Devotional

Mohler – The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem

By |January 16th, 2018|Devotional|0 Comments

While America’s evangelical Christians are rightly concerned about the secular worldview’s rejection of biblical Christianity, we ought to give some urgent attention to a problem much closer to home–biblical illiteracy in the church. This scandalous problem is our own, and it’s up to us to fix it.
Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: “Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.
Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna, president of the firm. The bottom line? “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.”
Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better–by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family.
Some of the statistics are enough to perplex even those aware of the problem. A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. We are in big trouble.
Secularized Americans should not be expected to be knowledgeable about the Bible. As the nation’s civic conversation is stripped of all biblical references and content, Americans increasingly live in a Scripture-free public space. Confusion and ignorance of the Bible’s content should be assumed in post-Christian America.
The larger scandal is biblical ignorance among Christians. Choose whichever statistic or survey you like, the general pattern is the same. America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.
How can a generation be biblically shaped in its understanding of human sexuality when it believes Sodom and Gomorrah to be a married couple? No wonder Christians show a growing tendency to compromise on the issue of homosexuality. Many who identify themselves as Christians are similarly confused about the Gospel itself. An individual who believes that “God helps those who help themselves” will find salvation by grace and justification by faith to be alien concepts.
Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches that marginalize biblical knowledge. Bible teaching now often accounts for only a diminishing fraction of the local congregation’s time and attention. The move to small group ministry has certainly increased opportunities for fellowship, but many of these groups never get beyond superficial Bible study.
Youth ministries are asked to fix problems, provide entertainment, and keep kids busy. How many local-church youth programs actually produce substantial Bible knowledge in young people?
Even the pulpit has been sidelined in many congregations. Preaching has taken a back seat to other concerns in corporate worship. The centrality of biblical preaching to the formation of disciples is lost, and Christian ignorance leads to Christian indolence and worse.
This really is our problem, and it is up to this generation of Christians to reverse course. Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.] Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical it may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God’s Word.
Churches must recover the centrality and urgency of biblical teaching and preaching, and refuse to sideline the teaching ministry of the preacher. Pastors and churches too busy–or too distracted–to make biblical knowledge a central aim of ministry will produce believers who simply do not know enough to be faithful disciples.
We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs. The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.
This generation must get deadly serious about the problem of biblical illiteracy, or a frighteningly large number of Americans–Christians included–will go on thinking that Sodom and Gomorrah lived happily ever after.

From https://albertmohler.com/2016/01/20/the-scandal-of-biblical-illiteracy-its-our-problem-4/

Fortner: The New Birth

By |January 12th, 2018|Devotional|0 Comments

The true believer is a person in whom Christ dwells. The new birth is nothing less than Christ coming into a man’s heart, taking possession, ruling and causing that man to become a follower of him. Anything less than this is not Christianity. The new birth creates a desire in the heart to be like Christ, causing the person who is born again to seek and strive after the perfection of Christ’s character in himself. We know that this perfect conformity to Christ cannot be attained in this life. But that fact in no way hinders us from seeking it. The highest aspiration of the believing heart is to be like Christ. His submission and dedication to the will of God and the glory of God, his patience, love, kindness, tenderness and forgiveness, his self-denial, self-sacrifice, humility and unflinching boldness in the cause of God are things all of God’s people seek. Let us ever seek these things ardently. When we close our eyes in death, we shall have this blessed conformity to Christ!

 Donald S. Fortner, Grace for Today: Daily Devotional Readings, (Danville, KY: Grace Baptist Church of Danville, 1986), 9.

