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Sometimes things seem to take so long! And I think that in this age of technology where things happen so much more quickly than ever before, we are no more patient than we were in other generations. Before the invention of the telephone, people used to send messages by courier—on foot, on horseback, perhaps by boat. Depending on the distance, it might take hours, days or months to get a message to someone. Now we don’t even like to use a phone that is attached to a wall, or even that restricts us to staying in a building, if we can help it. And we complain if we have to wait more than a minute or two for anything.

The time span between the Old Testament and the New Testament is 400 years without recorded prophecies from God. That’s a long time to wait for a message! Just before the beginning of those 400 years, in Malachi 4:1-2, we are told that the day is coming when all evildoers will be burned as chaff, but that those who respect the name of the Lord will be vindicated and will be free and happy. Then God tells us that He will send the prophet Elijah to encourage both adults and children to return to Him before the day of judgement comes. (Malachi 4:5-6)

So imagine hearing that news at the time of Malachi and then not getting any updates for 400 years. Generations of people have come and gone, and there was still no news on when this vindication would be implemented. I wonder how many people gave up waiting for the Messiah, and for Elijah to come. I wonder how many stopped believing in God. I’m sure there were many, but there were also some who continued to teach their children God’s ways. (Deuteronomy 6)

In Luke 1:16-17, the spirit and the power of Elijah did return in the person of John the Baptizer. John’s purpose was still the same as prophesied in Malachi 4:5-6. To prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah to come by turning the people back to God. We are still waiting for the day of judgement to come. While we wait, what are we teaching our children? Are we still teaching them the commandments, statutes and ordinances of God? (Deuteronomy 6:1-3) Do they see us living in a way that demonstrates what we say we believe? Or are we becoming lax? Are we getting forgetful as we wait? If we do not teach this generation of children the ways of God, who will teach the next?

Today's post was written by and shared with permission from Tim Challies.
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Last week I compared The Passion of the Christ to the forthcoming Son of God, a film set to release later this week. I meant to point out that we can’t expect a movie to do what God promises only the Word will do. I also wanted to suggest similarities between the two movies and to draw attention to the obvious attempts from the marketing team behind Son of God to apply lessons learned during the brouhaha surrounding The Passion of the Christ. Today I want to dig in just a little bit more. I suppose I am going to be a tad contrary here, but I want to give us something to think about before we buy our tickets.

Now listen: I know many people who read this site have thought about the movie, will go to see it, and will enjoy it. I also know many people who read this site will not go to see the movie because they too have thought about it and are convicted it would be wrong for them to go. I believe this is one of those areas in which Christians need to acknowledge that some will believe the very opposite of what they themselves believe. Convictions will vary, even among Christians of the same theological stripe, which makes it an ideal time to obey Romans 14 and to refuse to pass judgment on one another.

Before moving on, let’s distinguish between two related terms: crucifixion and cross. I will allow David Wells to describe the difference: “The former was a particularly barbaric way of carrying out an execution, and it was the method of execution that Jesus endured. The latter, as the New Testament speaks of it, has to do with the mysterious exchange that took place in Christ’s death, an exchange of our sin for his righteousness.” According to this definition, many were crucified, but only One went to the cross.

Here is what I want to think about: A film cannot adequately capture the reality of what transpired between the Father and the Son while the Son hung upon the cross. If this is true, a film that displays the crucifixion but misses the cross might actually prove a hindrance rather than a help to the Christian faith. Even the best movie will still be hampered by a grave weakness.

Words and pictures are very different media, and in the history of redemption, God has used both. For example, in the Old Testament God used words to record prophecies about the coming Messiah while in the tabernacle he provided pictures of the coming Messiah and what he would accomplish—an altar for sacrifice, a lamb to be slaughtered, incense rising to God. Words can tell truth while pictures can display truth.

When it comes to the cross, God has given us four written eyewitness accounts but no visual accounts. Why is this? The Bible doesn’t tell us. What we do know, though, is that every medium has limitations. While visual media are excellent at conveying feelings, they are poorly suited to conveying ideas. Words are able to tell what happened at the cross in a way that pictures cannot.

