Author Archives: bkshiroma

About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com

Valuing Jesus. Valued by Jesus. (Mark 14)

As I read this chapter, I marvel at Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha. (See John 12:1-8.) She valued Jesus so much, she was willing to sacrifice some very costly perfume in order to honor Jesus. It makes me think: … Continue reading

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Be on your guard (Mark 13)

It’s hard to miss the repetition Jesus uses here when he talks about the last days. Three times, he says, “Be on your guard!” All three times, it’s different things we are to be on our guard about. The first … Continue reading

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A+? F? (Mark 12:13-17)

I wrote something very similar to this some time ago, and it probably gives a better explanation of  this passage’s context and what it is about. But today, I wanted to focus on something a bit different. Last Sunday, a … Continue reading

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Listen to him! (Mark 9)

I don’t find it much a coincidence that shortly after Peter had been arguing with Jesus over his mission, the Father said what he did. On that high mountain, for the first time, Peter, James, and John, caught a glimpse … Continue reading

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Who Jesus really is (Mark 8)

Who is Jesus, really? The disciples should have known. But somehow, they didn’t. It should have been clear to them after Jesus fed the 5000. But after Jesus calmed the storm, it’s clear that they still didn’t really know. (Mark … Continue reading

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The teaching we hold to (Mark7)

Jesus’ words strike me in this passage. Quoting from Isaiah, he says, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines human commands. (6-7) And then he … Continue reading

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Making our Lord marvel (Mark 6)

Two verses strike me from this chapter. So they were offended at [Jesus]. (3) And, …he was amazed at their unbelief.” (6) To this day, people are offended at Jesus. At least when he makes claims of authority over our … Continue reading

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Responding to God’s Word (Mark 4)

In a lot of ways, this passage is connected to what I talked about yesterday: our reponse to Jesus’ authority.   Today, the question is, “How do we respond to His word?” You see this in the parable of the soils, … Continue reading

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Jesus’ authority (Mark 1-3)

As I’ve been reading Mark this week, one word has come to mind: Authority. Namely, Jesus’ authority. You see it first in his message. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news! (Mark 1:15) You … Continue reading

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Walking in the truth (3 John)

It’s hard to escape the word “truth” in this letter. John uses it six times in this very short letter. What is he talking about when he says, “the truth”? Most likely, he’s talking about the truth of the gospel. … Continue reading

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Who we sound like (I John 4)

I wish I could give a whole message on John 4, because there’s a lot of good stuff here. But let me focus on one thing. John says, They (the false prophets) are from the world. Therefore what they say … Continue reading

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God’s love? Love for God? (1 John 2)

After a flood of insights last week, it’s been a quiet one for me this week. Not that I haven’t learned anything, but nothing stood out to me that I haven’t already written about. But today, verse 5 stood out … Continue reading

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Humility (I Peter 5)

All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. (5) Here Peter addresses specifically the relationship between leaders in the church and their sheep. Leaders are to clothe themselves with humility to the people they are shepherding. Why? Because … Continue reading

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Saved with difficulty (I Peter 4)

Peter’s words in verses 17 and 18 really struck me, but particularly verse 18, where he says, And if the righteous person is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and sinner? The ESV puts it, “…the righteous … Continue reading

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Called to bless (I Peter 3)

There are many good things in this passage, but verse 9, struck me today. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a … Continue reading

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What are we drinking? (2 Peter 1-2)

“You are what you eat.” Or so the saying goes. In this case, Peter might change that to, “You are what you drink.” I talked in my last blog about living by the gospel. But what kind of things do … Continue reading

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Living by the gospel (2 Timothy 3)

One thing that Paul wanted Timothy to remind the Christians is to live by the gospel. What does that mean? It means that we daily remember the goodness and loving kindness of God toward us. That when we were lost … Continue reading

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Being faithful in what God has called us to do (Acts 6:1-7)

I have been continuing for the past couple of years to translate my original blog posts into Japanese, and am now in Acts. As I translated what I originally wrote, another aspect of this passage struck me. Obviously, the apostles … Continue reading

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Confusing God’s grace with his approval (Numbers 20:2-13)

