David Under The Fig Tree

June 12, 2024 - What Are You Praying?


Why Are You Praying?

Hello and welcome. My name is David Macon. Today I am asking “Why are you praying?” Do not misunderstand me, I am very much in favor of praying. Jesus gives an example to the disciples on how to pray in Matthew 6: 9-13. We learn to approach God in awe, acknowledging his power and will. Thankful for His provision and to forgive the same way we want to be forgiven. That is probably the first prayer many memorize. I know it was my first. What’s next? You don’t just keep repeating that over and over. What do you say? What do you ask for? Why are you praying? I hope to answer those questions for you. If not answer, give you a nudge in the direction to find the answers.

 

 

Prayer is an action. It is not a wish list that you offer up and hope it gets answered like a letter to Santa.

In John 14: 12- 17, Jesus lays out exactly how prayer is an action and how powerful it is.

        

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15  “If you love me, keep my commands. 16  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever  17  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

We have God, the power, Jesus the authority and the Holy Spirit doing the work. To restate that; Jesus has given us the authority to use the power of God, and the Holy Spirit accomplishes the actions. Hopefully, this shows that we have great power and great responsibility when praying. How can this be? I have heard it said by non-believers that praying is just asking your imaginary friend to break the laws of nature. My answer is that makes perfect sense if you cannot imagine a God bigger than the universe. Imagine a composer writing a beautiful work of music. He is not inside or limited by the music. If you ask for a change in the music and he sees that it aligns with and matches what he is doing, then he can easily add it to the music. So it is with God. He is wholly outside of creation. He can change any part He wishes. But He will only do it if it is His will. There’s that prayer again “Your will be done.”

In “Do What Jesus Did” by Robby Dawkins, he gives a prayer example. It reads, “Father, my power is not enough. Come fill me and envelop me with Your Holy Spirit and with fire. Give me the power I need from the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” It is a great book. It takes a deep dive into what prayer is and how to pray with confidence and authority. A caution, though, things may not happen as quickly as you want. In “Power Healing” by John Wimber, he tells how he and his church faithfully prayed for 10 months before anyone got healed. Now we come to “Why are you praying?”

I hope you are not just praying out of habit. Saying the same thing each day without trying to connect with God. Think about that. Connect. With. God. When you pray, take a moment, close your eyes and be still. Draw close to God. Then, when you pray, pray to God. Not for those who may be listening. Ask for the things that align with God’s will. Pray powerfully for healing. Speak directly to evil and command it to flee because you speak in the name of Jesus, who has given you this authority over evil. Command it and have faith that it will be done. Do these things in alignment with God’s will and they will happen. Believe.

 

Thank you and blessings

 

“Do What Jesus Did” by Robby Dawkins

https://www.amazon.com/Do-What-Jesus-Did-Real-Life/dp/0800795571

 

“Power Healing” by John Wimber

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Healing-John-Wimber/dp/0060695412

June 05, 2024 - What Are You Doing?


What Are You Doing?

In my various postings during the last 3 months, I have often asked “action” based questions. Often wanting you to step out of your comfort zone, out of your normal mode, and look at yourself. I have asked “Are you listening?”, “Do you hear?”, “Are you helping?”, “Are you studying?”, “Are you growing?” and, “Are you coming closer to God?”. These are a few of the questions. I think the theme of my exhortations is to take action.

What does the Bible say about actions/acting? It comes up a lot. Peter talks about having a mindset primed for action in 1 Peter 1:13.

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

In the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree, Luke 13:6-9, we see the gardener taking action to save the tree. Then we see that action alone is not enough in James 2:17

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

 

Hear/act, listen, tear down walls, be quiet, pray, help others. It seems to go in all directions. How do we tie it all together into an understandable concept? I have maintained that being a Christian is not a passive act. Jesus says this in Mark 16:15

         “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

In Matthew 28:19 we see Jesus say;

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Here we have it from Jesus exactly what we are to do. That is to tell as many people as we can about Christ, the Good News!

Finally, to get to my main point. Faith without action is as empty as action with faith. As Christians, we are responsible for helping to bring The Kingdom of God to everyone. Not just those people who are like us. Not just the people we like. Everyone. How? How do we do this? What tools do we have to do this? So many questions! We use the gifts of the Spirit. We develop those gifts by doing the things. Removing rocks in our fields. Having a mind geared towards acting for the Lord. When we see someone and hear that quiet voice telling us to pray for them. Do so. Maybe someone just needs you to sit quietly beside them so they know they are not alone. There are so many opportunities that I can not list all of them. Let your compassion and your understanding of how Jesus would act lead you. Most importantly, take action!

