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

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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Revelation 12 — A beaten foe, a wrathful foe

“But why must we suffer? Why must we go through persecution? Why wouldn’t God just take us out from it all?” If you’ve been reading through Revelation with me, especially if you believe we will be raptured before all the … Continue reading

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Revelation 11 — From bad to worse…to salvation

I mentioned earlier that I was in deep waters trying to explain these things. The waters just keep getting deeper. 🙂 There’s a lot of disagreement among Christians about what this chapter all means. Again, all I can say is my … Continue reading

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Revelation 10 –Sweet words, sour words

Yesterday, I asked the question: how does heaven see judgment? And the answer was, “not with joy, but with solemnity.” When the 7th seal was about to be opened, all of heaven, usually a place of joyful celebration, fell silent. Today’s … Continue reading

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Revelation 8-9 — The gravity of judgment

How does heaven see injustice? And how does heaven see judgment when it comes? I think we find both answers here. Normally, heaven rings with the worship of the cherubim, seraphim, the elders, and all the saints. But when the … Continue reading

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Revelation 6:15-7:17 — Those who will stand on the day of wrath

At the end of chapter 6, in looking at the events coming with the sixth seal, the great and small of the earth cry out to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face … Continue reading

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Revelation 6:9-11 — How long until justice comes?

We jumped the fifth seal yesterday because it takes a slightly different perspective from the other five we looked at. Seals 1-4 and seal 6 all have to do with the judgments going on upon the earth. Here in seal 5, … Continue reading

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Revelation 6 — The beginning of the end

I am now officially in deep waters. For that matter, so is everyone else who starts trying to comment on these passages. The number of interpretations for these passages are legion. All I can I say is that many of … Continue reading

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Revelation 5 — The one on whom all God’s plans rest

I have to admit, until recently, I had never really thought about Revelation as being centered around the gospel. But we saw very early on in chapter one, that Revelation starts with the gospel, and here now we see that it … Continue reading

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Revelation 4 — Honoring our King who sits on the throne

“I am a friend of God,” says one contemporary worship song. “We are children of God,” proclaims the apostle John in one of his epistles. (I John 3:1) And yet while both are true, one thing that we should never … Continue reading

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Revelation 3:14-22 — Self-sufficent, indifferent, and useless

When my daughter was really young, I would often come home and when I did, she would come running to greet me with a happy, “Daddy!” But nowadays, I’ll come home, and if I’m lucky, I’ll hear her say, “Okaeri” … Continue reading

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Revelation 3:7-13 — Never shut out

All of us know what it is to be shut out. To be left out by others and snubbed. I remember walking up to a bunch of guys in high school, and one guy turned to me and said, “What … Continue reading

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Revelation 3:1-6 — If we are caught unprepared

The city of Sardis was supposed to be a near impenetrable city. But twice it fell. Why? Because their watchmen were asleep on the job. And here Jesus uses their own history to try to wake up the church that … Continue reading

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Revelation 2:12-29 — Tolerating evil in our midst

Tolerance. It used to have such a good meaning. It used to mean that even if we disagreed with someone, we could still love them and at the very least have a civil relationship with them. Now it means that … Continue reading

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Revelation 2:8-11 — Though we may go through trial and tribulation

I mentioned a couple of blogs ago that these letters to the churches were meant to prepare us for the antichrists and tribulations to come . And again, I know many of you who read this believe that we won’t … Continue reading

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Revelation 2:1-7 — If the church has not love…

We now come to the first admonition to the church in Ephesus. Jesus actually has a lot to praise them for. They were working hard for him. In the face of hardships, they persevered and didn’t grow weary. (2a) More, they … Continue reading

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Revelation 1:10-20 — In order that we might be prepared

I was intending to dive straight into chapter 2 today, but I felt there was something that I needed to say before we started. By far, the parts of Revelation that are preached most often in churches are chapters 2 … Continue reading