One thing that God has been reminding me recently is that just because my ministry is blessed, this doesn’t necessarily mean I have his approval. This passage is a perfect example of that. Through Moses, the people of Israel were … Continue reading

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Remember Jesus (2 Timothy 3)

I really love this passage, but two things really stand out to me. …be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (1) Paul doesn’t say, “Man up. It’s all up to you! So do it!” He says, “Be … Continue reading

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Standing in awe of God (I Timothy 6)

You’ll have to forgive me if I seem to be beating the same drum at times. But this is one drum that I’ve been trying to keep in mind, because if I don’t, I’m likely to forget it. I was … Continue reading

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The God who has been my shepherd all my life (Genesis 48:15)

At our church, we are going through a series on God as our shepherd. I suppose you saw a glimpse of that in yesterday’s blog. Today, I’m meditating on Genesis 48:15. These were Jacob’s words to Joseph at the end … Continue reading

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The 23rd Psalm from the Lord’s perspective

Last Sunday, I heard a message touching on the 23rd Psalm, and it helped me to see the Psalm from God’s perspective. I AM your shepherd; you shall not want. I make you lie down in green pastures. I lead … Continue reading

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Words of grace, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt. (6) I don’t know about you, but those words are hard for me to live out. “Always gracious.” When I’m annoyed, are my words still gracious? When I’m angry, are my … Continue reading

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How our awe of God affects our attitudes (Philippians 4)

I did want to write one last thing (for now about our awe of God). It should affect our attitudes. It strikes me that with Euodia and Syntyche that was one thing they were lacking in their spat with one … Continue reading

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Rejoicing in the Lord (Philippians 3)

Recently, I preached a message on standing in awe of God. And so as I have been reading through Philippians, I see that theme everywhere. It struck me as I read chapters 3 and 4, that in rejoicing in the … Continue reading

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The grace of ministry (Philippians 1:7)

When I was reading Philippians 1 this week, it struck me that Paul saw ministry as a grace he received. He said, “you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation … Continue reading

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Working out your own salvation (Philippians 2)

I was reading John 21 yesterday, and as I read this passage, I was reminded of it. Paul told the Philippians, Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even … Continue reading

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Partakers of grace (Philippians 1:7)

I’ve been meditating this morning on Philippians 1, but especially on verse 7.  It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of … Continue reading

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Spiritual amnesia (Ephesians 1)

It is so easy to forget as Christians. We forget how much God has blessed us. We forget how he chose us before the foundation of the world. We forget the riches of his grace that he has lavished on … Continue reading

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Take pleasure? (2 Corinthians 11-12)

2 Corinthians 12:9 is probably one of the most famous in the Bible. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” I wonder, though, how often we notice Paul’ application … Continue reading

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A little perspective (Isaiah 43)

Isaiah 43 is definitely one of my favorite passages, especially verses 1-3. But today verses 7 and 21 stand out to me. God talks of Israel returning from Babylon, and in describing them, he says, everyone who bears my name … Continue reading

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Who we are pointing to (2 Corinthians 10)

It’s so easy to compare ourselves with others. I do it all the time. We say things like: “I read my Bible every day.” “I pray.” “I fast.” “I tithe.” “I sacrifice for the church.” And then we look at … Continue reading

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For you know… (2 Corinthians 8:9)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. Take some time to meditate on those words. Memorize … Continue reading

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Faithful (Jeremiah 23:28)

I was reading through several chapters of Jeremiah today, but it was this verse that struck me. It’s in the middle of a passage in which God condemns his people’s leaders, particularly the priests and prophets, for not warning the … Continue reading

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My God. My Father. (2 Corinthians 6-7)

It’s been a fun week: I caught the flu on Saturday and only yesterday have started to get back into normal life. Anyway, whenever you look at this kind of passage, particularly 6:16-7:1, it’s easy to focus on the commands: … Continue reading

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A word to think on (2 Corinthians 1:12)

This verse struck me as I read this, and it’s one I’m trying to memorize. Let’s try to do this without looking. For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we have behaved in the world with … Continue reading

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Approved. Chosen. (Romans 16)