At the cross we encounter something no picture can tell. Its reality cannot be displayed. Even the eyewitnesses of the cross, those who saw it all unfold, walked away ignorant that day, needing words to explain what had happened there. When we see the crucifixion, our eyes see excruciating physical suffering; when we read about the cross, our hearts recoil at soul-crushing spiritual suffering. When we see the crucifixion, our eyes see soldiers punishing an innocent man; when we read about the cross, our minds grapple with God the Father pouring out his wrath upon his sinless Son. When we see the crucifixion, we see a man stripped naked and slowly dying; when we read about the cross we see Christ Jesus clothed in our unrighteousness. When it comes to understanding the cross, only words will do, only words are sufficient.

David Wells explains this in a powerful way in his new book God in the Whirlwind:

[Crucifixion] was a death that many others had also suffered. In fact, it was an event so common in the first-century Roman world that Jesus’s crucifixion almost passed unnoticed. For the soldiers who carried it out, it was an unexceptional part of their routine. As for the Jewish leaders who had opposed Christ, it was a fitting end to their problem. Soon, they were back to business as usual. And although the resurrection was to happen shortly thereafter, and although the disciples were to be emboldened in their preaching, and although the Holy Spirit was to authenticate what they said by miracles, the historians of that day also missed the significance of this event.

There is a distinction between the crucifixion and the cross. The former was a particularly barbaric way of carrying out an execution, and it was the method of execution that Jesus endured. The latter, as the New Testament speaks of it, has to do with the mysterious exchange that took place in Christ’s death, an exchange of our sin for his righteousness. It was there that our judgment fell on the One who is also our Judge. Indeed, he who had made all of creation was dishonored in the very creation he had made. And yet, through this dark moment, this fierce judgment, through this dishonor, there now shines the light of God’s triumph over sin, death, and the Devil. And in this moment, this moment of Jesus’s judgment-death, God was revealed in his holy-love as nowhere else.

This, however, was not seen from the outside. Besides Christ’s cry of dereliction—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46)—there was little to indicate what was really happening. For that we need to think back to the Old Testament with its prophetic foretelling of the cross and to Jesus’s own expressed understanding of it, and we need to look on to the apostles for their more complete exposition of it. Without this, the meaning of Christ’s death is lost on us. We would see the execution but, without God’s explicating revelation, it would remain mute. It would be a death like any other death except for its disgrace. God must interpret his own actions, and so he has. Without this, we too are mute.

That is why dramatic presentations of Christ’s death, such as on TV and in movies, so often miss the point. They give us the crucifixion, not the cross. They show the horrifying circumstances of his death. These circumstances may be shown accurately. But this can take us only so far. It leaves us with only a biographical Christ, who may be interesting, but not with the eternal Christ whom we need for our salvation. The crucifixion without the cross is an incomplete picture, a half-told story. What is omitted is the meaning of the event. We do not carry this meaning within ourselves, nor can we find it in this world. What eludes us is something we have to be given by God himself, for only he can say what was happening within the Godhead as Christ was killed and, in his death, atoned for our sin. This is indispensable to the meaning of Christian faith. Without it, Christ’s death is only a martyrdom and Christian faith is just a nice, moral religion but one that is neither unique nor uniquely true.

The cross of Christ is not less than the crucifixion, but it is certainly far, far more. Don’t believe you understand more about the cross by witnessing a dramatic recreation of the crucifixion. Before you line up to see Son of God, do at least consider what Wells says: the film leaves us with a biographical Christ, an incomplete picture, a half-told story. Those who see the film without being told the rest of the story may actually understand less about the person and work of Christ than if they had never seen it at all.

Note: A moment ago I said that God has given us no visual representations of the cross, but that is not strictly true. He did give us one: The Lord’s Supper. It may be worth challenging yourself whether you are more excited to see the film or to remember what Christ did at the cross by participating in that God-given picture.

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You can visit Tim's website at challies.com

Today's post was written by and shared with permission from Rusty Wright.
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I didn't really like him at first. But once I got to know him, he impacted my life – and those of millions more – forever.

This suspicious-looking guy in his early thirties carried a briefcase and appeared at the campus Christian meetings I'd begun to attend.

Sometimes he wore a trench coat. Was he a secret agent? My young mind entertained fanciful theories. As a skeptic, I bristled at some of his answers to my spiritual questions. I had lots to learn.