 

Thank you and blessings.


May 29, 2024 - Who Is Driving?


Who Is Driving?

 We spend a lot of time in our automobiles. Sometimes we drive and sometimes we ride. When we are riding, we trust the driver will not only get us to our destination but also do it safely. Whenever we travel commercially, we can say the same thing. We trust the company to get us to our destination in both comfort and safety. It is a faith thing. We have faith that they will do as they promised.

So why do I have so much trouble giving the same level of faith to God? In the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matt 6:9-13) we pray in verse 10 “… Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We find it said again in Luke 11:1. So we pray for God’s will to be done. For His plan to be over all of the earth. Yet we struggle to let that happen. A few weeks ago, a question came to mind. The question is “How to fit into God’s plan rather than fitting God into my plan?”

God has given us free will. We can choose or not choose to worship. But once we choose to worship God, there are changes that happen. Let me use a computer analogy. Before Windows came along, we used Disk Operation System (DOS). To run a program, we popped a disk in and executed the program. It worked great. We saw Windows was much better than DOS and upgraded to it. But then our old DOS programs would not run with Windows.

I hope I am transparent here. DOS is the old ways and Windows is the new way.

When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I got a huge upgrade. Yet I still keep trying to run those old programs. I make plans; I set expectations for myself; I want things. Most of the time with no thought of how will those things work with God’s plan.

Instead, I should pray to God and ask Him to help me with my plan. I should ask Him how I can help with his plan. We find in Matt 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”.

I am not advocating that you do not make plans. That you just wait and see what happens. Instead, when you plan, plan with God and with faith that God will shape your plans into His will for your good. From now on I will have more faith that my Father will give me good things.

 

Thank you and blessings!

May 22, 2024 - God Healed Her?


God Healed Her?

Today I want to talk about God overcoming the darkness. He is in everyplace. That there is not anywhere where He is not. More importantly, no matter your circumstance, He will answer when you call to Him. I want to share a time when I asked for Him to show His presence and He did. I will answer the questions from the title and tell you who and how. I still do not understand why.

Hello, my name is David Macon. I am a broken pot, a sinner. I am not holy.

 

Let me set this up for you in Psalm 139:7-8 David says: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

 

Jesus says in John 11:9-10: “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

 

It started with a phone call from my boss. He opened with an apology. An unusual way to start a call. He apologized for asking me to go on a service call to repair a phone line. You see, the phone line was behind the main show bar at a famous strip club in Atlanta, GA. They needed it for their point-of-sale transactions. I agreed and off I went to the venue before they opened for business. Now I think you agree that you do not expect God to show up at a strip club. Yet He was there. When you take the two verses I listed above, you have God saying that not only is He there, but He is there to give you light so you can find your way out of the darkness. Maybe that is the “why”. Here is what happened.

 

I arrived before show time and started working on the phone line. There was a pretty young lady, thirty-ish, the bartender, setting up. It is fairly loud as sound checks and the general hub-bud going on before opening. I am at the far end of the large bar, away from her. I never learned her name. She suddenly let out a loud f-bomb and I heard a thump. Concerned, I ask what is wrong. She tells me she just broke her finger. Now it gets “weird”. Weird because God’s ways are so far beyond us, they can never be understood. You only have to look at Job and see the struggle he had trying to understand.

 

I do not know what prompted me but I held out my left hand and asked her to come over to me. OK, this was not a “boo-boo” level injury. Halfway down, her left pinky was jutting at a forty-five degree angle. Being careful not to touch her broken pinky, I softly covered her hand with my right hand, bowed my head and silently prayed for her hand to be healed. She gave a soft gasp and whispered, “Are you a healer?” I answered her and said, “No, but Jesus is.” Then, I lifted my hand and she was healed. She was very happy, sank to her knees, prayed the sinner’s prayer, quit her job on the spot and became a missionary to Asia.