In Paul’s greetings, two things stood out to me today. He says of a man named Apelles: “he is ‘approved in Christ.’” And of a man named Rufus: “he is ‘chosen in the Lord.’” The truth is, both things can … Continue reading

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In honor of the Lord (Romans 14)

As I read this passage, today it was verses 5-9 that strike me. In telling the Romans not to quarrel about things that are not a matter of God’s word, but a matter of conscience, Paul says, One person judges … Continue reading

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Peace (Romans 13)

As we face the new year, Paul’s words strike me. Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. … Continue reading

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True worship (Romans 12)

What is worship? I used to think it was just singing songs. But to Paul, it was so much more. He says, Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies … Continue reading

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The grace on which we stand (Romans 11)

Happy New Year all! I realize I haven’t been blogging much the past couple of weeks because of the winter holidays, but God willing, I should be starting to get back into the swing of things again. It is so … Continue reading

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Under grace (Romans 6)

I was just thinking of Paul’s words in Romans 6:14 and what they mean. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace. That is not the most easy sentence to understand. … Continue reading

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When Jesus comes again (Revelation 11)

This time of year, Handel’s Messiah is very popular, and of course one of the most famous songs is the Hallelujah Chorus. One of the lines comes directly from this chapter in verse 15. The kingdom of this world has … Continue reading

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To become like him (I Corinthians 15)

There are lots of good stuff in this chapter. I particularly like verses 9-10. But this being the Christmas season, it is verses 48-49 that strike me. In those verses Paul compares the first man Adam with the second man … Continue reading

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Just a choice? (1 Corinthians 13)

One thing I have often heard (and taught for that matter), is that love is not a feeling, it’s a choice. After all, how can you command a feeling? And yet God commands us to love. As I think on … Continue reading

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Having heaven’s perspective (Revelation 4)

One thing that will happen when we finally see God face to face is that we’ll have heaven’s perspective on who he is. How do they see him? Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and … Continue reading

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Truth, but not love. Love, but not truth. (Revelation 2)

Considering the theme of the last blog I wrote, the need for us to walk in truth and love, I find this chapter very apropos. For in it, we see the problem of having truth but not love, and of … Continue reading

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Two indispensable things (2 John 2)

As  I read this passage, I find two indispensable things that must be part of a true Christian’s life: truth, and love. John says, Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, … Continue reading

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The one who keeps us (I John 5:18-20)

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the one who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the … Continue reading

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No cause for stumbling (1 John 2)

The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother or sister remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling … Continue reading

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Faithful…and just? (I John 1:9)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I have read this verse hundreds of times, and taught on it multiple times, but something struck me … Continue reading

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By his righteousness, by his power, by his promises (2 Peter 1)

The more I read this chapter, the more Peter’s words strike me. He says in verse 2, May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. How many of us know … Continue reading

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The love of God and the endurance of Christ (II Thessalonians 3)

I wrote something similar to this post last month, but as I was writing this for my church today, and there are a few additional points, I thought I’d put it here too. All of us face trials at one … Continue reading

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Regarding Christ as Holy (I Peter 3:15)

I was just meditating on these words today from Peter.  …but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy. (I Peter 3:15) The context here is of not fearing persecution for following Christ. Peter says, “Don’t fear what other … Continue reading

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Let us sing praise (James 5:13)

As today is Thanksgiving in the States (as I write this, anyway), James words struck me as I read them. Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. I think most people are … Continue reading

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The hope of holiness (I Thessalonians 3-4)

I wrote on this passage not too long ago, but my church’s reading plan brought me back to this, and as I read it this time around, something else struck me about Paul’s words to us about holiness. I think … Continue reading

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Living by the law that brings liberty (James 2)

As I was reading this passage, something connected for me that I had never seen before. I can’t say for certain that it was what James had in mind when he wrote this, but considering his Jewish background, it wouldn’t … Continue reading

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Faith, hope, love (I Thessalonians 1)

No, the scripture reference is not a mistake. It is indeed I Thessalonians 1, not I Corinthians 13. The truth is, faith, hope, and love are three things that Paul often links in his letters. I Corinthians 13 just happens … Continue reading

