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Scripture

1 Kings 13:16-22,24 (NIV)

16 The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 17 I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’ ”

18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” (But he was lying to him.) 19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.

20 While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. 21 He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. 22 You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’ ”

24 As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was left lying on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it

Observation

We’re never so close to God that we cannot be deceived if we allow it. Whether you have been a Believer for one day or fifty years, a preacher, teacher, or as we see here, a prophet you have to be careful about what you believe and how you receive a “word from the Lord.” We know that God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Here we see a prophet of God deceived by a false prophet.

As Believers, we need to be on guard against any manner of false teaching that sets itself up against God (2 Corinthians 10:5). It’s important to know the character of God. When we know His character then we can see the difference between false teaching and a word from God. We know that God doesn’t contradict Himself and He doesn’t change His mind (Numbers 23:19). Therefore, anything that is contrary to the word of God is not from God. We know that God will not tell you to sin. Furthermore, we know that there are not going to be any new revelations (Calvin, Revelation 22:18-19) . Many people incorrectly use the word, “revelation” when they see something new to them in Scripture. The Holy Spirit can reveal things previously unknown to you but this is illumination for you, not a revelation. 

We need to be mindful of how the word of God is used. Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and we know that Jesus was tempted by Satan using the word of God in an attempt to deceive Him (Luke 4:10-13). Therefore, we need to be discerning in how we receive the word of God. If you have a smartphone then you have access to a Bible. If you are reading this then you have access to the Bible. You need to:

  1. Read the Bible regularly. 
  2. Check the Bible. 
  3. Cherish it.  

When we read our Bibles regularly we become more attuned with the character of God. When we know God better we will know ourselves and we will have discernment that allows us to travel through life making good decisions.

As human beings, we are prone to making mistakes. That preacher or teacher of the Word is just like you. If there’s a reference to Scripture then check the reference for yourself (Acts 17:11). 

The Bible is the inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). These are words of life that instruct us in how to live our lives. Nothing has ever been written that is more important than this so cherish it. By keeping the word of God close to our hearts it will permeate our very being and change who we are. 

There’s one last course of action that I believe the man of God could have taken instead of going with the false prophet. He could have prayed and asked God about the situation. This is something that anyone can do. God isn’t far away. He’s near to every one of us. 

Would you like to be saved from the fear of death? Knowing that when you die you will be in an eternity filled with love, joy, and peace where there is no longer pain and suffering? Would you like to walk free of guilt today? To have your sins forgiven by the grace of God and to know true peace, here and now?

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

We often hear that “without faith, it’s impossible to please God” but how often do we hear the rest, “because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)? I’m not sure why people are so fond of only quoting the first part of that verse but it’s not uncommon for people to only quote or remember verses in part. I will say that only partially quoting that or any other verse is a hindrance to both the speaker and the listeners. I’d go so far as to say that it could damage someone’s faith. Why? Let’s examine Hebrews 11:6 and see.

“Without faith, it’s impossible to please God,” tells me that if I don’t have faith then I will not be able to please God, right? That’s straightforward. I might then, ask myself, what is faith? Hebrews 11:1 tells us “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (NIV). That’s interesting, isn’t it? Does this mean that I have to be confident in what it is I am hoping for or do I have to be sure that what I am hoping for I will get even though I don’t see it? It can be confusing but God doesn’t sow confusion. It’s in confusion that one’s faith could be damaged because of doubt. There’s a lot to be said about doubt. However, rather than dive into doubt right now let’s examine the rest of Hebrews 11:6.

“Because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” When you believe that God is real and you go to Him asking for something then you must have a relationship with Him. Knowing that He exists is one thing. Imagine that you had a relative that lived next door. You wave when you see them but that’s about all the attention you give to them. They ask how you’re doing and want to be a part of your life. However, you rarely share anything with them and only share basic pleasantries on your way in or out. This goes on for years and years. Do you think that they’ll help you if ask them? They might. Most of us do the same thing with God. If we spend any time with Him it’s when we can fit Him into our schedule.

Is it a lack of faith that makes it impossible to please God or is it that we show a lack of faith by not investing in a relationship with Him? It’s easier to believe that one lacks faith and that’s why one isn’t getting what they ask for from God. Isn’t it? We’re busy people. Who has the time to spend hours in meditation over Scripture?

Some people may find reading the Bible a bit much. Where to start? What to read? Here are some other ways to be able to engage in a relationship with God.