New Life

In 1967, Bob Prall was the Campus Crusade for Christ director at Duke University. During that era of campus revolution, he and my Christian friends said God offered me personal spiritual revolution. They said I couldn't earn divine favor, but needed to be forgiven by God through faith in Christ. As the Bible indicates about believers:

"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

I trusted Christ, and eventually would devote my life to spreading that message. But I still had much to learn.

Puzzling Questions

When a fraternity brother asked me some faith questions I couldn't answer, it bothered me deeply. Later, Bob answered them for me. "Always remember," he advised, "just because you don't know the answer, doesn't mean there is no answer."

For two years I followed him around, watching as he shared Christ with skeptics and listening to his speeches. Bob's loving, learned example and teaching helped me sink my spiritual roots deeply into God's truth, and provided a foundation for over four decades of interaction with unbelievers. Looking back, I'm sure it was the Lord's hand that put him in my life.

Global Ripples

God has graciously sent me presenting Christ and biblical perspectives on six continents before university students and professors, on mainstream TV and radio talk shows, with executives, diplomats and professional athletes.

He's had me writing for secular newspapers, magazines, and the Internet about subjects like sex, death, current events, humor, and reasons for faith … seeking to help influence one billion people for Christ. Bob's impact is spreading far and wide. I'm now able to answer others' questions just as he answered mine. I shall always be grateful for his mentoring.

Ministry by Walking Around

Some Prall-isms:

"If Christianity is a psychological crutch, then Jesus Christ came because there was an epidemic of broken legs."

Focus on Jesus: "I don't have answers to every question. But if my conclusion about Jesus is wrong, I have a bigger problem. What do I do with the evidence for His resurrection, His deity and the prophecies He fulfilled? And what do I do with changed lives, including my own?"

You've heard of "management by walking around"? Bob practiced "ministry by walking around," telling stories, asking questions. Sound like anyone else you know of?

And he's still at it. Recently, over dinner in Houston, Bob filled me in on his latest projects and online resources. Reaching young people remains a key concern.

Word Dynamics

He's developed Word Dynamics, a unique outreach tool to help high school and university students improve their vocabulary and also consider Jesus' claims. This digital vocabulary builder can help students excel in school and prepare for the SAT and GRE exams. Youth groups, homeschoolers and teachers might find this educational software with a spiritual twist especially useful for study and outreach.

www.learn-it.info tells more about Bob's training and outreach resources. I hope he reaches lots of students. I'm sure glad he reached me.

So…might mentoring fit into your life? If you're young, should you seek a mentor? If you're older, should you ask God for someone to mentor? It can make an eternal difference.
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Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.rustywright.com

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The reason I started this blog just over two years ago, was to share what I learned through studying the Bible, and to encourage you to study with me. I know that there are some of you (and I have done it too) who start a reading plan in January with the intent to read through the Bible in one year. Genesis and Exodus are interesting, filled with stories of drama and suspense, but once you get to Leviticus, does your mind start to wander? Do you start to drift off? When you read through Numbers are you actually planning your summer vacation? How many of you have made it to Revelation? I know that before I changed my strategy two years ago, I had read Genesis more often than any other book. But when I started studying--not just reading--one or two verses at a time, without neglecting the larger context of course, I found myself more engaged and more interested.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s word is “living and active”. The New Living Translation says “alive and powerful”. Do you believe that? Or do you think that it is just a historical religious book that people keep printing and re-translating because there are still people who want to buy it? And why do they want to buy it? Why do you want to read it enough to start a reading plan every year? I believe that the same thing that draws many of us to The Bible, repels many as well. It is a representation of the power of God. It is God extending Himself to us through His written word.

The word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) God has provided it for us, to teach us, to correct us and to prepare us for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16-17) It is there for us to be able to know God’s heart, and to determine if ours are right with His. The word of God is available to us for our benefit, so that we can know God, so that through faith in Him and obedience to Him we can be recipients of His grace, love, peace and mercy. What a gift!

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Some of you prefer watching the movie to reading the book. Here is your chance! Though I recommend it as a supplement rather than a substitution, The Bible is coming to The History Channel as a mini-series beginning on Sunday, March 3, 2013 and continuing each Sunday evening until Easter Sunday. You can be sure that this will be a great production because it is being produced by Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice, The Voice…) and Roma Downey (Touched By An Angel). Accuracy has been insured by Bible scholars, including Dr. Craig Evans of Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Find out more about The Bible Series at the official website, their Facebook page or on Twitter.