 

No, none of that. She was healed and very happy about it. She returned to setting up and I finished working on the telephone line. None of the religious questions about the state of her soul. No “church” dramatics. Jesus didn’t do it that way. Of course, she shared what had happened with her manager and coworkers. As a thank you, the manager offered me various products he had. I declined. When I left an hour later, I remember her standing with a coworker, wiggling her pinky, as they smiled and waved goodbye.

 

So, being obedient to God and by hearing/acting, this young lady’s finger was healed in this very dark place. I do not know if it was done for her, for me, for both, or even for you. I only know that God healed it. From this, I know that God is always there, no matter how far you may think that you have left Him. Take a moment, close your eyes, be still and tune in. Do not wonder if He is there. Know that He is there.

 

 

Thank you and blessings. 

May 15, 2024 - God's Breath In You.


God's Breath In You.

Have you ever thought about computer code? Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS DOS) was written 43 years ago in 1981. But if you look, you find that same code running in the background and making your computer work today. We are the same way. You have the original “code” that was placed in Adam.

 

Let me explain. In Genesis 1:27 we have

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Then in Genesis 2:7 we have

“Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

In just those two verses, there is a pretty excellent summary of God’s intention for man. He formed man in His image and placed His breath in man. Let’s take a deeper look at Genesis 2:7

Digging into the Hebrew, I found some interesting nuances. The Hebrew verb puach (breathed), and the Hebrew noun neshamah (breath) are used. When used together, they form an interesting combination. They mean that God placed a part of Himself into man. We see Jesus speaking of this in several verses. Three of the verses are found in John. (Jhn 6:56, Jhn 14:20 and Jhn 17:26) In these verses, Jesus affirms that He is a part of us and that we are a part of Him. Seems a little far-fetched doesn’t it? Let’s look at a more mundane example.

Have you ever had a picture taken of you? Good or bad, it is still your face in the picture. Think about that. Your face. A part of you is now in that photo. I am not arguing that the photo has captured a portion of your soul. I am only pointing out something often overlooked. So, like the computer code I mentioned and likenesses made of us, you can see the idea of God being in us is well within our understanding and expectations. What does that mean?

There are radio waves all around us. AM, FM, TV and cellular, just to name a few. Unless you have a device to receive them and you actively tune in, they are unnoticed. We need to turn on and tune in that part of God within us so that we can hear what God is saying. The first and most important step to that is by accepting Jesus as our savior. That is the big “on button”. Then we go to church, study our Bible, fellowship with other Christians and pray. This helps us to tune in to God.

My “radio” is terrible at staying “tuned”. I find myself having to tweak it back on frequency every day. The longer I go without tweaking it, the further it gets out of tune. How about you? Have you tuned your radio today?

 

Thank you and blessings, 


May 08, 2024 - Let Me Tell You About My Jesus!


Let Me Tell You About My Jesus!

Today I want to tell you about my Jesus. If you are reading this you probably already believe in Jesus Christ. If you have seen any of my posts over the last two months, you might be wondering where I stand on Jesus. Well, let me tell you about my Jesus.

Jesus was a man. There many historical references to Jesus outside of the Bible. Among them are Roman historians Josephus, Suetonius and Tacitus. This is important for us to remember. Without Jesus being a man, the whole concept of Christianity is without foundation. But I am wandering a little here. I want to tell you about my Jesus.

There is a song titled “My Jesus” by Anne Wilson that got me to thinking about who Jesus is to me. If you search online, you can find a seemly endless list of pages talking about Jesus. Most of these are stodgy and impersonal. The list usually goes: Son of God, Savior of the World, Good Shepherd, Light of the World, Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, Word made Flesh and The Alpha and the Omega. All of these are great and should be examined. Unfortunately, they are often uttered as facts that you should already know. But who is Jesus?

Let me go ahead an get the big one said. Jesus is the Son of God. He died on the cross and rose again. Anyone who believes him, is saved from their sin. See how Jesus said it in John 3:16. But who is my Jesus?

 

Jesus was there all of the time. He was there when the car struck the truck and

we should have tumbled end over end off of the interstate at 70 miles per hour amongst a chord of firewood. Instead, we were able to safely come to a stop with no real injuries between my son James and I. He held us together in 2009 when I lost my job. A lot of times that will break a couple up. Jesus was there. When we sat on the end of the bed, very discouraged and had nothing to go on, yet we said “Lord we are going to worship You”. When I had been working all day and was starving because all I had eaten was a single peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and prayed. Jesus brought me Chick-fil-A. You see, Jesus genuinely desires a relationship with us. He didn’t die on the cross to stand at a distance from us. Just like any relationship, the more we spend time with

the other person the stronger our relationship grows.