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Revelation 1:9-20 — The one to whom we must give account

Judgment day. It is coming for all of us. And it comes first and foremost for us who believe. This is something that we see from this passage to the end of chapter 3. In his vision, John hears a … Continue reading

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Revelation 1:4-8 — The gospel behind Revelation

This being Easter Sunday in the States, I suppose it’s only fitting that we see the gospel here in this passage. Most people don’t think of Revelation being a book about the gospel. But it is. And we see it … Continue reading

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Revelation 1:1-3 — That we may know God’s blessing

Happy Easter from Japan! And welcome to the book of Revelation! I think for a lot of people that try to read this book, they think, “Why Revelation? Why do we need it? It’s so obscure and difficult to understand. … Continue reading

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Jude 22-25 — When others fall

As much as it is important to contend with those who would attack the faith, we must care for those who have been affected by these attacks. So Jude tells us first of all to be merciful to those who doubt. … Continue reading

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Jude — Recognizing those we contend with

The problem with deception is that it is by its nature difficult to detect. That’s why it can be so easy for false teachers to slip into the church. They don’t come out blaring to the church, “I am a … Continue reading

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Jude — Contending for the faith

I love how Jude, the brother of Jesus opens this letter. To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ. (1) This phrase bookends with the last two verses. To him … Continue reading

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III John — Walking in truth and love (part 2)

As we look at III John, we see many of the same themes that we see in II John, and for that matter in I John: those of truth and love. Here, though, we have a very practical application of … Continue reading

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II John – Walking in truth and love

Here we have a very short letter, written to a church that the apostle John lovingly calls, “the chosen lady,” probably in reference to the church being the bride of Christ. And I don’t think you have to look very … Continue reading

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I John 5:16-21 — A sin that leads to death

John has a somewhat curious thing to say in verses 16-17. He says, If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those … Continue reading

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I John 5:13-15 — When we have confidence in God’s love

I have to admit, it seems at times that John jumps around a lot in his thoughts. And the jump between verses 13 and 14 seems a bit startling as well. How do we go from talking about the confidence … Continue reading

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I John 5:6-13- The testimony of God

It is very interesting to me that God in trinity testifies to the way of salvation. I’d never really thought about that before. John tell us, This is the one who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ. He … Continue reading

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I John 4:9-10 — The love God has for us

I said yesterday that I wanted to get back to some verses from chapter 4 that I skipped a couple of days ago. And they are absolutely vital because it goes back to something I said yesterday. I said yesterday … Continue reading

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I John 5:1-5:5 — If we truly know and love God (part 2)

Just a quick note. There were some verses in chapter 4 that I skipped last time and I really want to get back to. But before I go there, I want to complete my thoughts from yesterday. As I said … Continue reading

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I John 4:7-5:1 — If we truly know and love God

Jesus once said of false prophets, By their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew 7:16) And while Jesus was specifically talking about false prophets, we can say the same of all those who claim to be Christians. Many people claim to … Continue reading

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I John 3:24-4:6 — Testing the spirits

There are many today who claim to follow Christ, to have the Holy Spirit, and to preach the gospel. The question we always need to be asking, however, is if they follow the true Christ, have the true Holy Spirit, … Continue reading

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I John 3:16-22 — But am I really saved?

“But am I really saved?” I’ve mentioned before that I really struggled with this question when I was a child. And to be honest, it’s a hard question to answer. It’s hard because only God truly knows the human heart. … Continue reading

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I John 3:16-18 — The mark of a child of God (part 3)

Actions speak louder than words. That is true of anyone who is truly a child of God. We saw that in James, and we see that here as well. Jesus’ actions spoke volumes. John said, This is how we know … Continue reading

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I John 2:28-3:24 — The mark of a child of God (part 2)

We saw yesterday that the mark of a child of God is righteousness. That true children of God seek to be pure as the One they love is pure. And that when they sin, they can’t do so without feeling … Continue reading