  1. Watch film adaptations of the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all have word-for-word presentations available. Here are some links below.
    A. Matthew (NIV) (YouTube free video).
    B. Luke (KJV) (YouTube free video)
    C. John (GNB) (YouTube free video)
  2. Watch this NIV film adaptation of Acts. (YouTube free video).
  3. Listen to the Bible. I have been using the YouVersion app for over 10 years.
  4. Use a Bible reading plan. If you download the YouVersion app then you have access to hundreds of Bible plans on all sorts of topics. I have been using the Life Journal daily reading plan for 15 years.
  5. Journal about what you read in the Bible. I have used different methods for journaling over the years. For the most part, I use the S.O.A.P. method. Here’s one link that describes it.
  6. Find a Bible Buddy. Someone you can meet with regularly to study the Bible. Combine this with a Bible plan and journaling.
  7. Host or go to a Bible Study.
  8. Pray and talk to God.
  9. Go to church.

These are just some of the ways that the Lord has enabled me to get to know Him better.

Would you like to be saved from the fear of death? Knowing that when you die you will be in an eternity filled with love, joy, and peace where there is no longer pain and suffering? Would you like to walk free of guilt today? To have your sins forgiven by the grace of God and to know true peace, here and now?

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Scripture

Philippians 1:18 (NIV)

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

Observation

I find Paul’s take on the reasons behind people preaching the gospel while he’s a prisoner interesting because it reveals something that we may forget as Believers. God’s word doesn’t return to Him void. It will accomplish what He set out for it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). Too often we credit humans with the power of God. We look to those who preach and teach the word as somehow being special and different from those who do not. Indeed, those who are called by God to preach and teach His word are anointed by Him to do so. However, it isn’t the effectiveness of the preacher or teacher that changes hearts and minds. It is the word of God.

Our motives are important to God but they don’t change the power of His word. Surely, we will all be called to account for everything we do, good or bad when we die (2 Corinthians 5:10). Therefore, we need to examine ourselves and the reasons why we do the things we do (2 Corinthians 13:5). While only God knows our hearts it is still important as Believers to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God. To be above reproach because people do see the things that we do and hear the words that come out of our mouths. A couple of verses come to mind:

As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Romans 2:24 (NIV)

When people see a self-professed Christian behaving in a worldly manner then it can be damaging to how they see God. Remember, you are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) but light reveals the good as well as the bad.

As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. Ecclesiastes 10:1 (NIV)

You can try and do everything right and good in your life but all it takes to ruin your character is doing one foolish thing that everyone finds out about. Sometimes we may be tempted to do something that is a “little bit” wrong thinking that all of the good we have done outweighs it. It doesn’t, so don’t do it.

Everyone who is a Christian is a servant of God and has been called to preach the good news to those who have not heard it (Matthew 28:19-20).

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 1014:-15 NIV)

My friends, this word is to you and me. There are people all around you, wherever you live, that have heard of “God” but don’t know Him. How can these people, who are lost and dying in their sins, call out to Him if they do not believe? People believe all sorts about God without knowing Him. If you know Him and what He’s done for you then certainly you can tell them your testimony and let God do the saving.

Would you like to be saved from the fear of death? Knowing that when you die you will be in an eternity filled with love, joy, and peace where there is no longer pain and suffering? Would you like to walk free of guilt today? To have your sins forgiven by the grace of God and to know true peace, here and now?

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Scripture

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Observation

Did you know that there are at least 21 different words to describe the wind in various places of the world? The wind can erode mountains and topple buildings. We hear its sound and we can feel it on our bodies. The wind is important to our ecosystem. It can carry seeds from one place to another (anemochory). We respect the wind. Its power and its force, but we can’t see it. We know that it’s real because we can see, we can feel and we can hear its effects.

Do we rail against it? Wage war against it? Are there wanted posters for it? Of course not. I’d say that most of us just live with it and let it do whatever it wants to do. We work around it in our lives. We build shelters to protect us from it. For the most part, we treat evil the same way as we do the wind. We build prisons, hire police, create laws, and wage war against the physical forces of evil.

We treat the symptoms of evil with carnal weapons when evil can only be fought and defeated by spiritual means. We wage war against flesh and blood. We see the effects of fighting evil with carnal weapons and we think we are winning by the body count it brings. How’s that working for us? 150 million to 1 billion estimated lives lost throughout the wars in human history with at least 108 million people killed in wars in the twentieth century.

Since evil is a spiritual force, like the wind is a nature force, we can only fight evil through spiritual means. How do we fight spiritual forces? Do we pray against them? No, we pray for people. We pray that God’s will be done. We lift prayers to God and let Him fight the battles for us knowing that only He can win the day.