We often hear songs, friends or even teachers and pastors quote something they say is from the Bible and it seems to sound good. However, many times things are thrown around and attributed to Jesus and scripture that only contain a nugget of truth, but are wrapped in untruth or otherwise slightly twisted to make a point. Sometimes these people are doing such a thing intentionally, but often it is unintentional.
Do you know Jesus and scripture well enough to be able to recognize His truth when you hear it or see it? Do you know Jesus and scripture well enough to be able to recognize lies or twisted truth when you hear them or see them? That is discernment. It grows and is strengthened by spending time with Jesus and in Scripture. The Secret Service does NOT train it’s agents by having them study the many different counterfeit bills they have detected over the years. Rather they train their agents to recognize counterfeit currency by having them intensely study the true currency so they will readily recognize the false when they see it. How intensely do you know scripture and Jesus? Is it well enough that alarms go off inside your spirit when untruth or twisted truth is preached, taught, written or otherwise passed off as the truth of God or something God supposedly said or taught?
INVITATION: One of our Elders, Stephen Eckert, taught this week kicking off our new series on “God Never Said That.” You are invited into scripture this week to dig into these areas: 1) Does the Bible say a whale is a fish? Stephen pointed out he has encountered more than one person who was ready to discount all of scripture because they thought if scripture calls a whale a fish (its a mammal), then it cannot be relied upon for other truths. 2) Does the Bible teach that “God helps those who help themselves?” We will explore how or why these things might become known as supposed “truths” and examine what scripture has to say about them.
MONDAY: Jonah 1:1-17. Jonah was a prophet and God instructed him to go to Nineveh. So, Jonah proceeded to go the exact opposite direction! Once on the ship in a raging storm, he realized the Lord might be trying to show him something. Jonah instructed the others on the ship to throw him over because surely he was the cause of the storm. Verse 17 introduces the “great fish.” that swallowed him. In some translations its called a “huge fish.” Have you ever felt the nudge of God and gone in an opposite direction? How did that turn out for you? What helps you discern the voice of God in your life?
TUESDAY: Matthew 12:40: This verse is another reference to the supposed “whale” from the book of Jonah. Stephen taught how the Greek world for “whale” didn’t even exist until after Jesus’ time and a “mammal” was not known until 1758. Stephen encouraged all of us that we don’t have to be afraid of contradictions about the truth in Scripture. Often when people hyper focus on a small portion of scripture, they are not familiar with the entirety of the word of God. Also they may be at a place in their life where they are still looking (hoping?) for reasons to NOT believe scripture and/or in God. A person’s journey to God is up to God. It is up to us to simply reflect God’s love to others and draw them to Jesus. That may or may not involve words. Read Hebrew 4:12. The word of God is sharp and penetrates. People often DON’T want to believe it, adhere to it or follow it and will do whatever it takes to tear it down. What is your attitude about the truth of scripture? If you have doubts, have you taken them to prayer? God can handle our doubts, and Rockhills Church is a safe place to ask your questions. Come as you are. What is your attitude toward people who don’t hold the same beliefs about God as you do? Can you love them?
WEDNESDAY: “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” This is a quote often attributed to scripture when, in fact, scripture teaches almost the exact opposite. There ARE verses about not being lazy, but this quote implies we should not “bother” God with our needs and do things on our own. Read Jeremiah 29:11. Have you ever spent time meditating on the truth that God has good plans for you and your life? We have a personal God who desires relationship with us and wants to give us strength. He doesn’t create and then send us off to figure things out by trial and error. How might you seek out God’s plan for your life today? That might not mean you get a complete road map (you probably won’t!), but perhaps you can ask the Lord to help you begin to notice small things that happen during the day. Then notice the same thing tomorrow, and the following day. Before long, you will see a pattern of God’s loving involvement in your daily life.
THURSDAY: Philippians 4:6 and Philippians 4:13: God wants to hear our hearts and our requests and he desires to give us peace. What images and impressions does the word “peace” create for you? The word peace has rich Biblical connotations of reconciliation, wholeness, health and unity. God wants to help you have those things in your life! Do you believe that? How might you lean on HIS knowledge and understanding this week in order to have more peace?
FRIDAY: 2 Cor. 1:9 & Proverbs 3:5. These verses make it clear we are NOT meant to rely on our own resources, but on the Holy Spirit who lives and resides in us. In a world and culture that values and rewards independence, how does this make you feel? Does it take some pressure off, or do you feel like you have more pressure? How might you “download” some of your burdens to Jesus today? Matthew 11:28-30 states: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
SATURDAY: John 15:4-5 & I Peter 5:6-7: How might you stay attached to the vine today and in the day’s to come? The next time a care or anxiety comes to mind, how can you remind yourself to pray and give it back to Jesus?