Wiersbe: Life Is a Pilgrimage

By |October 28th, 2017|Devotional|0 Comments

…”when we become mature adults, we realize that life is not a prison or a party. It’s a pilgrimage. We make this pilgrimage in obedience to God’s Word. I don’t know where I would have been during all these years of my life without the guidance of the Bible. God’s Word is not a burden; it’s a blessing. Duty becomes delight when you are yielded to the will of God” (https://ref.ly/o/pryrprsprmswiersbe/538779?length=361)

Zacharias: The Truth about Politics

Pilate may well be the quintessential example of what politics has come to mean. He knew what was right but succumbed to the seduction of his position. In life’s most severe tests of motives, there is a politician in each and every one of us. While Pilate was ignorant of the role he was playing, the priests justified their heinous deed, quoting Scripture in support of their cause. Divine purpose, political maneuvering, and religious fervor met in the plan of redemption. -Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods

Wiersbe: True Holiness Is Beautiful

By |August 25th, 2017|Devotional|0 Comments

True holiness is beautiful, and this beauty comes from worship. Did you know that you become like what you worship? If your god is selfish, you become selfish. If your god is ugly, you become ugly. The person who worships money becomes hard. The person who worships pleasure becomes soft. But the person who worships the true and living God becomes beautiful—more and more like Christ. – Warren Wiersbe

Zacharias: Three Realities

By |August 25th, 2017|Devotional|0 Comments

…for the Christian, evil is real, this world is real, and time is real. Jesus recognized all three realities with reference to the blind man. He pointed out that this world has built into it the component of time. And upon the anvil of time beats the hammer of eternity until time ultimately reflects the values of the eternal and will be shed as a shell, from within which ultimate truths will be freely embraced. When we enter that stage, we will find out that the real anvil was eternity, that time provided the hammers, and that God’s glory and purpose will be what remains. – Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods

Wiersbe: Life Is Short

By |August 12th, 2017|Devotional|0 Comments

God did not make us in vain. Sometimes we receive His grace in vain. Sometimes what He does for us is in vain. But that’s our fault, not His. Life is short. That’s good to remember the next time you are tempted to sin. Why waste time disobeying God? – Warren Wiersbe

Elliot: Doubt and Faith 

By |June 26th, 2017|Devotional|0 Comments

“You must not dig up in doubt what you have planted in faith.” – Elisabeth Elliot

Zacharias: Prayer and Faith

Prayer teaches us faith. It is not a guarantor of getting what we want. It is the assurance that our Lord superintends over our lives in our needs and our dependencies, in our successes and accomplishments. Faith is that sublime hourly dependence on God—our conviction that even though we may not get what we want or think we need, we know and love the One who denies us in this instance for his good reason and for our ultimate good. – from Has Christianity Failed You?  by Ravi Zacharias 

Wiersbe: God Sees Our Tears

“You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?”1

God sees when we weep. He sees and records our tears and files them for future reference. Among the Semitic peoples, mourners often catch their tears in a little bottle, a symbol of their sorrow. Then they place the bottle in a tomb or casket. One day God will show you the book and the bottle. He’s going to say, “I knew when your heart was broken. I knew what you were going through. I’ve kept a record of it. Now, that sorrow shall be turned into joy.” And every one of your tears will become a jewel of beauty to the glory of God. – Warren Wiersbe 

  1. Psalm 56.8 []

Zacharias: “Hallowed be Thy Name”

The failure to recognize that our prayers carry his name has brought much disaster to many Christians. His name is quite “unhallowed” in the way we see God in relation to ourselves, if the contemporary expressions of worship that we often engage in are any indication. This vacuous understanding of the sacred may be part of the reason for the collapsing foundation of Christianity in the West.

“Hallowed be your name” is the opening line of the prayer recognizing both the sovereignty of God and the character of God—a character that is holy and will not lie or deceive, in contrast to our own deceitful hearts. “Father” brings him near, while “hallowed be your name” creates the legitimate distance between a holy God and his creation. His love for us is balanced by his protection of us from that which will make us less than what God intends us to be. That is the pivotal first half of “the equation” of prayer: God is love and God is holy. – from “Has Christianity Failed You?” by Ravi Zacharias

Zacharias: The True Unity in Diversity

“Christian message has the only answer to the greatest question in philosophy, a question that has been asked since the time of the early Greeks: How does one find unity in diversity? Academics and cultures have both pursued an answer. But with the concept of three in one within the very person of God, we find that three individual wills aligned in one essence is precisely how God has disclosed himself—unity in diversity. And as we have been created in God’s image, it is precisely this relationship within the Godhead that provides the possibility of relationship among us.” from “Has Christianity Failed You?” by Ravi Zacharias

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