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Sometimes things seem to take so long! And I think that in this age of technology where things happen so much more quickly than ever before, we are no more patient than we were in other generations. Before the invention of the telephone, people used to send messages by courier—on foot, on horseback, perhaps by boat. Depending on the distance, it might take hours, days or months to get a message to someone. Now we don’t even like to use a phone that is attached to a wall, or even that restricts us to staying in a building, if we can help it. And we complain if we have to wait more than a minute or two for anything.

The time span between the Old Testament and the New Testament is 400 years without recorded prophecies from God. That’s a long time to wait for a message! Just before the beginning of those 400 years, in Malachi 4:1-2, we are told that the day is coming when all evildoers will be burned as chaff, but that those who respect the name of the Lord will be vindicated and will be free and happy. Then God tells us that He will send the prophet Elijah to encourage both adults and children to return to Him before the day of judgement comes. (Malachi 4:5-6)

So imagine hearing that news at the time of Malachi and then not getting any updates for 400 years. Generations of people have come and gone, and there was still no news on when this vindication would be implemented. I wonder how many people gave up waiting for the Messiah, and for Elijah to come. I wonder how many stopped believing in God. I’m sure there were many, but there were also some who continued to teach their children God’s ways. (Deuteronomy 6)

In Luke 1:16-17, the spirit and the power of Elijah did return in the person of John the Baptizer. John’s purpose was still the same as prophesied in Malachi 4:5-6. To prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah to come by turning the people back to God. We are still waiting for the day of judgement to come. While we wait, what are we teaching our children? Are we still teaching them the commandments, statutes and ordinances of God? (Deuteronomy 6:1-3) Do they see us living in a way that demonstrates what we say we believe? Or are we becoming lax? Are we getting forgetful as we wait? If we do not teach this generation of children the ways of God, who will teach the next?

Today's post was written by Rusty Wright.
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“Who said, ‘Neither a borrower nor a lender be’?” asked Chris Matthews on his MSNBC-TV program Hardball.

Matthews had been discussing evangelical Christians’ economic views with CBN News correspondent David Brody. In response, Brody did not name the quote’s source, but playfully protested being asked a “church history” question.

Shakespeare may or may not have been flattered. In Hamlet, Polonius offers the famous advice to his son Laertes.

Given Hardball’s rapid-fire nature, Brody’s misattribution of the quote to church history is understandable. Matthews, with his heartfelt and penetrating style, speaks 200 words per minute – with gusts up to 400 – and interrupts often. The crossfire could momentarily confuse anyone.

Misattributed Sayings

But famous sayings often get misattributed. Materials at an annual national student leadership conference in Washington, DC, regularly attributed to Thomas Jefferson the aphorism, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Now, Jefferson may have agreed; he mistrusted strong centralized government and advocated states’ rights. But Lord Acton, the 19th Century British statesman, scholar and aristocrat – born eight years after Jefferson died – is the actual source.

When I noted the problem, the conference moderator readily agreed to edit their materials. But I had erred, too. Acton’s actual wording: “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” [Emphasis mine.]

“Cleanliness is next to godliness”

Even experts goof. In Dallas’ Cotton Bowl in 1972, I remember Billy Graham passionately telling assembled thousands that the Bible says “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Yet, Graham’s website (correctly) attributes the statement to 18th Century minister John Wesley.

In fact, many popular sayings get misattributed to the Bible. How about, “This above all – to thine own self be true”? The Bard again, Polonius to Laertes, a few lines after “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

What about “No man is an island”? English poet John Donne.

“Money is the root of all evil.” That must be biblical, right? Close, but the actual biblical text contains significant qualifications: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil….” [Emphasis mine, again.]

“God helps those…?”

Here’s a common one. A university administrator once told me his life philosophy was summed up “by that famous statement, found so many times in the Bible: ‘God helps those who help themselves.’” White House press secretary Jay Carney also once attributed this statement to the Bible. Forms of it exist among Aesop’s Fables and in Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, but it’s not in the Bible. I was surprised to learn it actually contradicts a core biblical teaching.

