The Lord’s Prayer (vs11)

Give us this day our daily bread.  (Vs 11)

Jesus tells us here that we are to ask for our immediate needs, not worrying about future needs or about wants and desires above our needs.  When I point this out to people some are quick to bring up the verse in Psalms that says God will give us the desires of our heart. And, yes, it does say that. However you need to read the whole verse.  “Seek your happiness in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desire.” If we are seeking our happiness in the Lord then our heart’s desire will line up with His will. If we are looking to do His will and that is our utmost desire, then His granting our desires is giving us what we need to do His will.

A few verses down in this chapter Jesus expands on this beginning with verse 25. We are told not to worry about tomorrow and not to be anxious over things that we need.  In verse 33 He says to “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  What things? Food, clothing and shelter. God knows what we need. He created us and who knows better how to care for the creation?

I know, this is easier to say that it is to do. I am struggling with this daily. The Lord has not given me wealth, but I’m not going hungry either. I have been homeless but I have always had a roof over my head even it was a car or a tent. I do not wear Armani suits but I have warm clothing and coats. Would I like to drive an expensive luxury car? Sure I would. But I have a twenty year old Toyota that gets me to church and back with no problem. And it’s comfortable! The radio, heater and air conditioner works and it doesn’t leak. It is what I need. I am learning to be satisfied with His provision.

The Apostle Paul talked about this as well. In Philippians he says, “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter what the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when I’m hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little.” (Philippians 4:12 GW) what is this secret that Paul has learned? The secret is to ask God for our daily bread and to have the faith that He will provide for us as the Good Father He is.

© 2021 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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The Virgin Birth

WHY IS THE VIRGIN BIRTH IMPORTANT?

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

Yes, that’s the correct scripture. The Virgin Birth was foretold approximately 735 years before it happened. This is important, as it constitutes the very foundation of Christianity. Let’s take a look.

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive.” There is a miracle here. When the angel told Mary that she was going to have a baby, she didn’t question God’s ability to do this, but she was curious as to how. “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

So this shows that Jesus was born of woman, without male sperm, DNA, etc. humanity was given to Jesus through this. His physical body was created when the egg was “quickened” or fertilized. How? All the Bible says is that the Holy Spirit would “come upon thee.” When the angel spoke to Mary, she understood what the English translations don’t convey. “Come upon” should be translated “supervening superimposition.” This doesn’t read very well and would be frequently misunderstood, so I understand why the translators used “come upon.” However, what it says is God will enter the world of man in a miraculous way. This is why the baby was to be called Immanuel (עמּנוּאל), which means, “With us [is] God.

But it’s not just the miracle of conception without a male contribution. In fact, that is the smallest part of the miracle. I said this was the very foundation of Christianity, right? Consider Paul’s words, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12)

The sin of Adam became racial sin, “by one man sin entered into the world” so we see that anyone born of man, would inherit this sin. If Jesus had a human father, He would not qualify as the perfect Passover Lamb. Jesus inherited not the nature of Adam, but the nature of His Father, God. Jesus was truly fully man (born of woman) and God (born from the Holy Spirit). Jesus spoke more that philosophical or spiritual truth when He called God His Father.

As the Son of יהוה, (Self-existent, eternal, I am what I am) Jesus was truly God incarnate. And this made Jesus the only possible “propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) Without the virgin birth there would be no salvation! Without the virgin birth we would still be under the old covenant. We sing the old hymn, “Jesus paid it all,” and He did; only because of the virgin birth.

So, when you hear people talk about the “myth” of the Virgin Birth, or how it makes a good story you can let them know that if they call themselves a Christian, they have to believe in the literal virgin birth. The virgin birth makes salvation possible. Anything less cancels the saving power of the cross and makes Christianity a sham.

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Christians in wolves’ clothes

For some godless people have slipped in unnoticed among us, persons who distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Long ago the Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received. (Jude 1:4 Good News Bible)

We hear a lot about false teachers today. But how do we tell the difference in a true teacher and a false teacher. Often the false teachings are so close that it’s almost impossible to put your finger on the difference. The deceiver wants to deceive the believers and he frequently does this with slight, subtle variations on the Word.

Remember when Satan tempted Jesus? Satan used the Word, or I should say misused the Word. Satan quoted Psalm 91:11 correctly but took it out of context and applied it incorrectly. He does the same thing today. False teachers, prophets and preachers correctly quote the scripture but pull it out of context and misuse it. This is why it is sometimes hard to tell who they are. They use God’s very own Word as their calling card and we can sometimes get confused.

Paul said that in the last days there would be a certain kind of people abounding in our gatherings. 2 Timothy 3: 1-9 describes these people as selfish, greedy and boastful. Paul also says that they are merciless, slanderers and violent. Then he advises Timothy (and us) to stay away from such people. Jesus said that by their fruits you will know them. What kind of fruit are these false teachers producing? Often we have to look no further than their teaching to see their fruit. A leader who teaches that abortion is nothing more than a woman’s control of her own body is certainly and obviously not in line with the Word, no matter how many verses he or she quotes. I would like to say that this one is so obvious that no one would ever follow such a leader. Unfortunately, millions around the world and here in the US actually do follow such a leader.