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I John 2:28-3:10 –The mark of a child of God

How can we know we are truly children of God? That we are truly saved? I remember having that question when I was a kid. I had received Jesus when I was about 7 years old, but for a long … Continue reading

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I John 2:18-27 — The anointing we have

One of the things the false teachers were apparently telling the people was, “What you have learned from the apostles is not enough. We have a special anointing from God that neither they nor you have.” But John tells his … Continue reading

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I John 2:18-25 — What Satan tries to sell us

I think it is easy sometimes to think of Satan merely as that roaring lion. The one who out and out seeks to destroy us. But the truth is that as often as he takes that tactic, he also takes … Continue reading

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I John 2:15-17 — In love with the Father? In love with the world?

As I read this, I can’t help but think that John was reflecting back to Jesus’ own words when He said, No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will … Continue reading

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I John 2:12-14 — As we mature

As I read John’s words here to his different readers, it strikes me that there are different stages that we go through in our Christian lives. First, as children. John writes, I write to you, dear children, because your sins have … Continue reading

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I John 2:1-2 — When we fall

We saw yesterday that though we are children of light and are called to live that way, we do fall at times. And when we do, if we confess our sins and repent, God will forgive us. (1:9) Here in … Continue reading

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I John 1:8-10 — Our struggle with sin

It would be easy, having seen the last two blogs I have posted, to get the impression that I’m saying a true Christian should be perfect. That there should be no sin in our lives at all. And John does … Continue reading

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I John 1:5-2:11 — To have fellowship with God (part 2)

We saw yesterday that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. So if we are going to claim to have fellowship with him, then we need to be walking in that light with him. If … Continue reading

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I John 1:5-2:11 — To have fellowship with God

In a lot of ways, the word “Christian,” is applied to far too many people. Many people claim to be Christians, but by their lives show themselves to be anything but. At this point, many people may scream at me … Continue reading

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I John 1:1-4 — Proclaiming He who is life

And so we come to the last “long” letter of the New Testament. Or at least the last letter with multiple chapters, anyway. And from the very beginning, you can almost hear the emotion coming from the apostle John who … Continue reading

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II Peter 3:10-18 — Because this world isn’t forever

If there’s one thing that’s crystal clear in this passage, it’s that this world will not last forever. Peter says, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements … Continue reading

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II Peter 3:1-15 — The patience of God

We talked a couple days ago about the complaint people have that God seems to be doing nothing about all the evil and injustice in this world. And we saw that justice will come, and that it is certain. It is … Continue reading

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II Peter 2:10-12 — Underestimating Satan

C.S. Lewis once said about demons, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and … Continue reading

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II Peter 2:3-9 — A destruction that is not sleeping

Sometimes we wonder why God allows so much evil in the world. We wonder why God doesn’t do something now about the people who are doing evil. And in addressing the false teachers and their fate, Peter gives us an answer … Continue reading

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II Peter 2 — Our need to know God’s word

We saw yesterday that our faith is based not only on our experiences with God, valuable as they are, but also on God’s word. And now in chapter 2, Peter tells us why it is so vital to know God’s word … Continue reading

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II Peter 1:16-21–What our faith is built on

What is our faith built on? Why do we believe what we believe? At the very base, it’s built on God himself and who he is. And it’s built on our experience of him. We’ve experienced God; we’ve tasted the … Continue reading

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II Peter 1:2-15 — If we truly know him and love him

I’ve been reading Luke 19:11-27 in preparation for a message I’ll be giving in a few weeks at church. And as I read this passage in II Peter, it caused me to reflect on that passage in Luke. In Luke 19, … Continue reading

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II Peter 1:2-4 — That grace and peace may abound

One of my favorite passages in C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian is when Lucy meets up with Aslan, and she says, “Aslan! You’re bigger!” And Aslan replies, “That is because you are older, little one.” “Not because you are?” “I am not. … Continue reading

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II Peter 1:1 — A faith that puts us on equal standing

