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.
“...then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deut. 6.12)
We live in a world that has forgotten our Creator. No wonder He forewarned us not to forget about Him (Deut. 6.10-19). While there are several reasons for this, consider the following two scenarios.
Scenario #1: Dinner must be cooked, the baby is screaming, kids have homework and practice, dad is grumpy from a long day at work. Everyone is tired. Everyone is ready to stop for the day. Sometimes it is never-ending. It’s time to relax.
Scenario #2: Life is great – no complaints. Everything is working in our favor. A recent promotion at work means big bucks, which is going to make life even easier.
Surely we can see how easy it is to forget about God in these two scenarios. We are either too busy or too blessed or both.
Fortunately, there are things in the Christian’s life that help keep God on our minds. A few of these things include the local church, the Lord’s Supper, our brethren, the Bible, the creation around us, and even pain and suffering.
Just imagine if our life was not full of pain, suffering, and affliction. Remember scenario #2? Would we ever look to God? Oftentimes wealth and an abundance of blessings harden our hearts (Matt. 19.16-26) where we cannot love God with all our heart (Matt. 22.37). David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Psalm 119.67). Solomon wrote, “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God” (Prov. 30.7-9). See also Deut. 8.11-14. Like them, we too can forget what God has done for us.
Interestingly, when we forget God, especially as His children, we are testing Him. Read Deut. 6.16. How did the Israelites tempt God? By forgetting what the Lord had done for them and then requiring Him to prove His care for them! Read Exo. 17.1-7. After all God had accomplished they asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?” Additionally, when we forget God, we slowly but surely begin to neglect His commandments (Deut. 6.17; cf. 4.23; 8.11, 19). This causes us to go astray and practice all kinds of unrighteousness (see Romans 1). How often do we imitate these people? No wonder our Father is provoked with us at times.
Have you forgotten your Creator? When life is busy eliminate the unnecessary things that hinder our minds from focusing on God. When we are abundantly blessed look to God for thanksgiving. When we are suffering look to God for deliverance.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6.46, ESV)
In comparison with Jesus’ word above, let us also notice Jesus’ words elsewhere: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7.21) and “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15.8-9).
The religious world says we can be divided, we can practice a false religion, we can continue in sin, we can neglect to go to worship God, and we can choose to not be truly devoted to Him. However, as long as we claim “Christ as Lord” and occasionally tell people that we are “followers of Christ” or “believe in God” that we are “righteous” and heaven-bound. This is far from the truth. Jesus refutes these claims by teaching that we must not only call Him “Lord,” but fully trust and submit to His will in faithful obedience.
Are you one of the many who claims allegiance to Christ, and yet, upon honest examination of your life you know that your heart is far from Him? Let us help you learn about Christ and what it means to truly follow Him. Contact Bryan Garlock | Message us on Facebook | Call/text 903.308.4905
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3.15)
The Bible tells us there is one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Eph. 4.5). He is to be the master and ruler of our lives. In fact, we are to empty our hearts of all things evil and sanctify Christ in our hearts, counting Him as Holy, filling our hearts with His word and love.
Those who accept Jesus as Lord have some obligations. If we believe that Jesus is the master of our lives, then we will believe that we are judged by His teachings. This will affect how we view the Scriptures and our obedience thereof.
For example, one who does not view Jesus as their Savior may still be in agreement with His teachings about murder or theft, etc.: “I would never do that!” However, for those of us who claim to be followers of Christ how do we respond to Jesus when He goes against everything we have ever believed? Our traditions? Our preconceived ideas? Or our desires?
The acid test of whether Jesus is Lord of our lives is when we obey God’s word even when it goes against what we want in this life. When Jesus says, “no,” do we still honor Him with our respect and obedience? Or do we elevate ourselves above God by creating a false God that will allow us to get away with the things we want to do?
*These thoughts are adapted from an article by Mark Dunugan.
“Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” (Acts 8.4, ESV)¹
¹In the context, Christians were dealing with persecution including prison time, beatings, and/or death (See the books of Acts). Despite this, Christians went about preaching the word. In fact, since the Christians were so diligent in teaching others, Luke recorded in Acts that the church multiplied by the thousands and yet persecutions abounded!
What’s our excuse for not teaching others? Is it the television? Coming home after a long day and putting up our feet to watch T.V. sounds great. Is it the internet? Spending time surfing the net and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is very relaxing. Is it tiredness? Indeed, forty to fifty hours a week at work can be exhausting. Too many activities? Little Johnny has soccer, Suzie has softball, Bobby has piano lessons, Bill has chess club, etc. Of course, these activities are necessary.
Surely one can see the sarcasm above. Simply put, we put too much before our God. We focus on the wrong things. We fill our lives with so much that we neglect spiritual things. If we find ourselves not teaching sinners, isn’t it time we examine our lives and discover what we need to eliminate to make time?
Perhaps time is not the issue. Perhaps a lack of knowledge is the reason why we do not teach. What are we doing about that, brethren? Are we diligently studying? Are we seeking to learn God’s word to teach our family or friends?
Here are the facts: If Christians in the first century lived in a time with no electricity and no modern-day comforts, and dealt with constant hardship due to persecution and yet still taught sinners, then God will not accept our excuses of being too tired, wanting to watch our favorite television shows, or that little billy has football practice every afternoon, etc. It is scary how many of us will be using those excuses on judgment day!
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” (John 11.28-29, ESV)¹
¹Speaking of His sheep (disciples), Jesus gives all a beautiful promise – “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” and “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand”. Too often people claim that this means that His disciples cannot be lost.
The first problem is that this belief is built on a system of beliefs that state that the child of God cannot be lost (often referred to as once saved always saved), and the second problem is that this belief requires those who accept it to overlook the context of the verse in question and deny clear passages that teach a Christian can lose his salvation (see Gal. 5.4; James 5.19-20; Heb. 3.13; 2 Peter 2.20-22, etc.). Additioanlly, one has to overlook the fact that salvation and remaining saved is conditional.
For example, prior to giving this promise, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 11.28, ESV). This implies that His disciples choose to “hear” and “follow”. To hear Jesus is to listen to all that He teaches and to follow Jesus is to obey all that He commands. Many people listen and yet do not follow (refuse to obey). The promise of eternal life does not apply to them. Many people claim to follow and yet do not listen (claim to have a relationship with Christ and yet live immoral lives). For example, Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6.46, ESV). The promise of eternal life does not apply to them.
Therefore, for all who listen and follow, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.”
If you’re interested in learning more about God’s will, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.