It is imperative that we actually know the Word. Get into a Bible centered study group and do your homework so that you can be better prepared to defend the truth and to actually know the truth.

 

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Believe

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, “I believe. Help my unbelief!”   (Mark 9:23-24 World English Bible)

“If you can believe.” I am often like this father Jesus was talking to. I do believe, but there are times when I have to admit that I am human. I have doubts and fears. What if Jesus doesn’t do this or that and things don’t work out like I (think) I need them to work out? I do believe, but Jesus, help my unbelief!

This may well be why we don’t see the healings and the other miracles like I think the Bible says we should. We believe, but not like we should. I’m not saying that we doubt that Jesus rose from the dead. Nor am I saying that our salvation is in jeopardy, but do we believe Him before we believe a doctor? Do we believe Him before we believe a politician? Do we believe Him before we believe a pastor? When you accept a human’s word over the Word, then you need to ask Him to help your unbelief. “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

This should be our prayer any time we find ourselves questioning Jesus or His Word.

 

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Works

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5 ESV)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17 ESV)

If someone were to take these two verses, by two separate writers, apart from their context, they could make a great basis for a works based religion. And that has been done many times over the centuries. It seems, at first glance, that both Paul and James are teaching that we must have a certain kind of works in order to get into the Kingdom. But, as a friend of mine likes to say, “what does the rest of the Bible say?”

There are many places where Paul expounds on salvation by grace alone. He is very persistent in letting his readers know that it is not what we can do but what Jesus already did.

Throughout the Old Testament the prophets proclaimed God’s demand for perfect sacrifices. The lambs, bulls and doves had to be spotless. The Israelites were to give their best to the Master. So, with this in mind, how could any flawed human be a fitting sacrifice? We can’t. Romans 3:23 tells us, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We cannot do enough good deeds, or works, to attain salvation. Ever.

So what’s up with the devotion verses for today? It’s not a matter of attaining salvation. It is a matter of living out your salvation. If you are saved, that is “born again,” (John 3:3) then you will have the Holy Spirit living in you. Before you were saved you lived for yourself. Your mind was not set on the things above. Then Jesus cleansed you. He made you a new person. This new person is now filled with the Holy Spirit and longs to please his new Master. (If this is not the case with you then I strongly advise you to get with a Bible believing preacher and get yourself right with God.)

This does not mean that we are perfect. We are still human and still stumble, slip and even fall from time to time. The difference is that when we do sin the Holy Spirit prompts us into repentance. We know that we have done wrong. Not that we have done something that will hurt us, but we have done something that Jesus does not approve of. So the verses for today are not a works salvation. But if you are saved, than you will have the works. Your behavior will reflect the Holy Spirit inside you.

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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A Different Gospel

I am surprised at you! In no time at all you are deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ, and are accepting another gospel. Actually, there is no “other gospel,” but I say this because there are some people who are upsetting you and trying to change the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-7 Good News Bible)

Who are you listening to these days? There are a lot of “preachers” out there who aren’t all that they claim to be. Some proclaim a gospel of money. Some are speaking only part of the Word and expecting you to trust them to lead you into a new path. They all sound good. And too many of them are agents of Satan. They use bits and pieces of Scripture, just like the devil did when tempting Jesus, but they pull it totally out of context to meet their own needs.

These pseudo-preachers usually mean well. Quite often they sound sincere, because they are. They really don’t know that they are leading their flock to the very gates of Hell itself. But they are and you do not want to join them!

So how do you tell if a gospel is truth or not? It’s fairly easy. If the message is anything other than Jesus it’s most likely a false doctrine. Who or what does the preacher promote in his sermons? Does the messenger have a biblical basis for his message or is he quoting other men on a regular basis. Even famous preachers of the past were just men. Their message may have been from God, but then there should be sound biblical doctrine to back that up. In his letter, Paul goes on to say that the message he is preaching “is not of human origin.” (Galatians 1.11)  Paul was taught by Jesus Himself.  Here’s another clue. Paul says, in verse 24 of this chapter, “And so they praised God because of me.” People were not praising Paul, they were praising God. And that, my friends, is the difference between a gospel of lies and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Is it biblical and who gets the glory?

I invite any and all to examine what I preach against the Bible. If, at any time, you find something that I’m saying that is not biblical, I beg you to call it to my attention.

© 2019 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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Bible Translations

I want to take a few minutes to talk about various translations of the Bible. There certainly seem to be a lot of them available. I have looked at a number of them and some of them are just plain scary.  On the other hand there are quite a few that I like; and by saying that I am saying that there are easy to read as well as being accurate and true to the original text. These are the two primary factors that I think a person should consider when looking for a study Bible.

Easy to read

We have all heard about the King James Version originally authorized by King James of England and printed in 1611 (400 years ago). Talk about not being easy to read! I’m not talking about the King James Version that many use today because that is not the King James Version of 1611! I doubt that 10 out of 100 Americans could read the original. Here’s an example:

11 Uerely, verely I say vnto thee, We speake that we doe know, and testifie that wee haue seene; and yee receiue not our witnesse.