 

But if you don't even know that person is around it is hard to spend time with

Them. I've learned over the years to look and see when is Jesus there. A lot of times I only see him when I look backwards and see when he was there. Now I know that he's here every day with me. That's what I want you to take away today.

First ask yourself “Who is Jesus to you?”  Then look back and see what he's done. Look forward and find more times to spend with him. Now be still and know He is with you now.

 

Blessings and thank you


May 01, 2024 - What Were They Thinking?

What Were They Thinking?

Once again, we see Jesus using a parable with some references that would have been glaringly obvious to his audience. Remember, He was speaking to the chief priests and elders in the temple. Today we only understand them after research or someone explaining them to us. The landowner planted a vineyard, put a wall around it and dug a winepress. It takes 3 years for new vines to give a harvest. The law said whoever was on a property for 3 years without the owner coming, gained possession of the property. 

Knowing the context of this parable allows us to understand the extreme measures the tenants took to avoid acknowledging the rightful owner. They were sure if they could put the master off for a while, the entire operation would be legally theirs. But who did the tenants in this parable represent?


The tenants in this parable were his audience. The Jews had been without a prophet for 500 years before John the Baptist. Without a prophet at the head of the theocratic Jewish culture, Jewish affairs were run from the temple by the same priests and elders Jesus spoke to. Jesus alludes to the treatment of the prophets after Israel stopped following God. Finally, God sent His son. They rejected him.

In the parable, it took three years before the Master came. Several servants went before Him, and they were rejected. Eventually, He sent his son. We can now see that this parable describes the coming of Jesus and the new Kingdom of God. They rejected John the Baptist. They rejected the disciples and the many miracles done by them, and finally, they rejected Jesus.

What were they thinking? It seems they were so concerned about who was in charge that they could not see what Jesus was offering. Maybe they did not understand what was being offered. Since then, we have had a long time to understand.

Why, then, do we reject Jesus’ authority over our lives? God has filled our lives with people to help us to understand and follow God’s will. I am not saying we beat or kill those people. I just do not always listen to them. We proclaim Him as Lord of lords then do things we ought not do. I know I like to be the one calling the shots. The truth is, I just end up getting in the way of God’s plan for me. I am working on it. How about you? Who do you have in your life that is trying to help? Are you letting God direct you?

Thank you and blessings!


Taken from Mat 21:33-42, Mar 12:1-11, Luke 20:9-18



Apr 24, 2024 - What do You Want From God?

What Do You Want from God?

 

In the parable of The Tax Collector and the Pharisee found in Luke 18:9-14, Jesus talks about a Pharisee praying about how much better he was than the Tax Collector. Jesus then contrasts that with the Tax collector’s humble plea, not even able to look up to heaven but beating his breast and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

Jesus uses two very specific words here. The first word, translated as “mercy”, appears in verse 13. The Greek word is hilaskomai. With the modifiers, it means to reconcile and atone. The second word from verse 14 is “justified”, dikaioo in Greek,  which with the modifiers means to be rendered innocent and restored.

So we have the Pharisee acting like a child by pointing out all the things they have done. As if God does not see everything they have done. His strong implication is that the Tax Collector has not done the things he lists. The problem with his reasoning is that the Kingdom of God is not a contest of who is better. You can not earn your way in. The problem is a heart problem. The Pharisee does not sound repentful nor humble. When we pray, we should be mindful of where our heart is.

So we see the Tax collector asking for and receiving a restoral of relationship with God. We need to be like the Tax Collector. We need to own that we have sinned. Christ died for our sin and rose again. But that does not mean we get an automatic pass. We are to avoid sinning. Then humbly ask forgiveness when we cannot avoid sinning. This is where the contrite heart comes in. If we are proud of all that we have done but do not repent, then the best we can hope is a parent’s pat on the head, and direction back to what we need to do.

I struggle every day with sin. I fail, pick myself up and ask for God to forgive me. Then I try again. Over the years, I have improved at avoiding sinning. But I fear I am a slow learner.

So, where is your heart? What do you want from God? Me? I am going for of restoral of relationship with God.

