Mar 20, 2011

"By this we know that we know Him..."

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked.” ~1 John 2:3-6


Besides containing many personal pronouns that are somewhat confusing, this passage is one that many have struggled with. At first glance, we begin to analyze ourselves, asking whether we have kept His commandments and are thus, in Him. Where many people struggle is in thinking that they are not in Him, because they have not fully kept His commandments. This leads them to doubt their salvation. It’s true that, if keeping His commandments was wholly up to us, we would utterly fail. However, because of Christ’s death, that burden has been lifted. He kept all the commandments and so paid the price for our sin. We can never and could never earn our salvation; it has been freely given to us. Yet this does not mean we are not to follow His commandments. That is what this passage is talking about. It is not listing a way to obtain salvation. It is providing a way to see if someone is truly a Christian. We are not free to do whatever we want; we say that we abide in Him and so should strive to our utmost to “walk just as He walked.” As Matt. 12:33 says, “a tree is known by its fruit.” Faith is not evidenced in words, but in actions. As Christians, we should strive to be more like Christ with each passing day. Yes, we will stumble and be tempted, but the Lord is with us in all things. In the U.S. there are thousands of people that claim to be Christians. Yet because they do not change the way they live to focus on Him, their claim remains a claim. We also claim Jesus as our own. We claim that we have eternal life. Let us show by our actions that we do. Believe on the Lord, but as it says many times in Scripture, let your faith be perfected in works. We can say we believe, but if we do not act like we believe, that faith is dead. At the same time, though, works do not save us, but only the grace of God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus illustrates in Matt. 12:33-37, if a tree is good, it will bear good fruit. The fruit itself does not make it a good tree, but the fruit is the evidence of a good tree. Even so, let us be bold in spreading the Word, not only through our words, but by our actions as well.

Your brother in Christ,


"He who hates correction is stupid"

Dear Corey,

Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” We must learn to love correction. Only those who love knowledge will receive instruction. Sometimes we feel that we will appear stupid if we ask how to do things. But if we don’t ask, we are already stupid. We need to be able to set aside our pride and learn. God hates the proud. Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” We see that to have the wisdom that is from above we must be humble. If we are proud we not only care about what we look or seem like, but we can also cause problems; by not doing the job right, etc. We need to set aside our pride to gain wisdom. Think of someone you know that is wise. Is he proud or unwilling to receive correction? No. That person is probably humble and willing to receive correction. Examine yourself; are you willing to receive correction?

Your BIC,


Mar 6, 2011

Lessons Learned from Africa: What missions is truly about

Sorry everyone for not posting in so long. I just looked at the last time I had put something up and realized that it had been a lot longer than I had originally thought. As some of you may know, last month, my mom and I traveled to Africa to pick up a boy we were adopting and during that trip I learned many important lessons, such as this one:

“God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Oh let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth.” ~Ps. 67:1-4


What you may not realize is that most of the time, when I’m looking for a topic to write on, I just flip open my Bible and write on the first verse or section I read. I did the same thing with these verses, but it always amazes me how the Lord molds that into something that I have been dealing with or something I’ve been thinking about. This passage is both. When my mom and I got to Africa, I was expecting our time to make an impression, and it did, just not in the way I had anticipated. It wasn’t until after we had been there for two weeks that God showed me what I was to learn. First of all, you must understand my mindset during those two weeks. I had envisioned myself as some glorious engineer who would come in to one of the third-world, African countries and suddenly, because of me, it would become a first-class power. In the core of that thinking was providing houses and jobs for the poor. Rarely, however, did I think about the people’s souls. Our second Sunday there, my mom was talking to me and showed me the incredible mistake that was clouding my thinking. We often imagine that Satan leads us astray by tempting us with sinful, wicked thoughts. True, but they come in more than one form. My thinking, though a good thought and a good purpose, was not the best reason for the best purpose. Though it was a good goal and, when done for the right reason, is an admirable calling, because it was distracting me from what God tells us is to be our first focus, it was a sinful thought. Since that time, through talks with my mom and dad, Bible reading, books, and prayer, the Lord has directed my thinking towards another course. As the passage says, “You shall judge the people righteously.” I began wondering whether God’s judgment of me would be “Well done, good and faithful servant,” or “Depart from Me, for I never knew you.” We have a calling: preach the Word. We are not to first think about how to fix the world’s housing problems or even how to feed our families. Our first thought should be to our God and how we can further His glory. We are to care for the souls of our family, friends, nation, and world. What was bogging my thinking down was the notion that I should first meet the physical needs of the people, and then their spiritual needs, when it should have been the other way around. I am starting to realize the full meaning and need of David’s words, “God be merciful to us and bless us…that Your way may be known on earth.” As for you, don’t get so caught up in a career that you are in or are going to be in, that you lose focus of our true calling: first and foremost to evangelize, train, encourage, and strengthen in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. No, you need not spend hours a day preaching. God has called you to a specific physical job that may not be that of a missionary. But you do need to be constantly praying for the lost, encouraging the Church, and also consistently being bold in your faith. There are times when a specific person will be in every conversation, thought, and news article. Let’s change that to all the time and make it the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Your brother in Christ,


“Let the peoples praise You, O God; let the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us,

and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.” ~Ps. 67:5-7