Category Archives: Inspirational

Route NT316 – 1 Corinthians 3:16

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“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?“ 1 Corinthians 3:16

How wonderfully, marvelously, terrifically, superbly powerful is this verse! When we are surrendered to God, the contents of its statement are true of us. At the moment of salvation, God enters by His Spirit to dwell in you. That is the awesome power of the grace of God.

Alas, though, this is where many get confused and go astray. As with every verse in the Bible, this one cannot be fully understood without reading it within the context that it is written. The wonderful positive message of this verse could be mightily misconstrued if applied out of context.

How often we have seen this verse used to confuse people into thinking that it means they have arrived. No more worries, no more pain. Just bask in the glory of riches and honor. Nothing is better than you. Everything is going your way from now on.

The real message of the verse is that we belong to God. In spite of worries. In spite of pain. In spite of the many difficulties that will come our way in this world. “You are a temple of God.” He dwells in us, and therefore we dwell in Him. In the midst of the devastation and disappointments that come with living life, the Lord is with us.

Because we are His temple, God continually showers His blessings upon us. Not necessarily the “blessings” this world understands, but definitely blessings that transcend the confines of this world. While we may or may not possess the things of value here on earth, God heaps on us heavenly riches as we abide in Him and He abides in us.

Reading the entire chapter 1 Corinthians 3 with this understanding can cause it to be an entirely different experience. For example, verse 15 speaks of a man’s work being burned-up by fire. All works will be tested by fire, so this can surely happen. When it does, there will be suffering due to loss. God never guarantees we won’t suffer. What He does promise is to bring us through the fire. Why would He do this? 1 Corinthians 3:16.

One last thought about this stop on our tour. It is important to always remember that when we belong to God we are holy. The scripture says so in 1 Corinthians 3:17. It is even more critical to remember what it means to be holy. This is not a title of elevation or bragging rights for this world. It is instead a call to not ever forget that we belong to God, and we no longer have the worldly rights of self. When we surrendered to God we gave up the rights to self-doubt, self-loathing, self-destruction, self-pity, self-promotion, self-centeredness…and the list goes on. We are the temple of the Living God and as we travel our road of life He goes with us. May our Lord and the world always see and know this truth in us by how we live life.

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Route NT316 – Romans 3:16

(Photograph compliments of my niece Laura Hoy)

Romans 3:16 “Destruction and misery are in their paths “

      This just seems like a pretty negative verse. It has an almost Ecclesiastes kind of pessimistic tone. Yet, it is enveloped in a very positive and wonderful message of grace. Romans 3 contains another very well known verse 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. By itself, this verse surely sounds negative, too. While it is true, both of these verses are intended to open our hearts and minds to understand something hopeless, the real purpose is to open our hearts and minds to receive the blessing of God’s marvelous grace.

      It can be really easy to get caught-up in thinking that if we can do good or be a good person, this will lead us to an eternity in Heaven. Unfortunately, since the fall in the garden, this is not how it works. There is not enough good we can do that will cleanse away the sin that came into the world the day that Adam disobeyed God. No matter how good we may think we are, there are countless ways that sin creeps into our being.

      Some may look at Romans 3:16 and see it as a message for the lost or worldly. After all, “Destruction and misery are in their minds” sounds like a curse that belongs to those who have never heard of God. It very much sounds like condemnation for those who know about God, but can’t be bothered to live by His commandments. Indeed Romans 3:16 should stand as a warning for those who need to find a relationship with God, but it is actually a message for those who are striving to live for the Lord. Those who attend church every time the doors are open, read the Bible through every year, pay their tithe and give to missionaries and charities. This message is for those who are sure that by the lives they live, they are in the will of God. Those who are sure by the way they live here on Earth, they certainly have a place in Heaven.

      Please don’t misunderstand or stop reading. If you do you will miss the most important part. The Bible clearly teaches that it is important to strive always to live for the Lord and according to His commandments. At the same time, it is very important to know that doing so, does not really give us any more hope than the one who is lost or simply refuses to live for God. That’s what Romans 3:16 is telling us, works are important, but hope is not found in them.

      How then does anything positive come out of this verse? The positive comes in reading the verse within the context the entire chapter of Romans 3. Even just adding Verse 20 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” and verse 22 “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe“ can help round out the fullness of the message. Hope comes only from Jesus. He must be where our faith rests. Romans 3:16 is to remind us hope is found in keeping our faith focused not in the things we can do, but in remembering who Jesus is.

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Route NT316 – Acts 3:16

“And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” Acts 3:16 

Oh, how easy it would have been for Peter and John to take credit for the healing. A man who was lame from birth was carried every day to sit by the gate called Beautiful to beg. When Peter and John pulled the lame man up by the arms he began to leap and walk and praise the Lord. The people were amazed by what they saw, and could have readily given the credit to the two men and worshiped them as gods. Taking credit would not necessarily have been an evil thing, but simply a very human thing to do.