 

Thank you and blessings,



Apr 17, 2024 - Do You Trust God?

Do You Trust God?

It seems a silly question, doesn’t it? Of course, God is trustworthy. There are many references in the Bible about how trustworthy and infallible God is. But the question is, do you trust God? You can always depend on God to meet your needs. Several years ago there was a song called “Jesus Take the Wheel” and before that a book called “God Is My Copilot”. Wonderful titles and sentiments. But it causes me to ask, why were you driving in the first place? Well, this is something I struggle with and I suspect you do as well. The disciples struggled with this as too. In Mt 6:25-34 Jesus addresses this.

25  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spend. 29  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

A few years ago, I lost my job. My income dropped 80% and I was working part-time jobs to pay the bills. One day, on a job site, after working 12 hours with only a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, I was starving. I silently prayed to God about how hungry and tired I was. Immediately, the office manager came over and said, “I am going to Chick-fil-A. Would you like something?” Wow! Not only did God answer my prayer, but with one of my favorite foods! The manager came back with the food and then announced that we were done for the day. I learned a lot about trusting God during this time. I learned that God can be depended on to meet our needs. 

Easily enough to say but hard to do. I still struggle to trust God, even knowing He will always come through. I am the kind that likes to be in the driver’s seat. I like to make the plans. I like to take the credit. So I struggle daily to trust God. How about you? Do you trust God?


Blessings.


Apr 10, 2024 - Wicked Galilean?

Wicked Galilean?

 In Luke 13:1 and 5 Jesus says “Unless you repent, you too shall perish.” That jumps out at me. Why does Jesus say it twice in such a short time? Well as always it needs the context. Just before that in Luke 13:1-2 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?

Jesus saw their hearts. He knew that they thought poorly of Galileans and chastised them in verse 2. He goes on to tell them to repent.

Then in Luke 13:4

Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

And in verse 5 He repeats His command to repent. Jesus has 2 points here. The big one is “repent” but the other is also important. Do not be overly concerned about other's sins. No amount of sinning by others will do one thing to remove any of our sins. We need to repent. That is not only to stop sinning but to have a change of heart and no longer want to sin. That is what Jesus said in verse 3. Jesus did not repeat himself in verse 5. The root word is the same but, there is a modifier that makes it mean “to not go back to sin.” As it often is, there is a surprise when you dig into those things that make you wonder.

 

What does that mean to us today? How do we apply it? Those Jews were trying to get Jesus to say that your prosperity in life is a direct result of how well you do at not sinning. Instead, Jesus tells them that they are sinners and that they must repent. We must repent. We are sinners. So how do we repent? We start with the 2 greatest commandments. First, love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and with all of your strength. Second, love your neighbor as yourself. When we are doing those things it is much easier to avoid sinning. If we are loving others we are forgiving them, not making a tally of their sins.

 

Blessings.

Apr 03, 2024 - Tear Down That Wall!

Tear Down That Wall!

When Saul (later, Paul) came to Jerusalem, he was raised by Gamaliel, a doctor of the law. As an adult, only Gamaliel, Saul’s mentor, surpassed his knowledge of the law. Now he took it as his personal mission to eliminate followers of The Way. It was on the road to Damascus that he was changed. A powerful story about how Jesus spoke to Saul and struck him blind. You can read about it in Luke’s words in Acts 9:1-11. So Saul is now Paul. Neat story, what does it have to do with walls?

Paul, a new convert, is very excited about Christ. After learning from the disciples, God charged Paul with bringing the Good News to the Gentiles. Now the Good News is that Jesus died for our sins and removed the barriers separating us from God. Gentiles were no longer outsiders but brothers with the Jews. This separation was physically manifested by the wall separating the Inner Court from the Outer Court in the temple. Josephus (a Roman Historian) wrote about the wall and gave us the height and told of markers placed on it. We have recovered 2 of these markers. They said, in part, “..you are responsible for your death beyond this point.” This was not a threat, but an observation. Before Jesus died and rose again, if a non-Jew went into the Inner Court they died. Because of his knowledge of The Law, Paul knew that the barrier was removed. In fact, they arrested him for taking a Gentile into the Inner Court to prove his point. This was more than physical. It also represented how the Jews felt they were better than the Gentiles. Paul called this the Wall of Hostility. This wall was destroyed with the temple and time has done a lot to change this attitude about Gentiles.

