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

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

Posted in General Epistles, II John, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in General Epistles, I John, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in General Epistles, I John, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in General Epistles, I John, New Testament | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in General Epistles, I Peter, New Testament | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in II Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Leave a comment

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

Posted in General Epistles, I Peter, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in General Epistles, James, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in General Epistles, James, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in General Epistles, Hebrews, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Hebrews, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Hebrews, New Testament | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts, New Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in II Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Colossians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Galatians, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Corinthians, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Corinthians, New Testament | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Corinthians, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Corinthians, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Corinthians, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Ezekiel, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Isaiah | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in New Testament, Romans | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in New Testament, Romans | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Chronicles, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Chronicles, Old Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts, Books of History, New Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts, Books of History, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts, Books of History, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts, Books of History, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts, Books of History, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts, Books of History, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, II Samuel, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, II Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, II Samuel, Old Testament | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, Books of Poetry, II Samuel, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, Joshua, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, Joshua, Old Testament | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, II Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, II Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in New Testament, Psalms | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Moses, Deuteronomy, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, II Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, II Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, II Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, II Samuel, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Old Testament, Psalms | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Acts, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Moses, Numbers, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, New Testament, Old Testament | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of Moses, Numbers, Old Testament | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, Judges, Old Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, Books of Poetry, I Samuel, Psalms | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

Who can stand in the presence of a holy God? (I Samuel 6)

In verse 20, the Israelites in Beth-shemesh cried out “Who is able to stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God?” Here the Israelites realized what the Philistines realized: No one is worthy to stand before God. The … Continue reading

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Leave a comment

No glory? (I Samuel 4)

In this passage, we see the people of Israel, who have been living their own way and not following God, doing something worse: they were treating God like a genie. They thought they could control him and use him to … Continue reading

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Blind and deaf (I Samuel 2-3)

Sometimes, you can see some sharp irony in the Bible. I think this is one of those cases. It says in verse 1, In those days the word of the Lord was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread. This … Continue reading

Posted in Books of History, I Samuel, Old Testament | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Why we need a Savior (Joshua 24)

The interaction between Joshua and the people is very interesting. Joshua basically told  the people, “I don’t care what you folks decide, but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” When the people insist that they … Continue reading

Posted in Books of History, Joshua, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

When God listened to a man (Joshua 10)

As I was reading this passage about how God made the day longer and helped the Israelites conquer their enemies, this verse struck me. There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord listened to a … Continue reading

Posted in Books of History, Joshua, Old Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Taking what belongs to God (Joshua 7)

This is a pretty familiar passage to me. I’ve read it dozens of times, it being the story of Achan taking things for himself that should have been devoted to the Lord. But as I read it, God’s words to … Continue reading

Posted in Books of History, Joshua, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

For whom the fruitful tree prospers (Psalm 1)

I was reading this Psalm earlier this week, but didn’t get a chance to write about it, so I thought I would do so today. The psalmist wrote, How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Poetry, Old Testament, Psalms | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Better to die? (Jonah 4)

What’s striking in this passage is Jonah’s attitude toward people headed for destruction in contrast to Jesus’. When God spared the Ninevites because of their repentance, Jonah was furious. He wanted them to perish. They were the enemies of the … Continue reading

Posted in Jonah, Minor Prophets, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Salvation (Jonah 2)

I’ve really been looking at Jonah through different eyes which has been kind of cool. Here we see Jonah’s cry from the fish, but we also see Jesus in kind of a reverse mirror image. Jonah, of course suffered for … Continue reading

Posted in Jonah, Minor Prophets, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

And the lot fell on…Jesus (Jonah 1:7)

I was reading Jonah again today, and again thought about the parallels between Jesus and Jonah. I didn’t talk about it yesterday, but it did strike me that both in the boat and at the cross lots were cast. Coincidence? … Continue reading

Posted in Jonah, Minor Prophets, Old Testament | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Reluctant savior. Willing Savior. (Jonah 1)

As I was reading Jonah today, I thought about how Jesus compared his death and resurrection to Jonah going into the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:39-40). So as I read today, I thought … Continue reading

Posted in Jonah, Minor Prophets, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Who truly leads us (Deuteronomy 31)

At the end of his life, Moses said something to the Israelites that must have left them with a sick feeling in the pit of their stomachs. I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Deuteronomy, Old Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Lord who is our life (Deuteronomy 30:20)