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The reason for our hope (Hebrews 9-10)

We saw in my last post that in Jesus we find rest because Jesus himself finished the work of salvation for us. And in these chapters (and for that matter, in the previous chapters as well), the author of Hebrews … Continue reading

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Striving…to rest (Hebrews 3-5)

I’ve been reading these chapters over and over, and as I do, I wonder, how much do we rest in Jesus? The writer of Hebrews says, Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered … Continue reading

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Ignoring the word of Jesus (Hebrews 1-4)

In my last post, we saw how Paul told Timothy, “Remember Jesus Christ.” Here we see similar words by the author of Hebrews: “Consider Jesus.” (3:1) I have probably read Hebrews dozens of times, but as I’ve been reading it … Continue reading

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Remember Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2)

“Remember Jesus Christ!” Paul cries out in verse 8. How well we would do to remember Jesus Christ in our daily lives. Put another way, remember Jesus the Messiah, our Savior, descendant of David, who was crucified for our sins … Continue reading

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Living with a clean conscience (Acts 23)

Paul’s words are very striking in verse 1. My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day. How many of us can say the same thing? That our consciences are clear before God? … Continue reading

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What we have in Jesus (2 Timothy 1)

Paul wrote this letter not long before he was put to death by Nero. It’s that fact that makes his first words to Timothy more than a little meaningful. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the … Continue reading

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Setting our eyes on God (I Timothy 6)

Paul says in verse 17, to not set our hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God. And as I read that, I thought about what Paul had just said in the previous verses about this God we are … Continue reading

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How Paul thought (Acts 20)

Paul’s words to the Ephesians always make a big impression on me. But here are a few things you might want to do after reading this passage: Read  Ezekiel 33:1-10 and then reread Acts 20:20-27. How did Ezekiel’s words influence Paul’s … Continue reading

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But I did what you told me! (Acts 16)

According to verses 6-10 of this chapter, the Holy Spirit led Paul and his companions to Macedonia, and so that’s where they went. At first, things went well, but eventually they were tossed into prison for casting out a demon … Continue reading

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Prayers that every believer needs (2 Thessalonians 1-2)

As I was reading 2 Thessalonians today, Paul’s prayers really touched me. The things that he prayed for the Thessalonians is what I need prayer for. They’re what every Christian needs prayer for. He said, We always pray for you … Continue reading

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Children of light (I Thessalonians 5)

One small note. Yesterday, I said I was talking about chapters 2-3; actually, it was 3-4. (And thus we can see that there are benefits to having chapter and verse divisions after all. It keeps us on the same page. … Continue reading

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Holiness (I Thessalonians 3-4)

If there is one theme at the end of chapter 3 and the start of chapter 4 (which is why it was probably a bad idea to break this section up with the chapter division), it’s holiness. Time and again, … Continue reading

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A prayer of worship (Colossians 1-2)

I must admit, I don’t worship nearly enough as I should when I read the Bible. But this time, I couldn’t help myself. Lord, as I look at this passage, I can’t help but worship you. Jesus, you are the … Continue reading

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Living by grace (Philippians 4:9)

Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Those are pretty remarkable words, don’t you think? “Do you want the God of peace to … Continue reading

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Rejoicing in Jesus (Philippians 3)

“So on a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your walk with God this week?”  I used to hear this question a lot when I was in high school in the discipleship group I was in. A … Continue reading

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The affection of Christ (Philippians 1:8)

For some reason, this verse struck me as I read it. For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:8) Oftentimes, we talk about the “love of Christ” for … Continue reading

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What mark Christ’s people. What marks Christ’s church. (Ephesians 4)

Twitter, Facebook, Line, and other social networks can be a wonderful thing. But one thing I have noticed recently is a certain lack of Christ-like character in the things Christians sometimes post, particularly to one another. In Ephesians 2-3, Paul … Continue reading

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A God-centered salvation (Ephesians 1-2)

One thing I have been doing the last couple of days as I have read Ephesians 1-2 is noting all the “hims” and “his”s that are there, and really thinking through, “Who is this talking about, the Father, the Son, … Continue reading

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Remembering grace (Galatians 6)