It’s rare that I ever get stopped by a verse such that I just have to write about it and it alone. Particularly when it comes in a greeting. But this one stopped me. Peter writes, Simon Peter, a servant … Continue reading

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I Peter 5 — Facing suffering as a church

Throughout this letter, Peter addresses Christians as they face persecution and suffering for the sake of Christ. He addressed them first as a collective body of Christians throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. As the living stones who were … Continue reading

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I Peter 4:12-19 — Living for the will of God (Part 3)

If there’s one thing that most people don’t think about when it comes to knowing the will of God in their lives, it’s that sometimes it’s God’s will that we go through suffering. The more I read the New Testament, … Continue reading

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I Peter 4:8-11 — Living for the will of God (Part 2)

A lot of people want to know what God’s will is for their lives. And they tend to think of it in terms of “What job should I have?” “What ministry should I join?” Or “Who should I marry?” But … Continue reading

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I Peter 4:1-7 — Living for the will of God

From the very beginning of the letter, Peter made something very clear that he gets back to here. In chapter 1, verse 2, he let us know that we were chosen by God for obedience to Jesus Christ. And this … Continue reading

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I Peter 3:18-22 — The hope that we have

When people mock us for our faith, it can be disheartening. And when we are persecuted for our faith, it can be easy to ask why. “Why does God allow this? Why does he let us suffer? And how long will we … Continue reading

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I Peter 3:13-4:6 — Living for Christ that others may live

Throughout this letter, Peter has been encouraging his readers to follow the example of Christ in suffering. To not be afraid of people, but to instead set apart Christ as Lord in their lives. One thing that struck me as … Continue reading

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I Peter 3:8-17 — Living as servants of God (Part 4)

After addressing specific examples of how people should live as servants of God (slaves, wives, and husbands), Peter now addresses us all. First he addresses how we are to relate to one another. Finally, all of you, live in harmony … Continue reading

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I Peter 3:1-7 — Living as servants of God (Part 3)

From the very beginning of this letter, we’ve seen that we were chosen by the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ. In short, we were chosen not to live for ourselves, but for Jesus Christ. … Continue reading

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I Peter 2:18-25 — Living as servants of God (Part 2)

I suppose one of the groups of people that had the hardest time submitting to authority were the slaves in Peter’s time. One of the things that had to attract them to the teaching of Christ was the idea that … Continue reading

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I Peter 2:12-17 — Living as servants of God

I mentioned in an earlier blog that sometimes Christians live as if God were an upgrade to their lives. The result of this is that they pretty much continue to live as they did before but they add on a … Continue reading

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I Peter 1:13-2:12 — Because we don’t belong here

Having lived in Japan for 20 years, I sometimes feel like a man without a country. Of course I am American, but having been out of country so long, I am totally out of touch with the culture there and … Continue reading

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I Peter 1:3-12 — The reason for our hope

Peter was writing to a people that were suffering persecution, most likely under Nero. We don’t know the exact circumstances under which Peter wrote this letter, but it was probably either just before Nero started his full bore persecution of the … Continue reading

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I Peter 1:1-2 — Who we are. Who we are called to be.

I don’t always take so much time looking at the greeting section of these letters in the New Testament. But as much as any letter in the New Testament, and perhaps more, this greeting connects to everything else that is written in … Continue reading

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James 5:15-20 — A faith that pursues

The letter of James ends rather abruptly compared to a lot of the letters that you see in the New Testament. But it ends with one of its main themes: a faith that expresses itself in love. And here we … Continue reading

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James 5:13-18 — A faith that prays

As I said before, a lot of James at first glance seems disjointed, but the more that I’ve read this book, the more I’ve come to see the overall flow of it. And here James comes back to an idea … Continue reading

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James 5:1-12 — How faith responds to suffering

James started this letter by talking about how God uses trials to make us mature and complete. And for the last several chapters, he talked about how true faith should look as it matures. That true faith causes people to … Continue reading

