Author Archives: simplyspoken

Revelation 19-20

Scripture:

“At this I fell at his (angel’s) feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!” (Revelation 19:10, NIV)

Observation:

I think that we have been led to believe that angelic appearances were common occurrences in biblical times. Instead they were quite rare. In fact, when the angel appeared to Mary to tell her she would birth God’s Son, there hadn’t been an angelically-delivered message in several thousand years. It would be no different than an angel showing up in my living room at this very moment…the same amount of shock and disbelief due to the rarity of the event.

When in the presence of an angel, a human’s instinctive reaction is to bow down and worship the being. I was recently told that this is true of every angelic appearance in the Bible. It was also explained to me that in every case, the angel instructed the human to stop worshiping the angel and instead worship GOD.  I haven’t personally checked into each account to see if this is accurate so please don’t hold me to it. It would make an interesting study though…one I may look into this holiday week.

Application:

So what if an angel DID appear to me at this very moment? What would I do? I’ve been pondering this for a bit. I honestly don’t think I would worship the being but I probably would fall down out of sheer shock or fear. After regaining my composure I’d listen (with fear and trembling) to the message the angel had for me. But the imaginary scenario that follows will give you some insight into the bizarre way my mind works.

As I played out this pretend angelic visit, I imagined that the angel gave me the opportunity to send a message back to God which the angel would deliver for me. What would I ask Him? What shocked me was my response. I wouldn’t need to ask Him anything. He has already revealed everything I need to know: I already know about salvation; I’ve been informed how to live for Him; I’ve been told that LOVE is the recipe for living and that my relationship with HIM is the main ingredient; I know that the whys, how-comes, and what-ifs are all answered by “because I AM” and everything is part of HIS plan and for HIS glory. So at the end of the day (or at the end of an angelic appearance) there is nothing more I need to ask of God.

Is this arrogant? Quite the opposite… it is mortifyingly humiliating. Because the bottom line is…I already know what “to-do” yet I don’t do it. It’s as though God has said, “I’ve already told you all you need to know. Now if you would just live it.”

Prayer:

God, I don’t know how You put up with me. I think I must be the epitome of a two year old who needs to be told over and over again what to do and still doesn’t get it. I’ll never understand Your patience with me. But I am eternally grateful for it. Amen.

simplyspoken

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James 1-5

DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, TODAY’S POST WAS DELAYED. I APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.

Scripture:

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.(James 3:16-18 NIV)

Observation:

James is a book full of rich truths in every verse. It is impossible to do it justice in one day. So let’s take a look at this small section on wisdom.

I love the descriptive words used to define wisdom. I often think of wisdom as simply being super smart due to knowledge and experience. But James tells us that it is much more than that. Here’s a little help from Webster.

Pure: free from moral fault or guilt

Peace-loving: devoted to freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; harmony

Considerate: thoughtful of the rights and feelings of others

Submissive: to yield to governance or authority; to be subject to a condition, treatment, or operation

Merciful: full of compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power

Fruit-bearing: the effect or consequence of an action or operation; producing a result

Impartial: treating or affecting all equally

Sincere: free of dissimulation; honest; free from adulteration; marked by genuineness

Application:

After reading through that list, I’m wondering if true wisdom could be simply defined as “knowledge + love” (I know wisdom is more than just knowledge and that this equation is missing experience and application). I’m not surprised that God used love as the backdrop for wisdom. Love is the core of everything we read in the Bible. It is central to who God is and to His plan of redemption. It makes perfect sense that true, pure wisdom is partnered with love.

So how am I doing? Do I ask for wisdom expecting to become wiser so I can climb a ladder of success or importance? Or do I desire wisdom so I can have an opportunity to demonstrate God’s very character, LOVE, to someone created in His image?

