What’s The Context Of That Passage In The Bible?

Yesterday I saw some atheists complaining about a man preaching the gospel in a subway car.  One commenter said when she sees these ‘street preachers’ she always hands them a little note with this verse of Jesus speaking that leaves them speechless:  “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1, NIV)

Now does this verse mean you can’t publicly preach and display your faith?  If you read the rest of the passage you’ll see that Jesus is talking about hypocrites who speak loudly about their good deeds.

These people are doing it for their own benefit like, “Everybody!  Look at me!  I just gave to the needy.  Praise me!”  Now that’s wrong.

So, if this man who is preaching on the subway car was doing it for his own gain, then yes, it’s wrong.  But, if he’s doing it for God and the benefit of other people, then who’s to say it’s wrong?  Who are we to judge another man’s heart?  Only God knows what someone’s ‘real’ motivates are.

Today, as I was reading a devotional from Walter Henrichsen, I came across this… “You should read and study God’s Word like you read the morning newspaper.  The context gives you the meaning of the words.  Let the text make its case.  Don’t try and be cleaver by seeing any more or less in the passage than what the words warrant.”

What perfect timing!  🙂

I’ll admit, when I first started reading the Bible, I’d take things out of context.  I’d even use verses to make my case (out of context) and listen to other’s quote the bible out of context (and I believed them).  Now I’m always looking for the whole verse and passage.  I’m looking for the context of what is written before setting them in stone.

Just remember, taking verses and passages out of context leads to errors and misunderstanding.

Keep spreading the Word!

The Power of Prayer

Prayer is a powerful thing.

God hears all our prayers. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” -Philippians 4:6

As you read the above verse, notice Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, BUT IN EVERYTHING, by PRAYER and PETITION…”

You can come to God with the biggest and smallest prayer requests.

It’s funny because I know some people who thing there are ‘petty’ prayer requests.

Take last week for example.  I was going to my Bible Study in Downtown Cleveland, and I was asking God for a parking spot.  I don’t normally drive downtown, so sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge, and when I do it’s usually for my Bible Study, and I know parking fills up pretty fast.

So, for me, I become anxious and worry about finding a parking spot.  And, guess what?  God provided… Probably the best spot in all of downtown for where I was going!

Well I was talking with a friend about prayer, and I told him my little story.  He laughed and thought that’s something you wouldn’t ask God for.  He thinks it needs to be serious like praying for health or a sick loved one, not a little itty-bitty parking spot.

But, as Paul says in Ephesians…

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” -Ephesians 6:18

The key word there is ‘ALL kinds.

No prayer request is too big or too small for God.  And don’t ever think a prayer is too silly.  Speak it to God and he’ll listen.

“Be joyful always; pray continually’ give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Keep spreading the Word!

Are You Causing Someone To Stumble?

Have you ever used your words that made someone stumble?  Maybe they were negative words.  Maybe your actions caused a friend to fall.

Has this ever happened to you?

“Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.  All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.” -Romans 14:20

I love what Paul says here… “…it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

To me, he’s not just talking about food but everyday life.

A few months ago my sister asked me if I could feed her horse, Dandy, for her just this one time.  Well, one time turned into twice a week.  Then, she would keep asking me if I could feed him for her.

One day I just got fed up with it and told her this is the last time I’ll ever feed him and that she needs to find someone else to do it!

I was sooo mad.

As I was walking to the barn to feed Dandy I thought of the above verse, “…it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

I knew my sister was busy with her day job, my nephew, and the business she just started with her husband.  And, for me, I was being selfish.  I work from home and I’m fully capable of feeding her horse, but I just didn’t want to.

At that moment I knew I was causing her to stumble.  She has a lot on her plate, and here I was not wanting to help.

But, after Romans 14:20 came to my mind (God put it there), I sent her a text and told her to never worry about Dandy again because I will make sure he always gets fed.

I didn’t want to be the cause of her stumbling.  Why make someone stumble if you can help them up?

“If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.  Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.” -Romans 14:15

Remember, if you’re causing someone to stumble, if someone is distressed because of what you do then you’re no longer acting in love.

Do you have any stories you can with us about making someone stumble, or someone making you stumble?  Please leave them in the comments below or send me a message through the contact page.

Keep spreading the love!

The God Of All Comfort

You ever go through life wondering why bad things happen?

Like, what’s the reason someone gets cancer, or their child is sick, or you go through a divorce.

I used to think the their wasn’t a reason for anything.  But, after reading 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, it hit me… the reason you went through that divorce or suffered from cancer is to help others who are suffering what you just went through.

Who better to comfort you than someone who has gone through the same experience, and got through it with God’s comfort.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” -2 Corinthians 1:3-4

What a powerful passage.

The next time you’re going through your trial, remember God is there to comfort you.  And, the reason you’re going through that trial just may be to comfort someone else going through the same thing.

Keep spreading the Word!