In the first part of this chapter, Paul tells us that when others are caught in sin, we are to restore them with gentleness. So many times, however, this is simply not done. Instead, often times, Christians do this with … Continue reading

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Losing our blessedness (Galatians 3-4)

What then has become of your blessedness? (3:15, ESV) That’s a good question. Many Christians today have lost their blessedness. Why? They’ve forgotten who they are. And they’ve forgotten how they came to be what they are. What do I … Continue reading

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Out of step with the gospel (Galatians 2)

Verse 14 really strikes me. …I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel… (14, ESV) Obviously, in this context, Peter’s conduct was out of step with the gospel in that by his actions, … Continue reading

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A grace and love that is not weak (2 Corinthians 12-13)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (13:13) Those are extremely famous words. But I wonder how often they are misunderstood. Some people think … Continue reading

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Characterized by surpassing grace (2 Corinthians 9:14)

There are more than a few famous verses in this passage related to giving. But today, it was one less often quoted verse that struck me today. In talking about how people would respond to the generosity of the Corinthians, … Continue reading

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Because we are loved (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)

Something struck me as I read this passage for perhaps the thousandth time. A single word: beloved. Paul says in chapter 7, verse 1, Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and … Continue reading

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The glory of Yahweh (2 Corinthians 3:7-18)

The glory of Yahweh. Those words bring up a lot of images to my mind. You find those words repeated time and again in the Old Testament. (For those of you who don’t know, whenever you see LORD in all … Continue reading

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The grace shown us in ministry (II Corinthians 2:14-3:6)

It’s been a slow week in terms of blogging for me this week. I suppose I shouldn’t feel bad about it since I made no guarantees about how often I would blog. I think that for me, this has been … Continue reading

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Joy (Psalm 30)

This psalm was written by David, probably after his sin that took place in I Chronicles 21. And it talks about the joy of forgiveness and restoration. But I also see Jesus in this psalm. On the cross, the Father hid … Continue reading

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Captivated by grace and truth (Psalm 26)

When I read this passage, the first thing I saw was some parallels between this psalm and Psalm 1. If you have time, check it out. But the thing that really struck me was verse 3. For your faithful love … Continue reading

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A challenge for men (I Corinthians 11:3-4)

I am fully aware that this part of the passage seems to be addressing more of a problem with the Corinthian women than with the men, but being a man, it’s these words that strike me the most. But I … Continue reading

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Selfishness and pride (I Corinthians 8)

If there is one theme that I’m consistently seeing in I Corinthians, it’s the problem of selfishness and pride in the Corinthian church. And so time and again, Paul tries to bring them back to what is central: God. That’s … Continue reading

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Keeping a pure heart (I Corinthians 5, Psalm 19)

Today I was reading I Corinthians 5 and Psalm 19, and as I meditated on them, the two passages connected in my heart. In I Corinthians 5, Paul was talking about sin in the church and the need to discipline … Continue reading

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Who we are answerable to(I Corinthians 4)

Last Sunday, I gave a message at church, and one thing I shared was that so many times people are swept away by the expectations of others, and even themselves. As a result, they get weighed down by those expectations, … Continue reading

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Not ready (I Corinthians 3)

“You’re not ready yet.” Those are pretty piercing words, don’t you think? That’s what Paul told the Corinthian church. “There’s so much I want to teach you. There’s so much more I want to build on that foundation I laid…but … Continue reading

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Being honest with yourself (Psalm 15)

One theme that runs throughout this psalm is integrity. And as I read verse 2, it really struck me. In one translation, it reads this way, “[He] speaks truth in his heart.” (ESV) Another reads, [He] acknowledges the truth in his heart.” … Continue reading

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The One who is on the throne (Psalm 9)

Sometimes, we look at the world, and it can get discouraging. We see all the evil and all the people who are hurting. Sometimes we ourselves are hurting. And we wonder where God is. But to David, the answer was … Continue reading

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Falsely promising life (Ezekiel 13:22)

I don’t typically read the New Living Translation, but I have been listening to an audio Bible using that translation recently. And today, this word struck me: And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they … Continue reading

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The one who is in control (Isaiah 14)

