it.

Too often people approach the Bible as a book of mysteries best left unexplored. “This passage is not clear, I will not bother with trying to figure it out. If the Lord had wanted me to understand, he would have made it clear!” If the Lord was not interested in your understanding, he would not have given you his Word. Since we have a Bible we already know that God wants us to understand.

What do we do when we come to those things we cannot understand? First, pray like David in Psalm 119:18, Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Understanding will not come overnight, but to the one who strives to know the Word, God will give understanding.

Second, immerse yourself in Scripture. You will not learn the Bible by staying away from the Bible. Read it regularly, daily.

Third, seek out good teaching. In Nehemiah’s day God sent the prophet Ezra along with faithful Levites to help people understand. Find a church that is faithful to Scripture. Find a pastor that will deliver to you the full counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Grow in your understanding by sitting under the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s Word.

Fourth, read good books about the Bible. Be trained in Scripture through the writings of others. Do not settle for simple books but challenge your mind by reading things that will train you to think deeply.

Christian, take comfort! God has given us his Word for understanding and obedience. He will show you the meaning of Scripture.

Chris Roberts is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Panama City, FL and he blogs at Seek the Holy. He is married to Sandra and they have three kids.