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James 4:13-17 — How true faith expresses itself (Part 8)

I think with this passage, James pretty much concludes his speech on how true faith expresses itself. And again, throughout his whole letter, he has focused on love, speech, and purity. In these last few verses, I think he’s going back to … Continue reading

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James 4:11-12 — How true faith expresses itself (part 7)

Having addressed hearts that had been polluted by their love for the world, James now gets back to the tongue and how polluted hearts can affect it. James talked earlier about how they were always fighting and quarreling among themselves … Continue reading

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James 3:13-4:10 — How true faith expresses itself (part 6)

James here briefly gets away from talking about controlling the tongue (he’ll return to it later), and starts talking about the third way that faith expresses itself: purity. He said back in James 1:26 that an essential part of true … Continue reading

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James 3:2-12 — How true faith expresses itself (Part 5)

I suppose I could have just titled this blog, “The tongue,” or some other such title. But I wanted to remind myself that this is really part of a longer argument that James is making. That faith expresses itself in … Continue reading

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James 3 — If you would be a teacher

As I look back on my life, I kind of marvel at how I have gotten to this point in my ministry. I just ask myself, “How did I get here?” It all started simply enough, I suppose. My brother … Continue reading

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James 2:17-26 — How true faith expresses itself (Part 4)

There was something that I wanted to add in the last blog, but it was getting long as it was, so I decided to put it here. One thing that I have been trying very carefully to do is to … Continue reading

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James 2:17-26 — How true faith expresses itself (Part 3)

We said yesterday that it’s not simply enough to say, “I believe in God,” in order to be saved. Nor, for that matter, is it enough to say “I believe that Jesus died for my sin and rose again” in … Continue reading

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James 2:14-26 — How true faith expresses itself (Part 2)

I think it’s easy at times to parse the Bible into neat little sections, especially as we do our daily Bible reading. What I’ve been noticing more and more over the past year, though, is that when we do that, … Continue reading

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James 1:26-2:13 — How true faith expresses itself

One of the things that James really is strong on is that true faith expresses itself in more than just saying, “I believe in God.” Many people today say, “I believe in God.” But as we will see in later … Continue reading

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James 1:19-25 — Open hearts

At times, I must admit this letter James wrote seems a bit disjointed. He just seems to jump from topic to topic. But the more I’ve been reading this letter as a whole, the more united it has become. In … Continue reading

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James 1:13-18 — For our good

“Why is God doing this to me? Does he want me to fall?” Sometimes, as we go through trials, that’s how we feel. That God actually wants us to fail so that he can punish us. But nothing could be … Continue reading

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James 1:9-12 — Where we put our trust

Who or what do you put your trust in? Trials tend to reveal this clearly. For many, it’s in worldly wealth. They think that money is the solution to all their problems. And so for those who have wealth, they pour … Continue reading

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James 1:1-8 — That we may be mature and complete

What is God’s intention and desire for us? In a word, “wholeness.” That we would be whole in our relationship with him. That we would be whole in our relationships with each other. That we would be whole in every … Continue reading

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Hebrews 13:20-25 — Equipped

I love how the writer of Hebrews closes his letter. Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you … Continue reading

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Hebrews 13:17-18 — Following and praying for your leaders

I have great respect for the pastors who have been over me. I’ve been teaching God’s word for a long time, but have never sensed the call to be a pastor. If all being a pastor meant was teaching God’s … Continue reading

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Hebrews 13:7-16 — Serving the one who never changes

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (8) This is a famous verse, and one of my favorites. It reminds me that my Lord is unchanging. And that is comforting in a world where people change all … Continue reading

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Hebrews 13:5-6 — What we love, what we put our trust in

I’ve gotta admit, having money makes life easier. It makes it easier to deal with serious health problems, as we can afford more expensive types of treatments. It allows us to have better cars or homes when our old ones … Continue reading

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