In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2-3 (KJV)
There has been a lot of distrust over modern versions. Some feel their updated language somehow makes the Scripture too common. Some dislike the fact newer versions sometimes leave out words or phrases if they feel that, based on new evidence, those words or phrases weren’t part of the original text. But some don’t like the fact that classic passages, such as the one above, have been modified or altered. After all, how many of us have grown being told we will receive a mansion? And now that’s changed? The NASB, NIV, ESV, NET, and the CSB have all changed this word to either rooms or dwelling places. So what gives?
I have read through Genesis many times. That’s not meant to be impressive, because a number of those times were when I attempted to read through the Bible in a year, only to give up a month or so in. Through-the-Bible-in-a-year programs usually go really well, until about halfway through Exodus. Then we get bogged down with specific laws for Israel and chapter after chapter describing how to build the Tabernacle. If we manage to make it through Exodus, we find ourselves in Leviticus, and then Numbers, and by that point many have thrown in the towel.
There are portions of the Old Testament that people love. One of the most common answers I get when asking teens where they are reading their Bibles has been Proverbs. The Psalms are well loved, and rightly so, for the way they speak directly to our emotions. But there are sections that confuse and challenge us. Wiping out all the Canaanites? Nine chapters of genealogies in 1 Chronicles! I mean, genealogies are one thing, but nine chapters! Then there’s poetry that doesn’t rhyme, imagery that doesn’t make sense to those living in the technology age, and prophets addressing a political scene that many are unfamiliar with, and before we know it we are back in the familiar territory of one of Paul’s letters.
Do you enjoy God? I wonder if anyone has ever asked you that question before. Often we are asked if we are saved, if we love God, if we are willing to serve Him, obey Him, worship Him. But do you enjoy God? Do you enjoy worship? Listening to preaching? Bible reading and praying? Do you anticipate time with God, or do you dread it? Is it a delight or a chore?
My guess is that most of you would say, “Yes, I do enjoy God, but not like I want to.” But how does one go about enjoying God more? How do you go from “I want to delight in God” to “I delight in God?” There isn’t just some magic switch that can be flipped, or we would all flip that switch in a heartbeat! No, that’s not how our emotions and feelings work, so how do we go from “I have to spend time with God” to “I want to spend time with God”?
I’m going to give you 4 keys that I have found helpful in building a relationship with God. These are pretty basic, and they aren’t overnight fixes. But if you begin implementing them in your life, over time you will see a desire and love for your Savior grow stronger and stronger.
I once saw a picture on twitter that had a bar graph showing several unlabeled categories of differing heights. The label at the bottom read “Sin in our eyes.” Beneath was a picture of that chart as if you were looking down on it and couldn’t tell how high or how low each category. The label read “Sin from God’s perspective.” It was creative. It was thought provoking. It was encouraging. It was wrong.
Perhaps you have heard a well-intentioned believer say, “All sin is the same in God’s eyes.” Perhaps you have been brought up believing that. Perhaps you believe that now. But as with every spiritual sounding mantra that isn’t actually a verse, we must ask if it lines up with what Scripture teaches. A careful study of the Bible will show us that, contrary to what many believe, not all sin is the same in God’s eyes. And rather than being a discouragement, the truth ends up being more helpful, encouraging, and fair than we might at first realize.
We find ourselves embroiled in that time of year where everyone is talking about politics and America. And that brings up the question that is being asked more and more frequently: “Does God care about America?” And perhaps more to the point: “Should we as Christians?” Now, if you are over 35 years old, perhaps that question strikes you as odd if not downright bizarre. Chances are if you are a millennial, it’s a question you’ve heard your peers discuss and perhaps have even wondered yourself. I know I have. Let me explain.
In recent years, there has been a healthy emphasis on the supremacy of God’s kingdom over all others, even America. Theologians and Christian leaders have made the needed distinction that God’s plan doesn’t rise or fall on America. As we see in the book of Daniel, God’s purposes march on through time, unabated and undeterred by the rising and toppling of the kingdoms of the earth. The answer for America, we are rightly reminded, is Jesus. Our hope is in our Creator and His coming kingdom, not anything on earth. We are citizens of heaven and are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. But while all of this is true, and while some of it may have been forgotten with certain well-meaning, mistaken Christians in a tidal wave of overzealous patriotism, we are still left with our opening questions, “Does God care about America?” “Should we as Christians?”
As always, we must ask the question “What does God’s Word say?” Does God share either a lack of concern for America, or are there hints that our nation might matter to Him? While the word “America” does not show up in Scripture, we do find God’s attitudes for the “nations.” What does the Bible teach us about God’s view of nations? Not just Israel, but the nations surrounding her?
The Problem With Christian Trump Supporters
How to Have Personal Standards Without Being a Legalist
The Heart of Modesty
Stop Trying to Reach Millennials
Like our Facebook page to keep up with the latest articles!