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this many times before, but it’s good to remember this in a world that often seems like it’s going crazy: God is in control. In declaring judgment on Babylon and Assyria, he said, As I have … Continue reading

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What does the Bible say? (Romans 4:3)

As I read this passage, I thought of something a famous pastor was telling his congregation not too long ago. He was ranting, “Here’s a question we gotta quit asking…What does the Bible say, what does the Bible say, what … Continue reading

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The Lord is my salvation (Psalm 3)

As I read this psalm, the very last verse struck me: “Salvation belongs to the LORD.” That is pretty much what Jesus’ name means. “The Lord is our Salvation.” Those are words that are worth meditating on: “The Lord is … Continue reading

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What we take for granted (Romans 1)

I think as a life-long Christian I sometimes take for granted the things that I read in the Bible. It’s almost as if when I read it, I say in my mind (if unconsciously), “But of course.” I wonder, though, … Continue reading

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A never-ending battle (I Chronicles 20:4-8)

If there was one enemy that often came against the Israelites, it was the Philistines. Time and again, the Israelites conquered them. Time and again, the Philistines came back to war against the Israelites. In the same way, as Christians, … Continue reading

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The joy of our salvation (1 Chronicles 16)

In this passage, we see David doing something very important in the psalm he wrote: he recalls the joy of his salvation. (You also might want to read Psalms 96, 105, and 106, where this psalm came from…or vice versa). … Continue reading

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Devoted to the Word (Acts 18:5)

I was reading this passage in the ESV, and this translation struck me, Paul was occupied with the word… What does that mean, “occupied with the Word.” Well, it doesn’t mean that he was simply holed up in his house … Continue reading

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What we do with what we learn (Acts 17)

One more thought on this passage. Luke writes of the people in Athens, Now all the Athenians and the foreigners residing there spent their time on nothing else but telling or hearing something new. (21) It reminded me of what … Continue reading

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An unknowable God? (Acts 17)

In this passage, we see that the Athenians worshiped an “unknown god.” Basically this was their way of covering their bases. They didn’t want to upset any god unintentionally. But the truth was, when they actually heard who this God … Continue reading

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God’s irony (Acts 11:19-30)

When I read this passage today, something struck me. The whole reason why there was a Gentile church in Antioch and other places outside of Israel was that Saul had persecuted the church, causing the Christians to scatter from Jerusalem. … Continue reading

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The whole gospel (Acts 10)

Something struck me as I read Acts 10: the gospel message of Peter. He talked about how Jesus had come with power, healing the sick and doing good. He then talked about how Jesus was crucified and subsequently resurrected. And … Continue reading

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What’s in our hearts (Acts 8:9-24)

When I was looking at the story of Simon, it made me think about what’s in my heart. In my church, I have a very visible position when I teach. And so it’s very easy to desire honor and praise … Continue reading

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Praying for our leaders (2 Samuel 23:3-4)

I was just reading this passage with my wife this evening, and verses 3-4 really struck me. The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me, his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke; the Rock of Israel … Continue reading

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How we see God (2 Samuel 22:26-27)

This past Sunday, I was preaching on the Sermon on the Mount, and in particular, Matthew 5:7-8. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (ESV) I wonder … Continue reading

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Always eligible for grace (2 Samuel 19)

As I read the part about Mephibosheth in this passage, his words to David struck me. Apparently, Mephibosheth’s servant had wrongfully accused him of turning on David when David was fleeing for his life from Absalom. But after offering his … Continue reading

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God’s plans (2 Samuel 17)

As I read this passage, verse 14 struck me. For the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom. Sometimes we look at the evil in the world and wonder if … Continue reading

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Declaring God to the next generation (Psalm 145)

As I was looking at this Psalm today, these words struck me. One generation will declare your works to the next and will proclaim your mighty acts. (4) And then David seems to model what he said in the next … Continue reading

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How we see sin (2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 51)

In these passages, we see one of the horrid sins of David, committing adultery with Bathsheba and then murdering her husband. And God had some hard words for David concerning that sin. “Why then have you despised the Lord’s command … Continue reading

