December 21 – How We Kno

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” – John 10:11 (NASB)
“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” John 10:15 (NASB

Shepherds worked very difficult jobs. Sheep were important to the lives and the livelihood of sheep owners and an important industry. Finding a good shepherd, one that could be trusted, was not always easy. Here, Jesus declares himself the Good Shepherd. A strict more literal translation is “I am the shepherd, the good one.” A good shepherd would be willing to hazard his all for the sheep. King David was a shepherd who risked his life to protect the sheep from wild predators. A shepherd may, indeed, risk his life in the defense of his sheep (1 Samuel. 17:34–36), but he does not really lay down his life as a voluntary sacrifice. But our Good Shepherd has a different relationship than a hired shepherd. To save His sheep, the Good Shepherd sacrificed his life so that they can live. Jesus doubles this promise and He did lay down His life for the sheep because He knows each intimately by name and they know and follow Him. His sheep know him in the same way as God the Father and God the Son know each other for they are one. Perhaps difficult to understand, it is His promise to us.

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October 29 – Being Wise and Innocent

“…but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” – Romans 16:19b-20 (NASB)

The wisdom the Apostle Paul advocates in these verses is more than “knowledgeability” as one commentary puts it. It is a spiritual as well as a mental quality. Paul wants the recipients of this letter to live in such a manner that they will be equal to the task of choosing what is good in the eyes of God, and that they will be innocent and guileless about evil. They should be wise for the purpose of doing and promoting what is right, and should not get “mixed up” with anything that, in God’s sight, is wrong. God promises to exercise his sovereign will in the interest of his people! 

  • He will crush Satan. He will fulfil the promise of Genesis. 3:15. Not Satan but God is Victor.
  • He will crush him under your feet. Those who are co-heirs (Romans 8:17) are also co-conquerors. 
  • He will do so soon. In a sense it is true that God is crushing Satan right along. A most decisive victory was won on Calvary. There can be no doubt about it, though, that the present passage has reference to the final, victory of God over Satan.

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William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 12-13:512–513.

 October 9 – Good Thoughts = Good Habits

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

The letter Paul the Apostle wrote to his Christian brothers and sisters in Philippi is so chock-full of promises and encouraging instruction. Today’s verse is a good one to memorize or post on a note card where we can see it daily. Our minds are under attack daily – even hourly by the devil who is seeking to destroy and rob us of our joy. We have read more than once that we are to rejoice always. Today we read how fill our minds with good things and think our way to rejoicing.

  • True is found in God, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and in God’s Word*. 
  • Honorable “worthy of respect.” We meditate on whatever is worthy of awe and adoration, as opposed to the profane. 
  • Right means is to think in harmony with God’s divine standard of holiness. 
  • Pure is that which is morally clean and undefiled. 
  • Lovely “pleasing” or “amiable.” Believers are to focus on whatever is kind or gracious. 
  • Of good repute, that which is highly regarded or thought well of and reputable in the world, such as kindness, courtesy, and respect for others.

We thus avoid the GIGO† in our manner of thoughts.

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* 2 Timothy 2:25; Ephesians 4:20-21; John 16:13; John 17:17

† Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO), What goes into a process will be seen in what comes out. While the term is most frequently used in the context of software development, GIGO can also be used to refer to any decision-making systems or choices where failure to make the best decisions or choices results in unintended and unpleasant consequences.

 September 30 – Not To Drift

“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. ” – 3 John 11 (NASB)

Of the 3 letters written by John the Apostle, the third is the shortest. John was urging the believers to continue to maintain the practice of Christian hospitality that they had been taught and were practicing. In their body was one who was arrogantly violating this practice. With promises from John that he would deal with this malcontent when he visited, he offered the instructions fount in our verse today. It is an essential that what we do is truly good and not just good according to worldly standard but good that comes from our position in God. It is a very strict teaching that many ignore a great deal in the Christian church today. Many teachings of Jesus and then the apostles are being redefined and rationalized based on what “seems right in one’s own eyes.” We tend to become careless and drift away from God’s Word. The drift comes from imitating ways of the world around. Those ways are controlled by Satan who is evil. True good exists and we can emulate what is good. Remember that those who do good are of God and those who do evil cannot claim to know God.

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August 8 – The Good of Doing Good Works

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, awhile we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10 (NASB)

We stress frequently that we cannot earn salvation and eternal life by doing good works. It is the gift of faith that brings us the grace we need to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. But good works are not to be forgotten. Doing good is a commandment in the Bible. We are promised that the good works we do in obedience to God will result in a harvest of righteousness. What we reap is lives that are saved from the wages of sin – death. (Romans 6:23) Humans can be a bit impatient however. When we do not see the positive results of our work for God, we are tempted to give up. We might even call it ‘burned out’ and we are also tempted to lose heart. Our calling as faith believers is to stay on task and trust that in due time, we will see results. Our good works are for all people, demonstrating the love and sacrifice Christ made for all the world. And even more, for all in the faith who are called children of God. When is the time to do good? It is “while we have opportunity” means NOW.

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