 

Ok, that was a long history lesson. Maybe even too long. But I am talking about walls we have in the church today. What walls do we see in the church today? Wealthy versus poor, race, denomination, the list goes on. We see these at every level of the church. When I enumerated them, you probably thought of a few that you have seen. Good. You can’t fix what you can’t find. These walls have one source in common. They all have the same purpose. They come from the Evil One and exist to destroy the church. It is easy to point and say that someone should fix that. It is difficult to look inside and find that you have walls like this. What walls do you need to tear down that are keeping you from sharing Jesus? I’m still working on mine.

 

In Luke 10:27 we see:

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

 

Blessings.


Mar 27, 2024 - Are You Going To Help?

In Acts 8:26, Phillip was told by an angel to go to the road that goes south from Jerusalem to Gaza. There, he encountered the Chief Eunuch of Ethiopia. As the Chief Eunuch goes by, Phillip knows the eunuch is studying the scripture Isaiah.

That has always jumped out at me because I wondered how Philip knew what the eunuch was studying. Well, that’s one of those little first century nuggets I like to dig out. During the first century, you read aloud as you studied scripture. So here is the eunuch reading the scripture and Phillip can tell that the eunuch really doesn’t understand what he’s reading. Seeing this, Phillip offers to help the eunuch. The eunuch asks how can he understand it unless someone explains it to me.

Phillip jumps up on the chariot and explains the scripture to the eunuch, explains how it is the Good News and how Jesus is the Messiah. The eunuch accepts Jesus and gets baptized. A marvelous story. You should read it in Acts 8:26–38. But what do we learn here?

This is not just a side story in the Bible. Everything in the Bible is good for learning. I think it sets an excellent example of what we should do today. When we see somebody trying to learn or struggling with something or to understand what Jesus was teaching, we should be willing to jump in and explain as best we can. No matter how little you may know, do not be afraid. God will give you the words.

That is why I asked in the title “Are you going to help?” Whenever I see that someone has questions, I make my myself available to help answer those questions. Like Phillip, I will even ask if I can help. I think that’s very important that we try to help others find answers and try to direct them to the right answer in the Bible. When we do this we are not only helping them but, also helping ourselves and growing closer to God.

 

Thank you.


Mar 20, 2024 - Are You Listening? 

Are You listening?

While reading my Bible a few years ago, I found a footnote talking about the meaning of a word that I thought I knew. The meaning of this word in ancient Hebrew changed the way I see prayer in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word is “sama”. Not to be confused with “Shema” (the Jewish confession of faith found in Deuteronomy 6:4–9). Sama is most often translated as “hear” but there are several other meanings. Some of them are to hear, listen, take heed, harken, comprehend and obey. The English meaning of the word hear is often like a bird chirping or a car passing. You can hear what a person is saying and sometimes you even listen. But the meaning of sama has no separation of hearing and doing.

This stood out to me about it. To act on what you hear as soon as you understand it. Think about that for a moment. When the prophets said, “Hear what the Lord has said,” they said to the people to do as soon as they heard. Often it was a call to repent. When David prayed, “Hear my prayer, Lord,” He was often in a terrible place. He needed immediate help. So he prayed for God to hear and act on his prayer.

Since I found out the meaning of sama, I now pray to God to hear/act on my prayers. Remember, this is a respectful request. It is not a command to God. But more importantly, when I read the Bible and I understand what it is telling me, I know I am to do what it says immediately. It is not telling me to wait until the right time or when I am comfortable. It is for right now. Just as it was when it was written in the Bible.

A final thought before I go. Jesus said “…, He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mar 4:9)

 

Blessings


Mar 13, 2024 - Breakfast on The Beach 

Breakfast On The Beach

 

This is from John 21:2-13. Let me set this up for you. Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two others were together and wondering what to do now that Jesus was gone. Peter tells them he is going fishing and the other seven join him. They are tired, hungry, and probably cold. They have caught no fish, so I am going to say they were grumpy as well.