Prayer:

God, You have shown me over and over again how love is the core of everything You do. I miss that mark terribly. The next time I ask for wisdom, remind me to also ask for the ability to express Your love in the situation. Amen.

simply spoken


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Galatians 4-6

Scripture:

“But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.(Galatians 4:9-11 NIV)

Observation/Application:

These verses give such a perfect description of the difference between living under the law and living under grace. The veil has been torn…

  • But now that you know God—or rather are known by God: the priest is no longer needed. We can actually KNOW God and even more mind-boggling, be KNOWN by Him. He can no longer say, “Depart from me I never knew you.” (Mt 7:23)
  • How is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Don’t you just love those descriptive words?…”weak and miserable”! Who would want to turn back to that? Remember all those laws we read back at the beginning of this year? They were definitely miserable!
  • Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? Another perfectly descriptive word…enslaved. The law was confining, burdensome, captive.  Who would wish for that?
  • You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! The church was falling back into the  ritualistic traditions of the OT law. I wonder why. Familiarity? Lack of understanding of the new law of grace? Fear? Those same three things (comfort, ignorance, fear) are common triggers for complacency. There is safety in lack of action.
  • I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. Paul was discouraged. His passion, heart, life were put into these churches and these efforts now appear wasted. Yet his love for the church is still evident as he declares, “I fear for you.”

Prayer:

Thank You, God for breaking the law through the sacrifice of Your Son. Amen.

simply spoken


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Acts 26-28

Scripture:

“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.” (Acts 26:9-11 NIV)

Observation:

I’m not sure I ever realized the full extent of Paul’s bloody past. Traveling from synagogue to synagogue looking for Christians to kill? Going to foreign cities with the intent to murder? He definitely was passionate about his cause. It sounds like he wouldn’t let anything hold him back.

Therefore, his conversion was all the more incredible. How could a person do a complete 180 so quickly? One day he’s slaughtering Christians, the next day he’s championing them. Now that’s unheard of transformation! Something so completely impossible to do with our limited human capacity. This had to be a supernatural, divine change of heart.

Application:

I think that we spend a lot of time “waiting” for transformation…depending on a “process” that takes time. We talk about baby steps and “time heals” and a gradual learning process. How many times have I heard and even said, “It’s a process. Take one step at a time and God will teach you.” I know all those have been tested and proven and I’ve personally experienced areas of healing through slow painful processes. So, yes, they’re tried and true. And sometimes they work.

But why don’t we ever expect complete, instant transformations?  If God could instantly turn a cold blooded murder into a passionate cause for Christ, can’t He do similar 180s today? Can’t He remove my addictions instantly? Can’t He heal my illness completely with no residual symptoms? Have we limited God? Maybe we expect too little. Maybe we ask for too little. Maybe we’ve become so accustomed and comfortbable with “the process” that we’ve neglected the Provider. Maybe we don’t want to be transformed.

Prayer:

God, You are a God of miracles. You can breathe life back into a dead man. You could destroy this entire planet with a word if You willed. You are powerful. Yet I don’t expect Your power in my life. I don’t ask for Your miracles. I settle for human ways instead of expecting Your supernatural power to transform me. I’m sorry, God, for not permitting Your power to change me and thus be a testimony to Your greatness. Show me areas today that only Your incredible transforming power can change in me. Amen.

simply spoken

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John 9-10

Scripture

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. (John 10:11-13, NIV)

Observation

Ownership.

Application

What a stark difference between the sheep owner and the hired hand.

One of my all-time favorite books is “A Shepherd’s Look at Psalm 23” by Philip Keller. Philip examines Psalm 23 through his personal experience as a sheep farmer. He gives incredible insight to the hidden meanings of Psalm due to his expertise as a shepherd. It has given me a whole new perspective on “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

I’m so thankful that Jesus is my Shepherd and not just watching over me to earn a buck.

Prayer

Jesus, my Shepherd, I want to know Your voice. I am so grateful that You care for me, protect me, guide me, provide for me. Thank You for putting up with my sheep-like ways of stupidity, stubbornness and ignorance. I want to follow You always. Amen.

simply spoken

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