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Cunningly Devised Fables?
2 Peter 1:16-18
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we
made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but
were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father
honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory:
"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And we
heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the
What does it mean to
One who is cunning is
usually clever or skillful. In
the Bible cunning people were usually good at deceiving.
Satan was cunning or subtil in the Garden of Eden when he
convinced Eve to take the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:1). David's son
Ammon was crafty or subtil when he convinced Ammon to seduce his
half-sister Tamar. Absalom
was perhaps the master at cunning or skillful deception.
We read, “And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down
to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In
this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for
judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel (2 Samuel
15:5-6)." And when he
was ready to rebel against his father we read, “And with Absalom went
two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently
and did not know anything (2 Samuel 15:11)."
In one case in the
Bible, being crafty or cunning or subtil seems to have been a good
thing. Saul called David
crafty when David was hiding from Saul (1 Samuel 23:22).
In war and conflict it seems that being crafty or cunning is a
virtue. Paul was charged
with being deceitful or cunning or crafty by getting messengers to take
money from the Corinthians even though he did not burden them
personally. But Paul
maintains his innocence and said that he never did that.
He never burdened them or deceived them but always tried to build
Truth is the
Foundations of the Gospel
The Lord is the
personification of Truth. We
read, “And the Word (the Son of God) became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the
Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Again we read, “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the
truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”
I am glad that the
Gospel writers left us with a true record of the Lord and of His life.
They were inspired by the Holy Spirit to remember and record that
which we need to know today. And
one of the things that we need to know today is that Peter was with the
Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration.
He almost slept through one of the most profound events in his
life; but when he tells about it in his epistle, he says he is telling
the truth. This is important
because this event proves several things.
First, it proves that
death is not the end. When
Moses died, his burial place and body were not found.
He was never allowed into the Promised Land because of his
disobedience on earth, but he made it into the Promised Land after he
died. The mount was in the
Promised Land. Second, both Moses and Elijah knew all about the coming
crucifixion (See Luke 9: 28-36). Third,
we get a glimpse of the brightness of the glory of the Lord.
Fourth, we find out that the Lord is the One with whom the Father
is well pleased, and He is the one with whom we should be occupied.
This was Not a
Peter says tat this
really happened and that it wasn't a clever deception.
Neither was the resurrection a clever deception even though the
priests and Pharisees tried to convince people that His body had been
In a day when we
often cannot tell what is true and what is a clever deception.
I am glad that I have every confidence that the events that
Peter experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration were real.
By extension, I believe that the death, burial and resurrection
of the Lord were real. I
believe that the Bible is the Truth and that the Lord cannot lie.
As a result, I believe that the Lord put away my sin and that one
day I will enjoy seeing the Lord in His glory.
I believe that the promises of the Bible are bedrock Truth.
While Satan is very cunning in his deceitfulness,
the Lord was never crafty or cunning, the Lord's people should not be
crafty or deceiving nor should they justify those who are.
Our yes, should mean yes, and our no should mean no.
We should keep our promises and we should always do our best to
tell the truth. If we don't
tell the truth about practical things, how can unbelievers know that we
are telling them the truth about spiritual things?
for the week of May 7, 2017
Honor or Value Your
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children,
obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
"HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER," which is the first
commandment with promise: "THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU AND YOU MAY
LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH."
have celebrated another Mother's day and I have seen a lot of good
comments by children praising their mothers on social media.
That is as it should be. In
a healthy family, a mother should be obeyed by the children that she is
raising and she should be respected or valued or honored even after the
children leave home. I have
always assumed that there is a difference between the responsibilities
of children in the home and adult children who are establishing
independent lives. Children
in the home are to obey their parents “in the Lord”.
I think that means that even a child would have the right to
disobey should a parent ask them to do something illegal or immoral.
I do not think parents have the right to make decisions for their
children who have reached maturity.
But I do think those adult children should always have respect
for their parents who raised them. In
the Bible, honoring them includes taking care of them in their old age.
Most of us can be glad that
we were born into families that raised us to respect God, industry,
morals and governmental authority. We
can be glad that we can respect the parents we were given.