It really is very easy to accept credit and praise for wonderful things God may do through us. After all, when people are blessed by events such as a miraculous healing, their hearts quite naturally rejoice. In this state, people will usually seek something or someone to praise. The vessel through whom God sent the miracle can easily be the target of their affection.

While it is essential that the vessel of God should not claim the praises due the Lord, it is just as essential that the vessel should not be neglected. In simpler terms, God works through people and it is important to recognize and take care of those who are engaged in the work of the Lord. Jesus declared this with words recorded in Matthew 10:10 “for the worker is worthy of his support”.

What Act 3:16 teaches us then, is that God works through people by faith in the name of Jesus. While it is right to honor and recognize those through whom God works, it is most important for these vessels to lead the blessed to direct all praise and worship to the Lord who is the true source of all blessing.

Praise God for His many blessings and praise Him for those He sends to carry forth those blessings.

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July 9, 2017 · 3:36 pm

Route NT316 – John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish, but have everlasting life.”

Often I have heard scholarly debate about ancient texts and scriptures. When the debate turns specifically to the Bible, one of the verses on which a great deal of time is generally spent is John 1:1. After all, what excellent material for lengthy and complicated discussion? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Such great dissertations have been delivered, by simply concentrating exhaustively on the explanation that “the Word” John refers to is Jesus. Pages and pages have been filled. Yet, even with so much scholarly attention, the profound theology of this verse can be easily lost. Lost because all the debate and discussion never cause it to reach the hearts for which it was written.

The truth is, where scholarly debate and discussion come up short, and where religion fails, Love reigns. One of the greatest attributes mankind has inherited from being created in the likeness of God is the desire to love and be loved. Paul was inspired to write of this in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Here we are instructed and encouraged to live in FAITH and live in HOPE, but most importantly, live in LOVE

God commands us to love one another with the same love He has shown us. That is a tall order to fill, and most likely not one of us will actually come even close to accomplishing this. Still, we should never give it up as a lost cause. What is so easily missed is that in the case of sharing the love of God, accomplishment may not be in the completion of the task, but is actually in striving to do it.

What then is the love of God? Well of course, it is this stop along Route NT316. It is LOVE itself. As the One who was sent and died put it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) The real question is, “How do we share the love of God”? This is a question that can also lead to much discussion and debate, but the real and simple answer is to share the love God has already given. Just strive to let every single person know that they are so desperately loved by God that He sent His only Begotten Son to die for specifically them.

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Route NT316 – Luke 3:16

Luke 3:16 “ John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

What a wealth of blessing is found at this stop on Route NT316. What powerful lessons can be learned here.

Recorded are the words of John the Baptist. He is explaining that while he was baptizing the people with water, this baptism was nothing compared to what was to come. Something extremely important to learn through John, is how to remain humble in the face of greatness. As John was preaching about repentance, people were flocking to the Jordan river to be baptized by him. Surely this was very much an open opportunity for John to get a big head, and get caught up in self-importance. It happens to many. The Lord begins to use them as a vessel of His Word. He begins to use them as an agent for delivering His blessings to people. Usually, this is for a season. Then, soon enough, the vessel and the agent begin to slip from the awareness that what is happening is from and because of the Lord. They wander into a place of perceiving and promoting self as the source of accomplishment and success. How utterly important it is for us to remember who is truly the source of success, and to whom it belongs.

The Bible is full examples of people rejoicing over accomplishment and success. Rejoicing with words and with song. Properly done, such rejoicing can be called praise, because it fully acknowledges God as the source and primary beneficiary of all that has been achieved and the source of all future triumph!

While fulfilling his call of baptizing in the Jordan river, John humbly acknowledged that the greater things of the Lord were yet to come. He didn’t try to hang on to what he had, but encouraged the people to go and seek after greater things than he had for them. Sending is an extremely hard task. For example, how agonizing it is for a parent to send their child out into the world to live their own life. Another example is someone in ministry sending the people they have discipled and nurtured, so they can move on in the walk the Lord has for them.

The thing is, if we don’t send them, how can we know whether we have succeeded, and how can they achieve the plans God has for them?

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NT Route 3:16 – 2nd Stop Mark 3:16

Once again, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been here. This is mostly due to life in transition. With starting a new job, which also included a big change in shift, and finishing my first semester of schooling in many years, I have found myself very busy. Praise the Lord He has been with me and brought me through all my busyness and even now fills my heart with joy and inspiration to continue my journey along NT Route 3:16. Thank you for waiting and for your prayers. I know you have been praying, I can just tell.

On our journey, the next stop is Mark 3:16. “And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter).” Now I know that the Lord has set me on this journey because there is something for me to discover at each stop that He will use to edify my life and the lives of those with whom I share, but when I got here, I was really stumped. Here there only seems to be a small portion of an over-all message, and on top of that, it’s just a list. True, a list of very important names, but still, just a list. What, oh what could there possibly be here to impact my own life. It’s just a part of a list, not even a complete thought…But wait, WAIT. I do see it. I see a complete whole message in this one verse of scripture, and I see how it applies to me.