The words here strike me. For the Lord is your life. (Deuteronomy 30:20) Do we really believe that? “The Lord is my life.” Can I honestly say that? “The Lord is my life.” What does that mean exactly? He is … Continue reading

Posted in Deuteronomy, Old Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

Forgive us our debts… (Deuteronomy 15:1-2)

I’ve now hit Deuteronomy in my Bible reading, and actually covered about 10 chapters or so. I use a Bible with no chapter numbers or verses, and it’s amazing how quickly the chapters fly by when you don’t know they’re … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Deuteronomy, Old Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Angry at God? (James 1)

Sometimes we get angry with God because of the trials we go through. We shout, “Do you really hate me that much? Do you WANT me to walk away from you?” But James reminds us of something important. God is … Continue reading

Posted in General Epistles, James, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Going beyond what God has said (Numbers 22-24, 2 John)

My daily reading and my church’s Bible reading plan (2 different things) have a certain parallel that I found interesting. In Numbers, God tells Balaam that when he goes with the men of Balak (who wants Balaam to curse Israel), … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, New Testament, Numbers | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Numbers 15:30-40 — Following our own hearts

“Just follow your heart!” How often have we heard that said to us? How often do we say it to others? I suppose that there is some truth to it. When our hearts are aligned with Christ’s, they will often … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Numbers, Old Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Despising God (Numbers 13-14)

Lots here that stand out to me. But perhaps the most are these words: The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people despise me? How long will they not trust in me…(14:11) How often do we link failing … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Numbers, Old Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

Spiritual babies (Numbers 11)

It strikes me just how childish the Israelites were in this passage. The Israelites wept again and said, “Who will feed us meat? We remember the free fish we ate in Egypt, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Numbers, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A single misstep (Numbers 6:1-21)

Something struck me here as I read the law concerning the Nazirites. Nazirites were people who for a period in their lives set themselves apart for God. There were several rules for the Nazirites, one of which was that they … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Numbers, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Resting in grace (I Peter 5)

Two blogs in one day. Pretty unusual, but I wrote something for my church, and I figured I might as well share it here as well. You know it’s easy as we’re facing trials and struggles in our lives to … Continue reading

Posted in I Peter, New Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Made holy (Leviticus 20-22)

Yes, it’s been a while since I blogged here. I’ve been working on a message for next Sunday. And I’ve been meditating a lot on Leviticus 18-19 and the laws there. I won’t get into it here, but I think … Continue reading

Posted in Leviticus, Old Testament | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A God who understands (Leviticus 13)

Last Sunday, one of our preachers was giving a message on Mark 1:40-42, in which Jesus healed a leper. And since I was going through Leviticus anyway, I decided to look again at the passages on the lepers. And in … Continue reading

Posted in Leviticus, New Testament | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Atonement (Leviticus 16)

Some things strike me here as I read this passage. First, the Holy Place, the tabernacle, and the altar were considered stained by the sin of the people. Some people wonder why God can’t just allow anyone into heaven. The … Continue reading

Posted in Leviticus, Old Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pictures of sin (Leviticus 11-15)

This is one of those passages that make a lot of people go, “Huh?” To be honest, probably most of the Israelites themselves said, “Huh?” when they heard these commands. Looking at these commands, they can seem so anal. Why … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Leviticus, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How we regard God (Leviticus 9-10)

Yes, I know I’m going backward. Actually this year, I’m reading through each book of the Bible at least twice, using two different translations. I’ve been thinking about leadership in the church, and how we are to be held to … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Leviticus, Old Testament | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“I am Yahweh” (Leviticus)

I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the LORD (Yahweh) your God… (Leviticus 26:12-13) I wrote about this a couple of days ago, but as I read Leviticus 22-27 again, … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Leviticus, Old Testament | Tagged | Leave a comment

How we see sin (Leviticus 20)

It strikes me here how God sees sin. It is perverse. (12) It is detestable. (13) It is depraved. (14) It is a disgrace. (17) It is impure. (21) Do we see sin, the same way God does? Or do … Continue reading

Posted in Leviticus, Old Testament | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Contemplating God (Leviticus 18-19)

As I read these passages, the same words are repeated again and again: “I am the LORD (Yahweh) your God.” “Worship me alone. I am Yahweh your God.” (19:4) “Set aside time for me. I am Yahweh your God.” (19:3) “Honor … Continue reading