As the sun is coming up and the professional fishers having fished all night and catching no fish are rowing in. They get about one hundred yards from the shore and some yahoo shouts at them from the beach. “Did you catch anything”? “Have you tried throwing the net on the other side?” “Throw it on the right side”. Now I don’t know if you have ever tried to tell tired, grumpy professionals how to do their job but, it does not go well most of the time. Maybe because who was doing the telling or who they discipled under, they tried the right side. And it worked! The net quickly filled with fish. Now Peter had seen this before and he realized it was Jesus on the shore. Peter being Peter, he grabbed his outer garments, jumped out, and swam to shore. He didn’t even try to walk across the water! Yes, it was Jesus. He tells them he has a breakfast of fish and bread ready for them.

Now think about that for a second. The Risen Christ, your Master, is waiting for you after you have spent all night being foolish and fixed breakfast for you. He tells them to bring some fish and to join Him for breakfast. So Peter helped get the net in and they went to breakfast. I am going to stop here. I know the next part it the very famous “Peter, feed my sheep”, part. We can get into that later. I want to focus on how God knows our needs and moves to meet them before we even know that we have a need. Here is Jesus feeding the group before talking to them. How wonderful to have a Savior that cares for us not only spiritually, but even down to our physical needs? We truly have a relationship. God never asked us to just worship. God has always desired to have a personal relationship with each of us. So let me ask you, are you willing to let God feed you?

 

One last thought. A light-hearted one, if I may. Here we have the very first “Men’s Breakfast”. Now we know why we don’t do “Men’s Lunch” or “Men’s Supper”!

 

Blessings


Mar 06, 2024 - A True Israelite?

A True Israelite?


John 1:47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

What an odd thing to say. A quick look at how different versions of the Bible have it as “no deceit”, “no guile”, “a man of complete integrity”, “no guile nor deceit nor duplicity” and “in whom guile is not”. What does it mean to be without deceit? It means that this is someone you can trust, is steadfast and will do what he has promised. Sounds like someone you can have faith in. But, what is “faith”?

 

We hear a lot about faith in church. Surprisingly, in the KJV, only finds the word “faith” 2 times in the old testament. What? It has to be there more often than that. The Hebrew word for “faith”, ‘ēmûn appears 5 times. But what does it mean? It means “trust”, trustworthy, steadfast, one who will do as they promised. So having faith in the old testament was to trust God and look forward to what God had promised. Was it the same in the new testament?

 

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

 

The word used over 200 times in the new testament for faith is pistis. Pistis means conviction in the truth of a thing. Here we have the conviction that Jesus died for our sins and rose again after 3 days. The Good News indeed. So we have faith that God did what He promised to do in the old testament.

 

So, in the old testament faith meant to trust that God will do what He said He would do. In the New testament faith means to be convicted, certain and without doubt of what God did and will do. We have not left behind the old meaning. It is still alive with us. But now, we have proof that we can trust in God. “Trusting conviction” in God. I think I can do that.


Feb 28, 2024 - Does God “Like” Me?

Does God “Like” Me?

In the Parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus points out how foolish it is to worry about amassing wealth. He touches on the love of money, which we know to be the root of all evil. Instead, we should look at worldly riches from God as tools to do God’s work here on earth. Surely there were others who could have benefited from the rich man’s good fortune. But rather than seeking to help others, the rich man thought only of himself. The text does not mention any heirs. We learn to give ten percent of our income and time back to God. Not because God needs it, but because we need to.

To grow as Christians, we need to learn to give freely. I have often heard others return from their first mission trip and express how grateful those they were helping made them feel. Their eyes are opened, and they develop a newfound compassion. They often start actively seeking ways to help others they encounter daily. Maybe now, rather than staring ahead at the gas station sign while sitting at the exit, they look at the person wanting money and pray before giving them something.

One time when I was far from home, and I had no money, I saw a man and dog asking for handouts. It was sweltering; I had no air conditioning in my truck. I had very little gas. But I had two 17-ounce bottles of water. They were not even cold. I pulled up to turn out of the parking lot and looked at the man and dog. I told him I was sorry that I had nothing to give him but asked if he would like a bottle of water. His answer stays with me even today. He responded he would like the water. The young man told me not to worry about not having any money to give him, but then went on to thank me for not only noticing him but taking the time to speak to him. He said most people do not even look at him even when they give him money. You see, what he needed more than money or water was to feel loved. We all need to feel loved. We need to share the love that Christ gave us with others. His response to my simple act of compassion brought tears to both of our eyes. I prayed for him as I drove away and began the long trip back to Georgia from North Carolina.