12 If I haue tolde you earthly things, and ye beleeue not: how shall ye beleeue if I tell you of heauenly things?

13 And no man hath ascended vp to heauen, but hee that came downe from heauen, euen the Sonne of man which is in heauen.

Any guess where this is from? If you have been a believer for a while (like maybe a year or even less) you should recognize the verses. Here’s another one:

16¶ For God so loued þe world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life.

This one you might get simple because it’s so well known. The King James Version used the language of 1611 and of course in 2011 we no longer speak or write that way.

To the left here you will see a picture from a printed version of the original King James Version. You might recognize is it as Genesis 1:1-3.

I’m not particularly trying to cut down the King James Version. I use it a lot in speaking and preaching because I can explain what is being said. It is a beautifully worded Bible and many people are used to that language as being the Bible. I like the King James Version. Of course I use the “revised version” that we are all used to seeing. The one where Paul said “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:”(1 Corinthians 10:25)

What? What is that? I looked up the word shambles:

Shambles: (definition from the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary 2011)

1. a dirty or messy place <this room is a shambles—clean it up right now!>

Related Words chaos, confusion, disarrangement, disarray, disorder, disorganization, mess, muddle, muss; havoc, hell, mare’s nest, snake pit; clutter, jumble, litter, mishmash, welter

2. a state in which everything is out of order <the earthquake left the whole town in a shambles>

Synonyms chance-medley, confusion, disarrangement, disarray, dishevelment, disorder, disorderedness, disorderliness, disorganization, free-for-all, havoc, heck, hell, jumble, mare’s nest, mess, messiness, misorder, muddle, muss, shambles, snake pit, tumble, welter

I had to go to an unabridged version of the same dictionary to find the archaic version of shambles.

Unabridged Definition of SHAMBLES

1 archaic : a meat market

2 : slaughterhouse

3 a : a place of mass slaughter or bloodshed <the battlefield became a shambles> b : a scene or a state of great destruction : wreckage <the city was a shambles after the bombing> c (1) : a scene or a state of great disorder or confusion <an economy in shambles> (2) : great confusion : mess

Origin of SHAMBLES

Middle English shameles, plural of schamel vendor’s table, footstool, from Old English sceamol stool, from Latin scamillum, diminutive of scamnum stool, bench; perhaps akin to Sanskrit skambha pillar

First Known Use: 15th century

In fact, as Paul uses the word it is referring to the meat market that was attached to a pagan temple. This is made known from the context of the verse, but first you would need to know what shambles means.

There are a number of other examples of the English language having evolved over the centuries that I won’t go into. This makes the point.

The Bible was written for us to read and understand. Paul wrote to Timothy that “Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval. They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 GW)

If we are trying to study the Word and can’t understand what is written how can we benefit from that study? The believers in the city of Berea were commended for searching the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true. They hungered to understand and to grow in their faith. We need to so the same today.

Accuracy when compared to the original text

Matthew, John, Paul and the others did not write in English. The English language was not in existence in the first century. Jesus did not preach in English. So it is understood that the Bible has been translated – many times. The New Testament was written in street or Koine Greek. This was the Greek language commonly spoken and written in eastern Mediterranean countries in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. It was the language of the market place. The Bible writers knew Hebrew, Aramaic, Koine Greek and maybe some of them even knew Latin, but they chose the common language so that their message would be understood by everyone. So we have to translate this into our language. That is what James did in the 1600’s. He used the Latin translation and Greek texts for the King James Version. And it’s fairly accurate.

There are some modern versions that are not so accurate. One in particular, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT), while touted as a translation is really more of a group’s interpretation. One example from this version will suffice. In the gospel of John most translations read “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) the NWT says “…and the word was a god” with the lower case. They did this to support their claim that Jesus was nothing more than the first of the created arch-angels.

We must be very careful in selecting a Bible translation. Look to see who was on the translation committee, why did they begin the project, what texts did they use and a number of other factors. The modern translations have access to the most recently discovered texts, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. We also have benefited from modern archeology and the discovery of and understanding of the ancient cultures.

The easiest way to find a good translation is to the talk to people you trust. Your pastor, Sunday School teacher and other Bible study leaders should be happy to help you.

What translation is best? I’m not even going to begin to answer that. I like a number of them.  The English Standard Version (ESV), God’s Word for the Nations (GW), The New American Standard Bible (NASB) and The New Living Translation (NLT) are just a few of the ones I use for study.  When I just sit down to read, as opposed to study, I often use Eugene Peterson’s The Message.  This is not a translation, but a paraphrase, so you need to be careful, but it puts the word in common language, just like it was originally meant to be read.

Of course, whatever translation you choose, it will not help one bit if you don’t read and study. There’s an old country gospel song called “Dust On The Bible” that talks about how deplorable it to have a Bible and never read it. How true.

© 2011, 2021 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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