When God gives you something special from His word

images-1If you read yesterday’s Catch, you were introduced to a concept in studying the Bible that should be common to us all as a means by which the word of God becomes real to us. I’m speaking of when you are reading or studying your Bible and you come upon a verse or passage that seems to say something different than what you’ve always heard preached in church or even how certain scriptures are used in regular conversations among Christians.

You’ve probably had the feeling: “Wait a minute. This doesn’t seem to be saying what everyone assumes it’s saying, but who am I to question that? It must be something lost in translation.” And so we ignore those nagging questions and read on. Big mistake. If you stumbled over something there’s probably a reason why.

I’m going to stick my neck out here and venture to suggest this might just be the Holy Spirit speaking to you, at least asking you to dig deeper into the word of God for something more. This is when you ask every question you can think of. Leave no stone unturned. Maybe God has buried some treasure for you here.

Of course we must do due diligence to the passage. Read it in other translations, check out a few commentaries, study the context. We can’t make it say what we want it to say; we want to find out what it’s really saying. But when you are confident you have the text right, and you have a fresh approach, that can be pretty exciting.

Years ago when I was single and struggling with dating relationships, I discovered Paul had a lot to say about being single in 1 Corinthians 7. As I studied the chapter carefully, I discovered there were very practical truths about singleness that no one was talking about or practicing. As I kept studying, I couldn’t help but keep thinking, “How come no one ever told me this before?”

I started to share my findings with others, until one Sunday night in 1973, I gave a talk on “A Single Person’s Identity” at Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, California and there was such a demand for that message that print versions immediately started going out through the church’s print ministry. Later it was turned into a pamphlet and the last I heard, over half a million copies of “A Single Person’s Identity” have gone out all over the world. How do you explain that? It was simply a truth from the word of God that no one had applied before, so that everywhere it went, it was new.

Here’s something that had been in our Bibles all along. All it took was someone to find it, pull it out, wrap their life around it, and share it with others. You can do this with your own experience of the word of God. In fact, I bet many of you have stories you can tell of something God helped you discover in His word and how it became your own, and something you can share with others. Write us and tell us your stories.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

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8 Responses to When God gives you something special from His word

  1. This brings to mind two quotes that were popular back in the day and are generally recycled from generation to generation…
    “Question Authority”

  2. Joe Painter says:

    Yes. SPI has been a blessing to many generations now, including my kids, their peers, and now millennials. These principles are timeless because they are God’s Word! Thank you, John, for teaching us. What a blessing!

  3. Mark Seguin says:

    Pastor John can u plz consider when you record the Catch, of which I deeply appreciate u doing, yet plz think about closing the door, to try and stop the back ground noise…

  4. Sandie says:

    There are two instances that immediately came to mind that served to turn my concept of Jesus upside-down, so to speak.
    The first was not even considered ‘Christian,’ but blasphemy by many believers at the time, For me, a new believer, it broke my heart as I realized exactly (for the first time) exactly what it cost for Jesus to die for me. Because of the religious tradition I was raised in, God and Jesus were far removed from me, on a plane I couldn’t reach. So I always thought that somehow, because He was God, Jesus somehow got a ‘cosmic pass’ on the suffering depicted in scripture – that He was ‘there,’ but not really ‘there’ because of His power as God.
    Then I saw Jesus Christ Superstar…TWICE. Twice because I had to see again the scenes of Jesus in Gethsemane – see Him terrified of the coming pain and death – in mortal distress begging God for another way – finally giving in – exhausted in every way. This was the first time I realized that Jesus had died as a man – human in every way; just like me – a man depending totally on God.
    The second insight I had into Jesus came when reading one of Larry Crabbe’s books. He was talking about Jesus humbling Himself by washing the disciple’s feet. Dr. Crabbe brought out the fact that there was a ‘humbling’ that happened before He performed that task, in that Jesus willingly gave up His absolute right to have His own feet washed. Because of that, there are serious ramifications for believers in our treatment of others. Because we are made “in God’s image,”we too have ingrained in us that knowledge that we deserve to be loved and honored and respected because we bear that Godly imprint. Adam’s fall, and the subsequent impact on our spiritual makeup, have not removed that from our psyche. Determinedly giving up that right, as Jesus did, is for me the true humility…without that inner decision, the action becomes merely that…an action.
    In your ministry over the years John – you have cemented both of those spiritual realities deep in the foundation of my faith.
    Whew…I was really long-winded this time…apologies…and blessings to you John – and Marti and your kids!

  5. TimC says:

    John: Here’s an example for you.
    Psalm 37:4 (NASB) Delight yourself in the Lord;
    And He will give you the desires of your heart.

    I think that some people think that means that if they delight in the Lord that He will give them a nice house, good cars for the family to drive, or at least a safe life and a happy marriage.

    Some time ago, in pondering this verse I came to the realization that it means that delighting in the Lord means that He becomes the desires of my heart.

  6. Pingback: Reliability of message appears from honesty writers – Relating to God

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