Certainly biblical authors advocate acting responsibly. But on the crucial issue of how humans can connect with God and gain strength for responsible living, it’s not human effort that counts, I discovered to my chagrin. It’s a free “gift.”

Now, this violated my sense of justice. It seemed only fair that my good deeds should earn me a place in heaven. Then I learned that trying to earn eternal life was something like trying to swim from California to Hawaii. Some people will get farther than others, but no one would make it on their own. No matter how good I tried to be, the moral/spiritual gap between my behavior/character and God’s remained infinite.

Apt Words

That’s why, the biblical documents indicate, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us,” (Romans 5:6) bridging the infinite chasm that we humans never could.

I guess the common saying might better read, “God offers to help those who recognize their need…and ask.”

What a difference. I realized that it’s important to learn not only “who said that,” but also what the speaker/writer actually said and meant.
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Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.RustyWright.com
Copyright © 2012 Rusty Wright

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In my last post I discussed how sometimes Christians can be judgemental, but Christians are judged a lot too. One judgement that is often made is that we must be mindless to believe in a God we cannot see. Yet there are people who have suffered persecution, even given their lives rather than deny their belief in God. Why would the disciples have kept the faith when their lives were at risk? Why would people today? They would have to be pretty certain that what they believe is true to be willing to give up their lives for it.

One of the verses that I mentioned in my last post was I Peter 3:15-16. Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have. Be ready to explain why you believe as you do. In order to do that you have to know for yourself, and the fact that your parents or your friends believe that way won’t hold up as a reason for long.

In Acts 17:10, Luke is in the process of recounting the travels and activities of Paul and Silas among others. They had been in Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9) but had to leave because the Jews there didn’t want to consider anything different than what they already believed, so they were not willing to hear that Jesus was the Messiah that they had been waiting for. They opposed Paul and Silas and accused them of stirring up trouble and opposing Caesar. These were pretty serious charges, so after paying their fine, the believers sent Paul and Silas to the town of Berea. As usual Paul went to the synagogue to share the good news that Jesus was the Messiah. The Bereans heard the message, but instead of opposing it, they listened with open minds to hear what Paul had to say. They also took the next step. They didn’t just take what Paul said at face value; they searched the Scriptures and studied them every day to see if what Paul was saying was true. (Acts 17:11) Many translations describe the Bereans as being noble or fair-minded. Essentially, they were more willing to learn, by listening to Paul and then checking the facts for themselves.

Are you unsure what to believe? Don’t believe anything just because someone else tells you to. Think for yourselves. Do your research. The Bible can withstand your scrutiny. Do a little bit of studying. One example of a person who did this is Josh McDowell. He was a skeptic that set out to prove Christianity was a joke. He couldn’t do it because there was far too much evidence to prove that Jesus is who He says He is. You can read Josh’s account of his own journey in the third section of Skeptics Who Demanded a Verdict, available as a PDF here. Other resources he has available may help you in your own search for the truth.

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Today, in many parts of Canada, is Family Day. It is a holiday that was established in 1999 in Alberta, 2007 in Saskatchewan, 2008 in Ontario, and will begin in British Columbia in 2013. Family Day is also celebrated at various other times in a few other countries and American states. In Canada, as holidays go, it’s a pretty recent addition to the list. I can understand why people thought it would be a good idea to have a day off in February; most years it feels like the longest month even though it’s the shortest. What I can’t understand is why they chose to call it Family Day. Holidays usually have a reason to celebrate, something to commemorate, and if not they are called civic or bank holidays. Why is this one called Family Day? Is it really necessary for the government to institute a day to spend with our families? Is it that unlikely that we would spend our time with them if the government didn’t make it sound like that was the purpose? Perhaps.

Family has certainly taken on different forms in recent decades. When people talk of traditional families, they are usually thinking of a mother, father and children. Maybe a family pet. That was pretty much the norm in the 1950s. These days, however, the combinations are much more varied. Depending on the make-up of your family, it may be more and more challenging to find time to spend together. As a teacher, I was faced with students from many different family situations. Some children had the attention that they needed, and some didn’t. Despite the changes in family dynamics, however, this problem has existed since the time of Solomon. In Proverbs 22:6 he advised parents to teach their children to live Godly lives, with the assurance that when they grew up they would remember what they had been taught. This is an activity that requires time and attention. And discipline. Children don’t naturally know right from wrong; they have to be taught it, and if it becomes part of their training when they are young, it will be part of their lives long after they leave home.

