Digging in Deeper: Mark 11:22-24

“Jesus replied to them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for – believe that you have received it and it will be yours.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever watched a really slick Prosperity Gospel preacher deliver his ace sermon? He will take you on a journey. You’ll be laughing one minute, crying the next, and ready to fork over your whole wallet to do your part to sustain the vital ministry the Lord has called him to do so that you can receive the blessings He wants to pour out into your bank account by the end of it. You will feel empowered to name what you want the Lord to give you, and to claim it boldly in prayer. It is a powerful experience, an encouraging experience, a truly religious experience, and a big, fat load of heresy. Verses like this one, though, would seem to disagree. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:22-24

“‘And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘”If you can”? Everything is possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What does it mean to believe something? There’s a nice, deep thought to get you started on your day. It’s worth some pondering, though. It’s worth some pondering if for no other reason than we are on the cusp of celebrating the historical event in which belief grants us eternal life. Or at least, belief pared with a confession of Jesus’ Lordship will. That’s what the apostle Paul said. If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Boom. So, what does it mean to believe? Jesus’ interaction with a father who didn’t here gives us a good opportunity to do some thinking together.

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Digging in Deeper: Isaiah 8:11-13

“For this is what the Lord said to me with great power, to keep me from going the way of this people: Do not call everything a conspiracy these people say is a conspiracy. Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. You are to regard only the Lord of Armies as holy. Only he should be feared; only he should be held in awe.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been reading along in the Scriptures and suddenly something grabbed your attention and wouldn’t let go? This passage did that for me this week. I have been starting to get ready for the Christmas series I’ll preach in a few weeks and read these verses as I was reading the context of two of Isaiah’s major prophecies about the coming Messiah. As I did, the Spirit whispered that these verses are really important. Here’s why I think He did.

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Morning Musing: Psalm 15:1

“Lord, who can dwell in your tent? Who can live on your holy mountain?”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

What matters more in the end: What we believe or what we do? What is it that ultimately determines who gets to be with God and who doesn’t? The content of our thinking, or the outflow of our behaving? That’s a little like the chicken or egg question. How do you decide one from the other? You can’t really. But can I go out on a limb a bit and suggest that the Scriptures seem to give maybe a fraction more weight to one over the other? 

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Digging in Deeper: Psalm 95:7b-9

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.” (ESV – Read the chapter)

Have you seen enough of God and His activity that rejecting Him is no longer a valid option for your life? That’s kind of an interesting question, isn’t it? We don’t often think about it like that. We usually think more in these terms: Have you seen enough of God to make receiving Him a reasonable thing to do? The thing is, if we look closely at the Scriptures, that first question is the one with which we are really confronted. 

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