So I ask you. What good is wealth if you are not using it to help others? Would you stand holding a hammer beside a nail that needed to be driven and not use your hammer? We need to continually seek ways to use those gifts given to us by helping others. The very last phrase in this parable is the one I find most compelling. “…rich toward God.”

In other words, what could we have that God would consider riches? One time, while having coffee with a minister friend and mentor, he told me about a self-improvement project he was working on. He said he already knew that God loved him, but now he was striving to be someone God liked. We like people who are like ourselves. I think that these riches that God wants to see are the very things that Jesus did and taught about. To love, to be compassionate, to do the things Jesus taught. Just as we look at our children with pride when they do the good things that we taught them, so does God look at us.


Feb 21, 2024 - What is Good Fruit?

What is Good Fruit?

Just as we see water falling from the sky and say, “Look! It is raining.” We can usually tell what something is by what it does. If it cuts wood, it is a saw. If it cuts paper, it is a paper cutter. Sometimes it takes longer. Like The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds (Mat 13:24-30, 36- 43). It was only when the wheat was ready that you could tell the which was good and which was bad. This is how we recognize false prophets by their fruits. But what does “fruits” mean?

 

Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

 

When you are bearing good fruit, everyone can see it. Not only do you advocate being nice to everyone, but you are also nice to everyone. You say, “Give to the poor,” then give not only your money but also your time. You love everyone, and it shows.  Have you ever been around someone doing a good thing, but for the wrong reasons?

Like a politician piling up a few sandbags on a levy for a photo op, it is true that the sandbags were needed, but no one would argue that the politician was doing it to save the town. We should all be able to recognize those people who are not bearing good fruits. This is the same way with false prophets. At first, their claims and predictions sound good. But, like fruit, you find all kinds of flaws when you pick them up and examine them. In the Beatitudes, John 6:45, Jesus said;

The good man brings good out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

 

Paul summed it up in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing.”

 

So it all comes down to what is your heart filled with?

 

What will overflow from your heart when you open your mouth?

 

What fruits are you handing out?

 

Blessings!

Feb 14, 2024 - The Importance of Study

The Importance of Study


As a layperson over the last 40-plus years, I have enjoyed taking an in-depth look at the language of the New Testament. The writing and the study it took to understand what Jesus was saying have opened my eyes to how easily we gloss over things we do not understand in the Bible.

Many of you read your Bibles. The Bible is God’s word, and we should pay very close attention to what it says. But let me ask you something. Have you ever read something in the Bible and just said, “Hunh?” I mean, where you come to a complete stop and scratch your head because it just does not seem right. I know I do, and I still find things like that. When you find these things like that, you should dig deeper and find out what is meant in the spot that made you wonder.

That is how you know what to study. I know I take comfort in reading familiar passages and finding parts of those passages I had overlooked or glossed over. But if you take time to dig down with an open heart to discover what God is trying to tell you, you will find a pearl of knowledge and a deeper understanding of God. I always get excited when I find out something new about the Bible. The first thing I want to do is share it with someone. The joy of sharing is how we help others to grow. So, you see, when we learn and share, we grow. But how do we learn these “secrets”?

Some of the ways we learn are very familiar to all of us. We come to church and listen to the message. We read our Bibles and hear God’s voice again there. We also go to Sunday School and small groups. We do Bible studies and read commentaries. But what about the challenging passages? You know some of them. When Jesus cursed the fig tree, when the judge only took the persistent widow’s case just to get her off his back, and the dishonest steward, to name a few? How do we understand those?

After reading them in my Bible, I go to commentaries and see what they say. But my favorite way is to try and understand who was being spoken to, what the first-century context is, and what exactly the Aramaic word used in that passage means? As you can see, a close look at the words Jesus used can sometimes yield insights we would not get by reading and relying on our understanding alone.

This is all great stuff. It all leads to a deeper understanding of what it means to walk with Christ. But what I am talking about here is not only looking for a deeper understanding but yearning for it and knowing that God is speaking directly to you when you pursue the questions behind the things you do not understand. When you do this, you are opening yourself to God and saying, “Fill me up, Lord. I want to know You.”

You can see how vital study, actual study, is to our spiritual growth. When we grow spiritually, we come closer to God.

Thank you 

Copyright © 2023 by David Macon.

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 This is where I put down my thoughts about things Christian. Hopefully someone will gain some insights from my ramblings.