I have always been glad that Jezebel or Athaliah was not my
mother. In 1 Kings 21:25 we read, “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself
to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife
stirred him up.” She
killed the prophets of the Lord, she tried to kill Elijah, and she did
kill Naboth He was a
man who would not sell his property to Ahab.
Jezebel had him killed so that Ahab could take possession of the
property. She was a woman
who worshiped Baal and who had no conscience.
Or how could one honor Athaliah who killed all of the children of
her son who had been king so that she could usurp the throne?
How could children obey these women while growing up and how
could a godly adult child honor them?
While the Old Testament command to honor your father and mother
seems to require children to honor their father and mother at all times,
I am glad that the New Testament explanation clarifies the need for
children to obey “in the Lord.”
I am glad that sometimes honoring a parent requires children to
put the Lord first when the parents are not honoring the Lord.
I am sure that it was assumed that parents where reverent and
serving Jehovah in the Old Testament when the command was given,
As we review Bible stories,
there are a number of mothers that were beautiful examples of what
mothers should be. Mary the
Lord's mother was one of those. Ruth
in the Old Testament was another one of those. Timothy had a mother and
a grandmother that are godly examples of what mothers and grandmothers
ought to be as they pass their own example of faith in the Lord on to
their children. In 2 Timothy 1:5 Paul reminds Timothy of “the genuine faith that is in
you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice,
and I am persuaded is in you also.”
Other scripture makes it clear that Timothy had to have his own
personal faith in the Lord but having a mother and a grandmother that
could teach him the truth and model it for him, certainly would have
given him a reason to believe what they believed.
Godly mothers don't hide the
fact that they are sinners who needed to be saved. They don't presume to
teach their children to be Christians before they have taught them how
to become Christians. If
you had a mother like that, be glad.
My mother is now in heaven; but if you have a living mother that
you love and appreciate, tell her. It
will make her day.
Meditation for the week of May
What Can we Learn from the Genealogies?
1Ch 1:1 Adam,
1Ch 1:2 Cainan,
1Ch 1:3 Enoch,
1Ch 1:4 Noah,
Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
All Scripture is Inspired
I know that all scripture is given by inspiration of God
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for
instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
But what is the profit for us today when we read these
genealogies as found in the Old and New Testaments?
I know that the genealogies trace the lineage of the Lord Jesus
and prove that He is the Son of David and of Abraham.
We see some real defects among those who were used to give birth
to those who gave birth to the Lord Jesus.
We have Judah producing children through a gal he thought was a
prostitute but was in fact his daughter-in-law.
We have Rahab the harlot in the genealogies. These people of
course teach us something about grace and mercy.
But what I have noticed in the Old Testament that intrigues me is
the fact that God lists the enemies of His chosen people by name.
The descendants of Ishmael and of Esau are listed.
The descendants of the Canaanites through Ham are listed.
Nimrod who started heathen pagan worship is listed.
Why? Why are they
just not forgotten?
The Book of Life
I have always believed that everyone that is born has a
name inscribed in God's book of life.
When people reject the Lord by rejecting Jehovah in the Old
Testament and Jesus in the New, their names are blotted out.
But their names were at one time in the Lamb's book of life.
13:8 is a little confusing when it says, “All who dwell on the earth
will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life
of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
But of course the Lamb was not slain from the foundation of the
world. It has been argued
that since God planned the slaying of the Lamb from the foundation of
the world, it was as good as done from the foundation of the world.
However, I believe that the thrust of this verse is that the
names are written from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life
of the Lamb that was ultimately slain.
Revelation 17:8 seems
to say this more clearly, “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and
will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who
dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not (found) written in
the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the
beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”
Revelation 21:27 is also a little confusing.
“But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or
causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the
Lamb's Book of Life.” Again, I would translate this:
“Only those who are found written in the Lamb's Book of
Why is the listing of God's enemies by name important?
Because it tells me that when God says that He loves the world
(which means the people of the world or the society), He means that He
loves the whole world. And
by listing all the names of those who became the enemy of His people and
therefore of Him, He seems to show that they were personally and
individually loved by Him. Everyone
brought into this world is created by God and is a part of his original
masterpiece that was very good before the fall of Adam and Eve.
Anyone who ends up being cast away from God's presence forever,
will only have themselves to blame. They will not be able to say that
they were not loved by God. They
will not be able to say that God forgot about them when He devised His
plan of salvation. Not only
are we admonished to believe or trust in the Lord for salvation, we are
warned that there are consequences when we reject Him.
John 3:18 says, "He who believes in Him is not condemned;
but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not
believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
I don't know when that final rejection takes place in any person's life,
so I preach as though one can repent and believe until the day of one's
death. But if one is
condemned, they will not be able to say that God had not taken a
personal interest in them and that He didn't care.
for the week of May 21, 2017
Death is a Great Teacher
Hebrews 9:27-28 And as it
is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ
was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for
Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
This weekend is a time for
remembering. We remember
loved ones and military people who are in cemeteries.
Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, death has been the
end of the road for all but Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings
2:11). They were both
translated directly to heaven without death.
But as we go to decorated cemeteries this weekend, we need to
remember that under every headstone is a person who has died.
The problem with
remembering is that sometimes our remembering is pleasant but often it
is not. I have two sisters
that died prematurely. One
died through an accident and one died through a child hood disease.
Remembering their deaths always brings some sorrow.
I have many relatives and friends that have died after long
productive lives and who died natural deaths.
While we miss those people, we don't grieve like we do when
deaths are caused by accident or unexpected sickness.
But the deaths that really speak to me are the military deaths.
Many people have given their lives for the sake of the
defense of our country and in order to maintain peace.
However, lasting peace has never been obtained through war.
The Lord reminds us in Matthew 26:52, "Put your sword in its place,
for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
Have all the wars that have been fought and all the lives that
have been lost brought us lasting peace?
The answer is NO!
But not only do we have the problem of wars
between countries, we have the deaths occurring in our own neighborhoods
because of drugs, hatred and gang warfare.
Each person who is killed is now under a headstone.
They were real people with real dreams and real potential, but
now they are gone. Who has
won? Satan has won. Many of
those who have died have lived in rebellion against the Lord Jesus.
Many are now consigned to an eternal destination where they will
suffer throughout eternity and they cannot change that destiny now.
Universal Condition of Man
Before the flood, God was sorry that he had made man.
He said, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was
great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart
was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).”
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with
violence according to Genesis 6:11. Are things different now?
Thousands were killed in the Old Testament
wars; thousands have been killed in our World Wars that were fought to
end all wars. Thousands are
being killed through terrorism and gang related warfare. Thousands are
being killed in the Middle East because tribes and religions cannot get
along. And unless
something changes, thousands more are going to be killed through a
coming nuclear war.
Satan is a Great Adversary
So what do I think about on Memorial Day
weekend? I think about all
the lives that have been lost or cut short because of our adversary the
Devil. I am glad for those
who have given us temporary protection from domineering cruel dictators
and I honor them, but their sacrifice has not brought lasting peace.
This time of the year, I just marvel at how cruel and inhumane
Satan is. He is a master
liar and deceiver. He is a
murderer. He makes sure that
the human race hates rather than loves.
He makes sure that he divides rather than unites.
And most importantly, he has convinced most in the human race to
follow him rather than the Lord. Yes,
I think about lives destroyed and lost because of sin and Satan on
Memorial Day weekend. I
wonder how many of those in cemeteries were ready to meet God when they
But I also think about a spiritual solution.
I realize that there will be no lasting peace until the Prince of
Peace is ruling. While he
does not have His proper place on the world stage today, He has His
proper place in every true believer's heart.
When we trust Him, we get peace.
The world may be heading for catastrophe, but the believer is
headed for heaven. Because
of the world we live in, that might even be the result of a martyr's
death. But every headstone
of every believer, reminds us that there is a solution.
It is found in the Lord Jesus.
Thank goodness that there is one tomb that is empty.
That is the tomb of the Lord.
And while Satan offers death and destruction, the Lord offers us
My prayer is that we will honor the dead this
weekend, but that the memories associated with this weekend will cause
us all to think about where we will spend eternity.
I pray that many will be delivered from the cruel deceptions of
Satan this weekend.
for the week of May 28, 2017