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December 25, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: 2 John – Jude
Audio: 2 John – Jude

Psalm 14 (ESV)

To the choirmaster. Of David.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
    there is none who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
    who eat up my people as they eat bread
    and do not call upon the Lord?

There they are in great terror,
    for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is his refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
    let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

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Next: Psalm 15

Back: Psalm 13

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Fools?

    In today's psalm, David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, describes people who do not believe in God as fools. He goes on to say they are "corrupt" and "do vile things" (Psalm 14:1). He then refers to them as "evildoers" who do not "call on the Lord" (Psalm 14:4).

    It is statements like these which cause many people to recoil from the Bible. But it's also statements like these which many well-known, high-profile pastors, podcasters and personalities use as an excuse to talk down to people – lacking humility and temperance (which should in the very least accompany if not dominate our hearts and minds as we communicate these things to/about people).

    If a "cocky Christian" talks down to people as if they are better than everyone else, there is something wrong with them spiritually. It doesn't mean they are not Christians (per-se) but it does mean they are at least guilty of sin because Christians are commanded to "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).

    It could also mean they are claiming to be a Christian but may not truly be born again if they lack the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 22-23).

    I believe when we are commanded to speak the truth "in love", it not only encompasses our motives for why we are saying something to (or about) someone but is to be received by the person we are speaking to (or about) in love.

    While it's true some might think it's unloving to say a woman should not speak in church with the authority of men (who are responsible to shepherd and teach the body of Christ), the Bible is clear women are not to be pastors or to have authority over men in the context of the local church. 

    To accuse gay pastors of being false teachers because they teach homosexuality is not a sin (and affirm homosexuals in their sin) may be considered "homophobic" and "unloving," by some people – but again, it’s what the Bible teaches. 

    Just to be clear – you can be a nice, considerate, compassionate pastor who loves people, but if you teach what is contrary to Scripture, you are a false teacher and are leading people away from Christ and His desire for all to submit to His authority.

    Romans 1:24-27 says, "Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    "24 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done."

    The last verse of the chapter says, "Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them" (Romans 1:32). 

    Pastors know what the Bible says about homosexuality, yet few teach it because it's not "culturally acceptable" to teach it. It's even considered "hate speech" but some. But pastors (gay or heterosexual) who teach that homosexuality is not a sin and "affirm" this sin are leading people stray and are guilty of being a false teacher.

    This truth can (and should be) expressed and communicated to others but always in love, humility and gentleness. 

    As for women pastors, the Bible is also clear. 

    1 Timothy 2:8-15 says, "I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control."

    This is not a "cultural thing" as some are known to say, but it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Adam was responsible for his wife and because he was aloof and did not protect her from temptation, God holds men accountable for spiritual leadership. And because Eve was the one who was deceived and "became a transgressor," she is exempt from spiritual leadership over men.

    There are other passages which affirm this truth. 

    The role of Deacons is outlined in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, "Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

    The role of an overseer (Elder) is outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, "The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil."

    Titus 2:1-8 says, "But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

    The Bible is clear that teaching and providing spiritual leadership/authority in the church are the primary functions of a male pastor/teacher. Deacons and elders are men who serve the local church in a supportive role to pastor/teachers. Women have a teaching role but it's not expounding on doctrine, protecting the church against false teachers or having authority over men. The role of women teaching is in the home or to other women (and children) in the context of the local church. This is not a “less than” role but an essential role. 

    This truth can (and should be) expressed and communicated to others but always in love, humility and gentleness. 

    It is NOT unloving to say these things, (even directly to those who are sinning in this context) – but it can be if we forget that we "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). If we think we are better than everyone else and we talk down to people in a harsh tone or in arrogance, we need to keep our mouths shut until God sanctifies us in that area. 

    It can also be unloving NOT to say these things are sin as we are called to speak the truth (not stand by and keep our mouths shut) – but speak it in love ("with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love" – Ephesians 4:2). 

  2. "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'
        They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
        there is none who does good."

    I was once a fool, but God in His mercy removed my blindness and gave me sight. I didn't even know I was blind. Praise be to God. 

    This video of a man who is given special glasses for his birthday, and is able to see color for the first time, is a great illustration of what happens spiritually to those who are born again in Christ, given the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit, and able to see what we had not been able to see before:

    In the gospel of John, there is an account of a man who was born physically blind and after 38 years of living in darkness, healed by Jesus. The story is given spiritual significance by what Jesus says to the Pharisees, who questioned the man's parents and then the man himself:

    "Jesus said, 'For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.' Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, 'Are we also blind?' Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains." John 9:39-41

    When I encounter "fools" who don't believe in God — and I mean God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture and in Jesus —  I remember who I was when I didn't know Him. I looked for God everywhere but the Bible because I didn't like the God I read about in the Old Testament. I believed the Bible was an archaic attempt to understand the world, or to justify violence against the Palestinians, or to control people. And so I dismissed the Bible and sought "truth" everywhere else. 

    I remember that time of my life so clearly.

    However, there is an aspect of sight that requires action on the part of the blind. Just as the color-blind man had to put the glasses on, and just as the blind man in John's gospel had to follow Jesus' instructions to go to the pool in Siloam and wash the mud off his eyes, God requires action on our part if we are to truly see.

    Once I saw the miracle God had done in my husband (just as the Pharisees saw the miracle Jesus did in the blind man), I decided to stop blindly dismissing Christians and the Bible and give this Jesus an opportunity to prove Himself to me. It seems so arrogant on my part now, looking back, but I was sincere in my desire to know the truth and not be a fool who believes in something just because others do — even people I love or respect. So I sought the truth with my whole heart and mind.

    And now I believe BECAUSE I can see.

    "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6

    "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" John 8:31-32

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