February 28, Thursday

Devotional Thought for Today

Exodus 7:8-13 (ESV)

8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’ ” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Many skeptics of Christianity have tried to explain away the miracles described in the Bible as simply being natural phenomena that have been misunderstood by ancient man.  Like Pharaoh, they believe that man is able to replicate the miracles of God through their own means, and in very much the same way, they harden their hearts towards Him. For modern man, we have simply replaced the secret art of Pharaoh’s sorcerers with the science of our PhDs and technologists.  By no means am I saying that science is inherently evil or wrong, but simply the fact that we have to discern the difference between the practice of science and the philosophy of scientism. The first is a helpful tool to aid man, the latter is a dangerous religion that aims to negate God and his miracles.  

C.S. Lewis, in his thoughtful essay The Magician’s Twin, argues poignantly against the potential dangers of scientism that is unchecked.  He reminds us that the atrocities of Nazi Germany were carried out using the concepts and language of science to justify its evils.  Like the sorcerers of old, scientism can function like a religion that demands absolute obedience, and ironically it promotes a type of groupthink that negates healthy skepticism.  Sadly, it comes to dominate our worldview so that we cannot see the miracles of God even as they are happening right before our very eyes. Like Pharaoh, the modern world calls in their magicians to refute the works of God, but even as His staff devours the staff made by man, the world remains unconvinced and unmoved.  This is precisely the reason why those of us who call ourselves Christians must continue to see the world through the eyes of faith.

Prayer: Lord, would You help me to have faith like a child, to be able to see the world with eyes of wonder and awe, to behold the beauty of Your creation and the miracles that You have wrought with Your hand.  Keep me protected from the deception of the enemy so that I would not become cold and callused towards all that You are doing in my life. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 16


Lunch Break Study

2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Describe Timothy’s relationship to the Holy Scriptures.  
  2. What is the purpose of Scripture?
  3. Why is faithfulness to the Scriptures important, especially today?  

Notes:

  1. It’s clear that Timothy has a rich history with the word of God.  He was acquainted with it from an early age, familiar with its teaching from childhood, and it was taught to him accurately.   Paul now exhorts Timothy to continue in what he has learned and come to firmly believe.
  2. Verse 16 and 17 are great reminders of the purpose of the Scriptures.  Too many times, we reduce the word of God to bite-sized slogans of inspiration, but they are so much more than that.  It is the basis for reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. As we diligently study and apply the word to our lives, it creates spiritual growth and provides the tools that are necessary to live out the Christian faith.  Without them, we have no hope of growing into spiritual maturity and being equipped to face the challenges of life.
  3. In our post-modern and post-Christian world, truth has become more and more arbitrary.  We want to hear what we want to hear and are driven solely by our feelings. This is the type of spiritual climate that leads to people listening to only what they want to hear, as opposed to what they need to hear.  Paul warns against surrounding ourselves with pastors and teachers who cater only to people’s desires, knowing that our emotions can be a poor measure of what is true.

Evening Reflection

Have you spent time allowing God’s word to permeate your mind and thoughts?  There is no better way to combat the lies of the world than to meditate and study the truth of God, and to allow that to guide your way of thinking.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you to a particular book of the Bible to read, study, and even memorize. Ask for God to protect your every thought with the helmet of His salvation.

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