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Clinging to what we shouldn’t (Joshua 7)

As I read the first few words of this chapter, these words struck me. The Israelites, however, were unfaithful regarding the things set apart for destruction. (1) It says here that the Israelites were unfaithful. How? Because of how they … Continue reading

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Who is in charge? (Joshua 5)

This is always a striking passage when I read it. And it always makes me think  about my relationship with God. So many times, people ask, “God, are you really for me?”, as if we were the center of the … Continue reading

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A channel of grace and mercy (2 Samuel 9)

As I read Mephibosheth’s words in this passage, “What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?” (9:8) it reminded me of David’s words to God in chapter 7. Who am I, Lord God, … Continue reading

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Grace (2 Samuel 7)

What is grace? I think we see it in this passage. So often, we, like David, think to impress God by doing something for him. And God reminds us that what we can do for him pales in comparison to … Continue reading

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Trust (Psalm 131)

As those of you who follow this blog know, this has not been an easy week for me. And when we come face to face with the storms and trials of life, it’s easy to ask, “Why.” The truth is, … Continue reading

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Hearts set on the highway (Psalm 84)

I love this psalm. It is a beautiful psalm from start to finish. I could spend days meditating on it. But here’s what struck me today. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways … Continue reading

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His faithful love (Psalm 118)

You’ll have to pardon the direction my thoughts naturally go this week. As I mentioned yesterday, my pastor and friend passed away this week, and today is the day of his funeral. Thinking about him colors a lot of what … Continue reading

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Costly (Psalm 116)

I suppose it’s apropos that this passage come up at this time of my life. I actually was thinking on this passage a couple of days ago, when for the second time in several months, I lost a pastor to … Continue reading

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What is my heart saying? (Psalm 27)

What is my heart saying? In good times? In bad times? In normal times? What our heart says often shows to whom we belong. It’s clear who David’s heart belonged to. My heart says this about you: “Seek his face.” … Continue reading

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Calling evil, “evil” (Deuteronomy 19)

I’m thinking about my next message I’ll be giving at my church, where Jesus talks about “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” versus forgiveness. I think one thing that many people don’t realize is that “eye for eye, tooth for … Continue reading

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God’s wisdom. Our wisdom. (2 Samuel 5)

In this passage, we see both David’s good points and bad points. His good point was that he sought God’s wisdom. So when he fought with the Philistines, he always asked, “God, what should I do?” His bad point? Ironically, … Continue reading

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Working our own salvation (I Samuel 25)

I was reading this story in the ESV, and there’s a turn of phrase that quite’s different in it from the other translations. In verses 26, 31, and 33, most translations have David and Abigail talking about how it would … Continue reading

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Anger and bitterness (2 Samuel 2)

As I was reading this passage, I was struck by Joab’s words. “Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness?” (26) On Sunday, I gave a message about holding on to anger in our … Continue reading

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My kingdom come. Your kingdom come. (I Samuel 20, 23)

It really is amazing to think about Jonathan. Here he was, the heir to the throne, and yet that didn’t matter at all to him. Saul raved, Every day Jesse’s son lives on earth you and your kingship are not … Continue reading

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Why we have hope (Psalm 88)

This is probably the most depressing psalm in the Bible. And yet as I read it today, I saw something different: I saw Jesus. This is not what is typically thought of as a Messianic Psalm. And of course, not … Continue reading

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The ends and the means (I Samuel 29)

As I looked at this passage today, I saw it in a way I had never seen before. Here we see the Philistines about to battle the Israelites, and the Philistine ruler Achish expected David to join them. Why? Because … Continue reading

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A house on sand? (I Samuel 28)

As I read this passage, something interesting struck me. Samuel’s ministry ended it the same way it began: with a message of judgment. The first message was one of judgment on the high priest Eli. The second was a message … Continue reading

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Right with God (2 Samuel 23)

David’s words strike me here. Is it not true my house is with God? For he has established a permanent covenant with me, ordered and secured in every detail. Will he not bring about my whole salvation and my every … Continue reading

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Psalm 18 — The God who came down

