Welcome to the footnote¹ blog. Our goal each day is to examine a verse and give a short summary in commentary form or simply an encouraging note to help you remain faithful to God throughout the week. Either way we hope that the footnote¹ blog will comfort you through God's word and give you a better understanding of His will.
“For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” (Romans 2.24, ESV).
To blaspheme the name of God is “to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, … to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at” ("G987 - blasphēmeō - Strong's Greek Lexicon (KJV)." Blue Letter Bible. Web. 17 Mar, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G987&t=KJV>.)
It is no secret that some professed Christians continue to live like the rest of the world. When Christians live in sin, they bring shame upon God’s name. Peter instructs us to be holy as our Father is holy (1 Peter 1.15-16). Anything less than that and His name is blasphemed among unbelievers - because of us. How can we possibly bring anyone to Christ if they can clearly see our hypocrisy?
If you’re interested in learning more about serving God and keeping your conduct pure among outsiders (1 Peter 2.11-12), please e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.’” (1 Samuel 15.22).¹
God gave clear instructions for Saul to devote to destruction all the Amalekites for their opposition to His people (1 Sam. 15.2-3). Unfortunately, Saul did not obey God’s word (8-9). The prophet Samuel asked, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” (14) “Saul said, “‘They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction’” (15).
The problem is God did not say “spare some sheep and oxen to sacrifice to me.” Instead, He commanded them to devote to destruction all that had life; to completely eradicate the Amalekites from the face of this earth for punishment of their sins (18)*. Therefore, God punished Saul that day by ultimately taking away his kingdom (26, 28).
While God enjoys fragrant offerings and sacrifices to Him, He does not tolerate disobedience to His word. One cannot choose to disobey part of a command to try and please Him with part of another command. In other words, the end does not justify the means or “to obey is better than sacrifice.”
If you’re interested in learning more about fully obeying God, then e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
*For additional study of why a loving God would devote whole nations to destruction under the Old Testament please click here.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5.15-16, ESV)¹
¹Time is one of the most precious things in this life. One reason for this is because every second that goes by is another second that we cannot get back and another second closer to our death. Here’s a scary thought: the second we are born we begin to die!
A quick internet search will show that we watch an average of 5 hours of television a day while browsing our social media accounts for an average of 1 hour and 40 minutes and consuming food and drink for nearly 1 hour and 8 minutes. This does not include sleep, work, commute times, shopping, sports, school, cooking, cleaning, reading, exercising, playing games, or even going to the bathroom! Simply put, we spend a lot of time doing several things in this life.
However, in all that we do, are we making the best use of our time? There is nothing necessarily wrong in the stated activities above, but one could argue that it becomes wrong when these things either consume all our time or are placed before the time necessary to serve God.
In fact, as Christians all our time belongs to God! What does that say about the things we do? Again, while watching television or playing sports is not sinful in and of itself, they become sinful when these things compete with God’s time (our service to Him and others). When this happens, God is no longer first in our lives, but placed on the “back burner.”
On the flip side, what happens when we fill our lives with sinful things? Since the two (sin and God) cannot co-exist in one’s life, we must choose what remains consistent. In other words, which master will we serve, sin or God? (Matt. 6.24, 33; Rom. 6.16-18, etc.)
Let us not fill our lives with innocent or sinful activities that simply distract us from giving our time to God. If you’re interested in learning how to walk wisely before God, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4.7, ESV)¹
¹Want to hear the secret to defeating Satan? The Lord's brother, James, wrote that if we resist him, he will flee from us. Peter wrote concerning Satan, "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5.8b, ESV). We all know when lions attack; when their prey is weak or is not paying attention. Hence, Peter calls us to remain sober-minded and vigilant against the lion's attacks (1 Peter 5.8a). This involves us being spiritually alert at all times because spiritual carelessness breeds all kinds of opportunities for the devil. Furthermore, when we understand that God has always provided us with a way of escape from temptation (1 Cor. 10.13), resisting the devil is not only possible, it is expected. Therefore, when we stand firm in our faith (1 Peter 5.9), the seeking-someone-to-devour lion loses his prowling and devouring abilities. In other words, when we fully surrender to God by humbly submitting to Him, we take away any opportunity for the devil to catch us off-guard (cf. Eph. 4.27).
This leads us to an interesting thought: If we do not give him an opportunity, what power does he have over us? In fact, James says that if we resist him that he will flee from us. If a lion is fleeing from us it is because we are stronger than he is! Therefore, Satan only has the power we choose to give him (See Romans 6 for additional study)! And if no power, no control! If you’re interested in learning more about God’s word and how you can have power over Satan instead of the other way around, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
"O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked." (Psalm 97.10, ESV)¹
¹Any Bible student knows that God hates sin. The apostle John taught "that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1.5, ESV). The Psalmist declared, "...you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness..." (Psalm 45.7, ESV) and "Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way" (Psalm 119.104, ESV). Additionally, God requires those who claim allegiance to Him to "Hate evil, and love good...." (Amos 5.15, ESV). Since Christ died on the cross because of sin, one can be absolutely sure that sin is in complete opposition to everything God is, and stands for. Peter wrote, "...who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed" (1 Peter 2.24, ESV). Notice the connection: Jesus suffered and died for our sins (1 Peter 3.18) so that we would die to sin and live for righteousness (Romans 6). In other words, we choose to abhor what is evil and love what is good (see Rom. 12.9). The truth is clear; we can only love Jesus if we hate sin.
The Bible teaches us that we cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6.24); nor can we claim allegiance to both sin and righteousness (Rom. 6.16-18). The question then is, who is your master? Who do you love? Jesus or this world? If you're interested in learning how to love Jesus over sin email Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.