Christianity 201

October 5, 2014

Mountains You’re Facing

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A year ago we introduced you to Chris Hendrix at the blog Devotions By Chris. We returned for a visit and found the piece included below, but we’ve also borrowed another resource from his blog, a list of ten healing scriptures, and as we consider the mountains people face, perhaps that’s the obstacle that you or someone close to you is facing. I also liked this particular devotional because it reminds me how much of my understanding of key scripture verses is shaped by the King James rendering I learned in my younger days, and how I now just speed by these verses because I think I know them.  To read the two posts below at source, which you’re encouraged to do, just click the titles below.

Mountains To Molehills

One of the songs we used to sing at church came from Zechariah 4:6-7. It went, “Not by might. Not by power, but by my spirit sayeth The Lord. This mountain shall be removed by my spirit sayeth The Lord.” I remember wondering what the deeper meaning of that scripture song was. As a child, I didn’t have the capacity to understand it, but I sang it with all of my heart. I had no idea those scripture songs would come back to life in my mind years later.

As I read those verses recently, I started reading them in different translations. An angel was showing Zechariah things in the spirit realm. One of the things he saw was a lamp stand made of gold with a bowl for oil and seven lights with spouts down to the bowl of oil. There were two olive trees on either side of the lamp stand where the bowl was getting its oil from. Zechariah asked the angel what it meant.

In the Message version, the angel replied, “You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit. So, big mountain, who do you think you are? You’re nothing but a molehill.” In my own life, I’ve been known to force things to make them happen. I tell myself, “If things aren’t happening, make them happen.” I pride myself on my determination to get things done. If there’s a brick wall I can’t get over, I do what I can to knock it down. I don’t let it stand in my way. I’m learning that I can’t force things that God wants to do in His timing.

In the Amplified translation, the angel replied, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit of whom the oil is a symbol, says The Lord of Hosts. For who are you, O great mountain of human obstacles? You shall become a plain. A mere molehill.” Here I see that we have to stay plugged in to God’s Spirit. The oil feeds the lamp and keeps it burning. The bowl was connected to the olive trees so it wouldn’t run out. Our connection to God gives us the strength to get past the obstacles in our lives created by ourselves or others. It’s not by anything we do, but only through Him that we will succeed.

In the Good News Bible translation, the angel replied, “You will succeed, not by military might or by your own strength, but by my Spirit. Obstacles as great as mountains will disappear before you.” I like this one because when we face mountains in our lives, we wonder if we will ever get past them. Here, God reminds us that we will be successful and it won’t be dependent on anything we do. It’s through Him that we will be successful. When we realize that, the mountains in our lives will no longer look like mountains because of our perspective. A mountain is tiny in God’s eyes.

Whatever mountain stands in your way today, know that you will be successful in getting past it, but it won’t be because of your own strength. It won’t be because you forced your way through it. You will succeed because you are tapped into God’s Spirit and recognize His strength in your life. When you give up your strength and tactics to accept His, you will see those obstacles in your way disappear and become mere molehills. Trust in God today and get into His Word so you have oil in your lamp to see what He is about to do for you.


10 Scriptures On Healing

1. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. (Psalms 103:3 NLT)

2. He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. (Psalm 107:20 ESV)

3. O LORD, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone! (Jeremiah 17:14 NLT)

4. Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone. (Luke 6:19 NLT)

5. For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal. (Job 5:18 NLT)

6. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.” (Mark 5:34 MSG)

7. He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds. (Psalms 147:3 GNB)

8. If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 AMP)

9. Through the middle of the broadway of the city; also, on either side of the river was the tree of life with its twelve varieties of fruit, yielding each month its fresh crop; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing and the restoration of the nations. [Gen. 2:9.] (Revelation 22:2 AMP)

10. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. (Isaiah 53:5 AMP)

June 12, 2011

Devotional Reading: Our Daily Bread

In North America, or at least Evangelical North America, the Our Daily Bread devotional is probably the most-read staple of devotional reading.  Sometimes accused of being a little ‘lite’ in content, there are some, like this entry, which combine a little church history, a little Bible history and some serious application…

If this seems a little longer than you remember Our Daily Bread being, it’s because we’ve printed out the suggested scripture reading in full; whereas many (of us!) often just read the theme verse and don’t actually do the reading. 

Our Daily Bread is published faithfully by Radio Bible Class in monthly, quarterly, large-print and many different foreign languages.

Daniel 3:8-30

Amplified Bible (AMP)

8Therefore at that time certain men of Chaldean descent came near and brought [malicious] accusations against the Jews.

    9They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever!

    10You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music shall fall down and worship the golden image,

    11And that whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

    12There are certain Jews whom you have appointed and set over the affairs of the province of Babylon–Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.

    13Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; and these men were brought before the king.

    14[Then] Nebuchadnezzar said to them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up?

    15Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, dulcimer or bagpipe, and every kind of music to fall down and worship the image which I have made, very good. But if you do not worship, you shall be cast at once into the midst of a burning fiery furnace, and who is that god who can deliver you out of my hands?

    16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, it is not necessary for us to answer you on this point.

    17If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

    18But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up!(A)

    19Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury and his facial expression was changed [to antagonism] against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Therefore he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than it was usually heated.

    20And he commanded the strongest men in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

    21Then these [three] men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics or undergarments, their turbans, and their other clothing, and they were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

    22Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame and sparks from the fire killed those men who handled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

    23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the burning fiery furnace.

    24Then Nebuchadnezzar the king [saw and] was astounded, and he jumped up and said to his counselors, Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered, True, O king.

    25He answered, Behold, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt! And the form of the fourth is like a son of the gods!(B)

    26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God, come out and come here. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the midst of the fire.

    27And the satraps, the deputies, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered around together and saw these men–that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed; neither were their garments scorched or changed in color or condition, nor had even the smell of smoke clung to them.

    28Then Nebuchadnezzar said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! And they set aside the king’s command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

    29Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, and language that speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be cut in pieces and their houses be made a dunghill, for there is no other God who can deliver in this way!

    30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Hebrews 11:35

Amplified Bible (AMP)

35[Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured [a]to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life. [I Kings 17:17-24; II Kings 4:25-37.]

God Is Good

When Polycarp (AD 69-155), who was bishop of the church at Smyrna, was asked by Roman authorities to curse Christ if he wanted to be released, he said, “Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” The Roman officer threatened, “If you do not change your mind, I will have you consumed with fire.” Polycarp remained undaunted. Because he would not curse Christ, he was burned at the stake.

Centuries earlier, when three young men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego faced a similar threat, they answered, “O Nebuchadnezzar, . . . our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods” (Dan. 3:16-18). A similar experience but two different outcomes. Polycarp was burned alive, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego left the furnace unsinged.

Two different results but the same display of faith. These men showed us that faith in God is not simply faith in what God can do. But it’s the belief that God is God whether He delivers us or not. He has the final say. And it’s our decision to choose to follow Him through it all.

Lord, help us trust You all the time
Regardless of what comes our way,
Accepting from Your goodness that
You always have the final say. —Sper

This reading

Radio Bible Class Ministries