It’s strange how my diverse reading plans come together at times. I was reading Psalm 18 yesterday, and by chance came across II Samuel 22 today. They’re two different passages, but the same psalm are in them. And something struck … Continue reading

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Grace and truth (Psalm 57)

We all face troubles at times. David certainly did so, running for his life from Saul. What sustained him? Two things: God’s faithful love and truth. God had promised that he would make David king. And because of God’s faithful … Continue reading

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Mercy and Grace (I Samuel 24)

As I look back on my older blogs, particularly on the Old Testament, I think I looked for a lot of practical, moral lessons. I think to some degree that is fine. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that these things … Continue reading

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Continually (Psalm 71)

There are advantages to a more “literal” translation at times. And one of those advantages is that you can see repetition of words more clearly within the same passage. This is one of those cases, and so I’ll be using … Continue reading

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Unhitched? (Or, is the Old Testament still relevant to us?)

Normally, I don’t do this, but I’d like to interact with some things that a well-known pastor in the States was saying in a message about a week ago. This pastor was preaching from Acts 15, and while I agreed with … Continue reading

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The poor in spirit (I Samuel 22)

A couple of things strike me in this passage. First, the kinds of people who joined David. They were desperate, in debt, and discontented. In short, they were as Jesus put it, “poor in spirit.” They were far from perfect … Continue reading

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A better high priest (Numbers 20)

As I read this passage, I thought about Aaron. He was the first high priest that Israel ever knew. But he was a flawed man. While Moses was up on the mountain getting the ten commandments, Aaron gave into pressure … Continue reading

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Striving…to rest (Psalm 62)

As I read this Psalm today, I saw it in a different way from how I’ve always seen it. David writes, I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. (1) And again, Rest in God alone, … Continue reading

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Barely seeing (I Samuel 3)

Yes, I know I wrote on this fairly recently. But sometimes the 3 different Bible-reading plans I’m using overlap, and today happened to bring me back here. And it struck me even more strongly today than it did the last … Continue reading

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Separate, but interceding (Numbers 16-17)

As I was reading different passages from the Bible today, several things struck me, but perhaps this passage most of all. Some of the Israelites had rebelled against God, and Moses told the community, Get away from the tents of … Continue reading

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Conscious of our sin (Psalm 51)

I’ve probably seen (and sung) this psalm hundreds of times. Today, verse 3 strikes me. David writes, For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. There are two kinds of problems Christians face when … Continue reading

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Where’s the love? (Judges 14-16)

As I read the story of Samson, several things strike me. Unlike the other times in the books of Judges, the people weren’t crying out to God for help from the Philistines. There was no sign of repentance at all … Continue reading

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Stop fighting! (Psalm 46, I Samuel 19)

It’s been a few days since I last posted. I’ve either been fighting a cold or hay fever since last week, and it’s hard to tell which. Not to mention the fact that it’s been a slow week for insights … Continue reading

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Your God? My God? (I Samuel 15)

I have probably read this passage dozens of times, but today I noticed something new. It’s always been there, of course, but I never noticed it until now. Three times, Saul talks about offering sacrifices to God or worshiping God. … Continue reading

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Failing to see God and ourselves for who we are (Psalm 36)

There are two kinds of blindness in this world. And one affects the other. There is the blindness as to who God is. David writes, An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked person: Dread of God … Continue reading

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Seeking the Lord’s favor? (I Samuel 13)

Here we see the first of Saul’s two major failures that led to his loss of the throne God had given him. He was supposed to wait for Samuel to come and offer a sacrifice before engaging the Philistines, but … Continue reading

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Walking with the Spirit (I Samuel 12)

As I read this passage, I thought about the message I gave this past Sunday. In it, I talked about how the Holy Spirit is with us to teach us, to guide us, and intercede for us in our weakness … Continue reading

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Transformed (I Samuel 10)

This week, I’m preaching from Romans 7-8 in my church. And I hit on a phrase that really got me thinking. But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that … Continue reading

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When we reject God as king (1 Samuel 8)

When I look at this passage, I can’t help but think about Romans chapter 1. Here, though the people legitimately rejected Samuel’s sons as judges, they came up with the wrong solution: they rejected God as king. God said to … Continue reading

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