A strange inverse relationship

Sometimes I wonder if there is some inverse relationship between the availability/accessibility of the Scriptures and how precious they are to us.

Here’s a video of the Kimyal Tribe in West Papua, Indonesia getting the entire NT. One of their pastors said now that they have the entire NT, thier hearts are “no longer heavy. They are light!” When was the last time your heart was light over the availability of God’s word? As the plane lands, everyone is singing praises to God. When was the last time you sang praises to God because of the Scriptures?

Here’s thier pastor’s prayer (translated) when the Bibles were placed in his hands:

“O, God. O, God. The plan which you had from the beginning, regarding your Kimyals, which already existed in your Spirit, the month that you had set, the day that you had set, has come to pass today. O my Father, my Father, the promise that you gave Simeon that he would see Jesus Christ and hold him in his arms before he died; I have also been waiting under that same promise, O God. You looked at all the differentn languages in the world, and you choose which ones would be put into your Word, you thought that we should see your Word in our language. Today, the day you had chosen for this to be fulfilled, has come to pass. O God, today you have placed your Word into my hands, just like you promised. You have placed it here in our land. And for all this, O God, I give you praise.”

And in tears they accepted God’s Word into thier hands. When’s the last time your picked up your Bible in tears that you can even have one to pick up?

Let us rejoice in God’s Word in any language, in new languages, in our language, in our hands, on our electronic devices. Let it saturate our lives, yet never lose the wonder that the Creator God has spoken, that he is sovereign, and that he has chosen to loves us.


Joseph is Underrated

Not many Sunday School flannel graphs, in my experience, have been dedicated to the importance of Joseph’s role in Jesus’s life and ministry. That is my poor excuse for not really thinking very deeply about Jesus’ adoption before now. But now the Lord has called me and my family to adoption, and the Holy Spirit is moving and teaching us many things about adoption.

I’ve been reading Russell Moore’s Adopted for Life, and it has a killer chapter in it: Joseph of Nazareth vs. Planned Parenthood. As I thought about it, it’s mainly the focus of the worldview that differentiates these two. One has God in the sights, the other has man. One has obedience and the other has convenience. What really had the biggest impact on me from this chapter is how much God accomplished through Joseph’s simple, albeit difficult obedience.

Moore said, “When Mary tells Joseph she is pregnant, his first reaction isn’t a cheery ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.'” After I stopped laughing, reread Matthew 1, and thought through it; It’s pretty amazing what happened.

No, he wasn’t singing Christmas carols; he sought to divorce her until God came to him and explained his plan. Did God explain it all at once for Joseph? Nope – just what he needed for that time. He didn’t explain that in the coming months or so, you’ll need to take a small self-guided, self-funded tour of Egypt. That bit Joseph got when he needed it. But in the mean time, Jesus’ adopted dad was acting in obedience to his heavenly Dad.

What did Joseph accomplish? The obvious is that he protected the Christ, God in human flesh, from being killed. He fulfilled Hosea’s prophesy: Out of Egypt I called my son. (Hosea 11) Lastly, and the one that I like the most: In adopting Jesus, Joseph fulfilled another major prophesy about the Christ; namely, that he would be a descendant of David (Isaiah 16). You may agree pretty quickly as I did, but as I thought about it – well, Joseph wasn’t his biological father…

Wait a minute. The Scriptures are putting adoption on the same level as biological conception for purposes of inheritance and belonging. That probably sounds familiar, doesn’t it? When we, as Christians, place our faith in what Christ has done for us, we are adopted into God’s family and are fellow heirs with Christ (Galatians 3:29, Romans 8:16-17). [[The implications for how we are to think about, talk to, and consider adopted children in light of this truth is worth another post altogether – another time, God willing.]]

Joseph modeled obedience and in doing so he played a major role in the history of the redemption of God’s children. Did he know that he was fulfilling so many prophecies, or realize the impact of his actions on me and the world? I doubt it. Nobody’s writing songs about him. No best sellers. No ‘Hail Josephs’. Only cameos in nativity scenes for the father, the chosen father of the Savior of the world.

Have I mentioned he’s underrated?

Sweet spot? The Bible by Chapter 3, Verse 16

Your favorite album, your second favorite album, and that album that you really hate for the most part has a sweet spot in it. If you haven’t already noticed, it’s track 8. Track 8, 94% of the time, is the sweet spot. I was noticing that the Scriptures have an interesting, not-to-be-taken-so-seriously similarity. Of course we must feel the truth of 2 Tim 3:16, but the third chapter and 16th verse of each book (where possible) seems to be quite the sweet spot. In other words, verses that we hold quite dear.

I’ll include just the NT in this post. Hopfully this will encourage you dig further into those passages, for a verse alone is only part of a whole truth being communicated by God. So, dig in, drink deep, and be satisfied. Enjoy!

[All verses are from the English Standard Version translation, Chapter 3 verse 16, unless otherwise noted]
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;

He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);

John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

in their paths are ruin and misery,

1 Corinthians
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

2 Corinthians
But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.

Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

1 Thessalonians (3:13)
so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

2 Thessalonians
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

1 Timothy
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

2 Timothy
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Titus (3:15)
All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Phelemon (1:16)
no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

1 Peter
having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

2 Peter
as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

1 John
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

2 John (1:13)
The children of your elect sister greet you.

3 John (1:15)
Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, every one of them.

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

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