The message hidden in Mark 3:16 actually becomes more clear when you read it without some of the words. The verse says “He appointed” and then points out one of the appointed to whom He gave a new name. Oh how very clear this verse spells out the vital importance of being appointed by God! It is so important, because when Jesus is the one who makes the appointment, it is for real! It is for real, and He will bring it to pass! If we set out of our own accord, we are very likely doomed to failure, but when we answer the call of God’s anointed appointment we are most assuredly destine to succeed.

I have taught for many years and whole heartedly believe that God uses every person who ever has and ever will live to fulfill His purpose. He appoints each and every one of us to be used to carry His name into all the earth and speak it forth to every living creature. Yet He leaves us with a choice. The choice we have is to receive His appointment as a blessing or a curse. For example, Moses was blessed as he moved in his appointment to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and to the land of Canaan. On the other hand, the Pharaoh was cursed as he refused to move in his appointment to release the Hebrews and let them go with Moses. How much more wonderful it is to move in the appointment of the Lord.

The other key point in this verse is that Jesus had given Simon another name. In answering his appointment, Simon was to be known as Peter. This point is key to each of us, because it points out the importance in realizing, accepting and moving in the fact that as we surrender our lives to Jesus we too should become known by another name. No I’m not necessarily saying that we need a different name, but what I see here at Mark 3:16 is that when we have surrendered to Jesus, people should be able to recognize that we are a different person. When they hear our name, it should call to their memory a person who is devoted to living for God. The only way people can recognize such a difference is if it is true.

As I was reading one morning, the Lord expanded this understanding to me through the life of another person from the Bible, whose name was Jedidiah. I discovered in 2 Samuel 12:24-25, that when God sent the Prophet to the King to tell the name of his new baby was Jedidiah, He also sent word through the Prophet that the name means, beloved of God”. God proclaimed this name on the child because from his very beginning, God loved him. While Jedidiah was very much a great King, in the long run, he did not live by the name God had given him, and by the time he died he had pretty much turned from God to live by the name given him by his earthly father and in his earthly father’s womanizing ways. While he had been proclaimed by God as Jedidiah, he lived and died by the name Solomon. What a shame for the most wise man who ever lived, that he died as Solomon the king who turned to the gods of his wives, instead of Jedidiah the beloved of God. I guess it just goes to show that how you finish is so much more important than how you start, and how you finish is all about how you live today (and tomorrow), not how you lived yesterday.

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New Testament Route 3:16 – First Stop

After posting the Route 3:16 Old Testament journey, I prepared the map for the Route 3:16 New Testament journey, and thought I was on my way. Then, as life tends to do, it got in the way. With a video and game project (“Count On God”) to finish, preparations for publishing a book (“When A Family Starts”), a first Conference show to prepare…there just didn’t seem any time to get started. To make things worse, as the passing of time tends to do, it began to make a wonderful journey of encouragement and enlightenment seem as a chore to be dreaded.

Well finally, I have put one foot of the other and begun forward motion. Look out New Testament, here I come!

But wait! When I got to the first stop, Matthew 3:16, what I found there is so great, I just didn’t want to wait until the end of the journey to share it!

So, here it is. I pray this will bless your heart as much as it has blessed mine!

(Matthew 3:16)  And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him,

(This is where I could easily get myself in trouble with the establishment, but here goes anyway.)

In this passage of scripture we have positive proof that Jesus, the man, had the right to choose His destiny. The proof is demonstrated in John’s reaction as Jesus came to the Jordan river to be baptized. John was clearly working under the power of the Holy Spirit calling all to be baptized unto repentance, but then he immediately recognized that Jesus had no need of this baptism. Still, Jesus decided to receive it anyway.

Jesus had laid aside His Heavenly robes to come into the world in the humble form of a mere man. Yes, scripture shows that He had grown up knowing, without doubt, the will of His Father. At the same time, He had spent many years living among people and personally witnessing the imperfections wrought by the sin of Adam and  continued in the very existence of mankind.

Then, He came to the water’s edge.

This event was a perfect opportunity for Jesus to simply exalt Himself. When John tried to step down from his position as the baptizer, Jesus could easily have received this high praise, and Baptized John.  Had Jesus made this decision, He would still have been all man and all God, and no doubt He would still have eventually returned to His rightful place in Heaven.

What then would have been the big deal? Had Jesus simply received the praise John offered, and baptized him, Jesus would have made the conscious decision exalt Himself, refuse receiving the sin of mankind, and denied the Cross. Maybe nothing would have been lost for Him. All would have been lost for us.

This stop on the New Testament Route 3:16 so clearly expresses (as does all of scripture when carefully studied) the motivation of the true and living God is always His love for His creation! Matthew 3:16  strongly confirms the very idea shared in the words of the simple children’s song…”Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”.

I pray for you the peace of KNOWING God loves you, and realizing that He tells you so over and over and over again.

Thanks for beginning this little journey with me.

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