Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 45:11-48:11; Ephesians 4:1-16; Psalm 68:19-35; Proverbs 24:3-4
God really wants people to believe in Him. Not because He is an egomaniac but because He knows that no other “god” can save anyone (Isaiah 45:20). One big proof that the God of the Bible is the one and only God is all the prophecy in the Bible. Who else could make such specific predictions that come true exactly as stated besides God? No one (Isaiah 45:21).
There is no prophecy in the Koran. There is no prophecy in the Mormon books. There is no prophecy in Hinduism. Prophecy is only found in the Bible. And there is a big reason why. Those previous writings and belief systems were made up by men who could not predict the future and would have easily been revealed as frauds if they did and even one prediction did not come true. The very fact that these writings lack any measurable prophetic statements proves they are inventions of the human mind and nothing more.
One interesting thing all the false gods of the world have in common is that their followers serve them. But the God of the Bible seeks to serve His creation (Isaiah 45:4). The so-called gods of Islam, Hinduism, et al. demand to be served. This is exactly the type of god the human mind would invent. But the God of the Bible is contradictory to our natural way of thinking. God not only made us, but He cares for us. He wants to carry us and save us. No human being would make this up.
Just like God predicted Israel and Judah would be conquered, God also predicts that one day Babylon (who at the time of this writing wasn’t even a world power) would be demolished (Isaiah 47:1-5). God used the evil of Babylon to correct Israel (Isaiah 47:6). We’ve seen that this is how God works – He uses the evil of one to discipline another. But that does not let the one doing the evil off the hook. They still have to answer for their sin and arrogance (Isaiah 47:10-11).
When trouble comes in life we often turn to friends and family. But that does us no good. People look out for themselves (Isaiah 47:15). Even if someone wants to help they are often powerless to do so. Better to turn to God for only He has the power we need.
God tells us in advance what is going to happen so that we will recognize that such events are from Him when they do happen (Isaiah 48:5-6). The predictions in the Bible that seem to be the most absurd are proof that the Bible was not invented by man. If any of the human authors had intentionally sat down with the intent of creating a religion for all the world to follow for all time, they have only included things that people would believe. They would not have come up with a virgin birth or the Rapture. The more outrageous the claims of the Bible the more proof that it is divinely inspired.
When someone does something nice for us we want to pay them back. If someone were to save our life we would feel forever indebted to that person. So after Paul has explained the wonderful salvation God has graciously provided for us in Ephesians 1-3, he now turns to how born-again believers should live in response to God’s great gift.
We are to live a life worthy of what God has done for us (Ephesians 4:1). In practice this means being humble. It means being gentle and patient with each other (Ephesians 4:2). We shouldn’t be “building a brand” or pushing our own selfish agenda. We should tolerate other people’s mistakes, which is what God does.
Each believer is generously given a special gift with which to serve Him. Other gifts are listed elsewhere in Paul’s writings but here he lists positions of spiritual leadership (Ephesians 4:11). Notice the responsibility of people with these gifts. They are to equip the rest of the believers to do God’s work. If you are in a church where the leadership is not training you and preparing you to spread God’s message in some manner, then you are in the wrong church. Or, if you are going to church to hear funny anecdotes or out of obligation to please God, then you are going to church for the wrong reasons.
One sign that we are getting the most out of attending our local church is maturity (Ephesians 4:14). The measure of the efficacy of our spiritual leaders as well our own intentions is whether we are more mature today than we were yesterday. Mature people speak the truth, but they do so out of love for others rather than to bring attention to ourselves (Ephesians 4:15).
In the second half of Psalm 68 David recognizes God as the one who delivers us from our enemies. No matter what you are going through – if you have enemies at work or in your family or even in your head – God wants to smash them. He doesn’t want anyone in bondage to lies and deception.
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