Posted in Books of Moses, Leviticus, Old Testament | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Reboot

I have recently decided to restart this blog. It’s been a while since I’ve put any real new material here, and I think it’s time. There will be some key differences I think in how I do things. It will … Continue reading

Posted in About this blog | 2 Comments

Epilogue (Or: “About this blog”)

This blog has recently been posted on our church’s website, so for anyone who is new to this blog, this is what you should know. First, this blog was made to be a “devotional commentary” on the Bible. As such, … Continue reading

Posted in About this blog, New Testament | Leave a comment

A new venture

Well, it’s been some time since I posted anything on this blog. As I mentioned in my last post, as far as I’m concerned, except for some minor editing and occasional changes to previous posts, I’ve pretty much left this … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament | Leave a comment

The end of all things (this blog)

I started this blog on May 26, 2011. By the grace of God, I have been able to post something on this blog almost every day since then. This blog makes 1,766 total posts which means I could officially rename … Continue reading

Posted in About this blog, New Testament | Leave a comment

Revelation 22:7-21 — Because Jesus is coming soon

If there is one theme throughout these final verses of Revelation, and indeed of the Bible itself, it’s that Jesus is coming soon. He says it in verses 7, 12 and 22. What should our response be to this? We … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 21-22 — What cannot enter heaven

Yesterday, we talked about the glory of heaven and of God’s people. We saw all the wonderful things that will be in heaven. But there is one thing that cannot be a part of heaven: sin. And anyone who lives … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Revelation 21-22 — Here comes the bride!

No, we are not yet finishing up Revelation in this post. We’re going to spend forever in heaven someday. We might as well spend a few days talking about what it will all be like. 🙂 It’s very ironic to … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 21:1-7 — When all scripture is finally fulfilled

We’ve been going through the whole Bible from beginning to end over the past four years. And in this chapter, we see the culmination of all things, where all scripture is finally fulfilled. We started in the garden of Eden where … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 20:11-15 — Two books

I love reading books. It became a lot more convenient to read when I got my Kindle Fire. Now, I can carry around any number of books, including a number of different Bibles without putting a strain on my back. … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 20:1-10 — Why people do evil

Why do people do evil? Does the devil make them do it? Are they simply products of their environment? The injustice, poverty, and the evil around them has so shaped them that they simply have no choice? Or is there … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 19:9-10 — The spirit behind prophesy…and all we say and do

I must admit, I can finally see the finish line after all these years of blogging. And it’s very tempting to just rush ahead and finish this as quickly as possible. But John thought it necessary to take a small … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 19 — When justice comes

I was reading a letter from an elementary school that my friend in Hawaii posted on Facebook today. It talked about how a child going to school was accosted by a stranger who threatened to kidnap her. A high school … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 17-18 — When you put your hope in this world

Here in this passage, we see the fall of the great prostitute Babylon, which John later defines as “the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.” (17:18) As we’ve seen before in chapter 14, John and his … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 16 — Though judgment falls

We saw in chapter 14 the warning of eternal judgment that would fall on all those who rejected God, and instead took the mark of the beast. And like I said earlier, there are those who really get upset at … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 14-15 — God’s glory in judgment and salvation

I have said many times before that I believe we will have to face antichrist. What I am not so sure about is if we’ll face God’s final wrath poured upon the earth as seen in the 7 bowls. My … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 14:6-11 — A final warning

I have said more than once over the past five years I’ve been writing this blog that God is patient, but that his patience will not last forever. And here in this passage, I think we see that patience just about … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 14:1-13 — We who belong to God

We saw in chapter seven, 144,000 of God’s people being sealed in preparation for the judgment to fall on unbelievers. Then in chapter 13, we saw the people of the beast receiving their own mark. And whoever did not receive that mark was … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 13:11-18 –A need for wisdom and insight

We now hit the second beast. This one comes out from the earth. He has two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. In short, he looked innocent, like the Lamb of God, himself. But his words were … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Revelation 13:1-10 –A need for endurance and faithfulness

There’s a lot going on in this passage, and as usual, there’s a lot of debate over what it all means. There are two beasts that appear with the dragon (Satan). And to keep this short(er), I’ll take on these two … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Revelation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment