Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.
Today’s passage is important because it established a very important principle as the Children of Israel prepared to enter into the Promised Land: Don’t add to or take away from the words of God. God (through Moses) wanted this to be a foundational concept for their nation as they developed in this new land that God had provided. The foundation of their new nation had to be that they let God speak for Himself, and they were not to try to add to that or take away from that.
John ended that last book of the canon of Scripture by adding a similar statement:
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
The challenging thing for us today is that we live in a culture that continually seems to add to and take away from God’s Word. The opening chapters of Genesis are an excellent example of this. For instance, many writers attempt to perform amazing “linguistic gymnastics” in order to to fit the notion of billions of years into Genesis 1. God has clearly told us that He created the earth in six literal days, and yet people regularly attempt to add to that message.
On the other hand, God has also told us that we will one day have to give an account of our lives before Him, but many Bible teachers seem to want to leave that part of the message out for fear of offending followers. How much better it would be if they would communicate the life-changing truths that God has given us!
God has given us the exact, precise message that we need for life. It behooves us to know and heed every last word!
For more, visit SensibleFaith.com
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Bible has to do with prophecies about the future. Have you ever taken time to examine some of the things that were prophesied in the Old Testament and then fulfilled hundreds of years later?
For instance, Jesus fulfilled a total of 48 prophecies that detailed when and how He came to this earth over 2,000 years ago. It was predicted that he would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25), descended from the lineage of David (Jeremiah 23:5; Matthew 1; Luke 3), born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-2; Matthew 2:1), sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-16), no bones would be broken at His death (Psalms 34:20; John 19:33-36), and that He would arise the third day (Hosea 6:2; Acts 10:38-40) to name just a few!
Some have alleged that He merely orchestrated the events of His life around the prophecies He knew needed to be fulfilled. But how would one decide the city of his birth or the details of his death? There was clearly a supernatural hand involved in the writings of the prophecies of the Scriptures.
Fulfilled prophecies such as these help to confirm the doctrine that the Bible truly is the Word of God. You can bet your life on it. As a matter of fact, you can bet your soul on it!
For more, visit SensibleFaith.com
Sex is a beautiful thing, and sex is a powerful thing. After all, God created it!
And it’s important for you to know that the reason God puts restrictions on sex is not because He is a cosmic killjoy who hates to see us having fun. That’s not it. The reason He has restricted it is because sex has a very powerful purpose in life.
The purpose for sex is to create a supernatural bond between a husband and wife that will never be broken. In line with this, sex is actually designed to be addictive!
Sex creates a nuclear-powered desire for a husband to be with his wife. It makes him think about her throughout the day. It makes him eager to be with her. It makes him want to serve her and to love her. And for the woman, it helps her to feel the closeness of their relationship as they become one in the marital act. Sex is the atomic bond that holds a marriage together.
Nuclear radiation can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. It can be good when it is used in a controlled environment for a specific purpose. It can be used to provide energy to a city, heal a person from a disease, or to heat a cup of coffee in sixty seconds.
But when nuclear radiation leaks from a controlled setting, it can become very dangerous and even disastrous. Think Chernobyl.
This is similar to the power and danger of human sexuality. When it is enjoyed within the boundaries of God’s plan, it can be a beautiful, joyful thing. But when that sexual energy is allowed to leak into inappropriate areas of life, then that can bring disaster.
When a man and woman become sexually active, there is literally a chemical that washes across their brains that is similar to the rush that is brought on by drugs like heroin. This is a very powerful experience, indeed. And this is intended to be an addictive bond between a husband and wife.
But this becomes a problem when people who are not married become sexually active. This “rush” often impairs their judgment, and they become bonded to a person who may or may not be a good partner for life. When they are in the middle of all of this, they can easily overlook serious character flaws that would have made them run had they not been involved sexually. The physical union causes them to overlook all of those warning flags that are flapping conspicuously all around them.
How many times have you seen a decent girl who continually goes back to a guy who is a mess... over and over again? And we shake our heads and wonder, “What does she see in him? Why does she stay with that guy?” Well, it’s often because she has created metaphysical bond with him that is addictive and nearly impossible to dissolve. This is one good reason why God says we should save sex for marriage.
Another example of how this plays out in real life is when a guy stumbles into pornography. Through that surge of chemicals in his brain, it becomes addictive like heroin. And when a married man expends his sexual energy on porn, he then has less energy to direct toward his wife in what should be the appropriate expression of his love. With such depleted energy toward his wife, their marriage then begins to crack and crumble as well. An inappropriate focus of sexual energy can be devastating to a marriage.
God wants husbands and wives to be addicted to one another for life. Let’s trust in God’s plan and allow that to be our guide to ultimate fulfillment.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
For more, visit Sensible Faith.
… from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Sometimes I forget about how far God has brought me in my Christian journey since I first believed about 28 years ago. But the reality has hit me within the past year as I’ve gotten connected to some old friends through… Facebook!
What God has done in my life was highlighted when one of my Facebook friends, whom I haven’t seen since 7th grade (before I was a Christian), discovered that I am now involved in ministry. She wrote on my Facebook wall, “Chris Russell in ministry??? No way! Comedian? Yeah. Bartender? Yeah. Minister? No way! What has happened to you, Chris?”
With that I was able to share a testimony of God’s power to change lives. I told of God’s great grace that was able to even rescue someone like me and change my life forever. She was amazed, and so am I!
But my life is not the only one that has been changed. You see, God is changing millions of lives all around the world every day! God is doing a supernatural work by setting people free from bondage and bringing them into a joyful new life filled with blessing and purpose. The Scriptures claim to be able to change a life forever, and we see examples of that all around the world every day!
On the flip side, I never see people set free from addictions such as alcoholism or drug abuse as a result of deciding to drop Christianity and turn their lives over to atheism. How many people who are in bondage to self-destructive behaviors have been set free and changed forever because they turned away from God? How many airplanes loaded with atheists flew to Haiti this past year in order to help those who were devastated from the earthquakes? You don’t hear of that sort of thing, but you do hear about thousands upon thousands of Christians doing such a thing. Why? Because God has changed their lives – forever!
My encouragement to you is to saturate your heart and mind with this miraculous Book. But take warning: it just may change your life forever!
Chris Russell has spent the past 25 years actively involved in ministry through pastoring, church planting, writing, Christian radio, and special speaking around the country and in seven different countries. He is passionate about communicating the truths of God's Word in a creative, highly-relevant way.
Chris has three kids and happens to be married to his best friend, Leigh. He currently pastors a church on the north side of Cincinnati. When he's not pastoring or blogging (www.SensibleFaith.com), he runs a real estate company in his "spare" time (www.PlumTreeRealty.com). He believes that A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) is one of his 'spiritual gifts.'