Children don’t forget how they’ve been brought up, but sometimes they choose to ignore it. Proverbs 22:6 is a principle, not a promise. Sometimes children choose to do things in a way that completely disregards what they have been taught, but that is a freedom that God has given to all of us. He has made known to us what is right, and we can choose whether we want to live by it or not. He gave parents the responsibility to teach those things to their children. If parents don’t instruct their children to do what is right, it will be much more difficult for them to figure it out later in life. If parents train their children to be godly, it is likely that the children will continue in that way for the rest of their lives. Even if they rebel for a time, they will know the way back to the right path.

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If the Old Testament law no longer applies to us (as I’ve discussed in my last two posts, February 3, 2012 and February 6, 2012), what is the point of reading the Old Testament? It takes up approximately ¾ of the pages in your Bible. There must be some reason why people keep printing it and buying it.

When God made a covenant with the people of Israel, He made it through His representative, Moses. It was only by going to Moses, or later the priests and judges appointed by him, that the people could know what God was saying to them or what His requirements were. Now, with the coming of Christ, and specifically His death on the cross (Colossians 2:14), we have been freed from the Mosaic Law, and more importantly, we can go directly to God through Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 8:6-11 which quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34)

So what purpose does the Old Testament now serve? II Timothy 3:16-17 gives us the answer. All scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, reproof, correction, training and equipping. The history and prophecy of the Old Testament allows us to understand the significance of the New Testament, beginning with the genealogy listed in Matthew 1 and continuing to the death and resurrection of Christ. (I Corinthians 15:3-5) When Jesus walked on earth, the only scriptures that people knew were what we now refer to as the Old Testament. Those were the scriptures that Jesus quoted and prayed. Those were the scriptures that He used to teach the disciples and the people. (Matthew 22:29, Luke 4:21, Luke 24:27) Every time Jesus said, “It is written…”, He was referring to the Old Testament scriptures.

Although we are no longer under Mosaic law, the principles and facts that are written in the Old Testament are still true. We can still find hope and encouragement from the Psalms. We can still find good advice in Proverbs. We can still learn from the experiences of the Israelites. We can still find evidence of God’s faithfulness in His interactions with the people of Israel, and in the very fact that He made a new covenant that includes all of us.

Today is International Blasphemy Rights Day. Blasphemy is the act of speaking irreverently about God or sacred things. In centuries past, it was a very serious crime, and it still is today in some countries. International Blasphemy Rights Day was introduced in 2009 by the Center for Inquiry based in Amherst, New York. As far as I can determine, it exists and is international only because they said so. The reason they give for establishing this day is to support free speech and the right to criticize or satirize religion. One would think from the name of their organization, that the purpose for criticism would be to determine the truth, but on the front page of their website today, Ronald Lindsay, the president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry says that if you aren’t sure how to commemorate the day, “just state that there is no god”. That doesn’t sound like inquiry to me. What if there really is a god?

In Acts 17:10-11 Paul and Silas left Thessalonica and went to Berea to preach the good news about Jesus Christ. Whereas many of the Thessalonians had incited trouble and riotous behaviour among the crowds, the Bereans were commended for being open-minded. In some versions, open-minded is translated as receptive, fair-minded, noble-minded or of noble character. They eagerly received the message, but that does not mean that they were naïve or simple-minded. They were open to learning and to admitting that there might be something that they didn’t already know. They didn’t just accept it at face value though. They searched the scriptures to see if what Paul and Silas were saying really was true. At that time, the scriptures consisted of what we now know as the Old Testament; the New Testament didn’t exist yet. Paul and Silas taught from the Old Testament to show the people that the scriptures pointed to Jesus. Since the Jews had been waiting for a Messiah, their two choices were to believe that the Messiah could be Jesus, or to believe that it couldn’t be. The Bereans believed that it could be, but they studied the scriptures to confirm if it was true.

God has nothing against inquiring minds. He is not afraid of our questions. By all means seek the truth. In order to do that, however, you need to be open to the possibility that you do not already fully understand all the answers. If you were open to that, I would suggest that you pray for God to reveal Himself to you as you continue on your quest. God promises that you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart. (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13)